Blog entry 1 - Soon...
Almost 10 months ago it was settled and since then I have been simmering. I will be spending one semester at Saimaa University of Applied Sciences in Lappeenranta, Finland. In November last year, I uploaded my letter of acceptance and my application to the “moveonline portal” and now the time has finally come! Almost everybody who talked with me about my semester abroad asked: “Finland – in winter?!”
Yes, I do want to go to Finland and I do want to stay until winter and I can hardly wait: Husky sleigh rides, Northern Lights, snow, lakes and forests, saunas, Helsinki, meeting Santa Claus, meeting new people and their culture and maybe even travelling to Russia, Saint Petersburg is only a stone’s throw away. Of course I’m also looking forward to studying at one of the top 300 universities worldwide. Yes, that’s what I’m incredibly excited about despite the fact that I am a little bit afraid of the freezing cold temperatures during the winter in Finland. Maybe you just have to put up with the temperatures to be able to experience what this country has to offer.
Living and studying in another country for one semester involves a lot of organizational stuff, with which I’m busy since spring. I’m lucky, however, because staying within Europe makes a lot of things easier: health insurance, vaccinations, online banking – I don’t have to worry much about all these things unlike one of my friends who will spend her semester abroad in Asia. So far I only had to apply for a room which was quite uncomplicated because there is big rental company called LOAS which lets rooms in student residences. You don’t really have a choice because Finns usually don’t live in shared flats. I already applied for one of the rooms in spring together with my official application to the university. Meanwhile, I received conformations for both applications together with an “orientation/welcome package” by email from the university (which really helped me a lot because it included important information like bus schedules from Helsinki airport to Lappeenranta). I also received the confirmation for a room in a shard flat with one other person (about whom I unfortunately have absolutely no information) for 400€ rent monthly. I have sublet my room in Würzburg which was no problem thanks to the housing market in Würzburg.
In March, the course lists of the partner university were sent to me so that I could start to prepare my Learning Agreement and to find out which of the courses that I would have had to attend in my 3rd semester in Würzburg I could attend in Finland. This honestly was not that easy because I’m studying Business Administration and not International Business. So, the contents of the courses in Finland are not identical to the courses in Würzburg. This is why not all of the courses can be recognized, but I already knew that some elective subjects and “Business English” will be recognized so I was confident that some other courses will be recognized as well.
Besides finding an accommodation and all the paperwork for the university, I also had to organize my finances. Scandinavia is expensive, everybody who has been there knows that (groceries and rent is about 1/3 more expensive than in Germany and I don’t even want to mention nightlife, bars, alcohol or going out for a meal). So I applied for a vacation job and worked all August during my semester break at home. In addition, I heard about the Erasmus+ program which financially supports Erasmus students and contacted the international office at FHWS for further information. So far, I have organized the biggest part of my upcoming journey. Meanwhile I even have booked a flight so I am ready for a new chapter in my life. Now, the only thing that’s left is to say “Goodbye” or “See you in Finland” to my family and friends.
I am very excited and admittedly a bit nervous to see what will happen in Finland and what I may experience. Even though I have never been away from home “all alone” for such a long time, I am looking very much forward to the following months in the land of lakes and forests.
Here is some information about myself:
My name is Selina Trautmann, I am 22 years old and I am studying Business Administration at FHWS in Würzburg in my second semesters now. There reasons for spending my third semester abroad were, on the one side, that I want to take every opportunity to travel. On the other side, of course I also wanted to improve my English language skills (since I graduated from school already four years ago, my English is a bit rusty) and I simply wanted to experience studying at a foreign university where you can meet many other international exchange students from all over the world.