About the University: It is a prestigious university located in Turku, the old capital of Finland. Approximately one third of the students are exchange students.
Required Qualifications: TOEFL PBT: 575, TOEFL iBT: 90, IELTS: 6.5
About Finland: It is located in the eastern part of the Scandinavian Peninsula and is the most northerly, except for Iceland. 70% of the country is covered with forest resources and is famous for its state-of-the-art electronics.
Interview with Shin Su-Hwan
[Department of English Literature]
1. You applied to a university in Finland. How did your thoughts about Finland change?
To be honest, Finland was not the first preference; neither did I know much about Finland. Since it was in Europe and has a prestigious economic department, I applied for the university without much eagerness. Nevertheless, it was such an excellent choice. Finland is very quiet and modest and fits well with its tranquil and vast nature. The name of a book, A Lonesome Wolf in Northern Europe, would best describe the country. Even though this country is not very eye-catching, it gives such a comfortable feeling, a peaceful mind, and can be healing.
2. You were double majoring in economics. What kind of classes did you take, and do you have any classes that you remember the most?
I took a lot of economics classes and thus could transfer fourteen credits when I came back to CAU. However, I recommend people to try some classes that are unique to the country or the university. For instance, the study of futurology taught me the difference between probability and possibility and gave the perspective of prospecting the future. Taking Finnish classes would also be an excellent choice. Not many have an opportunity to learn Finnish from native speakers.
3. What kind of extra curriculum activities were there? Is there anything very memorable?
There are language circles related to almost all languages. If you participate in the Korean language circle, you can make Finnish friends who are really interested in Korean culture and the language. There are also other clubs such as heavy metal, Japanese cartoons, dance, weight training etc. However, the most memorable activity is going up toward the North Pole from ESN, the union of exchange students, and witnessing the aurora myself. I won’t explain any further. You should see it yourself. One of the merits of going to Finland is being able to see the aurora.
4. You seemed to travel a lot. How was it possible with a tight schedule and a location so far north?
Even with several team projects, the academic schedule was not very tight, so that I had enough free time. I spent almost half of an entire semester traveling. It was possible because I could easily reserve cheap airplane tickets. In this way, I could travel even easier and faster than using trains and buses. I thought I was living a dream because going to Paris one day and going to Budapest the next day was possible, which is very unrealistic if I were to stay in Korea. Since I was a European student at the time, I could go to most museums for free. There are a lot of advantages to traveling as a student here. Instead of only tracking famous tourist places, I even tried some rural areas which were the settings for the English literature that I have read. They were such unforgettable experiences.
5. How did the experience of being an exchange student change your career decision?
Before going to Finland, I had the fantasy of living abroad, so I wanted to live in another country working for either an International or Korean company. However, now that I have lived in another country, I have realized that Korea is the country in which I want to live. Even though I might work in the field of international logistics, I would stay in Korea. I’m glad that I could get out of my fantasy of living abroad early in my life.
6. What is the best thing you gained from this experience?
The biggest change and gift I received would be learning the attitude of taking a break and laughing with thankfulness and joy instead of racing all the time towards a goal. Being able to beam a bright smile with calmness, an ease in my mind and being able to notice small things with joy and innocence are the experiences and lessons I want to keep forever, despite the harsh and hurried life in Korea.