Erasmus Turku

Make a presentation of yourself.

I’m a 23-year-old German IT student.

Describe briefly the place you are from.

I was born and raised in Hamburg, the second biggest northernmost city in Germany – you should visit it someday, it is wonderful :D A huge port, two big rivers, lots of nature and parks around, several huge universities and (let's not forget) one of the biggest party districts in Europe; )

Tell us how the city where you study is.

I did my Bachelor in Hamburg.

What do you think about your home university? (Before you go on Erasmus) Be honest; )

I did my Bachelor at the Hamburg University of Applied Sciences, which has a pretty good reputation in Germany, which I agree with – the teacher/student ratio is pretty good for German standards and the quality of education is really high – of course with a practical focus.

What encouraged you to go on Erasmus? Reasons, etc..

I chose a study program called European Computer Science, which is basically Computer Science with a compulsory Erasmus year and (theoretically) a double degree from your home and a partner university. I did this because I definitely wanted to study abroad but thought I would not have the guts to go if it was not compulsory.

When you decided to leave, what countries / destinations did you have in mind and why?

Due to the study program, I had several partner universities and countries to choose from - France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Romania and Finland. At first I wanted to go to Portugal (of course, who doesn’t want hot sun and beach parties? ) but it turned out that I would have had to learn Portuguese. Eventually I chose Finland (Turku, the 5th biggest city in the South-Western area) because all the courses were in English and because, as a guy who loves Metal, I thought it’d be awesome to visit the “Metal Country” and have the amazing nature surroundings – and it was totally the right decision. I made my decision about the destination about 10 months ahead.

Once you definitely knew the destination

  • How did you feel?

  • Good :D I finally knew where I was going and was excited.

  • What did you think about the place?

  • I had all the clichés in mind, like silent people who are drunk all the time and listening to metal, of course the great landscape, cold and dark winter, reindeers, Santa and so on.

  • What did your closest people (family, friends, colleagues... ) tell you or think about it?

  • Most of the people thought by the name of the city Turku that I wanted to go to Turkey, but after an explanation they thought it was quite nice and exotic. And of course the Metal people envied me a lot; )

  • If you had the option to choose another destination, what would it have been?

  • Coimbra in Portugal.

For how long is / was your stay? Do you think that it is/was enough? Would you have liked to have stayed longer? / Would you like to stay longer?

My stay was from the end of August until the end of June, so almost a year. I think it is a perfect duration for an Erasmus exchange, you totally shouldn’t go for just half a year, because then after you just got to know all the people and got familiar with the new surroundings, you would already have to say goodbye – I’ve seen many people doing just one term and almost all of them regretted not having chosen two terms. Of course finally saying goodbye was also hard for me and I would really like to return (and I will, even only for vacation).

How was the paperwork, formalities, etc..? What do you think about all this?

As my stay abroad was compulsory, it was not that complicated, because I got plenty of help from my program coordinator. The only stressing part was writing all the reports afterwards – like this one; ) As I also wrote my Bachelor thesis in Finland, I was worried that there would be difficulties with the formalities of the acceptance, but it all went well and the coordinators really did everything to make it as simple as possible – I could also spontaneously change courses in Finland without much effort.

How is the city where you live or you used to live during your Erasmus?

Turku is a city on the South-Western coast of Finland, in the middle of the nature and next to the biggest archipelago area in Europe. It has about 170. 000 inhabitants and was Finland’s capital until 1906, now it is the fifth biggest city in Finland. It has a huge port and there are ferries going to Sweden and Estonia, as well as a small airport and diversified nightlife. There are several universities, two state universities, one polytechnic and two private ones, all of them with English-language degrees or Erasmus programs. A lot of companies and start-ups are in biology, chemistry and IT industry, but there basically is something for everyone.


Where did you stay (residence, apartment, dorm)? Explain how it was.

I stayed in the main student housing, Ylioppilaskylä, and I recommend you all to stay there if you want to live more or less central in the city and enjoy amazing Erasmus parties! Most of the Erasmus students live there, it is cheap (about 290€/month) and within walking distance from the universities. You have your own apartment with bathroom and fridge, but a shared kitchen with 11 other people on your floor (trust me, it’s amazing, just come out of your room and meet them! )

Well, what about the Host University? What can you say about it?

Turku Ammatikorkeakoulu (TUAS) is located in a district called the Science Park, with many important companies of its sectors around, and has a very modern building which is very well equipped. The student cafeteria is the cheapest in town (basically, all you can eat for 1, 50€, but of course it's not a king’s meal) and there are many English-language courses to choose from, but unfortunately there is not a lot of research going on and no English-language project for exchange students.

Compared to your home university, what advantages and disadvantages do you get at the host university?

Teachers and staff are way more flexible than in Germany, and the lectures are way better organized and in a way smaller scale. There is more budget for student projects, but not a lot of research going on, compared to my home university, which also was in applied sciences.

During Erasmus, it is common to go on trips, taking advantage of the stay in other countries and places. Did you already go somewhere? Do you have any trips in mind? Where do you want to travel? Where have you been?

- Lapland: Went on an ESN trip, with about 100 people, which I knew all. It was AMAZING. Short summary: Staying in wooden cottages, crazy sauna and snow action, Northern lights, sledding, skiing, great parties, visiting Santa Clause village (Joulupukki), riding reindeers, driving snow mobile and husky sledge, day trip to Norway with a bath in the arctic ocean, and everything without daylight in the arctic winter!


- Sweden: Been on a trip organized by a former Erasmus student, to Stockholm (one of the most amazing capitals in Europe) and Uppsala (a beautiful old town, North of Stockholm). It’s really only a cheap ferry trip away, and you can get cheap alcohol on the way!

- Russia: Also went on an ESN trip, the long one to St. Petersburg and Moscow. The trip is pretty expensive, but definitely worth it! St. Petersburg is the most beautiful city in my opinion, but Moscow looks a lot more “Russian” and if you’ve been on the Red Square you won’t forget it for a lifetime. I also visited the Cold War museum and did the limousine tour in St. Petersburg!

- Archipelago Trip: Self-organized, you can find really cheap cottages online, most of them in the middle of nowhere and directly at the seaside. All the islands are beautiful, I can recommend Nauvo / Nago.


- Aland: We have been there on Mid-Summer's eve, and went by boat to a tiny island where we spent the night. One of the most amazing experiences in my life – there is not much to do in the capital Marienhamn, but the main island and its surroundings are astonishingly beautiful and also just a short ferry trip away from Turku. I’d also recommend going there by bike.

Unfortunately, I missed going to Tallinn (the capital of Estonia), which is said to be very beautiful, check it out!

There are also many kinds of cruises, you should definitely do HELLCRUISE at least once, it is organized every term by a former Erasmus student, 24 hours of crazy party on a cruise going to Stockholm and back, without getting out!

Finally, the most important part. Tell us what Erasmus is generally like in the place you are or were (as applicable). How are the parties, the other Erasmus students, social life, student organizations, Erasmus associations and so on (the more you write, the better! ).

Erasmus is the best experience in your life, just do it! Join as many events as possible, go outside your room and meet the people in your floor and other floors, in the beginning they are as afraid as you, but don’t waste time, you will regret it in the end when you have to say goodbye! Travel a lot, join your ESN section, they can help you out with everything and are your connector to the whole social life, you also save a lot of money for trips and parties. You can try to learn Finnish, but it is really hard, for most people I would rather recommend some Swedish which is easier to get; ) Live your life!

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