In November 2017 I was still enjoying my exchange semester in Prague, sipping a nice beer at the pub near the dorms while nervously waiting for news back home. Just a few weeks earlier I had made my big decision concerning the following year and my life back in Finland, as I had applied to become the international organizer of JKY for 2018. As my exchange had been at least as awesome as I could have expected after two years of adversaries in the international student life of Tampere, I had the desire to bring my international responsibilities to the next and ultimate level.
Finally, I got the message of my election and felt happy and relieved. There were still plenty of great weeks in Prague ahead, yet there was now at least something to wait for after the inevitable emptiness in the form of post-Erasmus depression. Looking back to those moments, when so many things in my life were so different and I had only a blurry idea of what would soon follow, I can only be grateful of my decision which lead to all these things I have got the chance to experience this year.
The experiences during my own exchange made it even clearer for me that I want to do my own part in providing activities and networks for international students coming to Tampere. The Finnish student life is so great and unique and the best thing we can do is to show it to fellow students from other countries. There are no losers here: for Finns, happy international students mean vital connections, life-long friendships and better opportunities not only for own exchange but for the whole future career.
And of course, it never gets old seeing international students speaking their very first cute Finnish words, startling after seeing an ice hockey tackle for the first time or giving their verdict after the first bite of Mustamakkara. Those little priceless moments make all this volunteer effort worth it, just as seeing people enjoying the events you have managed to turn into reality. Big thanks to the glorious international organizers of Boomi, Staabi and Iltakoulu, as well as the JKY Board and of course all the international and international-minded people I’ve had the pleasure to meet during this busy yet absolutely rewarding year so far!
The autumn semester is halfway through and there are still many awesome international things coming up! The second International Sitsit by JKY and ESN FINT is taking place November 21, and we’ll also reward the best International Checklist performers then. Other upcoming activities include Football Sunday this week, karaoke and board game evenings and more! And if you want to be part of the story of connecting international students to the local student community next semester, remember that the recruitment of new international tutors starts in November.