Since young, I have been hearing exciting stories from people who went on exchange programs during their university studies and finally it is my turn!!
I am grateful to have the chance to choose Tampere University in Finland as my exchange destination (hands-down best place in my opinion even after touring Europe). Tampere is a small city and pretty much the entire city is taken up by the university which makes it even better as everywhere we go we are able to meet familiar faces as weeks go by and after going to more activities. People in Tampere are very friendly and there was no language barriers at all as most Finnish people know how to speak English.
The first week was the orientation week and exchange students have already been put into groups with respective tutors (aka orientation group leaders). My tutor was extremely friendly and helpful. During the orientation week, we had multiple events which really helped us to bond with other exchange students. There were tours around the school, information sessions and games organised almost throughout the whole week.
Welcome week programs are not only in individual groups but involves all exchange students as well. We got to interact with so many people that at times I have trouble remembering where did I meet someone. This is really great as I got the chance to talk to people from all across the world and learn about various interesting cultures.
Tours were organised not only within the school campus but also outside and around Tampere city. Below is an image when we took a boat tour to an island a short boat ride away.
Of course, not forgetting the northern lights. I was lucky as this was the very first time I went to try to look for northern lights and I managed to see it even though it was pretty cloudy. There were people who lived in Tampere their entire live and have not seen it before.