Before coming to Finland, I’ve had a few conversations about what’s it like there in the far north. People’s opinion were different and I came to a conclusion that I’ll either hate it or love it. And I was right.
To be honest, for the first few weeks, the dark, wind, cold and the process of getting used to a new culture left me a bit depressed and thinking about home. For someone coming from much warmer regions it is a natural thing I suppose. As time went by I started to become more and more comfortable with the visuals and life pace here. Continue reading A land of hidden gems
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.
Continue reading From somewhere in the middle of nowhere in Ecuador to somewhere in the middle of nowhere in Finland
The things I had to take care of before exchange were applying to the university on the website of KNU, flying tickets, travel insurance, choosing courses and registering on time on the website. Everything was quite easy as I had support from University of Eastern Finland as well and I got good advices from the both sides, my home university and KNU.
I started searching every possible information about the country and its culture. Even there is a lot of videos and blogs about South Korea and about living there, I felt like this country is still quite unknown for us. I was very curious and excited about going there for 4 months as the experience is always different if you live in the country than only staying there as a tourist.
Campus, dormitory and studying
My university was Kyungpook National University in Daegu. Daegu is only one hour drive away from Busan. I liked Daegu since the beginning as it is interesting, more local than for example Seoul and it had all the facilities I needed.
From the very first day I was amazed by KNU campus. Continue reading Colorful South Korea
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 !
– “I’m so delighted to see you!
– “Welcome home!
– “Enjoy your stay in North Carolina!”
These were the first words I heard after arriving at the Raleigh-Durham International Airport in North Carolina, USA. An elderly man was standing beside the passport control and greeting passengers with a welcoming smile on his face. Even though I was exhausted after my 16-hour journey, I couldn’t but smile to the all-American way the man was greeting us. Smiling is contagious as they say.
But let’s back-up a bit. My name is Antti, and I’m a 5th year Master of Pharmacy student at the University of Eastern Finland. One day — now over 1,5 years ago — I was scrolling through the list of different research projects the UEF School of Pharmacy offers for its students. The last listing caught my eye: Biopharmacy project at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Eshelman School of Pharmacy. Continue reading Under the Carolina blue sky
Not so long ago, on 1st of February I arrived in a friendly and snowy Joensuu. From the very begining of my Erasmus exchange mobility, I had complete understanding for coming a bit late. I missed student orientation program but, as soon as I arrived, I met Mrs. Kirsi. She was, and still is, so helpful and kind. She has even organized few meetings which we really enjoyed. Mrs. Kirsi has introduced us to Finnish culture, amenities and food. It is really nice to know that someone cares about how are you settling down and how is everything going for you. I especially enjoyed snow shoe hiking. It was such a nice afternoon walk which ended up with sitting around the fire and having dinner. Later, my friends and I continued gathering in the woods around the fire close to the lake making the food…
Altogether, all of the people working at the UEF were so helpful and I really did not have any problem with registering and finding the information. I was also amused with different teaching system, with very equipped classrooms and communicative teachers. That is the experience which students can only get if they go on an exchange.
Continue reading EXPANDING MY HORIZONS
It has been four months since we came in Joensuu and we realized that the decision to apply for the student exchange programme was the best thing that was happened to us. We believe that every student who had such an opportunity to participate in this program share the same opinion. Here’s why: Our first encounter with Finland was enchanting. We were met with the whiteness of Finland, the northern lights, and beautiful landscape. Low temperatures were not something new for us because we come from a country that is rich in mountainous areas with very harsh winters. We chose to travel by train so that we could have a better experience. Already during the first meeting with our tutor at the train station, we felt Finnish hospitality and kindness. The entire process of adaptation has progressed quite easily thanks to a very good organization of faculty, professional skills, and kindness of university staff, who is always ready to help. Continue reading From Eastern Serbia to the Eastern Finland
First of all, I have to admit that I knew no more of Finland than it was a country of lakes, there was Lapland, from where Santa Claus came, then Kalevala, Alvar Aalto, Sibelius, Merimekko and obviously NOKIA – and probably polar light can be added, which is said to be sent to the Earth by the spirits of the dead according to the local legends. Well, if someone wants to become acquainted with this country in more details, and hit the road without becoming deterred by the short, freezing cold days and long, gloomy nights, Finland is probably one of the perfect destinations even during winter. In addition to the features mentioned above, one can experience the feeling of the genuine, untouched wilderness for the pacification of the mind: Lapland in the north and the central part of Finland, i.e. the region of thousands of lakes, or the islands of South Finland with a multitude of picturesque faces enchanting visitors in the winter. This is the youngest northern country, which is celebrating the 100th anniversary of its independence this year, and is becoming broadly known for its gradually growing “intellectual import” in addition to her natural endowments. Hundreds of internationally recognized researchers arrive at the universities of Finland from all corners of the world for shorter and longer study periods. I have also been given the opportunity to conduct research here at University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio campus, and experience the Scandinavian lifestyle with my loved family. Continue reading Welcome To Finland
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!