Writer: Mina Poku-Agyemang
With all the excitement and expectations, leaving home (Africa), for the first time was like a good dream. I took all I thought I needed, including the warmest clothes I could get in Ghana, only for me to leave Accra with a temperature of about +28° Celsius to arrive in Joensuu at -12° Celsius. I had always known it was cold out here but I did not know it was this cold. It is funny and not funny at the same time.
Continue reading “ZERO TO A HUNDRED SO FAST”
Day by day passed… All of them were the same. My life became like a broken radio where only one song was on repeat. They say when your life becomes a routine you should do something to change it and I did. My change was this Erasmus.
I decided very fast that I would like to go to some new place, where everything was unknown for me – streets, people, weather, culture… When I found out there was an open call for student exchange in Finland I knew it would be just the right choice for me. When I got a letter of acceptance for UEF I was asking myself if it was a mistake, because I was so happy and it still seemed too good to be real. In a couple of months I was already in airplane for the first time, travelling to Finland. I was not afraid, I felt like I am going home. Actually this was my home, for almost five months. I would say that decision to come here is the best in my life.
Continue reading “Change that I needed”
Finland the winter wonderland and magical sunset. It is really different from my country in weather and nature but actually it’s extremely beautiful . I’m a 22 years old Egyptian girl from Pharos University in Alexandria, Egypt and I have been in Finland for 4 months as pharmacy exchange student in University of Eastern Finland. It’s my first time to leave my city Alexandria for such a long period and I was so excited to see the snow for the first time.
I arrived to Kuopio in the first days of February, I was very surprised about how wonderful is the snow, it covered nearly everything. Then, I started to register my courses, so I had 4 courses and one lab work in the university . I remember my first day in university eating in Canthia with my helpful Russian tutee .
Continue reading “Different weather, new perspective”
After almost two years, I came back! After hard work, I managed to fulfill my desire and come here for the second time.
When I found out about the exchange program to Finland, I applied again without thinking. After nearly two years, coming back to Joensuu was interesting because the city changed in a physical way, some the streets became the Promenade, the University library was expanded, as well as many things. However, people remained the same, kind and always ready to help others.
Continue reading “Finland, my second home”
Having a connecting flight, I had already been traveling for several hours when I heard an announcement that we would be landing soon to Belgrade. After looking out from the airplane window I could easily recognise the land being different beneath us. Everywhere the landscape was totally flat and covered by fields. Then for my own surprise I realised that the amazingly clear and sunny weather opened a line of sight to a lonely mountain covered by trees. Next to the mountain lies a city that would become my home for the next six months: Novi Sad.
Continue reading “Exploration to the Balkan heart”
As a biologist, exploring tropical rainforests have been my dream as far as I can remember. So, when I heard about a university in the very lap of the great Amazon rainforest, I knew I had to go. As it happened, my University of Eastern Finland (UEF) had a two-way exchange scheme with Universidad Regional Amazónica Ikiam (or just IKIAM for short) with funding from the Erasmus+ program. As I was in my 6th year and nearing my graduation, this was my last chance to go on an exchange. Continue reading “Amazon, a biologists’ paradise”
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”
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”
Coming to Joensuu was one of the best changes I had in my life. As a nature lover, I found here what I had been missing for a long time; the lakes, the river, the trees everywhere. Joensuu was such a contrast with our busy Moroccan cities where concrete left no space for green that the only thing I could do was to admire and enjoy. For a human being used to warmth and hot weather, seeing -13 degrees on a weather board was scary yet refreshing; however, on windy days, I wished I had another layer of skin. Nevertheless, on other days and despite the cold, walks through the forest in sunny days were enough to take my breath away; the whiteness of snow embracing the roots of each tree and reflecting sunlight onto my eyes was enough to clear my thoughts. Continue reading “Joensuu through the eyes of a Moroccan”
No, not the first times you are thinking of! Yeah, I just assumed what you would be thinking of while reading that title (which I agonized over choosing), but I’m talking about a whole set of first times that would be insignificant to most. I believe in treasuring each and every moment, feeling and landscape, and that is why my list of first times is endless.
As someone who came by almost two weeks after the official start of the semester, I must admit it was pretty hectic putting everything into order, getting a grasp of the situation, late-registering for the courses, buying furniture and dealing with a cold weather. Well, most would laugh at 0°C being considered cold weather but hey, you can’t blame a Moroccan for experiencing a temperature shock away from the 15°C they left back home! Continue reading “An abundance of first times”