College Real Talk: Priyanka’s Study Abroad Journey

 “Moving to another country always brings many exciting experiences but I think the best thing I got out of studying abroad was meeting people from around the world.”

In this blog post, we will be following the journey of Priyanka who chased her dreams from India and United States all the way to Finland. Now she’s studying education at University of Jyväskylä, and would like to share some insights and tips for others thinking of studying in Finland.

How did you decide which country to study abroad in?

“Since I wanted to study education, Finland was an easy choice. We’ve all been hearing more and more about Finland’s success in the education field. So when I started thinking about doing my master’s in education, I just thought, why not go study education in the country that does it best?”

 

student standing on a frozen snowy lake in Finland

 

What was the most exciting experience during your study abroad? 

“The experience was made so much richer by being able to share it with people who were all interested in education and who were tacking the subject from different perspectives. Since I studied in an international program, it was also nice to not just learn about Finland, but to learn about everyone’s home countries. It truly felt like a global experience which is also professionally beneficial since we are moving towards a more globalized world!”

 

How did you overcome the challenges of being away from home and family?

“The friends I met along the journey really helped with homesickness. Homesickness is natural and everyone goes through it, but that’s the thing…EVERYONE goes through it. Surrounding myself with people who were in a similar situation really helped, especially during those dark Finnish winter months! We made an effort to have dinners together, go out together, and even sometimes just sit together with some tea and cookies! Best of all, I now have lifelong friends.”

 

Never traveled alone – do you have any tips for first time student travelers?

“My main suggestion to first time travelers would just be to keep an open mind. There will be struggles and shocks but that’s all part of the experience and things will get better as you get used to your new surroundings. It also goes by SO FAST, so just embrace it and live in the moment. Get the most out of it before it’s over.”

 

international students standing in from a cottage in winter in Finland

 

What do students have to pack? And tips on budgeting?

“I would suggest packing essentials (bedding, clothes, etc.) and anything you’d need to get you through the first 2-3 days until you figure out where to buy things locally. At least in Finland, there are many places where you can buy things second hand. This really helps to keep costs down as well since Finland is an expensive country. It helped me to set a budget at the beginning of the month so I knew exactly how much I had to spend. There are also many student offers, like student-priced lunch, which help keep costs down.”

 

How do you balance student life and home life? Plus working part-time..?

“I think work-life balance is quite easy in Finland since it’s something that is very important to Finns as well. There were very few times I felt overwhelmed or unable to handle my work.”

 

How easy are the courses at a Finnish university?

“I would assume that the ease of courses in Finland would vary from university to university and course to course. I didn’t find the courses to be particularly difficult but assignments and learning was quite open-ended. This can be difficult for people who are coming from countries where learning is very prescriptive. I definitely struggled at the beginning of my studies to understand what was expected. Fortunately, this got easier as I got more used to the system.”

 

international students posing for a picture inside university building in Finland, Europe

 

Any short but sweet quotes/tips for students aspiring to study abroad? 

“One thing I always tell myself is that magic happens outside your comfort zone. I’ve had so many amazing experiences and valuable lessons which I never would have had if I hadn’t studied abroad.”

If Priyanka’s experiences got you excited, maybe you would like to read some of our other students stories. Check out blog post about Birat, a Nepalese business student in Finland.

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