From where to begin this story?
From the day I began the studies in JAMK Business Information Management? Sounds about right.
The first week. They talked about student exchange. About how it changes a person. About how it gives one a hand in applying for work. Challenge accepted! And then forgot for a year or so due to studying and life.
On the second year, after considering the topic between other duties until the last week before applying, started to think. I kind of made the decision on the first week of this degree. And you can press the cancel button any moment if you’re not ready for the jump after all. Okay. Let’s apply.
Picking the countries listed above after browsing both Elmo and Asio for information and experineces, browsing the the websites of each school I was interested with, writing down a table of approximate expences of each option and listening to ones soul and heart. What do you want? What is the thing you’re after? What makes your insides scream “I want to study that and be there!!!!”. 😀
For me a chance to work with game dev or game art lifted NHTV Breda in the Netherlands and Humber in Canada over Japan. Japan would have been more of a culture and language school due to a precious hobby. Out of the three NHTV Breda had most to offer for my personal professional goals. Sent the application on the last day possible, luckily not at the last minute, though. (Note to self, procrastination is not always a good thing, while it gives time to process things.)
Some time later school e-mail pinged.
“You’re accepted to apply for an exchange in the Netherlands, NHTV Breda University of Applied Sciences”.
Okay. Here we go then. Right? Right???
Turned out that the school won’t take people to study in their Triple-A Game Dev Degree from a business-line of companion school and that the courses would have to be chosen from the Creative Business / International Media and Entertainment Management Degree. This is a tiny problem of Tiko (Business Administration and ICT -degree) being branched under Business rather than Technology. For more technical students it closes doors to apply for some of the Game Dev schools. Which happened to two of my classmates. Sad for their sake. 🙁
Personally the Media and Entertainment Management (IMEM) sounded interesting, so I kept moving. Next step was to fill in the application for NHTV online and send a bunch of copies of papers and a motivational letter. Then it was all about waiting. At some point the school sent an e-mail about the steps to take regarding the application-process. The most urgent one was to register to the application-workspace, fill in the needed data and start searching for options regarding accomodation. Joined a couple of Facebook groups which are basically marketplace to rent a room from open market of shared student apartments. That’s is an adventure for another time, though, I’ll most likely write a post about living arrangements later as it’s own.
The week I’m writing this, the official acceptance letter arrived. Okay, so it’s official hat they’re okay that I’m going. 😀
The next step is to send the learning agreement to NHTV, whenever they send more details about it. The application for Study Grant is now filled and sent as well, with a bit of a detour due to starting and ending dates of a semester in central Europe. For exchange students it is usually from the last week of August (introduction week, the actual semester starts at the beginning of September) to the last week on January. Please keep that in mind when choosing the courses you’re about to study (you need 5 credits / month) and when applying for summer work back home.
I also updated my data in ASIO, marked myself as Present for the next two semesters, and visited Kela to sort out the study funds and asked for European Health Insurance Card, jut in case. Also contacted my insurance company and asked for extension for the extra months a basic travel insurance does not cover. Just in case. Also should take care of vaccinations as well.
Anyways. Still a lot of stuff to do. Highly reccomend to sort the bureaucracy ASAP. Less stress to everyone.
As fantastic as the people at the JAMK exchange office are, please keep in mind that they are two person handling hundreds of us students. Of course, if things get very super tangled and confusing and anxiety-inducing, they are more than willing to help! But Elmo, Asio and these blogs serve as a great source of information for the basic info you need, and you can always ask a friend to lend a second set of brains for help and discuss if you’re uncertain with something. And there are Exchange Infos during spring to tell you about what to do and when and how. If there are previous year student’s been to the school you’re attending for, ask them, they usually are more than happy to help. 😀 Thank you for my seniors for all the info when I asked them! <3 And the peeps at the Office as well! <3
But perhaps this wall of text is enough for one sitting.
See ya around!