You have a chance to have a good education while you are living a very nice experience - Beatrice Lima from Brazil, our new International Student Ambassador, talks about her studies in Lapland, about being out of her comfort zone and finding the snow to be magical.
“I like it here. It is small, cheerful and snowy. People are sometimes complaining about the weather. I actually love the snow. It is my first time seeing it. It is so magical!”
Tell us something about yourself.
I did my bachelor degree in tourism. I did the whole course in Brazil. After that, I had an internship exchange in USA, Florida. I came here because of the high level of education. Also, because I wanted to go somewhere that is very different from back home in Brazil, something out of my comfort zone.
Did you face any challenges?
I thought the weather is going to be the hardest challenge, that I could not handle it. However, it has been good so far. It is more challenging at grocery stores because I am a bit lazy to translate everything, so sometimes it is hard to recognize products.
Did you develop any special skills while studying in Lapland?
I finished my bachelor in 2010, so a long time ago. I learned many new concepts about how to study from University of Lapland. I have also learned to live with other people, very different people. You learn how to adapt to a new environment and that is very nice.
How is it to study here?
Everything is very different. The structure, the buildings, facilities. Everything is modern and digitalized. Semesters are split in half. We have first semester courses, second semester courses. Here we have more breaks from studies, than back in Brazil. The amount of assignments are larger here. I like that we have different types of evaluations. Last semester I had to make a learning journal.
In Brazil, it is just assignment or an exam at the end of the course. Here, we have to write a journal. I think that is very interesting. It is a different way of evaluation and learning. You are also able to interact with different teachers and lecturers inside one course. Besides that, we had the opportunity to attend lecture from teachers from different universities and if you are interested, you can attend it. I took Linda McDowell’s lecture about how body and work are related. How body influences the work, and the opposite.
Does Lapland feel like home?
I do not feel like it is my home yet. As I said in the beginning, it is different and out of my comfort zone. I prefer big cities, and hot weather. It is different here. We always have conversations with my classmates on – to live here, or not to live here. I really do not regret it, though. I like it here. It is small, cheerful and snowy. People are sometimes complaining about the weather. I actually love the snow. It is my first time seeing it. It is so magical!
Did you make any friends here?
Most of my friends are my classmates. I participated in the Finnish Friend Program. I also have friends from there. Anyway, Kuntotie is a good place to make friends, because everyone live so close to each other.
How are you spending your free time?
I love cinemas. I usually go there. We sometimes just go to the city center to walk around malls. I like books a lot. This weather is perfect for reading, to stay home under the blanket and read in a cozy environment. I sometimes attend some events in the city center and meet my friends.
Why did you apply to become an International Student Ambassador?
I wanted to apply because I thought it would be a nice way to participate and to interact with university, and to develop this admission journey. All of us have gone through the process, so we know what was easy, what was not. I love to contribute in that way. I am very proud. It gave me the opportunity to meet more people and to make other student’s journeys easier and smoother.
Would you give any tips to new incoming students?
Before applying, take a good time to prepare all documents you need. Prepare it in advance, so you do not have to be in a hurry and stress. In the beginning, everything looks so different and hard. I did not know how I am going to be with the weather and the language, but everything went ok. We all survived with our English skills and we had a chance to learn Finnish.
It is so unique opportunity in so many ways, like being in contact with so many different things. It makes you grow as a person. It is not just about education. You have a chance to have a good education while you are living a very nice experience.
Was there something unexpected that happened to you while studying here?
I feel I came prepared. I knew it is going to be cold and dark. I think what surprised me the most was my reaction. I thought it would be much harder. However, sometimes I feel like I react better than some Finns [laugh].
Would you like to share something with us?
University of Lapland is a nice place and gives you a nice opportunity to meet new friends. Even if it is just for a while, you have a chance to visit so many places and attractions. Do not be afraid. It is going to be all right, it is going to be great. When we decide to do something big in our lives, it might be scary. You might feel like it is not a good thing to do, but try it.
Did you experience any funny moments in Lapland?
I am buying a lot of milk. When I bought it for the first time, I thought it was a whole milk, because most of the people were buying it. In Brazil people drink whole milk, so I thought, yes – that is the one. I kept drinking it for 3 months. I translated it afterwards and realized it was skin milk. I have been eating many things like that, not knowing what it actually is.