Beautiful, warm Madrid, lots of possibilities and places to visit. Sanna Nieminen-Vuorio, HAMK’s Business Information Technology student is living her exchange life in Spain to the fullest. No matter the challenges, she always finds a way to meet new people to hang out with or places to go to practice her favorite outdoor activities.
Who are you – tell us a little about yourself?
I’m Sanna and I study Business Information technology at HAMK. I’m 35 years old and I’m married, so my situation is a little bit different than those who usually go for an exchange. Before school, I worked 16 years at Valio, so I also had to leave my permanent job. In my free time, I like to go for walks, swim, climb, do yoga and practice Krav maga. Here in Madrid, I usually hang out with friends, go climbing or go to a park to do yoga.
Why did you decide to take part in the student exchange program?
I have always wanted to go for exchange, but I couldn’t go when I was younger. I don’t have kids, so I saw my last opportunity here.
Where did you go and why?
I went to Madrid. I wanted to go someplace warm, and I liked their study program.
What was the biggest challenge you encountered?
One course was taken out of the program, and I had to solve that one, because I need all the credits. But maybe biggest challenge has been the language. I have just started to practice my Spanish and in the University, they send all the mails in Spanish. Also, in general people don’t speak English well. Sometimes it is hard to understand the teachers because they have such a strong accent.
If you already speak little bit Spanish and you want to learn more, go to Spain, because after six months your Spanish is going to be so much better.
What did you learn from the experience?
I’m still in Madrid, so I believe that I have still things to learn, but so far, I have learned, that in Spain they really speak just Spanish, trash bins are on the road only after 8pm and I have discovered how it feels to live with 7 other people, that you don’t really know. Also going for exchange takes a lot of time and there are million things to do. I have also realized that everyone here is alone, so you can just go with other Erasmus students and ask them to go places with you. They don’t have friends here either.
What was the most fun part of the Erasmus program?
All the Erasmus events and all new people that I have met. I have also made day trips with my new friends.
Say a few words to students who are considering participating in Erasmus.
If you already speak little bit Spanish and you want to learn more, go to Spain, because after six months your Spanish is going to be so much better. The same applies to Italy and Germany. If you only speak English go to Belgium, Germany, or Netherlands, they speak English well. But just go, and join all the WhatsApp groups there, so it is easy to find all the events.