What is your educational and professional background? – I have finished high school in Finland and currently doing my complete bachelor's degree in Umeå University.
Why did you choose to enrol in your degree programme at Umeå University? – I wanted to study international business in English, and in Finland there aren't so many schools that offer this specific education at the university level. As I had studied Swedish before, I thought that it would be convenient to improve my language skills simultaneously.
What do you like most about your programme? – It is very international since we have people all over the world enrolled in our programme on a full-time basis, but also a good number of exchange students take part in our courses. This makes you get used to working with very different kind of people who have very different values and teaches you about both the cultural differences but also similarities among the nationalities. I find this very important in the future. It is also possible to study abroad for a semester or two and take an internship abroad within take programme.
What is the most interesting thing you learned in your programme or courses so far? – It's very hard to pinpoint one single thing that I find the most interesting but in general I have learned how important it is to know different cultures and what communication barriers/differences you should be aware of.
What do you do when you are not studying? – I'm involved in many student organisations at the university such as Campus Royal for those who are interested in short films, work at E-Puben at the campus and I'm part of the amazing Buddy Programme as I have been every semester here so far. I also exercise at IKSU (sport and fitness centre), which has a great variety of different dance and gym classes every day. Additionally I enjoy the amazing student life with parties every weekend and have fika with my friends.
What is your impression of Umeå and the surrounding areas? – Despite its size, Umeå is a very active city and it offers many recreational activities (skiing trips, downhill /cross-country skiing, hiking), festivals and cultural events. The nature is also very beautiful and changes according to the different seasons: winters are cold and snowy whereas summers are very pleasant.
What do you find as the biggest cultural difference, both socially and educationally, from your country with Sweden? – Sweden is very similar to Finland in many ways. The major difference in education is that there is no need to take entrance exams when enrolling in universities in Sweden and you study one course at the time. People are also less direct and more conflict avoiding than in my country.
What you would say or what advice would you give to another international student thinking of attending Umeå University? – Umeå is a great place to study: student life is very active with all the different student organizations and there is always a party somewhere, which is open for all. Most of the students live in "corridors" i.e. houses of ca. 5-7 people with own room but shared kitchen close to each other so it's very easy to meet and organise activities. IKSU is also a great place to go exercising and since the city isn't too big is made for biking it's very convenient to bike anywhere. The language isn't an issue either since everyone can speak good English and there is no need to know the local language (thus it might be even hard to improve Swedish in the beginning if you already know some and are very shy to use the language). In general, I can warmly recommend Umeå as place to study although you need to be prepared for the cold weather and darkness during the winter.
What are your career aspirations? – I want to pursue an international career and work abroad. I would like to work in a multinational company, which would offer me a possibility to use my language skills and work on within marketing or projects in different countries.