Discover Finland

[Translate to Englisch:] Symbolbild Finnland

If you fancy a different kind of semester abroad, the Discover Finland event was just right for you. We made a joint excursion to the land of a thousand lakes, which impresses not only with its natural beauty but also with its diversity.
Therefore, we organised a virtual event on 16 May from 15:15-16:45, which was hosted by the  International Office (HSIN) and the Faculty of Applied Social Sciences (FAS). Here, all participants could gain interesting and important information about Finland! On board we had students who shared their own experiences and other Finland experts who passionately talked about the country!
Afterwards, FAS students also had the opportunity to ask all their questions about mobility and get important information during an online international counselling event from 17:00-18:30 by the Faculty of Applied Social Sciences.

Summary of the event

During the International Teaching Week, the “Discover Finland”-Event took place on May 16th, 2022, a joint event by the International Office and Faculty of Applied Social Sciences. The faculty was represented by Stefanie Witter, Vera Taube and Chistoph Bördlein as well as the International Office by Jasmin Weiß.

“Finland is a great country, and I am glad I did it”

After a short warm-up and introduction round, it was time for the first topic of the agenda: Jonas Sauer, student in media management, spent a semester in Lappeenranta, Finland, and shared his experiences during his semester abroad. After a rocky start, he ended up in a student dorm with other Erasmus students where he was able to make friends right away. Jonas spent the summer semester in Finland, so when he started in January at first it was very cold and dark with temperatures around -10 and -20 degrees. However, things changed for the better with the start of summer. Besides activities like going to the sauna and ice bathing, Jonas told us that karaoke is also very popular among Finnish people. Thanks to the cheap car rental at the university in Lappeenranta, Jonas was also able to go on trips and visited, for example, Santa’s Village in Rovaniemi, went on reindeer and husky sleigh rides and admired the Northern Lights. But also nearby cities like Helsinki and Tallin were worth a visit, according to him. Thanks to Finland’s diversity with its beautiful nature, but also charming cities it is a great country to spend a semester abroad!

By the way, the summer semester in Finland already starts in January and lasts until Mai and thus overlaps with the exam period at FHWS – but that is not a problem! According to experiences of former exchange students, exams can also be written remotely at the host university. This has always worked well so far, especially with partner universities in Scandinavia.

“Full of events – fun – intensive”

Laura Issing did not spend an entire semester, but at least an whole week in Finland. For the second part of the programme, she shared her experiences from the BIP (Blended Intensive Program) “Digital Competence” which was offered in the Social Work Bachelor program this semester. You can find all the information about the BIP and this kind of special programme in our report on this topic. Laura gave a detailed overview of the Intensive Week in Helsinki which she spent on site at the partner university Diak as part of the BIP. After three weeks of online teaching with students and lecturers from FHWS, FH Kärnten, and Diak, all students gathered in Helsinki to work together in a 'hackathon'. This is a process of going through different phases to find solutions to a problem. There was a 15-minute introduction every day, followed by an intensive phase of group work. On some evenings, also some free-time activities were offered, such as a movie night or a visit to the Oodi Library, a great and very inclusive place, as Laura mentioned. In addition to the study programme, there was some time for sightseeing, a visit to the sauna or a pub evening, where the BIP participants also met students from the FHWS who are currently spending a semester abroad at Diak.
The BIP was held entirely in English will probably be offered again next year. So, if you are interested in a stay abroad during your studies, without having to go abroad for a whole semester, and still want to gain international study experience, you should keep your eyes open.

The program continues …

After these two reports, Stefanie Witter gave a short introduction to the MoveON portal and thereby introduced some of the partner universities in Finland. In the MoveON portal all partner universities and mobility agreements can be found sorted by the different faculties at FHWS. Take a look!

This was followed by a short quiz on various facts that were shared during the event and on social media as part of the Finland Month. For example, did you know that the FHWS has seven partner universities in Finland, that there are more than 300.000 reindeers in Finland and around half as many elks? And that Finland, the land of a thousand lakes, in fact is home to 187.888 lakes? The participants learned this and many other facts about Finland. 

In a final panel discussion, Vera Taube, Laura Issing and Lisa Zeißner, another student who spent a semester abroad in Lappeenranta, took a close look at some of the clichés about Finland. They talked about the Finns coffee consumption, a huge density of Metal bands and went on to discuss the curious competitions, like rubber boot throwing and women's carry. Finland also hosts interesting (inofficial) holidays, such as the Happy-Failure-Day on October 13th or the cinnamon roll day. There is a lot to experience in Finland!

Fancy a semester abroad?

Those who got interested in spending a semester abroad were in the right place during the following study abroad advisory event of the Faculty of Applied Social Sciences. Prof. Christoph Bördlein, the faculties International Affairs Officer, answered all the students’ questions regarding a semester and studying abroad. Among the total of 35 participants, more than half were interested in a semester abroad in Finland, while there was also interest in studying abroad in the USA, Spain, Sweden, Jordan, Norway, Namibia or Colombia. Luckily, the diverse interests of the students can be met by a large number of partner universities of the FHWS, so that no wish remains left!

During the international counselling event, a wide range of topics regarding stays abroad were addressed: financial aspects, letter of motivation, acknowledgement of modules, insurance, application procedure, language, verification, examinations, etc. Of course, there was also room for questions, which were answered by Prof. Bördlein.

Do not worry, if you missed the event: In June, there will be another one on June 29th, 2022, following the Discover USA event.  We will also link the most important online resources here, where you can find some guidance:

If you are interested in report, make sure to have a look at the Europe Diaries or get in contact with other students through the student network.

You can read about the application procedure in the Step-by-Step guide. More information concerning application procedure, funding opportunities and costs can be found in the FAQ section. The International Office also provides information on funding opportunities and Erasmus+. Beside Erasmus+ you can also apply for scholarships. In this case, you should gather information early. Especially the DAAD provides a lot of information on this:


Further information regarding internships abroad can be found on the FAS-Website or on the website of the International Office.

If you have any further questions, please contact Prof. Bördlein. You can send an e-mail to or