Since my first year of studying in Finland, I wanted to go study abroad for a semester or two. I looked at the big list of Aalto’s partner universities and could not decide where to go. Aalto had partner universities in Japan, Canada, all over Europe, Australia… I started narrowing down.
They need IELTS/TOEFL?
– I have no time to pass those.
Need knowledge of German/French language?
– Germany and France were out.
Do they have courses similar to those in my study plan?
– Almost everything was out.
Do not repeat my mistakes. Leave the elective studies blank. Then it will be easier to find an exchange place for you to go. I was left with two options: KTH in Stockholm and POLIMI in Milan. Going to Sweden did not feel like enough of a change and Milan sounded cool! I applied, got accepted, got a 1500€ grant and was set to go.
San Marino. January but still T-shirt weather! The best thing about Italy.
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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.
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