Hello! Tell us something about yourself.
Hey friends! 🙂 my name is Andrew, and I am a Psychology student from Malta. A little fact about myself is that coming from a place popular among tourists due to our warm and sunny weather, strangely enough, I am more of a winter person!
I would like to use this particular space that the EFPSA Study and Travel Abroad is giving to all Psychology Students in Europe, to share my experience as a psychology Student Exchange participant during the summer of 2015, between Maltese, Slovenian, and Finnish students.
The students spent a week in Malta during the month of July, then it was our turn to go for a week in Slovenia and week in Finland during the months of August, and September respectively.
What was the best thing that happened to you during your experience abroad?
During the exchange, we visited beautiful places, attended very interesting workshops, tasted amazing food, among many other things. However, the most special thing about this exchange, and any other student exchange, is the fact that you get to share these amazing memories with other students, both from your country, and other countries.
What is your favourite word in the language spoken in the country you visited?
A word that comes to mind right now is ‘Hvala’, which is ‘Thank you’ in Slovenian.
What is the best food you had there?
I would say reindeer meat, with mashed potatoes and berry sauce, in Helsinki, Finland. Amazing! Mentioning berry sauce, I was also intrigued by the fact that in Finland, red berry sauce is used with both savory and sweet recipes.
What is the biggest difference between your host and home country?
Whereas Malta is a country popular for beautiful beaches, both Slovenia and Finland are greener countries than Malta, and the breathtaking views of green mountains and valleys in Slovenia, and forests in Finland, is something I will never forget.
Where did you live? Was it difficult finding/renting a place?
I am lucky to say that I had amazing hosts in both countries. I was hosted in the central area of Ljubljana when I was in Slovenia, and hosted by two different hosts in Finland; 3 days in the outskirts of Helsinki, and 2 days in Turku.
I would really use this opportunity to once again thank my hosts for their patience, and their hospitality.
What should a person visiting your host city definitely do there, according to you?
The Castle in the city center of Ljubljana, Slovenia, is something you should visit if you are in the city! The view of the city from the top of the castle is something which cannot be described by words.
In Helsinki, Finland, I would really suggest a ride on the SkyWheel. From up there, you can see quite a few surrounding attractions, such as the Harbour area, and the very well kept market place. When it comes to Turku, I would recommend going for a walk in the park by the river flowing through the centre of the city.
Which cities have you visited during your stay abroad? Tell us about your travelling adventures.
Since I have already mentioned the cities which I was hosted in in the previous question, I would like to use this question as a continuation.
What I really enjoyed in Ljubljana were the chill-out evening in parks, and by the Ljubljanica river. Metelkova is also a place to visit if you’re into street art and nightlife! During our week in Slovenia, we also visited the famous Lake Bled and got to swim in Bohinj!
Among the experiences in Finland, we spent a night in a cottage inside a Forest near Turku. The academic Finnish student ‘dinner’, SitSit, was also a fun experience. It is a dinner involving songs, and rules, and participants are punished in very unorthodox manners if they are caught breaking these rules, or disrespecting the song leaders.
It is unique moments like these make exchange experiences very special, and unforgettable!
Why did you choose this specific university that hosted you?
Slovenia and Finland were countries I always wanted to visit, and I used this exchange opportunity to actually visit both countries 🙂
Of course, I don’t regret it one bit!
What was your favourite course?
A workshop which I really remember was regarding marginalised groups and minorities, and this was delivered when we were in Ljubljana.
During such workshops, it is interesting to see the similarities and differences between different countries, when students from the different countries give their feedback.
How is the study experience in your host country different from studying at your home university?
Since I only spent a week in the two countries, I can only give observations on what I could see in the short span of time I was there. From the workshops we had in Finland, and the information we gathered about the Universities, especially the University of Helsinki, the high level of education in the country was strongly evident. Students are even given paid internship opportunities while at University. Every Country should follow Finland’s steps when it comes to planning a good strategy for education.
What I was really impressed by in Slovenia is the atmosphere in the city. At night, students tend to chill out in parks, which is something very different from the clubbing culture here in Malta. The atmosphere in Ljubljana gave the impression that it is a very student friendly city.
What were the professors like?
I think that over all, the workshops and discussions we had in all the three countries were very intriguing, and the professors delivering them encouraged active participation.
What is the word that best describes your experience abroad?
Unforgettable is the word I would use; the places I visited, and the people I met, will surely be never forgotten, and will always have a special place in my heart.
Before you leave, tell us Goodbye in your native language! 🙂