It has now been five months since I arrived to Seville and till this point the journey has brought both joy and tiers. For example it was easy for me to find an apartment because my flatmates came to Seville one week before I did and they found an apartment for us before I even arrived. But after that, we have had a lot of problems with the apartment and dealing with those issues has not been easy because of the language barrier.
At this point, I think most of the problems in our home has been sorted out or at least the landlord is aware of them. But during this repairing process I have noticed that no one likes to take responsibility and it is so easy in this culture just to move everything for the future.
I may start with my University. When I arrived to Seville, I registered in the international office. We had been told that the school needed a copy of our passports and two passport pictures, but funny thing was that nobody had told us that we also need to give a copy of our european health insurance card (Eurooppalainen sairasvakuutuskortti). And because the custom is that you cannot copy or print anything in the school, you must go to a copistería (a shop that is for copying and printing) to do those things. We had to find this kind of copy shop and copy those health insurance cards. We also took more copies of everything else (passport, credit card, photos..) so that we do not have this kind of problem anymore. And because we did not have everyhing needed in the first time, we had to queue twice. Finally I finished with the registration.
From my arrival, we had to wait more than one week until we had an Erasmus meeting. The whole welcomming day was organized badly.. We did not know where the campus was were we where supposed to go, and no one knew how to explain it to us. Well, my roommate had Nokia Map service and she was able to see in which bus stop we should step off.
Immeadiately after arriving to the campus people started giving us flyers and tickets who knows where and never told us what those were. Well, we figured that they are some kind of party tickets. We also put our emails to a list and we were told that we will receive emails about Erasmus parties etc, but till this point, I have not received any messages. Well, the party issues and get togethers are handled well in Facebook.
After a while, I noticed that we are sitting in a huge auditorium with 1500 other Erasmus students. It was nice to see that we were part of a huge international University. – We could not have been more wrong. When they started their welcoming speech, me and my friends looked at each other and could not believe that the people were actually talking Spanish! I think most of the 1500 students could not understand the whole speech. That was the first time we realized that Spanish people do not speak English. It was a shock.
Well, we had come to Spain to learn Spanish so we took it as a challenge, but after numerous of times people thinking that I am sutpid because I do not understand what they are saying, I started feeling bad. And one time, our teacher told us that why have we come to Spain if we do not speak Spanish. It was terrible. I know my Spanish has improved during these months, but I think I would be better at this point if teachers and other people would be more couraging.
Well, after the welcomming day, we had to wait for two weeks for the courses to begin. Our classes started on the 26th of September. We had one to two weeks time to go thourgh the courses and then choose in which we would like to participate in. I returned my matricula (chosen courses) in October and after one month I received my student card.
I chose five courses, but quit one (Spanish taxes course), because I all the time was confused how things are handled in Finland an in Spain. The tax systems are so different. During the Autumn semester, I had four courses, two finance courses and two languages; Spanish and English. We did not have that many compulsory classes, but I tried my best to participate in those classes. Two of them (Introduction to Finance and English) were quite easy, but the other two (Spanish and Financial systems and markets) were quite hard to understand.
Beside school, I have travelled a lot. During the Autumn I travelled to Portugal (Albufeira), Morocco (Tanger) and the southern Spain including cities; Cádiz, Tarifa, La Linea, Gibraltar (UK), Marbella, Fuengirola, Mijas, Granada and Trévelez. And because we did not have school during December, I travelled to Finland to relax and returned to Sevilla early January. After returning, I travelled to Barcelona, Madrid, Gran Canary, Córdoba and Paris. So the exchange has been full of international things!
At this point, I have passed the two finance course (together 12 ECTS points), I failed Spanish and I will do the English exam in Finland because I had to fly back home at the same day I should have had the exam. I had booked flights with Spanair for the 3rd of February, but the company bankrupted and all the flights were cancelled. Therefore I had to book another flight, and with a reasonable price I had to leave one day earlier, the day I was supposed to have the exam. But fortunately the teacher was cooperative and let me do the exam after I returned to back home.
All in all the exchange was a positive experience. I met nice people from Spain and other countries and I realized what I want with my future. I think I have had made more friends during the stay, but I did not want to. My original plan was to leave for the exchange one year earlier, but I did not have a chance due to my studies. Partying is required to make new buddies, but at this age I am no longer interested in partying 4 days a week and making acquaintances who I am only going to talk to in Facebook. But I made one good friend from my exchange and I know that will last for lifetime.
Now it is time to leave this part of my life behind and move forward. At this moment I am doing my bachelor´s thesis and then moving to working life.