Stories Markus

“Learn how to use your own creativity and be innovative”

Markus, Austria, Erasmus Exchange Student, Music/Violin

“There is definitely a difference to the teaching approach in my home country Austria compared to Finland.” Markus is an Erasmus exchange student studying the violin at the Helsinki University of Applied Sciences Stadia (now Helsinki Metropolia University of Applied Sciences).

“The Finns teach you to pay attention on how to develop your skills further by yourself. Teachers aim at teaching us to learn how to learn. This seems to be the Finnish way in education. Learn how to use your own creativity and be innovative!”

Markus decided to study abroad after participating in a seminar at his conservatoire in Vienna. A Finnish violin teacher had come to visit his school, to give a seminar. Markus was impressed by his teaching skills and from that point on wanted to study in Finland, preferably attending classes of this particular teacher. Markus’s school in Austria and the Stadia University of Applied Sciences in Helsinki, have a commitment to support student exchange. Therefore, Markus received a place at university and an Erasmus grant.

In September 2007 he arrived in Helsinki, planning to stay for one semester. Then he changed his mind and prolonged his stay to a whole year. “I am very satisfied with the teaching style, I like the atmosphere at my school and I like Helsinki. The city has an excellent infrastructure. With lots of buses, trams and the metro you don’t need much time to go from one place to another. And the night life is also fine. You find many places for dancing, but there are also nice, cosy bars.”

During a year Markus got used to the level of living cost in Finland. “For sure, Finland is not a reasonably prized country. Rent and food are quite expensive. I had to realize an exchange student should be careful with his budget in a Northern European country.”

However, the Austrian violinist had a good time in Finland and still tells enthusiastically about his first day in Helsinki. “Two colleagues from my school, I didn’t know before, picked me up from the airport and guided me to my apartment. That day there was a celebration with fireworks in town. So, I just dropped off my luggage and together with my new colleagues I went to see the fireworks. That evening I had the same feeling that lasted the whole of last year: I felt warmly welcome.”

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