Hei! At the moment I’m studying at the University of Lapland, which is located in the Finnish city of Rovaniemi, capital of the province of Lapland. Rovaniemi is famous for being the official hometown of Santa Claus and for its spot on the Arctic circle. Rovaniemi was my first choice destination for my exchange, so I couldn’t be more happy when I received the email that I was accepted at the university! One of the reasons I choose to study here is because it is such a unique destination. I had never been to Finland before, and never been so far up north.
In the first weeks I did all the activities a tourist in Rovaniemi should do. I went to Santa Clause Village, I tried to see the northern lights (this already worked out the second week I was here!), went sight-seeing, relaxed in the sauna, and did some hiking trips in the area.
We live with around 200 exchange students in the “Kuntotie” student blocks, so it was really easy to meet new people the first days. Although this also has its disadvantages, because you don’t really get to know the Finnish students. With fellow BSc Tourism student Linda and some other people we met during the first weeks we decided to do a trip to the North Cape and Tromsø. It was a ride of almost 2000 km, but it was worth every second of it. After already 50 km we spotted the first reindeer and we had the most incredible views along the way. With ESN Lapland we got the opportunity to go on another trip; they had organised a trip to St. Petersburg. After a long bus ride we arrived in Helsinki, where we could spent some hours of sight-seeing. After that we went on a ferry to St. Petersburg. It was a really fun trip and the city was beautiful.
Some people said I was crazy for going to such a cold destination. However, you really get used to the cold, and because of the snow you can do a wide range of exciting activities. Last week, for example, I did a Husky Tour and I went cross-country skiing. The darkness is something that is harder to get used to. While I’m typing this, it is already getting dark and it is only 3 p.m.
Next to all the incredible trips and activities, I also need to do some studying. I’m doing the courses Introduction to Intercultural Communication, Developing Destination Experiences, Business Ethics, Brand Management, Introduction to Leadership Psychology, and Human Resource Management and Work Societies. But if you are interested in it they also offer a lot of courses related to the Arctic. What I like about the University of Lapland is that you don’t have to do an exam for every course. Some courses you complete by writing a learning journal or by writing an essay. This is a nice change after all the exams I’ve done so far.
There is only one month left in Finland now. Time goes so fast, I can’t believe I have already been here for three months. I really enjoyed everything I have experienced so far in the far north. To all the people who are considering to do a minor abroad, I would say, definitely do it! You won’t regret it!
Written by: Julia