Joëlin came from France, more specifically from Universite Catholique de Lyon, to do her six months exchange in Metropolia Business School. During her stay we got to sit down with her and interview her about her experiences of Finland and the MBS.
For starters, could you briefly tell us who you are and why you decided to be a foreign exchange student here in MBS?
“My name is Joëline, I am 20 years old and grew up in the Southern part of France near Avignon. I have been very lucky because my parents have always been around foreigners; for instance, they lived in Africa for 6 years. That’s why I always wanted to explore the world. I decided to be an exchange student in Finland because I had not been in this country before, and I thought it could be a good idea to go to an unfamiliar country. Other reasons are; I wanted to discover a Scandinavian country, visit a Finnish sauna, taste their hot chocolate, enjoy in the snow, among other things. Most of the students go to Australia or United States, these are good destinations too, but I felt that I should try something different.”
What differences or similarities are there between MBS and your school, for example regarding lectures and culture?
“Maybe the biggest difference is the relation between the MBS students and teachers; here people are more easy-going and always ready to encourage one another. Even if there are many good similarities with my school, I feel it’s more relaxed in Finland, maybe it’s because I’m an exchange student (laugh).
Another difference is that I had the opportunity to choose my schedule that I have enjoyed so far. I have also been motivated by the group works I participated in, especially because my involvement in these groups was my own choice.”
What have you gained from being an exchange student here in MBS?
“That’s a big question. Of course, I have gained a lot in many different ways. I would say that I have made new close friends. In my opinion, when travelling, relation with others can become deeper within a short period of time. Simply because, for example, in my case we had so many different adventures together and enjoyed our time as much as possible. I also learnt a lot from other cultures as well.”
Did you find something unique about Finland/Finnish people?
“They are very respectful; I truly think that people here are awesome and are always ready to help you.I really met good Finnish people. At first it’s not easy to talk to them, but they can surprise you. They are modest and simple as well. But, I think that they should be proud of their country.”
Did you travel to other regions of Finland?
“I have been to Lapland, Porvoo and Turku. I enjoyed it so much.”
Any unforgettable memories during your exchange period?
“I would say that Erasmus life has only positive aspects. For example you can travel in an easier way. I came from France to Helsinki by train and Ferry, it was an amazing experience. Helsinki is in a good location. With a friend, we decided to go for a road trip from Finland to France to know our continent better. In total I visited 12 countries in 5 months and always in a cheap way. Before coming I was already in the mood of enjoying my time here so far.”
What advice would you give to exchange students studying here at MBS?
“I wish to share my adventure here in Finland because I have been enjoying it so much; I encourage every student to go out of their comfort zone for one or two semesters to study in a different culture. When you are a student it’s also an opportunity to grow up and develop your character. Life goes so fast, that’s why it’s so important to make the best out of the experience. I enjoy spending time at school as well because I discovered it is a good way to learn and it is so interesting to have different aspects of different cultures. Travel sometimes seems quite impossible, but when I see all these Erasmus students around me, I just cannot believe it and become certain that travel make the world stronger. In fact, there are more and more students who travel, it’s easy to make friends and to learn about others. Erasmus is a community and I am sure that I will see some of my friends here again. To compare to my daily life, I feel that I have more opportunities to spend time and to really enjoy simple days. Even though sometimes at home you already have your schedule.
To conclude, I would say that this experience is great in so many ways. Every single experience is different and you need to create yours.”
Grace Ndiritu (with Joëline Studer)