Choosing Finland

I’ve had a passport for almost a year, but I’ve never been out of the U.S. I have a bucket list full of places I want to see and things I want to do and many of them are far out of my reach. I’ve always known I wanted to study abroad. I never thought it would be for a whole semester. And I never thought it would be in Finland. 

In January I went to visit the Study Abroad coordinator at my school. I already had researched what I wanted. My school has exchange programs with international schools in several different countries and I knew this would be the cheapest option (this is my biggest barrier of all time). I looked through the different countries and tried to find universities that had classes that were similar to my major…and were taught in English. I narrowed it down to 3 countries: Finland, Malta, and Thailand. 

The study abroad coordinator (Megan) was wary of Thailand because of recent flooding (and perhaps other reasons she was holding back). She said I should probably take that one off of my list. So it was down to Finland and Malta. For some this would be an easy choice: Heat vs. Cold. And for me, it was pretty easy. Megan described both to me, how the universities were, how the people were, what was different, similar, etc. It was easy to see that Malta was more of a tourist spot and the university wasn’t as friendly. That night I ended up reading every single blog post of a girl I knew from my school who went to Finland for a semester. I couldn’t stop reading and when I was done I wanted more. I was sold. 

I’ve always loved Christmas. I have always loved snuggling under covers drinking hot chocolate. I’ve always loved snow and cold and the feeling of being in a winter wonderland. Let me tell you….look up pictures of Finland during wintertime. It is a giant winter wonderland. I’m so excited. 

I want a completely brand new, out of my comfort zone, away from securities, experience that I will never forget. 

Researching Finland and having a 2 hour conversation with my friend who went to Finland confirmed what I think I already knew while I was sitting in that office with Megan. I’m going to Jyväskylä, Finland for a semester. 

I will be writing about what I find out about Finland before I even go and all of the process of applying to a foreign university, getting a visa in New York, how I am managing my funds, and the loads of paperwork I will be doing this fall semester before I leave in January!