As I have studied in Finland for an exchange program, the experience was priceless. That’s why I decided to study again and apply for the Master’s program at a Finnish University in Helsinki city center. I wanted to stay in the country a bit longer. However, when I came back to study for two years, it’s a little bit out of my expectation. Truly different when you travel and stay for a short time comparing to the Finnish student life experience. I should say it was truly meaningful to spend your student life in Finland, immerse in the country.
Indeed, It was a good choice, I gained global experience, it was all worth it.
Seasons, weather adjustments
Since my exchange period was only from August to December last time, I haven’t been through the darkest and most frustrating time in Finland. The weather in summer in August and winter in December are contradicted. During the dark months, many people, especially foreign students still adjust. This period is often referred to as the polar night. This is different from my study style in Hong Kong and the weather in Asia. If you want to study in Finland, you need to see whether you can deal with the season and the weather. However, it is not as bad as you imagine. You get to be more creative, resilient and you will meet new friends during your study. So no worries.
Urban culture adjustment
Not only getting used to the weather, you need to understand that there are not many shopping malls in Finland. Finland, unlike other European countries, such as Holland, England and say France. Finland is a special country without many brands and shops. But I notice here, people have patience. When you are counting the coins in front of the cashier, no one are dissatisfied or ask you to hurry up. People are kind. From my experience, the city center in Helsinki already has most of the shopping stores. Stockmann and Sokos are the local department stores, just like Hong Kong’s citistore. However, stuffs are usually more expensive than in Hong Kong. Even though there are different shopping malls in Helsinki, the brands are almost the same. H&M and Cubus sell clothes. K-supermarket and S-market are everywhere.
There is no perfect country in the world. When you choose to go there, you may need to give up something in order to gain more. Although you may think that Finland is explained differently, studying here is so relaxed and without any pressure. Meanwhile, you can learn new things.
Teachers and classmates are willing to help
When you have questions during lessons, you can ask questions whenever you want. Unlike in Hong Kong, people feel pressured while asking questions. In Finland, classmates are willing to help you no matter what grades you have gotten. If you are shy to ask during lessons, sending emails and meeting individually are acceptable too. I remember last time my classmate cried during class because of too many assignments. The professor comforted her right away and changed the due date of the assignment accordingly.
Flexible study style
Professors can assign the schedule according to the students’ needs. For example, when my classmate told the professor she could not attend that lesson presentation, the professor rearranged it immediately. One more thing that impressed me about Finland, there was a time that some of my classmates were about to present first for a group project claimed that they’re a bit pressured for the upcoming preparation. The professor said they can delay it one week later to have ample time to study and prepare.
Also, students can study whatever they want in another university. The credits can be transferred afterward. I was studying at a Finnish University in Helsinki city. However, I want to change the study environment. Thus, I have applied to another university for a Finnish course and continue my learning journey.
I have been living in Finland for already more than a year. I have chosen to leave Hong Kong because I want to to leave my comfort zone. I want to try and learn new things, abroad. Reality and ideality are different but at least I can prepare for the new obstacles and challenge my capability.
If you want to be just like me and enrich your life, study in Finland now!
– Story written by Clara, previous Edunation Intern