Nearly a year ago I decided to study abroad in Finland. I have been home from the trip since late November and it has been a while since I have updated the blog. I needed time to process the three month experience and feel at home. Our extremely helpful and kind Finland exchange coordinator, Anna Tall of Seinäjoki University of Applied Sciences School of Agriculture and Forestry, said she wished our exchange experience was longer. The three month exchange gave us time to see the differences and similarities between Finland and the USA, and to feel homesick, but was perhaps not long enough for us to process the whole experience. We had a chance to sink our boots into the peat land, but looking back our time in Finland felt very short.
The exchange students quickly adjusted back to our lives in California leaving Finland before winter. I have since graduated from Cal Poly. As I am applying for jobs, my experience in Finland always comes up. I am frequently reminded of the experiences and friends from this land of fields and forests.
The exchange students were able to work with Cal Poly to allow the Finnish classes to count for general education units. This is an exciting accomplishment, it allows for greater opportunities for future exchange students in agreement with Seinäjoki University of Applied Sciences. Additionally, plans are quickly progressing for five Finnish students to come to Cal Poly this fall. I hope they will be able to blog and share their experience with the friends at home. Anna Tall, the SeAMK international coordinator and our sort of Mother Hen while we were on the trip, has been working very hard to make this happen.
Ag Circle Magazine published my article “Finns Live in the Forest” that briefly summarizes the Finnish exchange experience. Click the title below and read my article on page four.
My biggest take away from the experience was the connection between people and the land. I learned about a different style of resource and land use, and the cooperation between agriculture and forestry.
When in Finland I often heard that “Finns live in the forest.” I found this to be true.
This article is a good way to wrap up a study abroad trip I will never forget.