Waking up one cold morning and realizing that it wasn’t a dream – that’s what being in a student exchange program is all about. For five months, I relived that sensation every day while participating in a semester student exchange program in Helsinki, Finland, studying at Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences. The melodies of a different city and the tones of foreign languages buzzed around in my head during those wonderful months abroad. I was able to see not only what made Finland so amazing, but how people from all around Europe went through the same experiences I did. I became friends with people from Hungary, the Netherlands, Peru, Russia, France, and so many other wonderful countries while living with an Irishman, two Italians, a Romanian, and a Turkish student. This experience allowed me to call complete strangers my family, a family that is spread out across the world waiting for a chance to see each other again. My studies and experiences in Finland are something I will never be able to forget and hopefully some that I’ll be able to relive.
If you, the reader, ever believe that there is nothing else beyond the coasts of our beautiful island, you have no idea what you are missing out on. Travel, explore, and break the barriers that confine your young heart, because a soul that hasn’t traveled is a soul that has not lived.
“We travel, some of us forever, to seek other places, other lives, other souls.” – Anais Nin