From Northern Lights to Nordic Insights: My Year Immersed at the University of Turku

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to embark on a captivating journey through the halls of learning and the breathtaking landscapes of the Arctic? Have you thought how life in Finland for international students is? Join Usama, as he invites you to partake in an unforgettable expedition. Delve into the captivating world of the University of Turku, where practical education seamlessly blends with the wonders of nature. Immerse yourself in this enchanting experience and discover the unique offerings that await you.

Before reading this blog I would like you to picture this: an academically stimulating year full of practical learning opportunities and the chance to see the elusive Northern Lights dancing over the night sky (if luck is on your side, of course!). Prepare to be mesmerized by breathtaking images, captivating films, and the serene landscapes of Turku as our intrepid adventurer shares their extraordinary journey with you. Get ready to embark on an awe-inspiring adventure, where the tranquility of Turku’s surroundings sets the stage for an unforgettable exploration. Immerse yourself in the enchanting tales and captivating visuals that await, as you delve into the hidden gems of this peaceful city.

By reading this blog you will explore the Finnish study culture, characterized by inclusivity, equality, and collaboration. You will gain insightful tips on finding jobs as an international student and overcoming culture shock. You will find yourself immersed in the enchanting tales of personal hobbies sparked by Turku’s beauty, including the art of videography and photography.

Timeline of Events: Life In Finland For International Students


My adventure in Finland as an international student began in September 2022 when the University of Turku opens its doors to inquisitive minds from all corners of the globe. I was fortunate enough to be awarded the Finland Scholarship, a testament to the university’s commitment to providing international students with access to top-quality education and vibrant cultural experiences. If you’re dreaming of pursuing your academic goals in Finland, explore the scholarships available and embark on your educational journey today!

To start this thrilling chapter off right, let’s go back to August 2022 and the autumn orientation for degree students. This occasion serves as your introduction to university life in Turku. A committed student tutor is ready to help you make the transfer smoothly. Your peer tutor becomes your dependable companion, ensuring that your arrival and subsequent journey are nothing short of exceptional. This includes offering advice that is both practical and connective. Expect a personalized experience as their email address will be provided to you, giving you the freedom to traverse your academic journey with ease.

Beyond the university walls, the ESN (Erasmus Student Network) at the University of Turku steps in to foster integration between local and international students. Through a myriad of events, trips, and activities, they introduce you to Finnish culture, traditions, and the vibrant student life in Turku. The Welcome Party, a highlight of my journey, sets the stage for an inclusive and vibrant atmosphere, connecting students from all walks of life and creating a sense of belonging.

Finland: My New Home

Study Culture, Life as a Student & Libraries

I am fascinated by the confluence of mechanical engineering and cutting-edge digital technology. I am studying as a mechanical engineering student at the University of Turku, majoring in the digital design track. The program emphasizes the integration of computer-aided design (CAD) software and simulation tools to explore and understand complex mechanical systems.

Speaking about study culture, the university community is characterized by the Finnish educational system’s emphasis on inclusivity and equality. All students received equal opportunities to succeed, regardless of their backgrounds or skills. I discovered it is a kind and accepting setting that encourages collaboration and celebrates variety.

The expectation of self-directed learning and personal accountability was first unfamiliar to me. However, it enabled me to fully experience the university’s cutting-edge facilities and research-focused environment. This accelerated my development as a digital design engineer. To summarize the Finnish education system and in particular University of Turku, I can say that it may cause culture shock due to the following factors:

• Low emphasis on standardized testing.
• High levels of autonomy and teacher confidence.
• Less homework than in other countries.
• An emphasis on the overall health and development of students.
• A dedication to openness and equity in education

The university offers a wide array of tranquil spaces for students to sit and study, surrounded by a vast collection of world books. By obtaining a library card, you gain access to all these locations. To provide you with a glimpse of the university library’s ambiance, here is a visual representation of one of its libraries.

Selection as Ambassador

For all the incoming students, the UTU Ambassadors are your Gateway to UTU’s World!
I had the honor of being picked to join the select group of UTU Ambassadors, chosen to attract more international students. I am grateful for the chance the institution gave me. With the special talents of our team, we helped potential students learn about the outstanding educational options at UTU by guiding and inspiring them. You may be able to join this remarkable group as soon as the call for ambassadors opens up at the University of Turku.

Chat with UTU Ambassadors now, and embrace the future that awaits!

Together, we’ll shape destinies, leaving an everlasting impact.

First Job

Finding a job as an international student can be challenging, as many people often warn you. However, I was fortunate to secure my first job as an assistant researcher within the very first week. Here are some tips that helped me find such opportunities.

  • Seek guidance from professors: Inform your lecturers that you are interested in working in research. They frequently have useful connections and can suggest opportunities that are pertinent.
  • Continuously monitor university websites: On their official websites, universities routinely list employment vacancies, including those for research posts. Check these websites frequently to get informed about any possibilities that could be available.
  • Utilize social platforms: Continue to look at social media sites that are relevant to your interests. Through these platforms, teachers or other students occasionally advertise employment openings or research possibilities.

Part-time employment alternatives

It is conceivable to look into part-time employment alternatives such as cleaning or delivery jobs in addition to pursuing research-related careers. While you complete your education, these occupations may be able to provide you with flexibility and financial support. But as summertime draws near, it’s critical to look for full-time summer jobs. Here are some ideas to think about:

  • Apply early: Early on, begin your search for summer employment. Before the summer season, many businesses and organizations start the recruiting process. You may improve your chances of landing a coveted job by applying early.
  • Apply to multiple places: Don’t restrict yourself to just one application for employment. Apply to many businesses or organizations that fit your interests and abilities. Even if you first receive rejection emails, keep in mind that perseverance pays a reward. I applied to 100+ jobs before landing my first summer job.
  • Craft custom applications: Prepare applications that are specific to each job opening. Emphasize your accomplishments, experiences, and talents that are pertinent to the demands of each employment. A personalized application demonstrates your commitment and care for the little things.

Remember that obtaining a job as an international student may take time and patience. You may improve your chances of success by using your contacts, actively seeking out possibilities, and applying intelligently.

Reach me on LinkedIn to get more information

Personal Hobbies and Interests

There are times when life in Finland for international students may have unforeseen meetings that might spark an interest in us that becomes a lifelong passion in the area of personal hobbies and interests. This was the case when I came to Turku, Finland’s amazing beauty, a place whose attraction captured my heart and permanently altered my view on videography and photography.

These pastimes were not initially on my radar, but Turku’s breathtaking beauty had an unstoppable effect on me. Its beautiful surroundings, extensive history, and charming atmosphere combined to form an alluring tapestry that cried get out to be captured on camera. Now, armed with my camera, I set off on an exhilarating journey to discover Turku’s hidden gems and highlight its unparalleled beauty.

Turku’s ever-changing beauty continued to enthrall me as the seasons changed. The chance to weave a new chapter in my visual narrative was offered by spring blooms bursting with vivid colors, sun-drenched summer days extending into interminable evenings, the warm hues of fall foliage, and the ethereal landscapes of winter. I now have the honor of sharing Turku’s allure with others through videos and photos, encouraging them to go off on their own transforming adventure through the camera.

Northern Lights

The Aurora Borealis, often known as the Northern Lights, is a natural occurrence that may be seen in high-latitude areas close to the Arctic Circle, including some areas of Finland. Although it is somewhat uncommon, it is possible to see the Northern Lights in Turku, Finland.

I consider myself extraordinarily fortunate to have witnessed the captivating dance of the Northern Lights in Turku. It was a stroke of luck to behold the magnificent display of these lights against the dark, starry sky, leaving me utterly speechless in their wonderful presence.

The Travel Mistakes I Made

So, I totally messed up my travel plans on the way to Finland. It turned into quite an adventure, let me tell you. I was supposed to go from Helsinki to Turku, but guess what? I ended up jumping on the wrong train because I was in a rush and clueless about the whole thing. Finland’s trains are famous for being super-efficient with hardly any stops, and I was not aware of that. That is how I landed in this unexpected and confusing situation.

As soon as the train left Helsinki, I knew I was on the wrong track. And let me tell you, fear started creeping in as the train kept all in the dead of night. It was already spooky enough. And you know what? Instead of freaking out, I actually ended up falling in love with the mind-blowing Finnish scenery. Picture this: me on a train in the middle of the night, surrounded by serene darkness and occasional flashes of light from far-off towns. It was a freaking unforgettable experience.

All in all, this whole travel blunder taught me a valuable lesson about the importance of being prepared and aware when exploring new places. Markedly, it hammered home the fact that you should always take the time to understand transportation networks and routes, especially using the travel apps designated apps.

By the way, if you’re wondering how the train station near the University of Turku looks, trust me, it’s something you don’t want to miss out on!

Life In Finland for International Students

Remember that the University of Turku is the beginning of a new chapter in your life. The time you spend here is a priceless gift. Enjoy every second, treasure the relationships you build, and take advantage of the possibilities that come your way. When you enter this lovely campus let your enthusiasm shine, your aspirations soar, and your passion lead you. Tackle the difficulties head-on, approach each day with awe, and have faith in your capacity to change the world. Welcome to the University of Turku, where endless possibilities await you. Your journey starts now as you know how life In Finland for international students is. Embrace it.

Chat with our current students!