The most valuable souvenir Erasmus students took with them from Vaasa 10 years ago
Kirsten, Stephanie, Tobias and Frauke were from Germany and Elena from Italy.
– One of my best memories from the course was an outdoor language lesson held by the sea. The sun was shining and the sailboats sailed in the bay. It was so beautiful that it was hard to focus on teaching, says Elena.
After the course Kirsten, Stephanie and Tobias stayed as exchange students at the University of Vaasa, while Frauke studied tourism in Kajaani and Elena architecture at the University of Turku. Finnish student Nina searched for a German “language friend” and found Stephanie. She then acquainted with the whole group. The group of exchange students kept in touch while they were in Finland and later met at least once or twice a year.
– My first impression of Vaasa was the airport. It seemed that the plane descended into the woods. It was a very hot and sunny summer and it was warm to swim in the sea, says Stephanie.
Ten years ago, a language course wasn’t just lessons in Finnish grammar, but also lessons about Finnish culture, history, movies, food. Also many trips were made. Kvarken archipelago and Öjberget in Vaasa became familiar.
This week, the former exchange students will walk the memory lane and have new adventures in Vaasa and its surroundings. They had lunch in the student cafeteria Mathilda and visited the international office of the university.
– It's just great to be here in Vaasa again after ten years, says Frauke.
The Vaasa spirit stays in mind
Tobias spent his exchange year studing Public Administration at the University of Vaasa.
Nowadays he works as a university lecturer in Belfast. He still admires the good spirit of the University of Vaasa.
– Vaasa is a compact university with 5000 students, where the students have a relatively close connection with professors, which is not always the case at the larger universities. It was inspiring to me that the students were able to take courses also from the other universities. I attended a law course in Hanken.
Also, the International Affairs unit of the University of Vaasa is praised a lot.
- They were so open and friendly, Tobias recalls.
Finland has remained as an important country for the group of former exchange students. They have been many times at Nina’s summer cottage in Southern Finland. Italian Elena reveals that she even had her wedding in Finland.
– We feel very strongly connected to Finland, Elena and her Erasmus friends say.