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Erasmus or how I came to Finland

Sometimes it is said that the spontaneity of the moment and the sense of whether or not the relationship to a particular place leads people to the best decisions. I would like to describe my last spring experience, which was to go to Erasmus to Finland. I will try to summarize my experience, and perhaps inspire or motivate someone to make the same decisions.

It has brought me, for almost 5 months, an infinite stream of new, sometimes incredible, experiences connected with the discovery of new places, as well as experience and, above all, amazing friendships.

The whole circle began with a very simple process: to fill-in an application and write a cover letter. Thanks to my love for Finland and the North in general and the opportunity to study directly in Helsinki at Laurea University of Applied Sciences, I did not even think of other options than studying in Finland. After an interview with a school where my cover letter was discussed, the preference for where I want to go, and the options I have with my choice, it went quickly.

Because I'm a little bit "punk" and I do not plan too much ahead, I have only settled the accommodation around the end of May / June, which eventually turned out to be quite late because all available flats for students were already taken! I therefore recommend to begin to solve the potential accommodation almost before your Erasmus admission, as you can always cancel it and at least be sure that you have it.

Other things are housing prices and actually spending in general. Nordic countries are notoriously known for not being the cheapest, which for Finland counts double. The price of food, perhaps in comparison with Norway, is fortunately not so bad. In Finland, Lidl's network of shops is functioning, which will make the wallet much easier than shopping in the standard Finnish chains. In most schools, the UniCafe network works, where you can get lunch (both in the center and the dinner) for a couple of Euros.

With my own experience, I do not agree with the fact that Erasmus is just one big party. The few items I brought home to UCL cost me a lot of time every week, and I had to adjust my travel plans. However, we do not want to hurt anyone - Helsinki and the activities of student organizations in general will help a lot. For example, you simply get to Tallinn, St. Petersburg and Stockholm, and it is quite similar. The Finns like to drink on the boats without going out, so regular excursions to Stockholm looked like they had been in the club all night, a few hours at the harbor in the morning a man slept, then went to buy a Swedish breakfast, and on his way back they were drinking until their early arrived to Helsinki. Exhausted weekends.

It is definitely worthwhile to travel Finland and meet Finns. Finland is not as rich in important cultural monuments as Bohemia, but it is above all the land of the lines of nature. Two hundred thousand lakes are just two hundred thousand lakes. Only three stops from Helsinki center and you are right in the woods and the first National Park is a 30 minutes train ride from the center of Helsinki. If you are not afraid to drive and put together a group of people, you can quite reasonably borrow a car and ride north. We have spent the extended weekends of autumn "holidays" so we went through Sweden, Norway and Denmark along with Russia, where I recommend going whatever happens because it was one of the best experiences of Erasmus.

The cherry on the cake was a ten-day trip to Lapland in December. We lived 350 km behind the Arctic Circle, where it was a polar night for almost a month. Driving, seeing hawks and reindeers, visiting Finnish saunas, swimming in a frozen lake, and a few days later in the ocean, all this was an amazing adventure. In addition, we were happy and for 2 days we had a strong and clear northern lights. I wish this unforgettable experience to everyone.

I could go on with so many pages and write about everything we have experienced, what we have visited and gone through. Erasmus can be experienced in many ways and it is up to everyone how they use their time and opportunities. I have chosen the way to be willing to be almost never in comfort, often even not in warm and spent all my savings while I was traveling with a bunch of some of the most amazing and most open people I've ever met. I will never regret it, and if it goes, I will definitely go again!