The orientation course was conducted in English for all of the incoming students, and gave us general information on making our studies at UH more successful and pleasant. The orientation is also a great way to meet other international students. The university gives each department student tutors to help orient the new, incoming students to city and campus life. Basically, the orientation sessions give information on practical matters, language courses, necessary supplies for studies, networks, IT and library services, travel, student services and student organizations. Orientation also involves department faculty, in which they give presentations about their classes offered, how to register for their courses, and an overall ‘meet-and-greet’ with the people working in the department. This blog is going to have more of a ‘daily journal’ format, as it is easier to convey the schedule and events of the week!
Our last presentation of the day dealt with student union groups at the faculty. It was nice to have UH students talking to us, rather than staff! They were very jovial and inviting, and gave a ‘real’ perspective of what being a student at UH is like. They also invited us to some fun student activities like the ‘freshman party’ and fall student moose hunt.
THURSDAY SEPTEMBER 2: A faculty presentation was give to all new and incoming students. This is where the Dean of International Affairs spoke to us and assigned our tutor groups. We were also given tons of information about being an exchange student at UH. The exchange program at UH is very popular. In the large lecture hall, there was standing room only! Luckily, I got there early and managed to get a good seat. Breaking out into our tutor groups, I noticed some new faces There are four other ATLANTIS students currently studying at UH that I had not met before; a girl and boy from Estonia, and a girl and boy from Poland. They had all just completed their studies at SLU and are on their way to the US in the spring. It was great to finally meet them. We were then assigned our computer passwords and new UH email addresses, allowing us to log into the UH system and register for classes, use UH resources, and change our addresses to our current Helsinki addresses! We then took off to get our student discounted bus passes. Public transportation is a must in Helsinki; they make it both convenient and affordable for students. Our group set off to the city center by train to visit the City Centre UH campus, and get general information about practical matters, a run-through of the orientation week’s activities, Helsinki and Finnish transportation and travel, Finnish residence permits (I got mine this summer while in Houghton), population registration, the Finnish Language Courses and Language Centre, and sports and fitness opportunities available. Finnish people in general, are very concerned with their health and live very active lifestyles. Biking and Nordic walking are two of the most popular activities. The university threw a ‘Freshman’ party for the new students, to allow them to get to meet each other in a more relaxed atmosphere.
SATURDAY 4 & SUNDAY 5 SEPTEMBER: The weekend was full of selecting classes, working on some writing and statistical projects that are still in progress at Michigan Tech, and getting basic paperwork organized. I have already started my SLU application for the Spring semester, as it takes some time to get a Swedish acceptance letter, address, insurance, and residency permit. It was a much needed break from the structured group scheduling and group socials. I was in need of some alone time.