I decided to apply to the north2north mobility program during my second year or studies, meaning that I would be able to go on my third year. The reasons why I applied through the north2north program was that I wanted to study in Canada in order to get to know Canadian culture, and the program provided the possibility.
When I was preparing for the exchange, I read everything possible about the country, the institution and the town where I was going to move. I was lucky, because one other student at Lapland UAS used to be an exchange student in the same institution where I applied to, Lakehead University. I was able to write her and ask many detailed questions, even stupid ones. Because of all the preparations I made, I was not scared at all, more like excited. I think my mom was scared for me though!
During the exchange period, I became more aware of the cultural differences and norms which affect our everyday life. When I think about my future, I feel that my time abroad has opened new doors for me when it comes to my cultural knowledge. I realized that especially in the business world one deal can fully depend on your cultural knowledge.
I have noticed that the exchange affected me in that I am more interested in people from other countries. I am more open to new people and new experiences. In addition, moving back abroad after finishing my studies has become an option. Before this experience I was just dreaming of it, because I was afraid that I could not do it, but now I am almost certain that I am capable of living abroad.
Even though it is such a cliché, the best part of the trip was not the country itself (although Canada is pretty awesome) but the people I met during my trip. One of the highlights was that on the day I left Canada, I met this lovely older couple at the airport of Toronto and we became good friends and I still talk to them weekly.
Going on exchange was one of the best experiences of my life, and I would highly recommend it to other students. The exchange made my future career path more clear, I made friends for life (even from my home country), and it was the best opportunity to see the world without any poor effect on my studies. When applying, I would advise to be sure that you do your absolute best when writing the application. Stay true to yourself. Write about the things you want to say and not about what others want to read. Get to know the institution you are applying to beforehand and use it as an advantage in your application.
While I was an exchange student in Canada, I applied for an internship at Lapland UAS's international services and got the placement. I think that one reason why I got the place was that I was an exchange student at the time and would be able to help other students who are applying for an exchange. During my time abroad, it became clear to me that in my future career I would want to focus more on international relations, and I figured that this internship would be the best opportunity to get started!
Published in 2017.