In the early morning of my first day I was trying to discover the surrounding, as I came very very late the night before. I was fascinated by the lake view and the quite nature that I will see every morning during my stay.
“Congratulations! We are happy to inform you that you have been selected as an Erasmus plus exchange student to the School of Pharmacy at the University of Eastern Finland for three months.”
That was the start of a stunning experience in Finland during autumn 2018. I am Dalia Yehia Abozahra, a PhD student and an assistant lecturer in the Faculty of pharmacy, Pharos University in Alexandria, Egypt.
Finland, a young but strong country, is a land with vast distances and with a population of around only 5 million. It is not so rich in natural resources, however after the 70’s the country has seen a very impressive growth in various sectors including economy, culture and education, as well. As a results of all of these changes in 2018 it has been selected to be the “happiest country on Earth”. So, I have to admit that it is an unforgettable experience that I can live here and work at UEF since fall 2016.
For many foreigners the natural beauty of Finland, from hundred thousands of lakes to forests, from sea and archipelago to Lapland, is truly breathtaking. Its attractive and spectacular landscapes and natural scenery attracts people and photographers so you can easily find eye-catching images all around the web. However, I would like to share with you my own experiences obtained during past years. Hope you will like some of these pictures.
Listen to Sibelius’s Finlandia and enjoy my pictures in the video below:
Almost 2pm, I am writing this entry just in front of a window with a magnificent view of a snowy day. Magnificent for me since I am not used to this type of event. My name is José and I come from Tena, Ecuador, a place in the middle of nowhere in the Amazon Region and this is my experience with Erasmus+ Mobility and Training Program.
My time of the mobility has ended, I applied for an Erasmus+ Mobility and Training funding in order to visit UEF, Joensuu Campus, to learn from the best. I am currently working as a lecturer at a 3 ½ years old University located in the “middle of nowhere”, 8 km away from Tena City in Ecuador, Ikiam Regional Amazonic University (www.ikiam.edu.ec). Ikiam University fosters delivering top-quality free education to Ecuadorian students (why not, international student in the future) in natural sciences. At the moment, Ikiam University is putting a lot of effort into creating co-operation networks at both, national and international level.
Even though my visit was short (12 days) I have learned a lot from Finland, how it is like to live here, a bit of its culture, its values and its educational system.
My story with losing things and finding them back only started in Finland. At first, I thought it was my luck, but then I figured out that it had nothing to do with my luck but it’s rather something about Finland itself. Let’s go back to the beginning of the story, January 7th, my airplane from Paris to Helsinki was late, so I had to run between the terminals in order to catch up the next flight to Joensuu , Fingers crossed , I made it to the airplane on time!! The Finnish sky welcomed me in the best possible way, I will never forget that night flight , especially that moment when I was trying to sleep and the pilot asked all the passengers to look at right sided windows. To my surprise, I saw those amazing green sky lights , it was the first and only time I saw the AURORA lights !! well, the flight was short , then I arrived to the smallest airport I have never seen, but I was expecting it, on the other hand the thing I was not expecting was to not find my suitcase, I felt terribly lost , and someone told me not to worry because my previous flight was late , so my suitcase will probably be sent with the next flight!! But how can I not worry about it!! How can I even sleep tonight with the idea that all I have may be lost in Paris , Helsinki or somewhere else!! Continue reading Nothing gets lost in Finland !
It was a sunny afternoon somewhere towards the end of august in Amsterdam, being approximately twenty-two degrees and thus quite okay for a Dutch smelling-the-end-of-summer-day. Nonetheless, I found myself wearing my ultra-hot ski-jacket, winter boots and 2 layers of clothes as I entered the airport of Schiphol, holding my backpack firmly to my chest. The content of it: my warmest sweaters and trousers, carefully selected pictures of family and friends, a Lonely Planet that I bought only one day ago and, last but not least, some Vitamin D supplements.
You could have guessed it by now: I was standing at the beginning of my Erasmus semester, land of destination, FINLAND!
A couple months back I decided to do my Minor in Biomedical Sciences in this beautiful, but relatively undiscovered part of Scandinavia, at the University of Eastern Finland, or UEF. I remember navigating through UEF’s website for the first time and stumbling on their headliner: ‘University of Eastern Finland: In the middle of (k)nowhere!’. Serving as background of the website were some pictures of mirror-looking lakes, stunning landscapes with countless-tree-containing forests, more lakes and more trees. It was therefore not wrongly placed that the campus I wound end up, was defined by the UEF as their ‘Lakeside Campus’, located in Finland’s beautiful lake district, Kuopio. Continue reading The Finland experience – Exchange Maastricht to Kuopio
I really appreciate the SAT project giving me the opportunity to return Finland, the fairy tale country in my heart.
In this land, I enjoyed the magic power from the great nature. The sun seems never fully set in cool and comfortable summer, while winter comes, thick snow gleams white and the sun seems never raise. What impressed me most was sauna in the Finnish summer cottage, it was really special and could purify both body and mind.
In Finland, environmental protection deeply roots in national consciousness, and I learned a lot when I was there. I also visited many museums which helped me understand Finnish history and culture better. What’s more, I met a number of new friends there and have built deep relationship with some of them. Continue reading A return to Finland
My March highlight was a very long trip to the land of dancing auroras, snowy horizons and Sami culture: Lapland! And here is why you should definitely, definitelyyyy visit that magical region. 🙂
Lapland is a region that spreads through three countries, namely Norway, Finland and Sweden. I only visited the Finnish part and took a glimpse on the Norwegian one. However, visiting just a part of it was enough to leave me in an “awe”. Lapland is a real heaven. Beauty can be found wherever and whenever the eyes wonder. Sceneries of endless forests coated in unpolluted white snow, coupled with beautiful reflections of the dim sunlight or curtains of Northern Lights are enough to make anyone forget about the miseries of the world.
I mean look at this view #nofilter (and not a great camera either)!
If you’re not convinced yet, let me take you on a tour of my trip…then maybe you will consider it very seriously 🙂 Continue reading Lapland: Land of Miracles
Wednesday 31 August 2016, 07:30 am, I descended from the bus coming from Helsinki to Joensuu. A young man about my age was standing outside the bus holding a paper with my name written on it. I immediately recognized him as my tutor, the Finnish student appointed by the university to help me get familiar with the place. A cool breeze swept away the remains of sleep from the last night on the bus as we crossed the bridge on the river Pielisjoki that crosses the town towards the nearby lake. Autumn is already here, creating beautiful landscapes from the colorful leaves of the trees distributed here and there in the calm city center.
After finishing all the formalities of registration in the university and showing me the important places that I need to know in the campus (the restaurants, the library, my faculty…), my tutor lead me home and showed me the place, the nearby supermarket and the bus stop where I can take the bus to the university.
The official start of the season in the UEF is the first day of September. the first week of the term is devoted to introducing the international students to life inside and outside the campus, and to the different aspects of the daily life in Finland and Joensuu in the first place. Continue reading Going on Exchange, the Best Decision I have ever made!
Four months went by and it’s June already, which means that my traineeship at the International Office in Joensuu is over. Every student who went to study or work abroad will agree that it is an unforgettable experience. Here are my reasons why the stay in Joensuu was the best thing I could do during my last semester at university.
- People at the office
As I later found out, my task at the university administration department was to stir up the waters a bit and bring some element of internationalisation into the offices. Haha… I think that everybody coped with my presence and my non-existent Finnish quite well. All the people that I met in the corridors or offices at the UEF were very kind, helpful and open-minded. And even though all of them were far above me in knowledge and experience, everyone treated me as their equal. The people I worked with were patiently answering all my questions and helped me boost my confidence, which is the best thing anyone can do for you. Continue reading 6 Reasons Why the Erasmus+ Traineeship in Joensuu Was The Best Decision