Finland: Simple but charming Past Review


Aalto University: Greater Helsinki - Direct Enrollment & Exchange

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I gained the knowledge that I can go to a foreign place, with a completely different language, and adapt. Because the program was so small and the town so tiny, all of us got to know each other, people from Germany, Mexico, France, Chili. Academically it was not challenging, so don't go for what you will learn in class.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 1 month - 6 months

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

Workload was low compared to home university. Had plenty of time to do assignments and study. The teachers varied as they were from different places. I really like the UK teachers. They were extremely knowledgeable and helpful. My Belgium teacher was decent, though a tough grader. My one American professor was quite awful. As we had three week modules, taking only one class at a time, the system was quite different. I really liked it though.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

There is a very low presence of faculty at the school. However Annemarie, the international coordinator was extremely helpful. Over all I didn't really need/use the help of the administration though.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

We had to use the housing they provided. It was relatively inexpensive (about what I was paying in the states). Safety was good. They were dirty, although ours was ok after an initial cleaning. They were about a 15 minute walk to class, not a bad walk at all. Our apartment happened to have a lot of leftover stuff so we didn't need to buy much (just a can opener). Others weren't so lucky. However you can rent kitchen stuff from the school if needed. The school also provided chairs, tables, desks and beds. If you were missing anything they could get if for you.

* Food:

There isn't anything really special about Finnish food. Most things you would normally find at the grocery store can also be found in stores here. Going out to eat is expensive though so plan on making your own food. The school lunches were cheap and decent, some days really good, others not so much.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

There were events called Sits or Sillis. These are basically just opportunities to drink a lot. But they are school functions. They are a lot of fun! There was also a Grand Annual Ball. It wasn't quite as "grand" as I thought it would be be but again a great experience!

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

I had no health incidents really. My room mate and I both got really sick for a couple of days and didn't know where or what medications to get. However it didn't get bad enough to ask for help, which I am sure would have been provided. I felt extremely safe the entire trip, even walking home slightly drunk by myself at night.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes


* Money: How easily were you able to live on a student's budget?

(1 = not very easy/$200+ on food & personal expenses/week, 2.5 = $100/week, 5 = very easily/minimal cost)


If applicable, to what degree did your living situation aid your language acquisition?

Direct Enrollment/Exchange

* Did you study abroad through an exchange program or did you directly enroll in the foreign university? Exchange

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • The lower cost
  • The people
  • That it was in Europe and allowed for travel
* What could be improved?
  • Information about the actual city and branch of the school you will be at
  • Communication with the adminstration at the home college
  • Information about orientation week
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Be open to everything. Be ready to consider things before judging and don't rely too heavily on any expectations.