As I share most of the feelings and experiences that Katariina wrote about in her last blog post, I won’t copy all that in here but I still want to share some of my own thoughts.
For me this exchange was an experience that I had longed for since my secondary school times. I have always liked travelling – already when I was a kid I liked to spend time in other people’s homes more than my own. So when I started to study nursing in Jamk I already decided in the first year that I’m going to study abroad a part of my degree. And now that part is over.
The first month in Malta was quite confusing, getting used to the terrible traffic, small streets, new working enviroment and people around you. It wasn’t that easy for me as it seemed to be to the others living in the university residence but I guess it was because we were located a bit in a corner without any Erasmus flatmates. But after getting over all that it was really fun and nice time: I got my own “Erasmus family” of people from Norway, Germany, Italy, Lithuania, Czech Republic, UK, Poland… and also one maltese friend!
I really enjoyed speaking english and the practising in the hospital was really good to my professional language development. I got more confidence to use english in my work but also in everyday life: next time a turist comes to ask an advice or a route to somewhere I’m not going to get confused! In addition to my language development I grew a lot as a person. I’m still quite shy when it comes to open a conversation but my world is now bigger and more open. I was touched by how nicely people treated us in the hospital as we thought we could have hard times because we didn’t speak maltese even though english in the second language in Malta. People were genuinely interested in our culture and homeland and were ready to have long conversations once the ice was broken. I loved how maltese people talked and laughed a lot in the work and because of that it seemed like everybody knew each other (could be the truth though, there is only 450 000 people living in Malta). That open-hearted attitude was something that I could bring with me back to Finland.
So what now? Coming back home wasn’t that shocking that I thought it would be but of course I miss the new friends who we left in Malta a lot. The holiday with my family was empowering and easy landing to my normal life which has now started in Jyväskylä with my boyfriend. The spring semester is going to be quite easy for me as I don’t have many lectures but in the other hand I’m going to do my thesis during the spring which will take quite a lot of time and effort. It is a big stress factor for me as well as the job applications for summer job but I try to keep my mind high and do everything step by step.
And when there is going to be harder times I will just remind me the jokes that one Irish guy developed: “But why you speak so funnish? Oooh are you from Funland? So just finnish it!”
So here I am, back to Funland, ready to finnish my studies and bring the maltese joy to the people!