Knowing I was a late arrival tripled the expected feelings of nervousness and anxiousness. As well as the daunting experience of having to pack up and then set up a temporary new home all by myself. Not to mention, having to sort all the administration papers, course enrolment, applying for residence Finnish residence all by myself as I missed the introduction week. As well as circling the city centre multiple times a day to find my next lecture but it was helpful since I got to see more of the city and different landmarks despite getting lost! Having tackled this single handily along with the help of the friendly staff at the University, a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders knowing I had finally caught up with my fellow Erasmus students!
With being a third year, I was nervous about leaving my already established friendships and connections that I have accumulated over the years at the University of Manchester. I attended a couple of the fresher’s events in the first week held by a society named ‘ESN Helsinki’ which I would highly recommend to anyone – it’s a society full of Erasmus students and you are welcomed with big open arms by every individual. Having attended my fair share of ice breakers and meeting new people in Manchester, I knew that I would not force any friendships despite my first few days in Helsinki being rather lonely, hearing crowds of people down the corridor partying (while I was tucked in bed), I let my friendships naturally take place with time. Now, nearly 6 weeks into my Erasmus exchange to Helsinki, I have made the best of friends. They spread from as close as Scotland to Germany; Austria; France and even as far as Russia! So, my advice is let everything fall into place and watch it flourish naturally. It took me a week or so to meet ‘my people’ who I see and hang out with every day – and I couldn’t be happier!
Cliché but deciding to undertake a year abroad at the University of Helsinki has been the best decision I have ever made. I’m excited to see what the next few months brings!