Host University: University of Jyvaskyla

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1 Student s Name: Stephen O Brien UL Course: Sport and Exercise Science Academic Year: 2012 / 2013 Semester: Spring Host University: University of Jyvaskyla Host University Code: SF JYVASKY 01

2 1. Arrival Where do you go on arrival? How did you travel after flight arrival, e.g. taxi, bus, underground. Whom did you have to contact? Was there an orientation programme? Did you know anyone on arrival, for example, a student who had attended UL on Erasmus? What was the layout of the university like? Was the situation central or is the campus on the outskirts of the local town or city? We had to get two planes to get to Finland, first from Dublin to London and then from London to Tampere in Finland. From Tampere airport we then had to get a bus to Tampere train station. We then had to travel by train for an hour and a half from Tampere to Jyvaskyla. At Jyvaskyla airport we were greeted by Vera our tutor, we contacted Vera once we had landed in Tampere to arrange a time to meet her in Jyvaskyla. We then travelled by bus with Veera to our apartment in Kortepohja (Veera had collected the keys earlier that day). Yes there was a three day orientation programme starting the day after we arrived in Jyvaskyla. I had travelled to Jyvaskyla with Matthew, who was also taking part in the Erasmus programme with me. The University campus was situated in Jyvaskyla city which was very convenient. The campus was big but similar in size to the campus in UL. We were mainly situated in the Health Sciences building which was centrally placed on campus. 2. Accommodation Was accommodation pre-arranged for you? Please describe the type of accommodation you had, referring to quality, facilities, convenience, shopping, furnishings, cost? What kind of household items did you need to bring with you? The area was it near or far away from the college/city, was it safe, where should you avoid when going out in town? Were there any hidden costs, Local taxes etc? If accommodation was not pre-arranged were there problems in finding accommodation? Have you any tips for getting accommodation? Any good addresses for temporary accommodation? How do you re-claim deposit? Rent subsidies, any available? We had applied for accommodation when filling out the application forms for the university. Myself and Matthew were given a two bed apartment in which we shared. The apartment was very basic but had most things you would require. The bedrooms were spacious, which was good as this is where you spent your time when at home, we were in one of the older buildings so our apartment had a very small kitchen (you couldn t open the fridge at oven at the same time) It contained a big fridge, an oven and two cooking rings, sink, cupboards and counter. The bathroom was small put contained a decent shower also. When you arrive a survival kit is available containing all your bed linen, plates, cutlery, glasses, mugs, pots. We did have to buy our own frying pan and kettle as these weren t available in the survival kit. We lived in Kortepohja, which is about a 10 to 15 minute cycle or half an hour walk from campus. This was about the same distance from the city centre. Jyvaskyla was a very safe city, in the whole semester we never encountered any trouble happening on the streets both day or night. When leaving a form is

3 available to return to the accommodation office regarding your bank details, so that they can return your deposit after house inspection. It is returned in late June. 3. Selection of Courses Could you do all the subjects you had planned to do? Do you recommend any particular lectures, seminars? What information is available to help you choose: prospectus, guidance from lecturers? What is the format for assessment? Does continuous assessment exist? When do examinations take place? What is the procedure for obtaining a transcript of results? We had selected courses to do before leaving for Finland, however we did have to change a number of choices when we arrived. This was due to some courses not being available or some courses overlapping on the timetable. There is module information on the college website to read when trying to choose courses. A booklet is also given during orientation which gives updated information. Assessment varied depending on the course or lecturer. Some just have examinations at the end of the course, many required completing assignments/essays after each lecture, other practical courses required active participation in the course. Modules generally only run for 6 weeks of the semester and examinations generally occur at the end of the lectures. Book exams take place maybe three times in a semester. If you fail an exam you can resit it later in the semester. Your transcript of results is sent by post to the student and UL in late June. 4. Integration Was there an orientation session? Was it easy to mix with local students? Suggestions as to how to establish social contact with them. Whom do you suggest students should go to if they have problems? Comment on the language spoken. Did you take a language course? Was this of assistance when getting to know local people? Orientation began on the third of January and lasted for three days. This was helpful in getting to know the college campus and to meet other Erasmus students in our department and other departments. We didn t get to know many Finnish students, as you spend most of your time with other Erasmus students. The ESN (Erasmus Student Network) organise many events for Erasmus students and these are the best way to get to know other people. All Finnish people speak fluent English, which is very helpful when trying to settle in and when finding your way around the campus or city. Generally all Erasmus students have very good English so it is very easy to get talking to them. Finnish was available as a module in college but I chose not to tale it. Finnish is a very difficult language and generally you don t need Finnish as everybody speaks perfectly good English.

4 5. Registration Procedures (a) Local or national authorities Did you have to get an identity card-where and when? What do you need (birth cert in English or in Local tongue? Passport photographs, how many? What does it cost, Should you register with the university first so as to have proof that you are a student? (b) Registration with the university Where, how and when? What do you need? Should you register separately for exams? If yes, how? (a) In Finland if you are staying the country for 3 consecutive months or more you need to register with the police regarding your stay. We didn t register with the police as we did travel to Budapest during the first 3 months so we would then be excluded from the stated period of stay. I also do not remember if anybody else I got to know from other countries registered with the police. This will only become important if you have any issue that requires you to deal with the police. (b) Before early October you need to register with the university through their online mobility site. Details of this site are provided by the college after UL has informed them of your desire to complete Erasmus in their college. All important information needed is provided on this website. In college your college ID is required for exams and for gaining discounts in the college cafeterias, you will apply for the student card before you leave for Finland and receive it when you arrive. You need to register for on the University s student portal called Korppi, when you are going to be taking an exam. 6. Academic Differences Class size, approachability of staff, exams, self-study contact hours. Any tips on the Library? Class sizes varied with each module some classes only contained a maximum of 15 to 20 people while other classes may have had 200 people. The lecturers are very approachable when you need to clarify things or when helping you to solve a problem. I found lecturers were also quick to reply to any s sent to them. Exams need to be registered for on Korppi, other than that they are the same set-up as in UL. I found it can be hard to find books in the library but it is possible to register for a book online and you can renew this book as much as possible if demand for it isn t high.

5 7. Student Clubs & Socs Names, activities? Advice on the best clubs or societies to join in order to see the surrounding area and/or make friends. The ESN organise a lot of activities for Erasmus students and I found that these were the best way to get to know people. Their events varied from parties in pubs and clubs, sauna parties, café lingua (where students can learn the home language of other Erasmus students) and they also organise trips to Lapland and to St. Petersburg. Educational departments may also have nights out for just their department, making it a good way to get to know local people in your classes. 8. Town Things to see and do? Jyvaskyla is a very small city and overall there isn t a huge amount to see and do. Nights out are the main attraction and there is a wide variety of clubs, so there is something to suit everyone. I would recommend going to see the local ice hockey team playing, they are one of the top teams in Finland and tickets are very cheap. The tower looking over the entire city is also another attraction to see. Ice skating is available on the lake during February and March and is a cool experience. Skiing and snowboarding are available at the local ski resort and it only cost 17 to hire equipment and use the slopes on Tuesdays and Fridays which is very reasonable. 9. Transport Cost? Quickest way of getting around. Student reductions and how to avail of them. Buses run directly from Kortepohja to the city on a regular basis but this is more expensive than at home in Ireland and taxis are also expensive. The main mode of transport used by people is cycling. People cycle all year round and it is easier to cycle in the snow and ice than expected. Second hand bikes can be bought relatively cheap, they are well worth the investment as you will need the bike everyday. 10. Cost of Living General cost of living. Things that are extremely expensive or extremely cheap? Overall the general cost of living in Finland is expensive. Everything from milk, bread, meat to alcohol is more expensive than in Ireland. However there is plenty of supermarkets in the city and it is easy to find the best deals. It is more expensive but it is very manageable to control how much you are spending.

6 11. Hints & Tips Places or events that should not be missed? Sports gear to bring? Good book shops? Telephone Cards etc. The skiing and ice skating mentioned above are two events I would highly recommend. Bring plenty of warm clothes, coats, hats, gloves, scarves, thermals as the weather can get very cold. Footwear suitable to snow and ice is also advisable. 12. Language Did you have problems with the language? Could you follow the lectures? Did you find it hard to write essays? What special arrangements were made for foreign students? Language classes: How and when? What level? Were they good? While Finnish is a very hard language to pick up, it wasn t really needed as everybody spoke English. All lectures were very easy to understand and follow as a result of this also. Essays are less strict in terms of referencing in comparison to in UL, having English is also an advantage over students who use it as a second language. Lectures and seminars were provided in English for all Erasmus students.

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