1. The first weeks are going to be overwhelming …but fun!
Meeting new people, going to new places, attending all the welcome and lets-get-to-know-each-other events … you will likely have the time of your life! You are also going to be on the go almost 24/7, and will likely be sleep deprived – you don’t want to miss any of the parties, and you definitely don’t want to miss any of your first lectures! It will be so worth it though.
2. You will make new friends
Even if you think that making friends is hard, or that you are socially awkward – don’t worry! Forget about the stereotype of Finns being shy and silent, everyone will be new and keen to make friends. There will be a lot of social activities organized on campus to help you meet people. Joining student societies and activity groups will bring you together with people with similar interests, and your course mates will want to get to know you as well, since you will be working together and supporting each other throughout your studies.
3. You will get home sick
After a month or two, you will get home sick. After the buzz of the first few weeks, reality will set in. Your studies may start to be challenging; you’ve made new friends and are not alone, but you miss your family and friends you grew up with. Don’t worry, this is normal and homesickness will pass!
Rest up if you are tired, and focus on building relationships with your new friends. Doing fun things together is a great way to relax! If you meet people from your own country, hang out with them as well.
You might also feel culturally conflicted and miss your country on a deeper level. It’s possible that you might be questioning your views on what is normal and right, and this might make you feel anxious. Just keep in mind, that questioning is good and healthy! You are growing as an individual and expanding your mind.
4. You will learn the language
Even if you don’t consciously try to study Finnish, being exposed to the language will teach you a phrase or two. The Finns get extremely enthusiastic and happy if someone as much as tries to learn some Finnish, so you will have many eager teachers!
5. Personal Space and Honesty
In Finland, people really respect each other’s personal space, and don’t get physically close until you know each other well. Another typical trait of the Finns, honesty, will also rub off on you. Finns don’t beat around the bush too much, but get straight to the point and say it how it is. Although it may, at first, seem a bit blunt, you will come to realize how efficient it is, and how easy communication is if people actually mean what they say.
6. The Sauna
You probably associate saunas with living in a Nordic country, but you might not realize how big a thing it really is! When it’s cold, the sauna will be your safe heaven. In the summertime, there is nothing better than jumping into the sea or lake and then getting back into the sauna. Had a rough day at school? Go to the sauna to relax. In Finland, a country with a population of 5.4 million, there are over 3 million saunas!
7. You will become more curious and ambitious
You will have some amazing experiences, widen your perspectives, mature and overcome challenges that people who don’t study abroad can’t even imagine. This is why you will be eager to know more, feel more, see more! You might set your goals higher than before, and realize that you actually have the assets to reach them. Studying abroad will make you face problems and learn more about yourself, and this will make you a stronger and wiser person.
8. Sometimes you have to leave in order to return
Sometimes, you might realize that despite all the great things you’ve experienced abroad, there’s something about your own country that other places are missing – and that is ok. Sometimes you need to take a step back to see the big picture and understand what you really want.
Consider this as your golden ticket to an opportunity most people are not offered! No matter the geographical distance, your friends and family at home will support you, so take this chance to go for the adventure of your lifetime. Nothing is permanent, so cherish every moment of this experience.