Why do you want to have exchange studies? How many student answers “I wanna meet new people”? I bet at least 90%. When you live, study and travel abroad, surrounded by other exchange students, it is inevitable to meet new people and get to know different cultures. Some of them eat their dinner late, some of them speak nothing to you or spent time only with people from same country, give kisses to cheek, talk all the time or are just like you.
I don’t find the Dutch culture so much different than our culture in Finland. I think that is one of the reasons why it has been so easy to settle down. People are also helpful and they speak good English. People say that Dutch people are frank but I think sometimes Finnish people might be even more frank. I also find that Jyväskylä is quite similar with Groningen. Both are student cities and people cycles pretty much everywhere. And, if I might say, both have extraordinary good 3rd year students of physiotherapy..
Even though I’m living in The Netherlands, I haven’t got to know so many Dutch people. While taking part of the Erasmus exchange, you are meeting a lot of other exchange students. Most of them are highly social and that causes quite often one problem. They don’t always get that we (Finns) don’t have the need to talk all the time to enjoy the time and company. We can just be quiet, without any special reason. I have started to call that to my Finnish moment. The Finnish moment is a cultural thing. Just like the time for having dinner or men always open doors for ladies or having just a sandwich for lunch. It is a thing that I wasn’t even so aware of before I came here. People are always talking and with their friends and I just want to have my cup of coffee in silence and alone. I hope people would understand that we are all different and even though I am abroad I don’t have to change the way I act and neither do they. We can still fit in.
We have a lot of differences and own way to live our lives. But you can’t always go behind of the cultural differences. Sometimes it is just who you are and what you decide to do. And those moments are times when I’m grateful how I have been raised and what kind of role models I had, and still have. Those are the things that affects to my choices and to who I am. I am Finn but most of all, I am Petra.