Moving to Finland to Study – What to Expect?

1. The first weeks are going to be overwhelmingly much fun

Meeting new people, going to new places, all the welcoming and lets-get-to-know-each-other events,… You will have the time of your life! You are also going to be on the run almost 24/7, and probably get sleep deprived – you don’t want to miss any of the parties, nor miss any of your first lectures! It will be so worth it though.

2. You will make new friends

Even if you think that making friends is hard, or that you are socially awkward – don’t worry! Forget about the stereotype of Finns being shy and silent, everyone is new there and eager to make friends. There will be lots of opportunities to meet new people, and the student body organises plenty of events where you get to know each other. Different societies and hobbies bring you together with people with similar interests, and your course mates want to get to know you well, since you will be working together and supporting each other throughout your studies.

SAMK students in overalls
Photo by Veera Korhonen

 

3. You will get home sick

After a month or two, you will get home sick. The buzz of the first weeks has calmed down, and the responsibilities of real life are catching up. Even your studies have advanced and can sometimes feel challenging. You have made new friends and you are not alone, but you have only known them for a short time. You might feel exhausted, even a bit lonely, and miss your family and old friends.

Don’t worry though – the home sickness will pass! If you feel fatigued, just make sure to rest enough, and spend time with your new friends to build your relationships. Anyways, doing fun things together is always a great way to relax! If you know anyone coming from your own country, hanging out with them can be a good idea as well.

You might also feel culturally conflicted, and miss your country on a deeper level. You might question your views on what is normal and right, and this might make you feel anxious. Just keep in mind, that questioning is good and healthy! You are growing as an individual and expanding your mind.

4. You will learn the language

Even if you don’t consciously try to study Finnish, being exposed to the language will teach you a phrase or two. The Finns get extremely enthusiastic and happy if someone as much as tries to learn some Finnish, so you will have many eager teachers!

 

5. Personal Space and Honesty

In Finland, people really respect each other’s personal space, and don’t get physically close until you know each other well. You will love to have this space to breath freely! Another typical trait of the Finns, honesty, will also rub off on you. Finns don’t beat around the bushes too much, but get straight to the point and say how it is. Although it may first seem a bit blunt, you will come to realise how efficient it is, and how easy communication is if people actually mean what they say. The way speech is really contagious!

6. The Sauna

You have heard about it, but unless you’ve lived in a Nordic country, you might not realise how big thing it is! When it is cold, sauna will be your safe heaven. In the summer time, there is nothing better than jumping to a sea or lake and then getting back to the sauna. A rough day at school? Go to sauna to relax. In Finland, a country with a population of 5.4 million, there are over 3 million saunas!

Firewood Sauna

7. You will get more curious and ambitious

You will experience amazing things, widen your way of thinking, mature and overcome challenges that people not studying abroad can’t even imagine. That is why you will want to know more, feel more, see more! You might set your goals higher than before, and realize, that you actually have the assets to reach them. Studying abroad will make you face problems and learn more about yourself, and this will make you a stronger and wiser person.

 

8. Sometimes you have to leave in order to return

Sometimes, you might realise that despite all the great things you’ve experienced, there is just something about your own country that other places are missing – and that is ok. Sometimes you need to take a step back to see the big picture and understand what you really want.

9. Finally…

Consider this as your golden ticket to an opportunity most people are not offered! No matter of geographical distance, your friends and family at home will support you, so take this chance to go for the adventure of your lifetime. Nothing is permanent, so cherish every moment of this experience.

Aurora Borealis in the night sky of Finland

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