Rather than studying in the U.K. or the U.S., a Vietnamese girl Vien has chosen Finland as her study destination. She’s currently finishing her business studies at Tampere University of Applied Science in southern Finland. She cannot recall why she ended up choosing Finland instead of all those other countries. Maybe it was destiny that brought her to Finland. Let’s hear more about her study experiences in Finland and what makes Finland so special to her.
What made you choose Finland?
To be honest, I can’t recall. It’s destiny, maybe. Or maybe, I pointed a finger on the map and chose Finland. I didn’t even speak Finnish when I first came here. I think I did consider the rent and living fee of other countries in Europe, but Finland seemed to be the most affordable. In Finland there are student discounts for almost everything and the rent is much cheaper than, say, in France, Italy or Germany. I wanted to go somewhere that is new on the student’s destination map and Finland seemed to be still an unpopular option for students, at least in my country.
What are your thoughts about Finland so far?
Perfect. I love everything about Finland: the people, the education, the landscape and the living standards. The only thing that I need to cope better with is the weather. But you can’t have everything, can you?
I must say that I have been very lucky to have met such nice people during my time here, compared to any other country actually. I love that Finns are honest, genuine and kind. Most people can speak English and become even more friendly if you start to conversing in Finnish.
I am very grateful for the opportunity to be here and to be surrounded by the people I love and respect and love me back for who I am.
What do you think about the people in Finland?
Like I have mentioned before, the people are nice, most of them. I have had some unpleasant experiences, but 80% of the people I have met are kind to me. I treasure the fact that people respect your privacy so you are not forced to constantly chit chat, and you can keep your personal life personal.
Some people think Finns are cold, which is something I strongly disagree with. I mean, why are you asking Finns to blend in with you, how about you blend in with them? Learn the language, be kind and be well-mannered. The language is such an important thing, learn it, it’s not as difficult as it seems.
Did Finnish nature live up to your expectations?
The environment here is so well-preserved. Some forest and lakes are still organic and haven’t had the exploitation or involvement of people. I have formed a new perception of nature conservation thanks to my Finnish friends and Finnish people in general. Almost everyone recycles their trash in Finland and second-hand products at the second-hand shops or markets are in good condition. I would say, you can still use them for at least 2-3 years, which, I believe, is convenient for students and people who live on a tight budget.
Do you like the weather in Finland?
Sorry I have to be negative about this (laughs). It is quite extreme because winter lasts half a year. The strong winds and snow blending together makes it worse for you when you are walking outside during winter or even waiting for the bus. Summer is the best. So much warmth and sun. You can wear anything, the trees are so green, flowers are everywhere. I also try to visit beaches and lakes in Finland to watch flowers, take a dip in the lake and relax under the sun. Picnic is such a popular thing in Finland during summer. Almost all of my friends go for a picnic at a lake in summer.
Do you enjoy studying in Finland?
I enjoy it for the most part. Although with some classes, I don’t really feel the need to attend the lectures. Because at universities of applied sciences attendance is not mandatory, it’s easier to work in longer shifts and then take days off. Plus, you can take the final exams 3 times so you can improve your grades and, honestly, it would be very difficult to fail (laughs). It is definitely less hard work and more practical, compared to my country.
What do you think about the differences between studying in Finland and in Vietnam?
Studying in Finland is more relaxing. I never feel pressured or underappreciated. The government really takes care of students by lowering the price of everything: rent, transportation, tuition fee, scholarships and even movie tickets, etc. You can write your honest feedback when the course ends and the teachers don’t get mad at you for speaking up. You are appreciated by your peers and your teachers.
In my country, teachers are superior to students. They think because they are teachers, they can do anything they want and will never get negative feedback. They fail students many times so that we have to pay the fee to take the exams again. No benefits or discounts for students on anything.
Would you recommend Finland to others?
I would recommend but everyone has a different lifestyle. Some people like privacy, calmness and Nordic attitude towards life, some people don’t. I believe that your study destination should depend on what is your aspiration in life and your personality. But, I am blessed to be here and work hard to contribute back to the country.
We hope you enjoyed Vien’s story! If you want to read more about life in Finland, check the story of Berfin, a Turkish girl who’s now studying and working in Finland.