Catherine, an Indian student at Tampere University of Applied Sciences, is currently studying in her third year of international business in Finland. Because of her father’s work, she has been traveling to Finland since she was 3 years old. At the age of 13, Catherine met a few international students, who inspired her to apply to study in Finland. She fell in love with the city of Tampere, and 4 years later, she decided to apply to TAMK to do her bachelor’s degree.
What made you study in Finland?
I’ve always known Finnish education is good and that it has been ranked as the best education in the world. Also, I’ve always loved Finnish culture because I’ve been traveling here since I was young. That is why I wanted to come to study in Finland.
What about the Finnish culture do you love?
I love that people give you your own space and that they are really straightforward to you. No one beats around the bush. That is actually really good when it comes to professional life because you want people to be honest with you. It also helps you to improve yourself on a personal level.
What are you studying and how do you like it?
I’m studying international business at TAMK. The great thing about studying international business, especially if you are doing a bachelor’s degree, is that you have many options to choose from where you want to lead your career path towards. When you are studying for a bachelor’s degree, you are still figuring out what you want to do, so it is really nice to have options. I love it.
The best part about studying at a university of applied sciences is that you learn most of the things in practice. You always get to work with real life companies and you also get to work in teams, so you are actually getting prepared for future work life and it won’t come as a surprise.”
When you arrived in Finland, was there anything surprising to you?
One thing that surprised me was on the orientation day at the university, when all the Finnish people were quiet and it was only us international students who were talking. However, once you get to know the Finns, they are very social. I learnt that strangers won’t be open with you unless they trust you. You will have to earn their trust first.
How would you describe the student life in Finland?
Very exciting. A lot of activities to choose from and you are never idle. You can also be an international tutor, which is what I did for the past two years. You will get to know different student unions and associations who organize a lot of events. There are also school trips, outside Finland as well, that you can join.
What is your favorite memory from studying in Finland?
My favorite part is that I got to know all the people that are now in my life. I became friends with the greatest people. Everyone who comes to Finland always meets a group of friends who they start hanging out with. My group of friends consists of both, Finnish and international people. The friendships you create here will last for life.
“Forget everything you know and forget everything that you are known of. When you come here, just come with an open mind.”
How do you feel you have been treated like as an Indian student in Finland?
Pretty good actually, I get treated very well. Of course, you will have to behave and be nice to the society. You get what you give. In general, people have been really nice.
What do you think of Finnish people?
They are awesome. I actually really love Finnish people. It’s really hard to get to know them at first, so you might think that they don’t like you or that they don’t want to be around you, but they just take a long time to warm up.
What is your favorite place in Finland?
I love Helsinki. It’s a beautiful city and there are many international people. Although, my favorite place in Finland is Tampere – it’s a student city and my current hometown. Rovaniemi is also very beautiful and idyllic. Yyteri in Pori is a pretty place as well.
What are your plans for the future?
I will be graduating soon and after that, I want to do my master’s degree, maybe in Finland. I do want to have some work experience before doing the master’s degree. Right now I am just focusing on finishing my bachelor’s.
What advise would you give to other international students in Finland?
Forget everything you know and forget everything that you are known of. When you come here, just come with an open mind. Try to blend in and try to try everything. Don’t be hesitant of anything. Even though some things might feel strange to you at first, just try them out.
Until I came to study in Finland, I was against going into the cold water at -25°C and then jumping in the sauna. I never even dared to try it and I thought it was the dumbest thing that anyone could do. The first month after starting my studies, my friend made me try it, and then I realized how fantastic it feels! It is very relaxing and good for you.
Also, learn to start liking Finnish candy, for example, salmiakki (salty liquorice). Don’t be scared of the drinking culture in Finland. This is how people socialize here and that is how to break the ice with them. Not saying you have to drink to make friends but it is just a way to socialize here.
Is there anything else you would like to say about Finland?
Visit a summer cottage! Spend a whole weekend there, go to the water, drink beer and grill some food, get bitten by a lot of mosquitoes and complain about them, see the midnight sun and spend time with the people you care about. It’s a great experience!
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