«Notes from Finland»

«Notes from Finland»

14 December 2020

“You don’t feel tired after classes; you feel energized and inspired,” says Mikhail Ekimov, the 3rd year student of the Institute of International Programs and the participant of Double Degree program with the Kajaani University of Applied Sciences

In the current pandemic situation, participation in international mobility programs has become challenging. Though it has never been easy… However, obstacles can never stop a person from achieving goals set. Mikhail told us about that and shared his study abroad experience. 

Both theatre and study abroad

Just as the theater begins with the cloakroom, as the great Stanislavky once said, the study abroad starts with the residence permit. My friends and I faced a lot of difficulties and misunderstandings but, finally, we got the residence permit after almost 2 months of nervous waiting.

Then we found out that there is the only company that could transport us to Finland due to the situation with the closed borders. As you can imagine it was overpriced and cost us 6500 rubles (87$). Usually it costs 1000 rubles (14$). But our goal was so close, so we didn’t have a choice.

Fortunately, I wasn’t alone. With my friends we overcame all the difficulties and turned ridiculous situations into jokes. It encouraged us more. We were listening our first lecture when we were on board the train enjoying Finnish scenery.

It was difficult to gain insight into all the information we needed: schedule, organization, registration and many other practical issues. Especially, when everything is closed because of the COVID situation. Everything went well but nervously.

It’s adventure time

From the first day we’ve been discovering this quiet little town and its surroundings.

I am always “hungry” for new experience and want to enjoy this beautiful nature with its adventurous atmosphere as much as possible.  So I decided to go fishing here because I am an experienced fisherman. I got an official fishing permit and bought necessary fishing-tackle. Fishing helped me to explore the area.

Wild animals live here nearby the people. Sometimes I see hares and foxes slowly going about the area.

Study time is happy time

The study process is so pleasant. Stylish and modern University’s buildings make you want to go to study there full-time. I also really like the interactive process which includes very interesting stories from teachers, detailed presentations, teamwork and various creative tasks during classes.

Here your opinion and experience are important. Teachers are trying to understand everyone. They are also learning from such interaction in a way. This is very inspiring. The atmosphere is absolutely relaxed and teachers really like what they do. You can communicate with them and discuss modern topics and problems. They are not afraid to express their opinion and say what they think.

If a student for some reason wants to study remotely, then no one forbids him to work from another comfortable place. Just imagine how cool it is: you took your laptop to the lake, to the mountain or into the forest and study there. I practiced it many times. You don’t feel tired after classes; you feel energized and inspired.

Since October, there have been quite a lot of interesting and creative tasks and group projects. And there were almost no restrictions. A few times the task was to create presentation right at the lecture in just twenty minutes and present it. It was so fascinating. I think it helps to develop the ability to think rationally in the short period of time.


Also I want to say how hard it is to study in English. Basically, if you are really focused on the topic you will understand everything. Of course, there are words and phrases that you have never used or heard, but the main idea of the text is clear. It's really hard to understand professional texts in English. It takes a lot of time to translate and understand. It’s a hard work!

I realized here one important thing: don’t try to translate every phrase into Russian. You need to eliminate Russian language in your head and rebuild your brain to perceive, analyze, and form ideas entirely in English. It's difficult and it doesn't always work out, but the more practice you have, the better it works.

One thing left to say

Thank you UMTE. I am very glad that our University is more modern than many state universities. I am also glad that we have a lot of young teachers who are trying to give us as fresh and up-to-date information as possible, who are trying to help us achieve what we really want in our lives.

I am so happy that I chose UMTE!