Finland was my first option that I had chosen to go to as part of my Erasmus study abroad programme. I had always wanted to visit a Nordic country and Tampere was my only option. At first I was not very familiar with this city and had to do some online research to find out some information. As soon as I got to know that it was the most student friendly city in Finland my mind was set to go there.
The first Finnish person that I ever spoke to was my tutor, who had arrived at the airport to pick me up. My first impression itself was great. She was very welcoming and friendly to me. I had read somewhere that Finnish people do not like “small talk” but my tutor was happy to engage in conversation with me while I brought up certain topics and questions about Finland.
My accommodation in Tampere is a drive away from my university so each day I have to take a bus ride of about 12-15 minutes to get to my university. But I soon found out this was not going to be a problem since the transport system is so efficient here. There is a monthly bus pass which is available for students at a low cost of about 33 euros. With this pass I am able to travel anywhere in Tampere with unlimited usage. You put money into your card once every month. There are buses on average 10-12 minutes to my university and city centre so travelling is not an issue for me. Also the city has good transport links to other cities such as Helsinki and Turku all at an affordable travel price.
Now about the city itself… Coming from Glasgow, Scotland, I was not sure how the city would measure up to the Scottish city. I love the city life, the buzz, nightlife, restaurants etc. Tampere has it all. The city is filled with everything that Glasgow has to offer such as nightlife, pubs, restaurants, shopping centres, museums, art galleries, hotels and so much more. But what impressed me the most is that the city is filled with many parks and lakes. It is perfect for going for a walk or run in these parks and swimming in these lakes. They add a countryside “feeling” into this city.
The language of studies in my university is English. In addition to this just about everyone here is well educated in the English language so I have no problem finding my way around the city. The opportunities to play sports are great here, with a cheap fee of 38 euros you can use all gyms and sports facilities in all the universities in the city!
Tampere is also great for nightlife as there are several clubs and pubs. The drinks can be expensive here but with a student card you are guaranteed to get drinks at a cheaper price almost everywhere. There are student discounts on a wide range of categories such as transport, restaurants, museums, pubs, sports and much more!
I have been in Tampere for more than two months now and I already feel like I am home. It is a wonderful city filled with lovely people. I have gotten used to the Finnish lifestyle of using the Sauna and playing mölkky (a stick throwing game) and trying out Tampere’s speciality dish Mustamakkara (black sausage). The weather has been amazing here with bright sunny days so far but I am also looking forward to experiencing the Finnish winter. My exchange study here is only for 4 months but I wish I could study for my whole term. I will definitely be coming back to the city after I finish my semester here and go back to Glasgow. I am looking forward to an enjoyable stay here and experiencing more of Tampere. So for now I say… Kiitos!
Text and photos: Donald John