Dina Murtazina studies International Business at VAMK. To get the most of your time in Vaasa, you have to make friends and be active all year round.
"Enjoy the student life, you will miss it"
How does it feel to switch from a city of five million people to a place with population of a tad under 70 000?
Dina Murtazina made the leap in 2019, as she moved from St Petersburg, Russia to Vaasa in Western Finland. She had no idea what to expect from this life change, only a distant thought of attending a Finnish university after high school.
– My friend’s son was planning to study in Finland, so I adopted the idea from him and soon was attending a language course to prepare myself.
Dina’s first choice was originally Jyväskylä University of Applied Sciences. When se browsed the options and curricula of many universities in Finland, it became clear that Vaasa would be a more suitable place for her.
– I love the sea and that played a big part in choosing between JAMK in Jyväskylä and VAMK in Vaasa. Also, I have always wanted to visit Sweden and Vaasa is located on the west coast, so it sounded nice.
Eventually she changed her study choice from Jyväskylä to Vaasa and moved to Finland. She had a couple of friends in Helsinki but didn’t know anyone from Vaasa.
– This is very important to understand if you are moving from another country. There is no one waiting for you, so you must be open and make a lot of friends. Even if you have a few close friends, they might eventually move away from Finland. That is why you need a wide circle of friends.
Dina began to study International Business in 2019 and is now attending the last year of her bachelor’s degree programme.
Studying at VAMK has been a nice experience. At first, she had surprisingly much paperwork to take care of.
– Fortunately, I had my parents with me the first few days. Nobody tells you what documents you need, so I recommend you would find out before you move to another country.
The studying itself is a lot different in Finland than it is in Russia. Dina says there is a lot more group work and presentations in Finland.
– After the studies you are not afraid of speaking in front of people. But the students also have free time.
Dina and her friends often spent time at the campus library Tritonia, went to movies and cooked food from all around the world.
– In International Business degree programme, you get to know students from everywhere. My roommate is Indian and makes super spicy food!
Almost too peaceful
First thing Dina noticed in Vaasa was the peace. She felt relaxed and enjoyed the silence and the nature. At some point, the honeymoon was over, and she found herself missing the big city vibe.
– It is very easy to focus on studying in Vaasa. There are not so many clubs to go to, so you end up spending less time partying. But if you have good friends, you can make the most of the few clubs.
One thing she wants to stress, is the beautiful nature in Finland. She encourages everyone to travel around Finland and get to know different places.
– I have even been to Lapland and visited Santa’s place! The summer in Vaasa is wonderful with beaches and sun.
Another thing to consider is attending exchange programmes. Dina is leaving for Spain in February to study at one of VAMK’s many collaboration universities.
– That is something many people don’t realize: that you can study abroad and go to yet another country to study more. You must enjoy student life because some day you will miss it.