From Aalto University to the world

For me personally, I consider the internationalization opportunities at Aalto University one of its greatest assets.

Because of Aalto University, I have been able to experience university life in two different countries within the past year. Last fall I did my mandatory semester abroad for my BScBA degree. To take advantage of the wide range of partner universities globally, I wanted to go as far as possible. I ended up on a new continent for me; North America and the University of Victoria in Canada. I had grown up watching American tv-series and movies about high school and college life in the states and I wanted to experience it for myself. What I consider my biggest learning from this first exchange is putting things in perspective. No matter how nice the campus is or fun the student life seems, my appreciation towards the high-quality education we receive in Finland grew immensely. Without the comparison to Canada I never actually realized the quality of our university programs and contrary to Canada’s system, for us Finnish citizens it is even free to pursue these programs. Canada as a country surprised me in the sense that it oddly represented all the stereotypes I had heard before. In fact, people were even more friendly than expected. This is something that I truly missed when I returned in Finland, where you rarely face the same kind of friendliness towards strangers.

This fall I started my CEMS MIM studies with a semester abroad in the University of St. Gallen in Switzerland. After my previous exchange I really wanted to see what student life in central Europe looks like. Furthermore, the CEMS program offer at HSG seemed to fit my personal interests perfectly. As funny as it sounds, this exchange caused an even bigger culture shock than what I experienced in Canada. The Swiss people have truly showed their hardworking culture in a way I would have never expected. I have spent more time finalizing perfect slides than I ever did during my entire Bachelor’s program. However, I consider these learnings highly valuable. In the future I wish to pursue an international career and for that I must have the skills to work with a multicultural team of people with different work ethics. Understanding where these people come from will help my own adaptation.

I can recommend taking advantage of the exchange opportunities in Aalto University to everyone. We often do not even realize how grateful we are to have so many choices to explore the world. We have numerous prestigious universities as well as interesting places and destinations globally. Furthermore, we are lucky enough to receive financial support from the university to explore these opportunities. It can be a frightening decision to make but it will surely pay out one way or another, because having to adapt to other cultures and ways of working is always an opportunity for personal growth.

Liisa Antola
CEMS Master’s in International Management

More info about
CEMS MIM in Aalto University
“CEMS, the Global Alliance in Management Education, brings together 31 leading business schools and almost 80 multinational companies and NGOs, who jointly offer the top-ranked, international and practice-oriented CEMS Master’s in International Management (MIM) programme.” 

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