Since I was a kid, I have been very interested in foreign languages and cultures. I studied various languages in school and continued to do so also on my free time. My love towards new people, languages and cultures grew more and more as I got older and I took every chance I was offered to travel abroad with school, with my family or by myself. When I was 19-years-old my life took an unexpected turn, which back then, felt like a failure, but retrospectively speaking, gave my life a new purpose and direction. Without that, I can pretty surely say that I wouldn’t be sitting here writing this today.
Right after graduating from high school, I applied for different business universities here in Finland, but (un)fortunately didn’t get in. One summer night after I had gotten the disappointing news, I was wondering and worrying what to do with my future, when an acquaintance suggested to apply for a university in Norway in a “left-over spot”. After having a further look at my options, I came across to a very interesting one year German study in Kristiansand, south of Norway, to which I applied, and anxiously waited to hear back during the next weeks. One evening in late July while at my family’s summer cottage, my phone beeped and I could see the acceptance mail notification on my lock screen! Needless to say, I was exalted, although it also hit me that I only had a few weeks to find accommodation, get flights and arrange all the practicalities in order to move to my new home country.
My year in Norway was absolutely memorable; I made multiple friends from all over the world, and my days were filled by new languages, studies, cultures and experiences, but as with everything, all good things come to an end way too fast, and so did my adventure in Norway. I came back to Finland, found work and started wondering what next. I honestly missed my time in Norway, and to be frank, I still very often do, but after the language studies at the University of Agder, it felt natural to continue with the same path. Hence, I applied to the University of Jyväskylä for Finnish language studies and to my luck got accepted. My longing for the international atmosphere made me look for an international community in the university and that is how I found ESN Jyväskylä right here, in my hometown of more than 20 years. In my freshman year I was an active member, helped around in the events, spent time with the exchange students and local international students and attended ESN meetings locally as well as nationwide. I felt so home in the international atmosphere, that my longing for abroad was, if not gone, but at least not as desperate.
After four years I made it back to Norway and wanted to retake a selfie with this buddy
During 2017 I worked at the ESN Jyväskylä board as Vice President, got to travel to meet other members in national and international meetings and organized the monthly Pub Quizzes for the international students. In 2018 I was elected to be the President of ESN Jyväskylä, and now half way through the year, I can truly say that I would not change a moment of it. I am honoured that I get to work with all of you and that I have such an amazing team around me.
ESN is all about students helping students. Every semester a bunch of exchange students arrive to Jyväskylä and offer a perfect chance to make new friends and unforgettable memories and to get international without leaving your hometown.
With my story, I guess I’m trying to say that misfortunes can be blessings in disguise and that if you get the chance, don’t hesitate to apply for studies abroad, or at least try to seek the international experiences at your home city. I can say with all of my heart that I doubt you will regret it!
ESN Jyväskylä is now recruiting new active members and also an additional application round for the board is currently open – new members are super warmly welcomed!