Exchange in Helsinki

Moi! Moikka! Hei! 

This is my first post whist studying abroad at Aalto University in Helsinki, Finland. So far the experience has been fantastic to say the least. There is an amazing mix of study and social culture here and I have been keeping very busy. The first thing to say about my experience so far is that Finland has a lot to offer and if you are considering trying something different I wouldn’t hesitate to do your exchange here. All you have to do is learn how to say that you study at a kauppakorkeakoulu (easy right?).

The school aspect side of study here is very practical and the class assignments give you freedom to choose a Finnish company to work with. So far I have worked with a tech start up and application design company for my group projects, which has been very interesting. You can see in the pictures below the list of companies that partner with Aalto. For one of my subjects last term the CMO of Delloite, Finland guest lectured and was involved in critiquing assignments.

Apart from school I have been travelling around a lot to nearby countries. Due to Finland’s geographic location I have been to Russia, Sweden and Estonia already. The school union has been really active in organising trips and great parties. The union has some serious bankroll, (approx. 100 million euro in assets last time I checked) so the parties are pretty fun. I have become associated with the school of economics sub committee named KY (thus the KY in the picture below).

An interesting custom we don’t have back home is for the students to wear overalls to all student-associated parties. For the overalls you can collect patches by participating in events and parties to sew onto them. The picture below is from walrus day, a day when new students are initiated by dressing up in garbage bags and paper hats. The day consists of walking through the city in your new attire and completing challenges around the city and it’s bars (after a 24 hour stint you become a ‘superwalrus!’).

As for the cultural side of Finland, I have been fortunate to enjoy the awesome delights of the sauna (almost a religion in Finland- I have one in my apartment building!). Another great part of Finland has to be the food! Notable foods I have enjoyed so far are korvapuusti’s (cinnamon scrolls), reindeer meat, rye everything and the standard daily kahvi’s.
In the end of November I will be going to Lapland to a town above the Arctic Circle, so keep posted! Anyway I will keep you posted on more happenings to come! Let me know if you have any questions. 🙂
On hyvä päivä! Moi Moi! Hei Hei!
-Claire