Stories Sila and Adem

“Finland has an interesting geographical location”

Sila and Adem, Turkey, Erasmus Exchange Students, Industrial Engineering

“We have met people from all over Europe during the last months, experiencing Finnish, French, Spanish and German cultures.” Sila and Adem from the University of Kirikkale near Ankara in Turkey talk about their past four months at the campus of Valkeakoski, which is a branch of the Hämeenlinna University of Applied Sciences. Both are studying to become industrial engineers and both have come to Finland as Erasmus exchange students.

“I have gained more self-confidence during my time abroad. The time in Finland has been helpful to me as a person, living independently and away from my home town”, Adem says.

“Due to the intensive language courses at our institute my English improved rapidly. But also thanks to lots of speaking practice with other students, lectures and seminars. Besides the language courses, we also had a wide choice of courses offered in English”, Adem adds. Sila agrees and emphasizes: “I certainly like the Finnish education style – the atmosphere in the seminars has been broad-minded and the teachers have asked for our feedback very often. We have had good lecturers and excellent course material, here.”

But it has not been easy all the time. In the beginning, living in Valkeakoski, a small town of 20 000 inhabitants located between Tampere and Hämeenlinna in Southern Finland, was slightly boring. “We were disappointed since there were no real leisure activities. First, we didn’t know any other students and in January it was quite cold. We were mainly spending our free time inside our rooms. In Valkeakoski there is one swimming hall and a gym, but, for instance, no cinemas or nice cafes you could go to”, Adem says.

Nevertheless, once they got to know other international as well as Finnish students at their institute, they organized events and excursions by themselves. Together they visited Helsinki and the Latvian capital Riga. They went to Stockholm and they consider a trip to St. Petersburg before returning to Turkey.

“We really enjoyed these journeys”, Sila says. “Finland has an interesting geographical location which you can also sense in the culture and in the mentality of the people. It’s located between Russia and the Baltic states on the one hand and the Scandinavian states, Sweden, Norway and Denmark on the other. There is a lot to explore in the whole region.”

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