In the beginning of a new blog series, Olivia talks us through her arrival at our partner University in Finland.
Hei (Hello) lovely people! Its Olivia here, typing to you from a library in the city of Turku, in Finland. I am a Law LLB student, taking a year-long trip (via the Erasmus+ scheme) to study law at the University of Turku 😊.
When people ask me why I decided to study abroad and why I chose Finland specifically, I find it difficult to come up with one straightforward answer. So to keep this short, I will say only three: to travel, grow and connect.
Preparation and travelling
I had a serious interest in studying abroad nearing the end of my first year of university and after chatting with students from Worcester who had taken the leap themselves, I knew that this could happen. From September 2020 plans moved into action and I went through an application and interview process, conducted by the international experience team. Following acceptance from Worcester in February 2021, I went through a further 6 months of applications, planning etc. while hoping and praying that the pandemic would not put a stop to everything.
Thankfully when the 23rdAugust arrived I was able to travel. I was full of excitement and nervousness as this was the first time that I had solo-travelled overseas. At 3.40 am, me and my family left for the airport, we arrived, then said our goodbyes at the check-in. Following one delayed flight, a three- hour layover, one further flight and a coach, I arrived in Turku at 22.45. I was greeted by my wonderful student tutor, who despite my late arrival, ensured that I got to my apartment safely and welcomed me into Turku (big up Robert!)
*If you are interested in applying to study abroad yourself or would just like to know more, I will be posting another blog explaining the process in more detail later in this series*
One month later
Tomorrow (from the day I am writing this) I will have been in Turku for ONE WHOLE MONTH. Naturally it feels like I arrived only a week ago. This past month I have explored, connected and studied in ways I have never experienced before.
I share an apartment with two lovely Erasmus+ students- one from Spain and the other from Germany. It is situated in a three- building apartment complex containing more exchange students, which means I have connected with lovely people from across Europe and further afield. Only a minority of us are British, which is the perfect motivator to make friends with non-British students and learn about other countries and cultures.
Being exposed to Finnish culture and life every day is so refreshing. From interactions in shops, at university or my particular favourite, by unintentionally getting lost! When meeting Finnish students, I have mostly felt very welcomed by them. They are always ready to help if you are lost or when you have difficulty with translation as most speak English (along with most other Finns). The Finnish language is very different to English, so for someone who is only fluent in English, learning will be a challenge. However, I am determined to learn and to better communicate with the native speakers during my stay.
Already I am experiencing conflicting emotions. My excitement about being here is sometimes coupled with sadness about being away from my family and friends. Yet I am not being held down by the negative emotions as I find myself being too busy to acknowledge them or I use positive outlets to work through them.
Another challenge has been finding routine. My class timetable varies each week and there is sooooo much to explore, events to go to etc. that it is difficult to maintain a regular schedule. This is something that I am working on and as I settle more, I think it will become easier.
There is more that I would like to share, but then this blogpost would turn into an essay, so I will leave it here. I look forward to posting more blogs and sharing my experience with you.
Moi moi (bye), Olivia x
Interested in an international experience of your own? Check out Worcester’s Study Abroad webpages