International enough for you?

Hello! I am Jonathan Strutt, a new blogger here and a second year student in the International Business programme here at JAMK. I’m excited to be here to talk about my experiences in Jyväskylä, and to hopefully show you the great things that can be found both in Jyväskylä and at JAMK. But first, let me tell you a bit about myself.

I come from a small town in Saskatchewan, Canada. I have always been fascinated with European culture and it was a dream of mine to travel to Europe. So, I became involved with the Rotary Youth Exchange program, and I went on an exchange to Finland right out of high school. Why Finland? Well, if I’m honest with you all, I didn’t choose Finland myself. It wasn’t even on my top 3 list of countries I wanted to visit. Those countries were The Netherlands, Japan and Germany. But, some people say things happen for a reason, and I can’t imagine going on exchange anywhere else. I quickly found lots to love about Finland, and decided to try my luck and come study here. And now, here I am.

But why Jyväskylä? There are other cities in Finland which offer similar programmes in English, such as Tampere and Helsinki. What made me come here? There were a couple of reasons. Perhaps the biggest reason was that I heard from many different people that Jyväskylä was a ‘student city’. Both the University and JAMK are located close to the city center, so it feels like they are really connected to the city. I also met many people who had previously studied in Jyväskylä, and they had nothing but praise for the city and schooling. Both JAMK and the University of Jyväskylä are held in high regard throughout Finland, so there are worse places to be.

But perhaps the biggest draw towards Jyväskylä and JAMK was how international it was said to be. During my exchange, I met people from all over the world and I loved it. I knew that I wanted to be involved with different cultures and experience new things all over again, and I found that here. International Business is definitely where I want to be, even if I’m more interested in the International than the Business.

I know that traveling to a foreign country is tough, and it’s even more challenging when the language is so difficult different. But Jyväskylä is a friendly place towards foreigners. The student housing authority, KOAS, is very helpful and will always find you a place to stay while you are studying here. The apartments have a very international atmosphere, as nearly all of the foreign students find apartments through KOAS, in the first year at least. The apartments are clean, affordable, and in good areas of the city. You can’t go wrong with them. But, of course, once you become comfortable with the language (or obtain some Finnish friends to help you), there are a number of places to find your own apartment, if that’s what you desire.

JAMK  also has the International Club, which caters mainly to the exchange and foreign degree students studying in Jyväskylä. They organize many different events with international students in mind. The events are really a great way to meet a lot of new people in a fun environment. They aren’t just for foreign students, either; Finnish people are welcome, of course!

Jyväskylä is a great place with a lot to offer. Both the University and JAMK are excellent institutions, and if you want an international atmosphere, I think Jyväskylä is the best place in Finland for that. Of course, there are many other things Jyväskylä has to offer. But, it wouldn’t do to spoil everything now, wouldn’t it?

Next week, I’ll talk about a rather cool topic – the weather! It’s definitely something you need to be prepared for (now more than ever- it just snowed), so stay tuned!

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– Jon

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