My two years Masters study is approaching its the end. It is neither a short, nor long period of time. Looking back at my stay here in Finland, I gained quite many friends here, even more than I had made during the past 5 years, when I was in China. These friends carry a special meaning to me: they shared my time as a foreign student here, they brought new perspectives and helped to form a new understanding of myself and other cultures.
Classmates in the Masters programme
The first bunch of friends that you could make probably are the classmates in your Masters programme. In my case there are a total of 11 students from 7 different countries, including Iran, Thailand, Poland, Spain, Vietnam, Russia and China. The diversified background made our learning journey more fun. We took many classes at the same time and did group assignments together. We also participated in two teaching practices at the teaching training school. During these practices, we were required to co-teach the same class, which meant we had a lot of planning, discussions and reflection of the combined lessons. Thereby, it offered us a chance to know each other better through working together.
All friends from the same Masters programme are invaluable assets that we gain from studying abroad. They share similar professional pursuit for the future and bring different perspectives from their past experience.
Friends made in student associations
There are plenty of student associations in the university. I have joined two of them: ESN and the debating club. By joining the clubs and attending the activities regularly, I have also made great friends there!
I joined the ESN and became the secretary of board during the first term of study year, which in fact was totally outside my plan. However, it proved to be worthwhile. It helped me merge into international student groups and connect with a wider range of activities. I got the chance to visit Lapland as a tour guide assistant, and went to Germany for a training on multicultural co-operation as a part of the involvement with the ESN board!
The second year I joined the debating society of the university. To be honest, I used to have a fear of debating and public speaking. But thanks to the easy and comfortable atmosphere of the debating society, I was warmly welcomed and encouraged by the other members. Now I am still an active member of the society and gradually learning the skills of debating. Debating can be very fun, even if it sounds rather serious. It is not a big group, so the friendships between the debating members are strong and deep, because of all the long talks (debating) we had.
The last but not the least category of the potential friends are the roommates. Most of the international students live in student dormitories with 1 to 3 roommates.
It has two benefits: renting a room in a dormitory is much cheaper and it helps you make friends. I have lived in three different dormitories during my study.
As far as I know, many international Masters students may move once or twice during their study here for various reasons. It is a trouble to move, but at the same time it offers a chance to meet more roommates.
I have shared an apartment with both Finnish girls and students from other countries. All of my roommates were great! Living under the same roof, we spent more time with each other, cooking, chatting and hanging out together.
I am very grateful for all the friends that I have met during the study in Finland. Together we explored the beauty of Finland, encouraged each other when the deadlines were coming and complained about the darkness and coldness.
We went to classes, as well as to parties. I am absolutely sure, that life studying abroad will not be complete without them.
Learn more about studying in Finland
Finland University serves as a gateway to one of the finest Finnish multidisciplinary Universities on offer. If you are interested in studying in Finland and would like to find out more, there's good news: the downloadable Finland University guide provides a quick starting package of how to apply for international master’s degree programmes and scholarships in the member universities of Finland University.
Interested? Download the guide and learn more!