My day as a student in Finland

My day as a student in Finland is a bit similar to my day as a student in my home country. Here in Finland I go to school, I do groceries, I make dinner, I do some homework …

Actually just the basic daily things I also do at home.

Of course there are some differences. For example, here I can’t meet my friends and family. But luckily, I can see them and speak with them trough Skype or FaceTime. That has become a daily activity in my life here in Finland. In my free time here, I do a lot of activities together with my roommate and other exchange students.

Doing groceries here in Finland is really different from doing groceries at home. At home, I go the store, buy what I need and go home. In Finland it’s a bit more of a challenge. I really have to search for the products and I don’t always know what I am buying. Buying yoghurt for example was not so easy. The first time I tried to buy yogurt, I bought lactose-free yogurt. The second time, I discovered that I bought buttermilk. The third time, I finally bought real yogurt, at least it tastes like real yogurt.Peeters3Because Finland is a completely new country for me, I also like to explore the city and travel to other cities. I already went to the Åland islands and I have booked a trip to Lapland. Besides that, I visited quite some places in Turku already. I went to Ruissalo and Hirvensalo for hiking and visiting the saint Henry’s chapel. During the hiking in Ruissalo we have seen a deer in the forest, that was really amazing. I have also been on a ESN-trip to the national park, the nature was really beautiful there. And I hope to see some more.

Text & picture: Suzanne Peeters

Differences between TUAS and my home institution

During the first weeks from my exchange period, I noticed quite some differences between TUAS and my home institution in Belgium.

The first thing that I noticed was that the students use first names when speaking to the teachers. They are very informal. In Belgium, it is much more formal, you only use the teachers last name when you speak to them.

I also think there is a bit more discipline at our school in Belgium. For example, if you are too late in class you aren’t always allowed to join that class. But that depends on the teacher. Some teachers are more strict than others. Another example is, you can’t leave classroom in Belgium without asking the teacher. Here in Finland, everybody just leaves the classroom during the lessons. It is a little bit strange for me that students just stand up during the lessons and go outside to make a phone-call, get something to drink or go to the restroom. In Belgium, you wait to leave the classroom until there is a small break. At TUAS, it also seems to be okay to use your smartphone during the lesson. At our home institution, most teachers ask you to put your smartphone away if they see you using it.

Peeters2Another difference is the lunch. First of all, they have their lunch break quite early, mostly already at 11.30h. And in Finland, everybody eats a warm meal at school during lunchtime. At our school in Belgium, you can also eat a warm meal for lunch but most people bring their own bread or buy a sandwich for lunch. And then there is milk, a lot of milk. They have so many different kinds of milk and everyone also drinks milk for lunch. In the cafeteria at our school, you can’t even buy milk.

So there are quit some differences but I think I could use to some of them.

Text & picture: Suzanne Peeters

First weeks in Turku

Peeters1I’m in Turku for a while now and I still like it here. I came to Turku together with my classmate. When we arrived in Turku, our tutors were already waiting for us at the airport. They brought us to our apartment and helped us with our luggage. That was really kind of them.

The second day, we met our tutor group. The other exchange students came all from the Netherlands or Belgium. It was nice that we all spoke the same language, except our tutors, they couldn’t understand a word from what we were saying. It was nice to meet them all. Our tutors gave us a tour in the city and showed us our school. We have eaten hamburgers together in Hesburger, the “Mc Donalds from Turku”, and went to a bar, to have a drink. It was a great day!

On the second week, we had the orientation days. We got a lot of information and met a lot of new people, all exchange students. And so many Dutch people. I didn’t expect that. There were Dutch people everywhere. I was happy to meet all the other exchange students and I was excited to get to know them better.

Together with a couple of other exchange students, we went to an ESN-event, the “Amazing city race”. Because they didn’t expect so many students, there weren’t enough papers for all the groups. So we had to form bigger groups. Our group was extremely large, but that gave us the opportunity to get to know a lot of new people. We played a lot of fun games and it was a great evening.

In our first weeks here, we also went to see the saint Henry’s church. It was a beautiful church, surrounded by nature. It was the first time, we saw the beautiful nature of Finland.

Text & photo: Suzanne Peeters