First of all, I have been studying part-time for a Bachelor of Administrative Studies (Honours) Marketing in the open at York University in Toronto, Canada. After six years, I have only completed half of the four year degree. I felt it was taking too long so I considered the possibility of taking a one year break from work and studying full time. I have been managing an advertising business in Canada for the past 12 years since finishing a community college program in Business Administration (Accounting.) I have also been very active in community organisations such as the Optimist Club, Scouts (Partio,) Youth for Understanding (YFU) (a high school exchange program,) a regional economic development committee, and anything else that appeared to be interesting.
One thing I really love to do is travel. In 1995, I spent about 9 weeks in Europe camping and staying with families and contacts that I have made through YFU. In October 95, I went to Denmark because I was invited to a meeting and party at the YFU headquarters for Denmark. There I met many university students and started to talk to them about how the educational system is different in Canada. I learned that the universities in Denmark liked to host foreign "exchange" students so much that they don't charge them any tuition fees. Free education! A year of study at York University costs about FIM 14.000 (CA$3,700), just for tuition. When I returned to Canada I asked my university about the possibility of an exchange for me. They introduced me to all of the possibilities so I started to do some research. (Another good excuse to travel to Europe.) I flew to Germany and Finland in January 96 to check out the universities for myself (and at the same time stay with YFU students, families and volunteers.)
I was so impressed with visit to Tampere University that I applied immediately upon return to Canada. On my visit, I was given a guided tour of the buildings by the Maija Rökman, lunch, an introduction to many staff members and lists of courses offered in English. I really felt that I would be welcome here.
So, here I am. After living here for five months, I can honestly say that I made the best choice. The professors have been excellent. The course material has given me a perspective on business from a European point of view. Gradually I have become aware of the fact that there is a business world beyond the USA. European business people don't really do anything different, but the world revolves around the place that you stand, so now I can see the business world from the perspective of Finns. It does looks different than from Canada.
I have been able to develop a network of student contacts from all over the world while studying here and hopefully in the future it may bring financial benefits to all.
As for life in Finland, I love it. I have always loved the winter. Finnish people have a very healthy lifestyle and everything here is very clean and fresh. I will say that they drink too much but I’m not conplaining. As a student, I have learned to drink with them.
Written by Brian Wick, who is actually an optimist.
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