The first thing I thought when I got off the plane at the tiny airport of Turku was "nothing could make me get on another plane". I had left my house in Pine Grove, California at 3:45am on the 1st of January to catch my first flight out of Sacramento International Airport at 8:00am. The flight out of Sacramento was my first of four, I was to transfer planes at Dallas, Washington, than from there to Brussels, Belgium, from Brussels to Copenhagen, Denmark, than finally from Copenhagen to the city of Turku arriving around 2:00pm on the 2nd of January. All in all it was about an 21 hour flight including layovers. When I arrived at Turku I was meant by my student tutor, Pirta, who through a program at the University volunteers to show exchange students around and help with practical matters. After a 20 minute bus ride we arrived at my apartment building in the part of the city called Harittu. It was asked that all exchange students arrive by the 2nd of January so we could attend a orientation meeting on the morning of January 3rd.
The orientation meeting lasted from 9am-330pm and it different departments went over basic things like where to find class schedules, how to enroll in classes, joining the student union of Turku (TYY), and much more. Unlike the U.S. system where class registration happens weeks before classes start and registering online is a necessity, at the University of Turku registration for classes is not compulsory. One can simply show up to the first lecture and if there is room you will be added to class; However classes that are in high demand do usually require registration online but not all of them.
The most exciting group for me and other exchange students that presented information at orientation was the Erasmus Student Network. On the ESN website the description of ESN says the "Erasmus Student Network (ESN) is one of the biggest interdisciplinary
student associations in Europe, founded in 1989 for supporting and
developing student exchange.We are present in 397 Higher Education Institutions from 36 countries". The network is constantly developing and expanding and it is an amazing way to meet people that are from all across the world. During the ESN presentation I saw all the amazing things they had organized for students to do, everything from organized costume parties to a ski trip to Finland's biggest resort.
Between the Student Union and ESN there was a party or some event almost every other day so students could meet each other and start to circles of friends. I could tell the next couple weeks were going to be amazing because most lectures didn't start until the 15th and there were so many exciting things planned.
For this post I decided to add two pictures, The top is from the airplane ride from Brussels where it was raining. The second is of a cathedral in the city of Turku, but it is not the Turku Cathedral which is much bigger.