“Finnish climate and culture are pretty much the complete opposite of Australia”

Candice, Erasmus Exchange Student, Social Sciences

“I knew where it was, its basic political ideologies and that the climate was extremely cold!” summarizes Candice Holt from Australia. “What first attracted me to Finland was the fact that I knew almost nothing about it so when my University offered me the opportunity to study in Finland I immediately jumped at it. To my surprise, I quickly got used to the weather.”

Majoring in International Studies, Candice studied Social Sciences during her student exchange in Finland. She learnt a lot, for example about the European Union and Scandinavian history. “I greatly enjoyed my studies, I felt like I learnt a lot about a range of different topics that are not offered in Australia, and in a very short amount of time.”

Because education is free in Finland, Candice was especially impressed by the high standard of teaching and facilities. “The education system in that respect is way ahead most others in the world, it is far better than any offered in Australia.”

Finding most Finns to be fluent in English was a relief for Candice, who was overseas for the first time in her life. “Although I found the people very shy, everyone was more than happy to help me when I was lost.” She wished to learn the language as well, but having so much to study, she couldn’t fit Finnish classes into her schedule. “Although I tried to pick up as much as I could, I struggled. I found the Finnish language extremely difficult.”

Despite finding the language hard to learn, Candice explored Finnish culture with relish. “I went to the sauna and winter swimming a lot and to my pleasant surprise I absolutely loved it! It sounded insane and crazy before I left and I swore I wasn’t going to try it but I am very glad that I did.” She also learnt a new sport: “I thoroughly enjoyed my trip to Lapland and learning how to ski, that was amazing. I am addicted now and it’s very disappointing that I can’t go skiing like that in Australia!”

Candice appreciated the smaller things in Finland too. “I got to see squirrels and watch ice hockey which was something that I greatly looked forward to before I left, and Finland didn’t disappoint!” Having a room in a dorm for exchange students meant that there were no boring moments during her stay. “Living with lots of exchange students made it extremely easy to make new friends from all over the world. I still keep in touch with many of the friends I made there.”