I spent my university exchange in Saskatoon, Canada in University of Saskatchewan from January to April 2022. I chose Saskatoon as it reminded me of Finnish cities, and it seemed like a pleasant and easy destination for a me as I was looking for something similar to Finland, yet different and long way from home. I had been interested in going to Canada for a longer while already and decided that doing my exchange in Canada would be the best possible choice to get to know the Canadian culture better, and to immerse myself in a North American environment also in relation to Indigenous rights. Saskatoon, among many other cities in the area and in the country altogether, has made Indigenous rights, and human rights in general really visible, which made my human rights orientated mind even more pleased when thinking back the choice to go there.

I studied three courses during my stay there, which were approximately 3 credits per course, making it a total of 9 credits per semester. I managed to reach the goal of approximately 20 credits/ECTS required for my exchange. The courses I took were generally about European and world politics, and gender equality – things that I’ve already familiarised myself with but contributed further to my knowledge and abilities to express myself as a young expert on these issues. I really enjoyed the way of teaching, and the interactiveness of the courses even though 2 of 3 of my courses were online. Although I was not prepared to work so much for my credits, in the end the work paid off, as I seemed to learn more substantially there in relation to my regular courses back home at Tampere University. Also, after two years of Covid, the change of scenery was pleasant and refreshing, which might’ve also contributed to the learning experiences. However, altogether the study experience was eye-opening, yet enough laidback to allow me to also enjoy my free time alongside the studies.

I decided not to go for university residence, as I had the fortunate chance to live together with my friend from Finland. We decided to rent a monthly Airbnb, which allowed us to explore the city and the premises perhaps more than only staying at the university grounds.

Karoliina Vaakanainen 1

In general, the city of
Saskatoon was safe as long as you were mindful of your surroundings, the same as anywhere in the world. The busing system was rather accessible, and as every incoming exchange student is obliged to pay some hundred euros of student fees, the bus ticket for the whole stay was rather cheap and allowed us to move around the city. Although the public transportation system was noting compared to Finland, I still found it helpful and sufficient to be able to travel between our housing and the university. Also, the university campus(es) was big and included many services – even an emergency wisdom tooth removal that pained me in the second month of my stay. Getting help, either related to courses or for example, your health, was easy and accessible. Also, there were many options for students to be active in, for example, extracurricular activities like associations, or in sports. I myself did some recreational volleyball once a week with a team of other students, who had enrolled in that league without their own pre-existing team, which was pretty nice, since everyone had the same situation of getting to know new people as well as getting to do team sports in a fun and not-too-serious way. Access to the sports grounds were also included in the student fees every student had to pay, and it was affordable, too!

All in all, my experience with the University of Saskatchewan was great, and also allowed me to explore the city and surrounding places with a relatively easy amount of course-related work. Many of my exchange friends were also able to travel a lot inside of Canada, and me and my Finnish friend also decided to do a week-long road trip to Calgary, Alberta, which was awesome of an experience.

I strongly encourage you to apply to the U of S, as the university itself is a great place for all kinds of students from different backgrounds, the people in Saskatoon are generally nice and the milieu is very similar to other Nordic or Northern cities.