From sand to snow

”The world is a book, and those who do not travel, read only one page”, said Saint Augustine. These words ignited my passion for travel and gave me the courage to travel the world. Let me share my story with you briefly.

Exchange programme at SAMK

I chose to study as an exchange student in SAMK back in the year 2020 following the advice of my department coordinator in my home university in Turkey. Little did I know that this decision, initially made for a brief change of scenery, would shape my life, and guide me toward a fulfilling career.

The International Tourism Management program broadened my vision of the tourism industry. The program’s unique approach, emphasizing self-directed learning over traditional methods, opened my eyes to new perspectives. We were creating groups to discuss our ideas, and we developed projects and organising events, which became the keystones of my education. The Finnish culture and the warmth of its people have left a lasting impression on me and made me revisit the country.

Tour guiding in Dubai

After completing the exchange program, I had the opportunity to take a role as a tourist guide in Dubai, particularly within the conservation reserve surrounded by amazing nature and wildlife. This was a really challenging environment for me. However, the excitement of learning became the best motivator to overcome these challenges easily. The dunes of the desert became my classroom and my office.

Lapland adventure: guiding under the Northern Lights

The next chapter of my life continues in Lapland, Finland, where I am guiding beneath the beautiful Aurora Borealis. As a safari guide, I found myself leading excursions in snowmobiling, exploring the artistry ice exhibitions at the SnowVillage, ice fishing on frozen lakes and enjoying the white silence during snowshoeing in the snowy surroundings.

However, it wasn’t that easy to do these things without fundamental survival tactics. Fortunately I met with a colleague who helped me to navigate the challenges in the wilderness. Together, we discovered that survival skills extend beyond the practical. Dumitru’s wisdom not only equipped me with essential wilderness know-how but also cultivated a friendship that transcends the trials of the wild.

My journey in starting from the exchange program at SAMK has taken me not only to different places on the map but also to different points in hearts and minds. I look forward to living every moment, continuing to learn, and eagerly exploring this world.

I invite everyone to go on a journey to be open to new experiences and to see the world with different eyes!

Text and pictures: Behlül Akgün

The author is SAMK tourism exchange programme alumni, who has kept in touch with SAMK and returned to work in Finland

Why I chose Finland as my exchange destination

I never imagined I would get to live in Finland for a while. But life gave me the opportunity and I feel very lucky. “Why Finland?”, many people asked me when they knew I was coming to study here and I always answered with ”it’s very different from what I’m used to” (and also because I love Christmas and we all know it’s Santa’s country). And yes, it was different from what I imagined!

My arrival was a bit catastrophic (we can sum it up in delayed flights and missed trains), but I didn’t know all the good things that were waiting for me to experience. I started meeting people from all over the world, learning about Finnish culture, exploring the corners of Pori, visiting other cities… And the more things I did, the more I became attached to this country.

I have to admit that when I arrived, the language seemed very different and fun (spoiler: it still does), but that curiosity is what motivated me to learn what little I know, although I hope to learn a lot more. In this semester, I have learned so many new things.

Leaving my comfort zone and moving to a place where everything is different is very enriching, even being away from my loved ones, although there are days when I am more nostalgic and perhaps sad for not sharing moments with them, I realise what a treasure I have because I know that they are always there despite the distance. Besides, I have created another family with the people I have met here.

The university and the study method used was another of the things that surprised me the most. The companionship, the support and trust between students and teachers, the way the syllabus is explained, among many other things, I think is brilliant. SAMK University is very good and it is an honour for me to be studying here.

One of the things that stands out from this semester is that I was able to fulfil one of my dreams: to meet Santa and visit Lapland. The excitement and joy I had during the whole trip is inexplicable. I was a little girl again. When I met Santa I brought him the first Christmas letter that my 2 year old niece had ever made, so it was a very emotional moment for me.

I had never seen it snow the way it snowed in Lapland, it was magical. Also, I saw the reindeer for the first time and tried the Finnish experience of going to the sauna, jumping in the snow and coming back to the sauna, and it is a painful but amazing feeling at the same time. I had hoped to see the Northern Lights, but it was not to be. I hope to see them one day and cross it off my wish list.

I still have another semester left (the coldest, by the way), so the anecdotes and new experiences do not end here, but it is true that the first half of my stay here is coming to an end. I hope that this country will continue to give me other experiences and memories. And if you ask me now ”Why Finland?”, I will answer: ”Because it is a very different country to what I am used to, and because it is a country that gives you very good moments and a great learning experience, and because I also love Christmas and Santa”. That’s why I chose Finland.

Kiitos, Finland!

Text: Ines-Marina Pinero-Landaeta, exchange student from Universidad de la Laguna
Pictures: Pixabay

My Erasmus experience in Pori

Hello everyone, my name is Luis, I am 21 years old and I am from the Canary Islands. There I study Tourism, and in my last year I decided to do an Erasmus semester to complete my career and have a better training. Among the possible options, I decided to go to Finland.

At first everyone told me that I would die of cold there but I was brave and I went to discover a new culture and to live new experiences. The trip from the Canary Islands to Helsinki was a bit tiring and exhausting, but as soon as I arrived, I met my first friend Clara, and together we shared the hassle of catching the right trains to Pori.

Once in our destination city, we arrived at our residence and saw the rooms that would be our homes for the next 4 months. The next day was the first day of University and we met the rest of our classmates and tutors who would be the main protagonists in making this stage so beautiful and unforgettable.

After the orientation week, the group gained confidence and we started to become a team. Here the fun began because from that day until the end we have not stopped making plans, among which were hiking in search of aurora borealis, and berry picking, barbecues, playing soccer (usually French against Spanish), going to see ice hockey games and of course partying. It is true that alcohol here is more expensive than in our home countries, but we always managed to get drunk.

As for classes, SAMK is awesome, honestly the best I have ever been to. I like the educational system better than in Spain, since here they focus more on learning day by day and doing work to understand the contents than on filling our agenda with exams. Also, we have had very empathetic and understanding teachers and classmates.

Personally I have visited Tampere, Helsinki, Rauma, Lapland (where I had the opportunity to meet Santa Claus) and even made a trip to Norway. All of them beautiful and charming places, although, yes, they are all very cold when winter comes, so you have to have your jacket ready.

 I think my Erasmus experience is the best decision I have made so far. From day one I have met amazing people that I feel will be friends for life. Now that I am only days away from returning to Spain, and although I want to see my family and friends, I am a little sad to leave behind everything I have built in Pori. However, I know that I will come back in the future and relive moments and experiences, as well as see again the great family I leave here.

It’s not goodbye Pori, it’s see you soon!

Text and pictures: Luis Orejas Delgado, an Erasmus exchange student from Universidad de la Laguna

My Erasmus+ experience 6106,8 km away from home

I’m not sure how to start this blog post, not for lack of knowledge, but to try to summarize my experience over the last few months in a few paragraphs.

I had always been attracted by that university life in which students were given the opportunity to choose one country among many to live there for a period. And as the saying goes, ’Time flies by and my time has come’. I wasn’t sure which country I was going to choose, but when I read it, it was one hundred percent clear: Finland.

But why Finland? ”You won’t stand the cold”. ”It’s too far away”. ”It’s in the North Pole”. Really? After a lot of brainstorming and questioning my decision, it was clear to me that I wanted to go to the furthest place from my current country to be able to live and learn from a culture extremely different from mine and see what I can learn from it! And obviously to reinforce my English, of course…

But as anyone my age would do nowadays, during the months before, I had to do an FBI inspection of ’Everything I must know about Finland before traveling’ so I swear I knew more about Finland in all those afternoons than in my whole stay.

My first contact with the experience was undoubtedly the outbound flight and its tiring layovers. However, once in the country, I couldn’t help but be amazed by the incredible green landscapes. Pori, which is the city I was going to stay in, looked like a typical city out of a family movie. The organization and structures were more of the same, and although I didn’t understand anything of what the people around me were saying, they seemed to be very friendly and respectful.  

Once the weeks had passed, I had settled into the flat, scouted out the area, and knew the classes I was going to be taught as well as my experience partners, my three stages of what I call ’FIN-Enamoramiento’ began.

Fin = Finland
Enamoramiento (Spanish word) = falling in love

Phase 1 of ‘FIN- Enamoramiento’

This first phase, as in any beginning, is the phase in which you hallucinate everything: people, streets, nature, landscapes, shops, food (although very expensive), weather (in summer and with more daylight hours than normal), education, economy, etc. I couldn’t believe that I was 6106,8 km away from home and living this great opportunity that not everyone can experience. 

The campfire evenings by the river or in the park were magical; the sunsets with those incredible colors were dreamy; the parties with music (some we didn’t understand) and with a group of unforgettable friends where people focus on having a good time; those first contacts with young Finns where, as usual when learning a language, they teach you the most ’beautiful’ words (you know what I mean); the incredible beach of Yyteri or the farm of Merikarvia together with cities like Tampere, Turku, Rauma or Helsinki made my stay a place to live forever.

We were surprised how many Finns had learned Spanish through the series ’La casa de Papel’ or even shocked to have to eat lunch at 11 AM in the morning when for us the usual time was breakfast, or the emphasis and enthusiasm, they put into cheering on their hockey team; among many other cultural shocks.

Phase 2 of ‘FIN-Enamoramiento’

Once the weeks have passed and as usual, the homesickness stage begins, when you start to miss your usual place and all that goes with it: family and friends. Everything reminds you of your home country and the comparisons begin with the food, the climate, the people, etc. Added to this is the fact that we were in the middle of the change of season and although we knew that we were going to have fewer hours of daylight, we were not really used to it.

However, we can only highlight funny anecdotes such as having dinner at 5 PM in the evening, something that would be unthinkable in Spain; confusing the times and thinking that it was 11 PM and it was still 7 PM; those first slips in the snow and comparisons with the calmness with which the Finns walk when they are used to it or even that we were wearing 5 layers of clothes and the rest had only 1 or 2.

Phase 3 of ‘FIN-Enamoramiento’

This is the most beautiful stage of all. At this stage you are already used to living there, you understand the reasons for many things and situations, what to do (good manners) and what not to do (bad manners), the typical foods or the funniest phrases of the language, the exchange of cultures that occurs in many situations and what you learn from it, the desire to discover and make more and more different plans to get to know Finland and its people.

But the most beautiful thing about this phase is undoubtedly the great maturity that you manage to acquire and above all to prove to yourself that you are capable of adapting and learning on your own or with friends in every situation. 

Yes, I know what you are thinking now: ’here comes the most sentimental part to close this blog post’. And the truth is that it is. Finland has undoubtedly been the country where I have stayed the longest after my home country (Spain), and therefore where I have learned the most. Not only culturally speaking, but also because many of the best memories of my life and undoubtedly people have left their mark on me.

It is sad to think that once my experience is over, I will no longer live here, no longer see the people I always see, no longer do what I did here and what is really beginning to form part of my day-to-day life, but what is clear is that my memories will never leave.

I still have the second half of the year to live, and I can’t be more anxious to know what it will bring. Could it be even more surmountable than this one?

Text and photos: Aissatou Díaz-Goudiaby, an Erasmus exchange student from Universidad de la Laguna

Chronicles of a cold allergic

I’m Francisco, I’m 20 years old, and I come from Spain. I study tourism in Tenerife, and this is my third year in the Tourism career. To end the routine, I decided to go on Erasmus to learn languages and study abroad to open my mind.

My trip to Finland began on August 11 2022 – and not very well, my flight company lost one of my suitcases. Later, while I was claiming my loss, I missed the trains that were taking me to Pori, the city where I was going to stay during my Erasmus. And finally, that night I couldn’t stay in my room, and I had to ask for help at midnight so I wouldn’t stay the night on the street.

A total chaos that made me think that I would not like Finland, but everything changed the next days: I managed to get into my place, I received my lost luggage, and from this point, the adventure was about to begin.

Me with Santa Claus

I started going to class, visited many interesting places from Finland like Yyteri, Tampere, Helsinki and Lapland. Destinations that I loved by the way! Doing tourism is always good, but studying in SAMK and being part of the Finnish education system was amazing.

Here I discovered much more about working and studying independently, a new way to learn and to organize myself, a system without fixed or monotonous schedules. In a few days I will return to Spain, but I will never forget the friends I made and the experiences I lived.

This is not a goodbye, but a see you soon. I am sure that I will return to Finland, a place that after these four months I consider my home!

Text and photo: Francisco Diaz-Gonzalez, an Erasmus exchange student from Universidad de la Laguna

There is a lot to experience and see in Hasselt, Belgium!

We, our classmates and a few students from Croatia visited PXL University of Applied Sciences and Arts in Hasselt as a part of an international school project.

Hasselt is a beautiful place to visit, especially during the winter season. We travelled to Hasselt during December, so it was a bit weird for us to not see any snow on the ground, as we had just left Finland, a place which was filled with snow.

All of the people we encountered during our trip were polite, helpful and social! We loved every second of getting to know more and more people, some of whom had visited Finland or had Finnish friends.

Cultural differences

The biggest cultural difference for us was the lack of snow, but also the architecture and the school life. For example in Finland, it is customary to call the teachers by their first names whereas in Belgium it is customary to call them madam, Mrs, Mr, etc… When thinking about the differences, we realized that even with all of our differences, in tourism and in our personal lives, we were all clicking instantly and gaining new friends.

The university was great, the people were really friendly, as well as the teachers and personnel. Their university was modern and the cafeteria/restaurant was in really good shape, they also served amazing food.

Their way of teaching is different from ours, as they have big auditoriums for every lecture and seminar, whereas we, in Finland, have cosier and more welcoming classes.

Learning and making friends

During our exchange in Hasselt, we learned some things from the speakers, for example information about the Castle of Leut, MICE tourism, SMART theory, SDGs, and Pink flamingos. When visiting the Castle of Leut, we could experience it first-hand, and immerse ourselves in the surroundings of the it. For us, it was a great place to visit, and we would recommend others to visit there too.

Helen: From my point of view, the most impressive activity at the Hasselt exchange was the visit to the castle, as it was the first time I visited a castle and it is a beautiful place!

Overall, we think this experience was great, as it has taught us a lot about different cultures and different people. We made great memories and friends in Hasselt and we would all go back there anytime, just to seek around the beautiful country of Belgium, as the time was a bit limited in the short exchange week we experienced.

Every second was enjoyed, until the last, and we are really thankful for this opportunity and will definitely take part of similar projects in the future.

Text: Alexa Marin, Jasmin Rosengren & Helen Wan, second year International Tourism Management students
Picture: PXL University of Applied Sciences and Arts

How to feel well on exchange and choose the right courses

Hey everyone, I am Timo Beke. Although I have a Finnish name, I am actually from Belgium. I am an exchange student here in Finland for one semester. I am here to study international tourism. In this blog post I will talk to you briefly about my choice for Finland and my time here, but most of all I will talk about how I chose which courses to study. Choosing the right (interesting) courses can make or break your exchange. I had some difficulties with it so that is why I am writing this post.

My experience – well being on Erasmus

When I arrived in Finland on the I forgot why I wanted to be here. It didn’t look like what I thought it would, and Pori was a lot smaller then I had imagined. After a week of being very unhappy and missing everyone at home I wanted to make a change. I thought of what I usually do when I leave home for long periods of time and how I make sure I feel good then.

I realized that I hadn’t been doing any of the things I usually do, probably because of the freezing cold weather and the fact that I hadn’t met anyone yet. Usually I go exploring a lot, I like to be around water, and look at the animals that come and go to drink or to swim. I also do a lot of photography and that has a calming effect on me as well.

Picture: @travel_photography_timo

I decided to start doing more of the things that I usually do, and I immediately started feeling better. I met some people who also like to go out in nature and I found out how to get to the beach. I was so happy to be back near the sea and hear the familiar sounds of the waves and the birds.

It is important to keep doing the things you do at home to feel well on exchange. It doesn’t matter what you like to do, if you like to do yoga, work out, play football or go birdwatching go swimming try to get in touch with like minded people (the local tourism office can help you!).

Selecting your courses – how to choose?

Usually when you go on an exchange that isn’t a full year you get to choose your own courses. This can be quite overwhelming, because, well you don’t know what the courses are about.

To help you make your choice most of the courses have a short description to tell you what they are about. It is important to read those, because there are some things you should look out for

  1. Look at the number of ECTS credits! And ask if there are mandatory courses.
  2. Try to pick courses that are on campus rather then online. As an exchange student school is the easiest way to meet like minded people from the same age. Online courses or self study courses don’t give you the chance to meet people.
  3. Don’t chose the same courses you studied at your home university. It looks like an easy way to pass, but in my experience you either get really bored or confused (or a combination).
  4. Choose courses in your study field, don’t enroll in a wood working class if you are a physiotherapy student (obviously).
  5. Pick something weird or unusual (more on that later)!

With these 5 tips you should be able to pick the perfect courses to make your Erasmus as interesting as possible. The selection can be stressful, but remember that all exchange students go through this and maybe one of your friends can help you. And finally, if you did make a choice you regret, most schools are okay with changes. As an Erasmus student you represent their institution when you go back home, you can get away with way more then regular students if you just ask 😉

Picking something weird – courses you have never heard about

I believe everyone who is going on an exchange should try to pick one weird course. What do you mean with a weird course, you might ask?

I mean, pick a course that you have never seen or heard of before. When you go on exchange the chances are high that you will see courses that you would never see at your home university. All cultures are different and the culture of the place you are going to might influence some of their courses.

My weird choice was the course I am writing this blog post for, “”Well-being from Blue Spaces”. When I saw this I thought what the **** is this! I wondered what it could be and it got me interested enough to read the course description. After I read the course description I still wasn’t sure what it would be.

Picture: @travel_photography_timo

At first I thought is was going to be all about the ocean and the sea and the positive effects they have on people, and about how we can use them in tourism. This was mostly what the course was about, but a lot of it was also about the wellness culture in Finland. Saunas and ice baths really have a big influence here and I really noticed that in this course.

I am not a wellness type of person and I had taken one sauna before I came to Finland, and I said I would never do it again. This course convinced me to try it again and it was a pleasant surprise. I am still not a wellness person and I was purely going to do this course to learn about typical Finnish traditions and how they impact the Finnish view on tourism.

However, at the end of the course we had to make an assignment about food tourism, another topic I had never heard about. It was another pleasant surprise and I really enjoyed working on that topic. It was something I wouldn’t have discovered without doing this “weird” course, but I am really happy I did.

This example just shows it is good to pick something you normally wouldn’t, you might discover something you like! I hope you got something from this for your own Erasmus, and if you want to see more of my travel adventures you can check it out on .

Text and pictures: Timo Beke, Erasmus exchange student from Thomas More University of Applied Sciences in Belgium

Moi! Hallo! Hej from Merikarvia! Digital marketing for tourism development of coastal areas

We are three students from three different universities with three different backgrounds… So how did we end up meeting in the middle of nowhere in Finland?

So the thing is that we all applied for a course called Digitalisation Opportunities among Coastal Tourism Entrepreneurs and Networks 2022, not knowing what exactly to expect. We started the course by doing three marketing-related individual assignments. 

On the ninth of May 2022 we arrived at a nostalgic farm, called Koivuniemen Herran Farmi at Merikarvia, and met each other for the first time. On the first working day we were divided into groups.

So, who are we?

Hallo! I’m Tabea. I am an Erasmus student from Dalarna University in Falun, Sweden. Originally I am from Germany. I study social science at a technical university in Kaiserslautern. Since August 2021 I am living in Falun. I ended up in this course because I love traveling and I am really interested in social media. 

Hej! My name is Wilperi, I’m 24 and live in Turku, Finland. I am a third year Bachelor’s student of Business Administration at Novia University of Applied Sciences. I specialize in marketing but later on I have developed a huge interest to tourism and that is why I immediately knew I wanted to participate in this course once I heard about it.

Moi! I am Siiri, a twenty-year-old student from Pori, Finland. I am studying for Bachelor’s degree in International Tourism Management for the first year at Satakunta University of Applied Sciences. Working with commissioners sounded fun, so I decided to apply for this course.

So, now that you know who we are, you should also get to know what we have done. We spent one week at Merikarvia working hard for our assignments. But, what was our assignment? 

Each group got a commissioner to work for, and ours was the Municipality of Merikarvia. One part of our task was to analyze Merikarvia’s online platforms which included their webpage, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. Based on our analysis, we came up with how to optimize the use of these platforms and created a few Instagram posts, ready to be published. During the making of these posts we got to visit some really nice locations with beautiful scenery and also learned more about Merikarvia’s history and culture.

Fireplace kräsoora
Relaxing on the dock

The first thought about our commissioner was that we have a bit of a difficult one, because we had such a wide topic. It was challenging to decide what we should do and where we should concentrate. But overall, the assignment turned out very well, and we had so much fun during our week.

Another thing that challenged us was the Finnish language. This was problematic, because only two of us understand Finnish. All social media pages of our commissioner were only available in Finnish. Also, our commissioner was mostly talking in Finnish.

Merikarvia gang

During our stay we got to know our whole group, and we played a lot of social games together, learned how to take care of the animals at the farm and ate a lot of good food. And because this course was held in Finland, we of course had a sauna-night with grilling sausages and making pancakes. We also got to visit the Yyteri beach and hotel, and some of us were brave enough to take a bath in the ocean.


Would we do that again? Absolutely! If you ever have a chance to join a course like this we suggest you grab the opportunity!

We wish you the best! #snyggt

Text: Siiri Romoi, Tabea Busch and Wilperi Jalonen
Pictures: Helena Larilahti, Tabea Busch and Siiri Romoi

Brainstorming with international students

SAMK is one of the best Universities of Applied Sciences in Finland. We have the best quality in tuition and have always been among the six best ones. Every year, before they finish their studies, high school students visit our university to take a look at what we have to offer. In addition to local high school students, we had international students from Italy and Germany, doing an Erasmus program for one week here, come to visit us at SAMK as well.

The student group had the usual tour of SAMK by our staff, and in addition to that, they were taught basics of marketing. They also had some background information on studying international tourism management at SAMK, in which we, degree students and some exchange students also participated in.

We mostly talked about our experiences in SAMK so far and told them about the studies and the many things we can do in SAMK besides just sitting in classrooms all the time. We have all kinds of activities to make the students feel safe and not too overwhelmed with large amounts of schoolwork, which to me has been a very pleasant surprise since coming to Finland.

The international students also had a session of brainstorming, where we divided them in groups and had them discuss about making brochures for Koivuniemen Herran Farmi, which they had visited prior. We had a SAMK professional explain to them the factors of a good brochure, explain the pros and cons, and then give them an assignment to make their own brochures in groups. 

This is the goup of Italian students.

I was helping the Italian group in brainstorming, and in my opinion they did a very great job on dividing the ideas of their project and working as a team to find templates for their brochure to look good. I think they understood the idea of brainstorming, making lists and writing all the possible ideas down before actually getting into the project itself.

Brainstorming is very useful especially when working with a team and having a tight schedule, because when doing a group project, it’s very important for everyone to get their point listened to and taken in consideration.

These were the ideas they came up with for their brochure, as well as a template on how many pages they wish it to be and how they could fold it if they were to do it on paper, which I found really creative and interesting:

The group had lots of spontaneous ideas, which could sometimes be confusing, but everything seemed to work out for them in the end. I was very happy to help them with everything I could, and to be honest, I wasn’t the only one teaching them things, but they also taught me new things about cooperating with my team in a project.  

In the visiting high school students’ opinion, the help of SAMK professionals and degree students was useful, and I hope they got an idea of how it is to study at our university. I also hope that I will see them on SAMK corridors as degree students too, eventually!

Text and pictures: Alexandra Marin, first year International Tourism Management student

My internship in Istanbul

I am doing my internship in Istanbul for five months in Bilgi University’s International Student Advising Office. I study tourism myself, so it was clear for me that I want to do my practical training abroad: it is very important for me in the future as in my study field international experience is valuable.

I was originally planning to do my internship at a hotel in Budapest, but my plan got cancelled due to Covid-19 pandemic. Then I started to search for a new place, and I found this internship position in Istanbul. I applied for it, got an invitation to interview and then got accepted. I felt very lucky to finally have a place to do my internship.

Istanbul is in Turkey, and it is the biggest city in the country but not the capital. The interesting thing about Istanbul is that it is located in two continents: Europe and Asia. So, the western part of the city belongs to Europe and the eastern side to Asia. The population of Istanbul is about 15 million people, and the main religion is Islam. They have prayer calls five times a day but after while I got used to it.

My internship is during the low touristic season, so it is not too crowded, which I like. It is better to visit sights and places when you don’t have to wait in lines for hours. I think Istanbul is a good destination for internship because there is so much to see and do. Istanbul is a very historical city and has many historical places that also attract tourists. I feel like even five months is not enough for everything. Public transport is good in the city, and you can go to many places and all you need is Istanbulkart, which works for every means of transport.

I have also noticed that Istanbul is a very international city and I actually expected to face more cultural differences here. So far, I have liked living here, except the traffic jams. Living here is cheaper for me, so everything is quite affordable including rent.

When I arrived in Turkey, it was a bit hectic because there were a lot of people around me. I have been to Turkey one time before, so it is not a completely new country but last time I travelled to a smaller city in south coast. While living here, there have not been that many Covid-19 restrictions and places have been normally open. Also, we have been able to work in the office, not from home.

My workplace, Bilgi University, is a private university. Recently the university has been ranked the third best in Turkey. It has three different campuses, but we work at the main campus. The office and team are quite small, but I like it because I get to know everyone better. In the team there are two permanent workers and a few interns. The office is having Erasmus interns all the time, usually two or three at the same time. The International Student Advising Office assist only international full-time students. Thus, they have Erasmus office separated. I work at the office’s front desk with another intern and we mainly help the students who are coming to the office ask for advice. The job is nice, and I also get a lot of responsibility at the front desk. The working environment is very easygoing and I really like the atmosphere there.

My work tasks mostly consist of answering emails, advising international students, preparing residence permits and other documents. We also sometimes update social media. Working in an international environment develops my communication and language skills. Even though Turkey and this place may not have been my first choice, it has been an amazing experience so far and I would not change it!

Text and pictures: Annina Koskinen, fourth year student in the degree programme in Tourism