In Finland
In Finland
  • Lim Sunmin
  • 승인 2011.06.06 20:37
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In Fall 2008, I could be a friend with exchange students, listening to English courses.  Because I wanted to make their boring exchange student’s life happy, I introduced my friends to them, and participated in school jump rope competition together.  I felt being an exchange student was a very challenging thing to do during school life after talking to them.  Also, I thought I would not have another chance to go abroad for a long time when I graduate and have a job.  So, I decided to become an exchange student, thinking this is the last time in my life.  It seemed very hard to apply to be an exchange student as a senior.  So, I applied for a leave of absence, prepared for TOEFL by myself, and took a summer semester to supplement insufficient credits.
After I passed all the tests-paper selection and interview- I could choose one country, Switzerland or Finland. I selected Finland because I could be there for one year.  I thought I could know about that country in a way at least after experiencing that culture for a year.  With another exchange student, I left for Finland by plane.  Though the time was very late, my tutor waited for us in Tammerfors Airport.  I lay down on the bed after meeting my tutor. This was the start.
At first for some time, the dormitory was so quiet because I went there when they were on vacation.  And more and more exchange students came to the dormitory as the opening of the semester approached.  The day before the opening of the semester, many students gathered and played many games together.  Also, because all the students use the bathroom, shower stall, and kitchen together, I had many chances to have conversations about their culture, food and other things with foreign students.  Among the many students, I became most intimate with Anna Werner from Germany.  Finland has a vacation for one week during the semester.  In the vacation, Anna, a Korean friend, and I took a trip to Latvia and Lithuanian.  But we had problem during travel.  During the travel, Anna’s disadvantages that I could not be seen on campus were seen. I like walking streets even though I lose the way, but Anna hates that.  So, I suggested Anna to roam separated and meet again at the time we set.  However, Anna hated my suggestion and the spots I visited as well.  I hated Anna. But, I endured my feeling for our journey.  After our  journey, I still hated Anna, but I did not show it during the whole semester.  However, when Anna went back to Germany, I noticed that I had affection to Anna even though I hated her.   After Anna took the airplane to Germany, I felt empty.

I spent summer vacation having many trips.  When the next semester started, I already experienced many parts of Finnish school, so I became falling into several bad habits and being lazy.  Especially, I was really indolent in vacation because in the summer semester, there are not many courses that exchange students can take.  As time passed, I was annoyed that I did not have many things to do as a student.  The annoyance was compounded by the gloomy weather.  I got to be like this because I did not have any goal that I wanted to achieve in Finland.
Without my knowledge, one year in Finland was already passed and the time to turn to Korea came.  In the way to come back home, I thought about what I got from Finland. Perhaps, that is new experience in that country unlike any other places.  Finland has completely different atmosphere from many developed countries that we know such as America and Japan.  In Finland, there are many discounts just because I am a student.  Especially, the tuition fee is free and the dormitory is only 250 Euros per month.  Moreover, Finnish students even receive a stipend from the government.  So, no one stops studying because of money.  Not only these policies but also people’s characteristics were amazing for me.  All Finnish are honest and kind. Many people helped me when I could not find the way, and not a single time did I feel I was discriminated against because I was a foreigner.  During one year in Finland, not all things were happy and pleasurable.  However, if I had not gone to Finland as an exchange student, I could not have met my friend Anna, or experienced another developed country.  I think I am very lucky because I could go to Finland but not other lands.

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