11,000 km From Home

Caipirinhas, Copacabana and Cariocas

I’m Gonna Be (6835 miles)… Away

Oi pessoal!

I’m Pinja Viljaharju a 23 year old, 3rd year International Business student. The purpose of this “blog” is to report on my exchange period in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil during the autumn semester of 2017. Notice the word “blog” is in quotation marks, because to me a blog, means: order, scheduled posts and useful content; this blog will probably contain none of the previously mentioned.

In short list form I will tell you how I managed to receive the title of: EXCHANGE STUDENT!

  1. I filled in an online application in ASIO during the application period.
  2. I received confirmation in ASIO that my application had been accepted.
  3. I contacted my #1 choice university: PUC- Rio, to find out about the application requirements.
  4. I filled in Stage 1 of the Learning Agreement with my Tutor Teacher.
  5. I completed the application and sent it to the university via the International Office at JAMK. This contained the: Application Form, Passport Copy, Passport Photo, Personal Statement, Proof of Payment of Registration Fee and the Learning Agreement.
  6. I received confirmation from the university that I had been accepted!

Sounds simple, but really it took quite a lot of paperwork, stress, emails and visits to the International Office. But everything worked out fine in the end.

After receiving confirmation the reality of the exchange actually happening, started to kick in. In no time I was officially homeless, after terminating my rental agreement. I also began the Visa application process. To receive a Brazilian Student Visa I needed to deliver the following documents to the Brazilian Embassy (located in Kaivopuisto, Helsinki):

  • Passport
  • Passport Photo
  • Rikosrekisteriote (max. 2 months old)
  • Letter from PUC-Rio stating that you are a student there
  • Flights to Rio de Janeiro
  • Online Visa application

The Visa application process ran relatively smoothly. As if leaving to a country on the other side of the world is not exciting enough, I like to live life on the edge and took a month long trip abroad, which ended only a week before I was due to depart to Rio de Janeiro. This meant that even though I submitted my Visa Application in late June, with plenty of time before my departure date on the 5th of August, the embassy was unable to process the application until I returned from my trip and brought them my passport. I received my passport at 12.05 pm on the 4th of August, not cutting it close or anything. A big thanks to the helpful embassy workers, without them I would probably still be in Finland.

With all of the paperwork done, I faced the next hurdle: PACKING, but that can be left for the next post.

Até Logo,


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