We are 9 exchange students who started studying in Finland. We study at the University of Applied Science of HUMAK in Nurmijärvi. We are from all over Europe: France, Netherlands, Spain, Germany and Belgium. But why choose Finland? The beautiful nature, the interesting program, the desire for snow? Let’s find out!
Being a sport-a-holic is definitely possible in Nurmijärvi. In the past weeks, we already enjoyed a lot of different activities. First of all, Finland is well known for their cross-country skiing. Here they just call it skiing. In this area you can also do it. And… It is fun! The accommodation doesn’t have skies for us. So one of our teachers brought 2 pair of ski’s that we could borrow. THANK YOU!
Once the Finnish students organized winter funny games. We played football in 20cm snow! Fun guaranteed! You slip, the ball doesn’t go the way you want and everyone is laughing. We also made ice sculptures that day. What do you think of our results?
Catepillar dragon unicorn
Further there is a gym you can always use, a swimming pool and a large sports hall. Two days a week we can use the sports hall with the students. Then we play games like volleyball and badminton.
In our first week we had a lot of introduction about the Finish school system, Humak, the area… But also a lot of fun things were in the program. One of them was an outdoor sauna and a swim in ice water. The sauna is located near a lake and completely frozen. Except one part, here we could go in the water. They recommended us to first go in the water and then to the sauna. So we did, starting scared, but full of adrenalin! It was so refreshing and we felt alive. Then to the sauna. Also great! Some of us went a couple of times to the sauna and back to the lake. Already addicted after one time.
After the sauna, we stayed in the cabin and ate some cookies, fruits,… We talked and practiced our Finnish. Not a typical party, but one we will never forget!
First impressions Helsinki
Helsinki is a beautiful city. It has huge buildings and is quit clean. When you take the bus from our place to Helsinki, you’ll arrive in Kamppi. This is an area where are a couple of shopping centers, a bus station, a railway station… There is also a lot of beautiful culture. The modern art museum is definitely recommendable. I haven’t been there yet. But other Erasmus students have. They were enthusiastic and when I saw the pictures, I understood why.
Modern arts museum Modern arts museum
Nice to know
We also had some struggles and questions the first weeks. Sometimes it’s nice to know already things before you go to that country. So here a couple of ‘nice to know’:
First, bring a picture (like the one on your passport!) You will need a student card and then this is necessary.
Another nice thing to know, don’t bring to many hot clothes. The building is quite warm! So bring 1 or 2 thick sweaters, but 5 is too much and not necessary.
Third, shops and parties are not close! The closest shop is 5 km from our staying. Some students have a car, then you can ride with them. Otherwise you can walk (1h) or take the bus. Hitchhiking is also very useful. When the winter is over, we can also use the bikes. For a party you have to be in Helsinki. That is 50km from Kiljava Opisto (1h with the bus). There is one night bus at 2u10.
You want to drink alcoholic drinks? That’s possible, but not as easy then in most countries. If you go to a normal shop, you won’t find alcohol above 4.7%. If you want stronger drinks, go to an Alko. They have a large offer of different drinks. Alko’s are easy to find, but look at their closing hours. On Saturday they close up at 18 hours.
And last but not least, there is a lake here! When we arrive, you could just walk on the ice. In a couple of weeks the lake will melt. We can take a boat and enjoy the lake in a whole different way. Nature is beautiful and by the changing of seasons, we can replace the winter activities as skiing to frisbeeing!
When I hear Erasmus, I automatically thing of traveling. These just go together. Above you could already read about Helsinki. But we still want to visit much more.
Some of us have visited Turku, we loved it. It is a very nice and cosy city. We went to a Castle, Biological museum, Cathedral,… Now that biological museum, not quit recommendable. But the castle is! A lot of interesting information and a beautiful building.
Further we went to a couple of bars in the weekends. We enjoyed our time with a beer (or a coke) and played games. When the Easter holidays are coming, we all have the opportunity to travel again. Everyone has their plans; Tallinn, Riga or Lapland.
We are still looking for more opportunities to travel and time by time we find those. Goal for at the end: see as much as possible of Finland and the neighbouring countries.
In Turku Turku Castle