This site contains the archives of my travel blogs from 2010-2016.

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Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Welcome to Aalto University

While this isn't quite how I thought the first week at Finland's elite business school would go, I'm shirking off my preconceived notions and going with the flow.  I ended up making some great friends this week with both Finnish and other foreign master's students, and quite a lot of friends in bachelor programs as well, since the two are usually combined into one 5-year program in which some master's courses can be taken before the bachelor is even completed. Also, since the Strategy program is a joint program between the School of Business and the School of Engineering, we have the unique opportunity to take any course offered at either campus (regardless of whether it counts toward our degree), which allows us to network, study alongside, and get to know students in both schools.

I've come to learn that the student union and student guilds are to be taken seriously.

daily walk by the sea

sunset over the harbor

our neighborhood held a block party last week.
it was rained out, so many people gathered in a bar
to watch these young Finnish rappers who were
both talented and adorable!

we moved into our new apartment!
a 3 bedroom, 800 square foot apartment in the
heart of downtown Helsinki.
This is my room...12 foot ceilings and giant
windows. I'm enjoying the natural light!

my room - view from the opposite side.

at Aalto, orientation week kicked
off with a welcome speech
from the dean.  The classrooms here
are a bit different than I'm used to.

a presentation from the student union (Finnish law
mandates that every student must be a member).
this included an MTV3 documentary on the
business school's student union history and wise
investments over the past 100+ years!

walking through the Otaniemi campus, where the
school of engineering & other tech-centered
schools are based.

fellow strategy students!
Olga, from Russia, and Tiia, a Finn.
we're on the bus to an all-night party event put on
by the Engineering & Industrial Management
student guild we joined, called Prodeko.

The Prodeko event involved 80+
members overtaking a cabin in the woods 50 km from Helsinki,
where we spent a good 12 hours together (7pm-7am).
In true Finnish style, there was cider, sauna, and singing involved.
Here's a clip of the double-sided, laminated, official "sauna songbook"
made specially for this event.

Oh yes, and the Prodeko Olympic Games,
involving lots of improv comedy in several

inside the cabin

RoseMarie, Tuura, Tiia, Leo, and I chatting in the cabin.
It's great to get to know the engineers and scientists!

Roberto leads the crowd in song from his perch in the loft.

I can't wait to get my own white cap! These are
a staple in Finnish student life, and everyone - young
and old - are proud to don their caps during special
holidays throughout the year.

There's been a lot more partying than I expected, so I'm hoping my classmates will also settle down and become eager to work as we get deeper into the semester. Overall, everything is going wonderfully and I'm so happy here!  Tomorrow I start my serious job search!


  1. Good Looking-Out Girl!! You are now TRULY in the Land of the Blondes!! You will fit in seamlessly! I really love the idea of an Integrated Degree Program where you can take Engineering courses along with Business. The BEST of both worlds!


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