Overalls Forever: A Texas girl's adventure to the North Past Review

By (Baylor University) - abroad from 08/26/2015 to 12/18/2015 with

ISEP Exchange: Helsinki - Exchange Program at University of Helsinki

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned so much it is hard to put it all in words. My experience was 100% worthwhile and I would do in again and recommend it in a heartbeat. I learned about myself, about other cultures particularly those of the Nordic region, about Computer Science and what aspects interest me and which do not, about cooking, about living on my own, about different forms of government, about people and places, about awesome cultural traditions like Sitsit and so much more. I honestly do not think that I can list all the things I gained from this experience.

Review Photos

ISEP Exchange: Helsinki - Exchange Program at University of Helsinki Photo ISEP Exchange: Helsinki - Exchange Program at University of Helsinki Photo ISEP Exchange: Helsinki - Exchange Program at University of Helsinki Photo ISEP Exchange: Helsinki - Exchange Program at University of Helsinki Photo ISEP Exchange: Helsinki - Exchange Program at University of Helsinki Photo

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 2 weeks - 1 month

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

It is possible to get access to the library beyond its normal limited hours. I did not but I would recommend it to others. It can be a bit further from home since it is downtown but most of the campuses and libraries close in the evening and are not open for very long on weekends so for those who like to study late nights or who need to get out of the house to be more productive, this is one option. The rigor of the classes was reasonable, but I would maybe not recommend taking high level/demanding classes on a study abroad if you can avoid it. I had to take Masters level courses to stay on my home school degree track and while I did not have trouble enjoying my time abroad, my academics did drop a bit due to the more intense courses and the different teaching style.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I was living in a single apartment in a complex with mainly other exchange and international students. It was a really active community of people and it was nice to be around others who were in my frame of mind. Many of them studied similar subjects but were from all over the world and it was really neat to meet people from so many different cultures. I do wish that the apartments had a common area other than the kitchen that closed at night where we students could hang out - preferably somewhere comfortable with room for a larger group.

* Food:

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I didn't actually need to take advantage of the health care system while I was abroad.

* Safety:

Very safe for a capital city. Common sense is always important when it comes to safety, but I probably felt safer abroad than I do around my home university's city.

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)

It is an expensive country but budgeting, eating meals at the UniCafe (government subsidized university cafeteria), and learning to buy what you need can help with the higher cost of living.

Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? The Recycling Centers and second hand shops like UFF are great for finding bargains especially when you need to stock up on warm weather clothing. Find friends to cook with - you can all chip in a few Euros and have a good meal and have fun cooking and talking together! Among international students this can give you the chance to try lots of different cultural foods and traditions. Scout out the areas with the cheaper bars like Kalio.


* 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

I ended up taking a course in Finnish for exchange students that was recommended to me when I arrived by the tutors. It was not difficult to get by using only/mainly English but there were times when knowing elementary Finnish came in handy and I was glad I took the class. All of my classes were offered in English because I specifically picked those courses. Some of my English-speaking friends took courses taught in Finnish and spoke to the professors about getting material and tests in English, so that is an option for some courses.

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? None
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Beginner
How many hours per day did you use the language?

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • International Students
  • Other
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

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

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • The opportunity to experience a culture so different from my native one
  • Traveling around Northern Europe
* What could be improved?
  • Good places to study that are not 30 mins by bus from my apartment that are open late/on weekends
  • Common area in the apartments for international students
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I would have thought to arrive a bit earlier and explore the city more before the start of the semester. I wish I knew that I could have found a way to stay a full year. I wish that I had known to go to Lapland even though it is expensive because now I want to go back and it costs a lot more to fly to Lapland from Texas than from Helsinki. I wish I had known that I could have contacted a variety of people (like my tutor for example) to ask about my arrival and figure out the logistics of navigating the city (particularly the railway station) before I landed.

Reasons For Studying Abroad

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The Outright Urbanite
A social butterfly, you're happiest in bustling cities with hip people, and took advantage of all it had to offer. You enjoyed the nightlife, and had fun going out dancing, and socializing with friends. Fun-loving and dressed to the nines, you enjoyed discovering new restaurants, shops, cafes, and bars in your host country.