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Erasmus in Helsinki: Finland the Dreamland

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Reading time: 4 minutes
It’s just a semester abroad they said…
Well for me it was much more.
Sana, the author of the article
Photo of Sana, author of the article

The first bite of fresh cinnamon buns.
The magic of watching the sky burst into vibrant shades of green and pink, a breathtaking display of the northern lights.
The freezing but bearable temperatures when you have all those fantastic people around.
The experience of jumping into the freezing cold Arctic ocean after a Finnish sauna.
The morning walk in the neighbourhood casually passing by a lot of lakes and beautiful sceneries.
The moment of petting cute reindeers.
The taste of the hot salmon soup. 
And much more…


Hi, I am Sana. I am from Iran, studying for my Bachelor's in Business Administration and Entrepreneurship in Türkiye for three years now. I joined ESN at the local, national and international levels, and I will be telling you the story of my enjoying my semester abroad in HELSINKI, FINLAND. 

The hassle of moving in…

was way better than I expected it to be and let me tell you that I generally have high expectations!

Everything works very smoothly, the paperwork was almost nothing, the university, housing, transportation and literally everything in this country works in a way that as a foreigner you can basically figure things out as soon as you arrive. 


Opportunities and the education system

I don’t know where to start! As a student studying Business Administration at my home university and interested in entrepreneurship, I was accepted to study at the Metropolia University of Applied Sciences in Helsinki and was chosen as an active member of the entrepreneurs' society. I joined many events and even had the opportunity to join the idea pitching event known as "Ship", in which entrepreneurs, investors, and academics joined from all over the world. 

The lessons I’ve taken part in were all extremely beneficial, and what I’ve learned in Finland, all those tips from my Finance, Leadership and Entrepreneurship lessons and all the others, encouraged and inspired me.

Erasmus gave me the great floor to represent my home country, Iran, the chance that I’ve always been grateful for.

Networking and finding friends

On a semester abroad, you would probably think if you would ever make connections and friendships, or if would it be the loneliest you’ve ever been. Not only did I meet a huge number of like-minded people from different backgrounds, but also I kept in touch with them. In fact, we just had a reunion meeting with some of them visiting me here in Türkiye last week!

Erasmus gave me the great floor to represent my home country, Iran, the chance that I’ve always been grateful for. I have barely faced any discrimination or racism, even though Finnish people are known as cold and introverted, they are very welcoming and in fact, they have many unique student-centred activities, festivals and celebrations in which you can have the time of your life. 


So you probably wonder what it feels like to dance every night until the morning at the old Irish pub, or how big and crowded the Finnish Vappu celebration is, how many different patches you can earn for your overalls, how the experience of the pirates' cruise to Stockholm would be, how cold it can get in Rovaniemi, how handsome Santa is, how comfortable it is to study with the Finnish education system, how the fatzer chocolates taste, if the Finnish coffee is overrated or not, if salmiakki is as horrible as they say, how it feels like to pet reindeers or to jump in the freaking cold water after 80 degrees of sauna, how a whale in the arctic ocean would look, if the arctic circle is crossable and if the northern lights are overrated… I would not answer any of these questions, the only way for you is to go and visit this dreamland, but make sure you get back to me so we can cry together enjoying our post-Erasmus blues. 

Some last honest words.

Did I not have hard times? Yes, I did. 

Financial problems? Yes, at some point! Finland in fact is an expensive country.

Missed my family and comfort zone? As everyone would.

Felt the overwhelming pressure of making the most of everything? Everyday.

But would I ever regret it? A BIG NO. 

Would I change it for anything in this world? NEVER. 

Would I ever consider doing it again? Guess what? I ALREADY HAVE signed up for an internship abroad!

And guess where I am going back to? You already know the answer :) 

Can’t wait to bite on my big cinnamon bun sitting at a cute cafe with a view of the white cathedral of Helsinki, or to have my hot chocolate at cafe regatta on a cold morning while I look at people grilling sausages on fire.

Sana and the sea
Photo of the author