My grand adventure officially came to an end just over a week ago and I am back home in Northern California reflecting on everything I just experienced. The more I think back on this trip, the more I realize how much I grew in just four weeks thanks to study abroad. Aside from being an amazing time to see more of the world, it was time to challenge myself and break down anxiety.
Looking back on four weeks in Finland, I can confidently say that studying abroad was one of the best decisions of not only my college career, but my life. I explored places I never expected to see, I took classes that just aren’t offered anywhere else, I met new friends from both SDSU and around the world, and I had the time of my life. So, why were there so many tears the last week?
Week 3 classes kicked off on Monday here in Finland. This week brings refugee resettlement and integration, a very interesting, but very emotionally heavy course. Within a couple days, I learned so much about the refugee crisis throughout Europe and how Finland handles the influx of refugees into this country. In sum, Finland focuses on seeing refugees as humans deserving of new chances and setting them up for future success.
My six-week trip through Scandinavia (finally) kicked off on May 17. I will spend the first four and a half weeks in Finland, touring Helsinki and taking courses in Jyväskylä. So far, about a week and a half in, I have thoroughly enjoyed every part of Finland: the beautiful scenery, the evident history, the unique teaching style, the list goes on. It is hard not to compare back to life in San Diego, but I am definitely finding things in Finland that are quite brilliant.