Living by yourself on a completely new continent is no joke. From my experience, it was some of the best and most difficult times I had. I arrived in Helsinki with little to no knowledge of how my life would change within my exchange period. I stayed in an apartment with two other roommates, and we all had fun together. But, there are times by yourself. Here are three pointers to keep in my mind when you find yourself on a new journey.

  1. Cooking. I arrived in Finland with no cooking experience, other than making cup noodles. During my first month into the exchange, I was travelling to the university every day, to get student discounts on meals. But, a 40-minute journey to university is tiring, and on days without on-campus classes, you could get lazy. Moreover, eating outside on a daily basis can get quite expensive. Therefore, I decided to take up cooking and started small. Pasta is the easiest thing to make, and I made a ton of it. Sometimes even too much of it. I then started with rice and even meat. This was totally out of my comfort zone, but I managed to cook good food, and am grateful for the experience I had. Butter chicken
  2. Studying. On days with no in-person classes and lots of assignments to do, sitting at home all day can be boring. On some days, I like to travel to the university library and enjoy the change in scenery. Another solution I found is the libraries in Helsinki. There are many libraries open to the public, and different spaces helped me with my productivity. I also took to many cafes, that catered to the working society.

  3. Activity Engagement. When I first arrived in Helsinki at the end of August, the sun was up till at most 20:30 hrs. But, by the end of December, daylight hours reduced significantly. This means, a lot of darkness, combined with the cold: a road to always sitting at home with the heater. This led me to engage in various activities throughout the week. Each week I decided to try new food and do one activity, which can be with friends or by myself. This not only got me moving, but I was able to keep up and explore all of Helsinki. Some of the things I did was ice skating, sauna (a lot of it), burger hunting, hiking, hotpot nights, sewing patches and more.
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