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Life as an exchange student in FinlandTurku University, FINLAND
Jun Yoon-a  |  yoonah313131@naver.com
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승인 2009.02.26  04:16:57
트위터 페이스북 미투데이 요즘 네이버 구글 msn

 

 
          Interviewee : Park Ju-kyung
   
 
Give us some special characteristics about the school you had studied in.

     In this school, there are some differences in the classification of departments. The medical college and economics management department are not joined in university departments. They are classified and each has their own college separately from a university.
To give an explanation about the school structure, the dormitory facilities are very nice. If you go to Turku School of Economics as an exchange student, you would live in a dormitory. Since there are many dorm buildings like villages, and each has a different structure, you can choose where you will stay. Many exchange students decide to live in one building together. The building I stayed in had about twelve rooms and one kitchen on one floor. Restrooms are in each room. Finland students do not like to share their room with another person. Thus, each dormitory room is for only one student. In addition, here is another thing. You would be little bit surprised by a scene when you enter the school first. There is a place where you can hang your clothes, at the front door of the building. In Finland, there is very little theft. Therefore, students can lay their clothes and things at the space near the front door.

You are studying Business Management in Chung Ang College. What was your major in Finland? Were there any differences in curriculum from Korea’s?

     I also majored in Business Management in Finland. The basic forms of lectures are simillar. Students should register for the classes they want to take, and attend the class for one term. The way of registering for the classes is same as the way Korean students do. In addition, the way of a lecture goes is similar to Korean lectures. However, here is one difference. There are two terms in every semester, and students should register for the class in every term. In other words, they should register twice in one semester. In Finland, you can have chance to recover your credits. There is a reexamination system. Students could take a test more than once. There is no restriction in the number of times to take tests.

What impressions did you get from Finnish students? Tell me about them.

      I felt they are introverted people in comparison to Korean students. They enjoy being alone. In addition, they do not cling to get high credit as Korean students do. It is because there is no big relationship between the credit they get and employment. They do not sincerely attend the lecture they do not like. They prefer to study alone rather than attending the class they do not want to go to. The professors do not impose great importance in attendance, neither. I thought the exchange students studied with more ardor than the native students did.
     In Finland, there is some funding for the Finland’s college students. They receive around 600 euro from the government for each month. It is the amount that students can pay for their housing and use for their living expenses. Therefore, they do not receive extra money from their parents. It was very impressive.

Were there any difficulties to be adapted to the life at the Turku School of Economics?

      Some systems help exchange students to be “well adapted”. One is the tutor system. Each exchange student has a tutor student. The “tutor students” are composed of students who applied to be the tutor. At first, each tutor of exchange students comes to the airport to meet their partner. The tutor gives a lot of help to their partner. In addition, there is a “Language Bunny” program. Two exchange students become a Language Bunny. They easily get close to each other. Not like the name of the program, they talk not only about the language but the whole things about their life as an exchange student. Usually, a language bunny becomes the best friend and they can take comfort from each other. In addition, there were not discriminations against the Asian students. Therefore, there were not severe difficulties to adapt to.

Were there any events that were impressive to you?

      There were many parties in Finland. The students association hosted some, and the students held some. There was a party called ‘Sitz party’. It is the party hosted by the students association. Originally, it was held several times each semester for Finnish students. However, the party I attended was held for exchange students. The exchange students from each country attended and some countries, which were called by the master of ceremony, sang a song of their own country. It was an interesting event for me.
      To talk about the dresses in the party, students wear the uniform at normal parties. It exists in every college and the design of the uniform is different. To me, it looked similar to a working uniform in Korea. They do not wear very gorgeously as we think.


Tell me about special customs of Finland.

     There is a Pre-Christmas party in Finland. One month before Christmas comes; people in Finland have a party to celebrate Christmas in advance. Many businessmen have this party at their companies and have expectancy for Christmas. Many schools held the Pre-Christmas party, too. In the Pre-Christmas party, students do not wear college uniforms as they do at normal parties. People decorate the spaces with the Christmas decorations and enjoy the party. It is their special custom to wait for Christmas delightfully.
     They have special custom for sauna also. The word ‘Sauna’ is Finnish. There is a sauna in every house, so that they enjoy it frequently. In addition, it is not a surprising scene that people enjoy sauna near the beach or lake. In that case, they go in to the seawater after enjoying hot sauna regardless of the weather. Even if the seawater is cold enough to freeze, people in Finland do not care about it. It is similar to our custom of going into a warm bath first, and then a cold bath. When I went to ‘cottage trip’, which was hosted by the student association, I took water with Finland students, and it was really icy. Still, they repeated enjoying sauna and going into the seawater. It is common in Finland.
 

What are the reasons you recommend the Turku School of Economics as a good choice for exchange students.

     In Finland, the exchange students come from various countries. Since the purpose of exchange students is not limited to the language, many English students and American students come to Finland to study their culture. By gathering with them, you are able to improve your English skills. Furthermore, the college gives great support to exchange students. The tutor system is one of them. They give much help adjusting during the orientation period. In addition, since there are a great numbers of parties, you would receive many chances to get in with other students. Though the school’s scale is not very big, there are more than a few exchange students. Here is one more thing. The school holds a ‘Farewell party’ for exchange students when they are about to go back to their mother country. In that party, I received a surprise present, ‘Exchange student Gallery’, which was filled with exchange students’ names, pictures, e-mail addresses and birthdays. That showed the school’s great interest in exchange students. 

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