Great country, great professors, and great people to meet. Past Review

By (International/Global Studies., Presbyterian College) - abroad from 08/26/2013 to 12/16/2013 with

Abo Akademi University: Abo - Direct Enrollment & Exchange

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
When I first got there I definitely wanted to come home and I said that if I could have chosen again I would not have chosen Finland. In hindsight though I really enjoyed all the people I met and the relationships I built and for that reason alone I would go back.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 6 months+

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The professors were excellent and I loved the course work but this only gets three stars because there was so much stress and scrabbling around to get the courses straightened out when I arrived because I couldn't access the course offering and plan beforehand. Please fix this so student know what courses they will be taking before they arrive and can avoid overseas registrar/transfer mess.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The administration was slow to respond and you really have to come in already prepared and do most of the leg work yourself; there is little one-on-one advising or hand-holding in this program.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The apartment was nice and maintenance issues we usually fixed within a few days of occurring but the housing office took any joy or ease out of the move there. They refuse to take cash and charge you a fee each time you pay your rent. They have no flexibility or willingness to work with you if you're having difficulty making bank transfer payments, and they're just generally stressful to deal with.

* Food:

Food was my biggest expense, it costs a lot of money for food there even when you buy it in a grocery store. Restaurants are expensive and there are no meal plans at schools so you have to pay cash every time you eat in one of the dining halls.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

There is a pretty strong population of foreigners in Turku, most of whom hang out with just each other and speak English so there is little diversity. At times I didn't feel very integrated at all but when you are in the city by yourself or with a local family you really get to taste the culture so I would recommend students sign up for the Finnish-Friendship Program offered via the University of Turku and get to know real, local Finns.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

When you pay the require 50€ for the student union fee it also covers your expenses at the student health clinic and gives you unlimited access to healthcare and is worth it's weight in gold! This was truly one of the highlights of the program; that you can be seen by a physician for free and medicine was usually inexpensive.

* Safety:

I felt very safe the whole time I was there, even at night I never felt threatened or in dangerous situations. That being said, be smart, it is a big international city.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? No


* 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)

Cost of living was too much for an undergrad with no stipend and no food or housing covered in tuition.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $200+
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? The amount I spent per week wasn't high because I was going shopping or taking trips or buying alcohol every week, I didn't go on a single trip while I was in Finland, I didn't buy any clothes or souvenirs, and I never spent it on alcohol or cigarettes etc. Food and transportation were very expensive, buying phone credit was very expensive, if you get sick medicine also costs money. I would say to a future student if they want to cut costs in this program that there's nothing you can really do, just be prepared to pay it. I guess just eat at home, buy a bicycle, don't get sick, and don't travel.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
How much did the program encourage you to use the language?

0 = No encouragement, 5 = frequent encouragement to use the language

The university was Swedish but no one encouraged us to use the language, it was almost always entirely in English. Because I can speak Swedish it really opened up a lot of courses for me but if I just took the courses for international students I would have been fine with English.

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Advanced
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Fluent
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? intermediate
How many hours per day did you use the language?
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? Make friends with the Swedish students, don't stay with just the international students because most days I did that and you could literally go the entire time and never speak Swedish or Finnish so branch out and make friends with the locals.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • International Students
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • International Students
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with? 10+

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • student services the school provides
  • the professors and classes
  • the other exchange students
* What could be improved?
  • course registration process
  • housing payment beforehand
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Ask to room with a local student, bring good clothes and shoes because it's too expensive to buy winter clothes there, prepare to pay for a lot of things you wouldn't otherwise pay for in the US, be with the locals, make friends with the locals, get involved in activities in the school that are majority locals and not international students, go on the ESN trips because they are a great way to meet other exchange students and see the country.

Reasons For Studying Abroad

To help future students find programs attended by like-minded individuals, please choose the profile that most closely represents you.
The Academic or Linguist
You went abroad with specific academic goals in mind; the program credentials and rigor of your coursework abroad were very important to you. You had a great time abroad, but never lost sight of your studies and (if applicable) were diligent with your foreign language study. Good for you!