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Page updated 10.1.2022

Work-oriented-learning experience was the best – along with sauna

Six exchange students from the University of Strathclyde in Scotland enjoyed Turku and student life for Autumn semester 2021.

Text: Siiri Welling

There is a happy atmosphere in EduCity's learning space. Six young Scottish men have just finished their presentation on the projects assigned to them. Rian Mairs, Jay Grant and Kalil Shahid did research for Valmet and Angus MacMillan, Jacob Currie and James Hinselwood for Elomatic. The study by Mairs, Grant and Shahid concerned low-temperature waste heat recovery within data centers, paper mills and board milss. The study by Macmillan, Currie, and Hinselwood, on the other hand, was a hydrogen leakage analysis. 

The students applied for an exchange in Turku from the University of Strathclyde in Scotland, as they were interested in studying and working life at Turku University of Applied Sciences. Finland was also the only country that offered the chance to work in real projects with real companies. 

– Working with companies was one reason, says Mairs.

– I was also interested in the Nordic countries, which are a bit like the homeland of Scotland. Finland is a beautiful country, Grant continues.

– Finland seemed a relaxed place, and the Turku UAS’ business cooperations seemed good, says MacMillan.

The students were also interested in the independent life that studying in Finland and Turku meant to them. They were most surprised by the Finnish climate and the student life in Turku. 

– At first I thought it would be really cold here already in August. So I prepared with decent warm clothes. But the frosts didn't start until December, and now it's really cold, Currie laughs.

Currie was especially surprised by Turku. He describes Christmas time in Turku as magical and festive, which made him feel like the whole city was celebrating Christmas. Some of the students shared an apartment in the city center of Turku. A sauna familiar to many Finns was found in their apartment. In Scotland, saunas are mainly used in leisure centers and sports centers and have not been used by young students.

– But sauna is a great thing. We probably went to the sauna four times a week, says Shahid.

The studying itself surprised everyone happily. At first, the students did not really know what would await them in Finland. The assumption was that the study would be very structural and rigid. However, there was enough leisure time, and the students had time to get to know both Finland and Finland's neighboring countries. The students say that the cooperation with the teachers went well.

– It seems that the teachers were our colleagues with whom we did the project together. They did not command, but we rather communicated with each other, Grant muses.

– The business cooperation was also a really excellent experience. They were helpful and enthusiastic, and the feedback was positive, say MacMillan and Currie.

The lively student life in Turku was memorable. The appearance of the student overalls in the street scene felt a little special. Another surprising thing was the prevalence of cycling in the city.

– Everyone seemed to be cycling, so that's what we did during the warm season, says Grant.

– In Scotland, cycling is not so common, and there will be more driving there anyway. When living in the center of Turku, all places were close by, so there was more activity, Shahid continues.

Students warmly recommend the exchange study experience in Turku. An exchange student is required to have an open mind and interest in other cultures that are sufficient in Turku. 

– This experience is perfect for someone who enjoys meeting new people and an exchange student program. You must also be interested in business cooperation. Turku is a very good place for students, says Hinselwood.

Read more about exchange studies