Maiju Peltomaa is a HAMK student from the Liiketalous (Business Administration) degree program who finished her exchange semester in Campus O2, Austria. This is our interview with her regarding the exchange experience, enjoy!
•What were your expectations from your exchange?
I didn’t have much expectations, in a way where this would be a new experience for me. Whatever new would happen I would enjoy it to the fullest. However, I was a bit worried in regards to my English proficiency. I was concerned that I would have a problem following the lectures. But as it turned out, everything went quite smoothly and the language didn’t pose a problem at all.
•Why did you decide to apply for exchange in Austria?
I had been traveling there 5 times before leaving for exchange. I was there mainly because of my cross country skiing activities. Thus, being there I realized the locals were very pleasant and welcoming people. They were very talkative where they didn’t make you feel as a foreigner and it was really easy to connect with them. So from my past great experiences in Austria, I decided I wanted to spend more time living there.
•Have your experiences from your exchange met your initial expectations?
Yes, because it wasn’t much of a problem, even though the university was challenging you could still accomplish to follow all of the courses. Also all of the professors spoke great English and that was very helpful.
•What are some difference between the educational system in Finland and the educational system in Austria?
One of the key differences was that all of the lectures were mandatory. Where you would fail the class if you were not present for a certain number of days. Furthermore, in Austria they tend to emphasized more on the oral examinations rather than written exams. However, here in Finland written exams tend to be more common.
•What do you do in your spare time?
In my free time I tried to travel as much as I could, in Austria and abroad. Other than traveling, on my free time I usually worked out or cooked with friends. The great thing about exchange is that you always have someone, no matter the time because of the similar schedule with the other exchange students. Where as in Finland, cooking every night with friends isn’t that common. You truly get to learn so much about yourself by going out of your comfort zone.
•Would you recommend exchange studies to others? If so to what kind of students would you?
I would recommend exchange studies to everyone, because you learn so much about yourself. Usually students think too much whether they should apply or not, whereas they should see this opportunity more than just obtaining credits. You grow so much in a short period of time, where you learn a lot more about life. I truly believe that exchange studies offer an experience that everyone should have. Without doubt I can say that I had the time of my life.