Peer 2 Peer Event Skandinavien, 14.12.2021

First Peer 2 Peer Event

On the evening of December 14th, 2021, the first Peer 2 Peer event of the semester took place. Tim Pröpster, student of the social work bachelor, told over 30 participants about his semester abroad at the 3IN partner university Diaconia University of Applied Sciences (Diak) in Helsinki, Finland, where he spent his fourth semester.

Tim stayed in Helsinki from February to July 2020, hence he started into his semester abroad just when the Covid-19 pandemic started and thus it went a bit differently than anticipated. While for many students the pandemic led to an early termination of their semester abroad, Tim was able to continue his stay. According to his recounts, the decision for Finland was easy for him as he had been a big fan of Scandinavia for a long time. Despite never having been to Helsinki, he decided to spend his semester abroad there after he heard many positive things by friends and family.

What was the path like?

Everything started with an appointment with the former International Affairs Officer of the Faculty of Applied Social Sciences, to answer all remaining questions and gather important organizational information. Then it was time to fill in the applications. These need to be uploaded into the e-learning course room “Auslandsstudium”. It was possible to prioritize three universities of choice – he was offered a spot at Diak University in Helsinki. After the confirmation of FHWS, Tim started to fill in his learning agreement, for which he made an appointment with the chairperson of the examination commission to clarify which courses he could get credited. Eventually, the application was sent to the partner university in Helsinki.
Then, everything was settled once the confirmation from Diak arrived – a flight was booked, things were packed and off he went!

Small hint: The credited courses do not necessarily have to match the courses of the semester that will be spent abroad. The curriculum allows a certain flexibility, which means that, for example, studying abroad in the fourth semester courses can also be credited for the sixth semester, if the contents match.

Further hint: The learning agreement can also be changed at a later point of time but it is important to get the courses credited for the studies at FHWS as well as for the Erasmus+ funding. For this, a certain number of credit points (CP) must be achieved while studying abroad and it is usually granted for four to five months.

You can also find out more about the application procedure and financing options.

Beside the Erasmus+ funding Tim also applied for other scholarships and would recommend this to anyone who wants to spend a semester abroad. You can get more information concerning funding opportunities at the International Office.

After arriving in Helsinki …

… he was picked up at the airport and brought to his student dorm by a tutor of the partner university with whom he had been in contact beforehand . This was a good opportunity for Tim to ask first questions directly and to get known to a contact person. In Helsinki he stayed in a student dorm, which, with a rent of around 420€ per month, was relatively affordable for the Finnish capital. Generally, the cost of living is more expensive than in Germany. Costs for groceries are at a similar price level, the rent is a little higher than the average rent in Würzburg. Alcohol is comparatively expensive, but as Tim recalled, Finnish people bypass this by buying alcohol on a regular basis in the neighbouring countries for a cheaper price. Going out or eating out is also more expensive than in Germany. Considering the high cost of living, Finland is one of the countries with the highest Erasmus+ funding rate of approximately 450€ per month.
The funding rates for the different programme countries can be found in the section “Erasmus+ funding rates for programme countries”.

How was life on site?

Tim told the participants about the good system of public transport, but also, that biking is especially fun in Helsinki, and he thus did not hesitate to buy a bicycle as soon as possible. From his experience the university was very familial and felt at home straight away. The courses were mainly conducted in English, but no native speaker level was expected. To make it easier getting used to the English language, the language can be integrated into everyday life in advance, for example by listening to English podcasts, but also by watching series and movies in English. As he still had to attend written exams in Würzburg Tim arrived at Diak university after the semester had already officially started. Still, this was not a problem at all.

Generally, all locals were very open minded towards the exchange students which made it easy for him to get in contact. Tim spent the semester abroad with two other fellow students of FHWS and also got known to other exchange students while in Helsinki. Especially as his everyday life was restricted due to the Covid-19 pandemic, he spent most of his time at the student dorm, which was also the best place to make contacts. Despite the pandemic, which also thwarted his travel plans, Tim was very happy with his semester abroad at the Diak university.

Helpful links and tips

Did you know that the FHWS has very strong bonds to Diak University in Finland and VID University in Norway thanks to the 3IN Project? FHWS is already working in close cooperation with these two universities and all three are in constant exchange. Still, there are also other universities in Scandinavia partnering with FHWS. You can get a first overview in the MoveON-Portal. If you are unsure whether your English language skills are sufficient for a semester abroad, you can attend the courses held in English by Prof. Dr. Christoph Bördlein to get a taste of English-language teaching and English professional language.

The application deadline for a semester abroad in the winter semester 2022/2023 is March 10th, 2022. For the summer semester 2023 the deadline will be July 15th, 2022. All application documents for an exchange spot have to be filled in and uploaded to the e-learning course room until then. Follow the FAS on Instagram to not miss any event tips concerning studying abroad or check out the podcast “terminal eINs” (in German)!