The Most Asked Question

Why Finland? I’ve lost count of how many times I heard that question now. Wherever I go, people look at me like I’m completely insane for going on exchange to Finland. But I’m not.
After a week at this school I was completely blown away by how many different courses there were to choose from and it was incredible how friendly and open everyone was. That was the most excited I’ve ever gotten about school.

Now, half a year later my enthusiasm went to wherever the sun went this winter. I have no idea where it went. It’s definitely not here.
That was one of the biggest surprises so far. I thought people were exaggerating when they told me about the eternity of darkness that is winter in Finland. Let me tell you something. They weren’t exaggerating. If anything they were downplaying it. You get up and it’s dark. You go to school and it’s dark. By the time you come home it’s dark again. Or maybe it’s still dark outside. I never really figured that one out.

But that doesn’t change the fact that I really came to love this place. Not just this school – is it even possible to love school? – but this country. With all its funny traditions – some of which are quite confusing for a small exchange student like me – it never failed to amaze me. As a German it was most peculiar to see how often the finnish flag was hoisted. And there was not a day where I didn’t have to ask my friends why people were wearing costumes again or what exactly everybody was doing. But it was absolutely worth it. Because in most cases, different also means incredibly awesome!
And the good thing about coming home from school when it’s almost dark? I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many breathtaking sunsets in the middle of a city. Or anywhere, for that matter.

See? Much prettier than in Germany.
See? Much prettier than in Germany.

And then there’s important things. Like lunch. Most students are complaining about the food and they’re not exactly wrong with their complaints but that doesn’t change the fact that the majority of them is sprinting towards the cafeteria as soon as it comes to lunch time. I don’t even know how we could go without a cafeteria back in Germany. I’ll probably die of starvation when I come back home…

My School In Germany
My school in Germany

Another thing I’m really going to miss in my school is the way finnish teachers were including technology. My old teachers in Germany could barely figure out how to use a DVD player. And don’t get me started on things like smartboards or overhead projectors. What I definitely won’t miss is the amount of overpriced books you need to purchase before every upcoming term. The german school system has books for every student that you can rent at the beginning of the year for about 80 €. That is actually the only good thing about the german school system.

Overall, Finland is definitely an experience. A great experience and one that I wouldn’t want to change for anything in the world. Even though I still haven’t figured out most of this country and culture, it makes me incredibly happy to be part of it.