From Finland to Falmouth: the realities of the big move

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Laura Sherlock

11253798_10206826146671640_587233858_nMoving away from home to university is a daunting decision for most, and although Falmouth is a beautiful part of the UK, it is nearly as far south as you can get. But when Mika Niskanen, a Finnish exchange student, decided to complete a term abroad and head down to our Cornish town, he immersed himself into university life. He engrossed himself in his journalism degree, while also trying to make his mark on the university through extra-curricular activities.

When asked why he wanted to make the move, Mika explained; ‘I had wanted to go study as an exchange student ever since I heard it’s possible. I wanted to have the experience of living abroad and meeting people from all over the world. I had heard it might be a life changing experience, which it actually kind of turned out to be.’

Although undoubtedly feeling slightly home sick at first, Mika soon settled into his flat and got stuck into Falmouth life. ‘I spent a lot of time with the other exchange students. We did loads of stuff, went to pubs and partied a lot but we also tried to get the most out of the activities that Falmouth had to offer’. Mika became a keen surfer whilst in Falmouth and took advantage of ‘Flexsi’ whenever they were offering discounted trips to Porthleven.

One of Mika’s fondest memories of his time at Falmouth were the people that he met; ‘they were amazingly friendly, the whole town had this vibe of friendliness’ (Doesn’t that just make you feel proud to live here?!). Mika also enjoyed walking through the high street and viewing the old types of architecture, ‘Falmouth is a really beautiful town, with all its colourful buildings’.  Mika decided to also make the most of his time in England, by exploring different parts of the country on his Easter break, with a few friends ‘We went to Dartmoor (where we rode horses and my horse almost threw me to the ground), Bristol, Bath, Salisbury (which he passed by on the way to see Stonehenge), Bournemouth and Plymouth. The trip was amazing and I really enjoyed it.’

I was lucky enough to have Mika as one of my flat mates and although halls was also a completely different scenario

“I had heard [study abroad] might be a life changing experience, which it actually kind of turned out to be.”

to anything he had lived in before as settling into a new place with a bunch of slightly unhinged strangers who may have had some questionable cleaning habits was unfamiliar territory. But looking past this – as the majority of us on an occasion have to – Mika enjoyed the family feeling that students inevitably end up creating after moving away from home. ‘I ended up living with a bunch of amazing students who kind of took care of me, especially at the beginning, I borrowed their plates and pillows and such.’ (He turned up with one suitcase and bag – quite the achievement to live out of for 6 months!) ‘I spend a lot of time with them as well and now as I think of it I didn’t ever feel like I’m alone as I had people around me, even at the flat’.

It was a pleasure talking to Mika again and we wish him the best of luck in his future – he is currently completing a compulsory year in the army back in Finland and has managed to land himself a job in their own personal newspaper!

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