Here we are! Back in the cold weather. The change wasn’t that nice – when we left from the Netherlands it was +5°C while we came back to Finland it was -15°C. Hrrrr, so cold! In the other hand I’m more use to the weather in Finland so for me the cold wind and rain was more worse than just the cold air. 🙂 But still, if I could choose I would stayed in the Netherlands the whole year but it wasn’t an option for us, because our education programs are differing too much. 🙁
In our studies, Media Engineering, we are doing a lot of more programming, practical things, while in International Media and Entertainment Management it’s more reading from the books. I can still really recommend the exchange for everyone, because even it takes much effort to fill up all the forms and collect all the necessary proofs, the exchange as an experiment gives you a lot of more! You will notice that how you think what is normal, isn’t really normal for everyone – even thought it would be normal in your culture. You will also get into situations where you need to develop new skills to be successful.
About our flights; the Norwegian had changed their rules and offers a lot after the New Year 2014! This time we needed to bought the second luggage, but it was still cheaper to come with Norwegian then with some other airplane company’s flights. The extra luggage was costing 15€ for each so this time the flying tickets were costing around 140€, which is a big difference with the 90€ that we paid last time. We had flight from Amsterdam to Arlanda, where we needed to wait about 10 hours for the next flight, and then we had the second flight to Helsinki. And check all the stuff what we had; so much! We needed bigger taxi than normally, that we could fit in, even there was only two persons travelling! 😀
We moved my stuff to Jyväskylä on the date of arrival and you can just image how “tasty” the sauna was at the evening – after 5 months! Small fact in this point: there are more saunas then cars in Finland. 😀 So you can image what kind of withdrawal symptoms we had! 😉 The next day we were organizing the stuff on correct places and on Monday I needed to call a caretaker to fix the heater, which was broken; we had only 7°C in the living room! I also needed to call multiple other places so it was good that our school started on Tuesday and we had few days for settling down back to Finland.
In the first week I still felt a bit weird that we were back. We also had been afraid that the food’s price would grow a lot, but it hadn’t. We thought the food was a bit cheaper in the Netherlands, but now I need to say that it’s not true. Maybe some things like alcohol and soft drinks are a lot of cheaper, but in Finland you can get big cheeses more cheaper and other things. So now I would say that Finland and the Netherlands are quite equal with food prices. I also feel our system, that we are having free health care for all students, is better organized than in the Netherlands; there, if you have for example flue, you need to go first to some “home doctor” and he/she will sent you to the hospital if needed and it’s costing. Also in Finland every student, Finnish and exchange students, are getting the same discounts – in the Netherlands only Dutch students can travel for free and the exchange students need to pay normal prices if you will not get the costing discount card from NS.
For persons who are considering the exchange I would tell the next tips before you will leave/when you come back:
- fill up all the necessary papers on time and take all once to your coordinator (you need the coordinators signature almost to everything)
- close or change your telephone subscription (you can for example ban the Intern usage in foreign countries, because you don’t want to get high bills after your smartphone has done system updates through Internet)
- think will you rent your apartment or give it away (both are good options, but if you have a lot of furnitures I recommend to rent it and if not give it away, because you will get a new one from your city’s Student Housing when you come back)
- arrange van/trailer ready for your stuff
- if you will give your apartment away arrange a space for your stuff (warehouses are really expensive so I recommend to ask if you relatives are having empty space on their summer cottages etc.)
- mark up on paper where you put your important, and less important, stuff (we were searching almost one week the bonus cards and other club cards, which we had left to Finland)
- remember to inform for KELA your changes in the living conditions (when you leave and when you come back)
- take few free days before you will start school (for organising everything as opening/chancing telephone subscription, etc.)
And that’s it I guess. You can find more tips from my earlier blog posts, but if you are considering exchange or you have any other questions I’m willing to answer – just ask. 🙂