By Sophie Macefield (Psychology) International Year at the University of Jyväskylä
1. It is the happiest country in the world.
Finland was voted as the happiest country in the world by the annual world happiness report! It is a safe and beautiful country known for equality and opportunity.
2. Outstanding nature and diversity between seasons.
Finland is well known for its natural beauty including the vast woodlands and lakes. In fact, it is nicknamed as the land of a thousand lakes. If you love nature, this is the perfect destination.
3. Summer activities
The summer cottage (mökki) is my favourite Finnish phenomenon. Located in a forest next to a lake, Finns visit their cottage for the ultimate relaxation in nature. Activities include visiting the sauna and lake swimming.
4. Winter activities
Finland is the ideal location for winter activities. Try ice skating on the frozen lakes, skiing in Lapland and chasing the northern lights.
My experience studying abroad
I was quite nervous to study abroad, but the support system was fantastic. Upon arrival I met my tutor and was introduced to other students. There were always activities and events to attend so I made friends quickly. There were regular ‘student events’ but also opportunities to visit summer cottages, go on hikes and visit saunas. This helped me to immerse myself in the Finnish culture.
Studying abroad will give you the opportunities to push yourself and do things you have never done before. It not only helped me develop academic skills, but also personal skills such as confidence. I visited many destinations throughout Finland and took part in new activities such as skiing and ice swimming which definitely pushed me out my comfort zone.
The University of Jyväskylä offered a variety of courses that were unavailable to me at Keele. This allowed me to study areas which I potentially want to work in. I feel like I have a better understanding of what I want to specialise in because I was able to try out different courses.
Overall, I definitely recommend studying abroad no matter where you decide to go!