Missouri S&T offers many opportunities to travel around the country and the world. One of the best opportunities to do so is through studying abroad. I recently finished studying abroad in Finland at the University of Helsinki and it was the experience of a lifetime. For someone who had not left the country, let alone been on a plane before, I got to have new experiences every day.
I chose to study abroad in Finland because of its unique culture and geography. Located between Sweden and Russia, Finland is a Nordic country that is the home of saunas, black licorice, and even Santa Claus. My boyfriend was studying abroad with me, and he was born in Finland and moved to the United States when he was very young. Studying abroad allowed him to reconnect with the country of his birth and where most of his family resides.
I began my study abroad process two semesters prior to departing to Finland. I got information from the study abroad office and began my Globalminers application. Once this application was completed, I had to wait for my potential host University to respond. After getting accepted, I had a few more steps to be completely prepared to depart. This included getting a residence permit, learning about traveling safely, and ensuring that I had everything ready at S&T and my host University. This process prepared me with everything beforehand so that when I arrived, I could focus on enjoying my time abroad.
Upon arrival at the University of Helsinki, I participated in the opening week program for exchange students. I was assigned to a group with students from the same degree program, and in my group of 14 students, we made up 10 different countries. The University did an excellent job of including exchange students, and the people I met in my exchange group would make up some of my closest friends from this time. Courses were set up differently at the University of Helsinki compared to here at S&T. There were two periods with each period being half a semester. Students would take different courses each period. The courses also didn’t have any tests except for a final at the end of the period. Adjustment to this new course structure came quickly and I ended up enjoying it.
During study abroad, there were many travel options available. I went on a school sponsored trip to Lapland, located within the Arctic Circle, where I was able to witness wild reindeer and the northern lights. I also got to jump into the Arctic Ocean as a break from the sauna. Throughout my semester abroad, I got to travel to Germany, Austria, Hungary, Norway, Sweden, Estonia, and the Czech Republic. I was able to experience various aspects of what Finland had to offer by exploring its many regions.
Through study abroad I made memories and friendships that will last a lifetime. Some of my friends are even planning to visit me here in the US from throughout Europe. Studying abroad is one of the best ways to learn about life in a different country and it will certainly be an enriching experience. If you are interested in studying abroad, the study abroad office hosts informational sessions throughout the semester. They can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org and their office is in 104 Norwood Hall.