Finland, at some point, determined my destiny due to the fact that my first attempt to go to Norway back in 2017 failed. I applied for the north2north program for the second time, and I finally was granted a scholarship. My personal advice is to fight to the end for your dreams and you will achieve everything you want.
It was a big surprise for me that I had to arrive in Tampere on 1 January for the orientation course, and the studies began on 7 January. Comparing with my home university, the study period ended on 28 December, and usually we have to take exams throughout January. Only in February the spring semester starts and we continue studying. By the way, be prepared for the extremely low temperatures in January and February - the temperature can drop to 30 degrees below zero.
The Finnish higher education system is significantly different from the Russian higher education system. Firstly, I would like to stress that Tampere University has various courses to choose from and you are allowed to take whatever course you like in diverse fields. For instance, you can take courses from the Faculty of Management and the Faculty of Social Sciences, even though you are not majoring in those particular fields. Tampere University’s slogan is "Human Potential Unlimited" and I really think that this truly belongs to the university, because you are the one who forms and creates your curriculum and the university is just a guide to human potential.
Secondly, you do not give all your attention to studying and bury yourself in books. On average, one course takes two hours a week, and I had weekly two days off which I could spend on exploring Tampere and visiting some key locations. It also allowed me the privilege to travel. Considering the location of Finland, it is incredibly easy and affordable to travel across Europe. When I had a couple of days off in March, I went on a Baltic trip to Estonia and Latvia and Helsinki.
There is no getting away from socializing and making new international friends. A student organization called ESN FINT is responsible for organizing free-time activities for all internationally-minded students in Tampere. These events aim at social cohesion, and there you will not sit in silence and stand aside but always communicate with new people of all nations and engaging in activities. As a direct result of this, I made a lot of friends from all over the world and I hope we will keep in touch over time.
In conclusion, I would like to say that I had the best time in Tampere, and I will remember this experience throughout my life. I also want to encourage all people to try to apply for the exchange – your life will be divided into "before" and "after".
Published in 2019