Katariina or “Kata” Piironen was an exchange student during the 2019-20 academic year from Kajaani University of Applied Sciences in Kajaani, Finland. We asked her a few questions about her time at Finlandia and her studies in the International School of Business.
Why did you pick Finlandia?
When choosing where to go for exchange I had two main requirements. First, was that I want to go somewhere where I can speak English on a daily basis. Second, was that I want to be able to travel. America was the best choice for this along with England. I chose America because I had never been there. Finlandia University is my school’s partner university and an obvious choice in that matter.
Was there anything you found especially interesting in your courses?
The most interesting thing I noticed was the teaching methods. The lectures were something I wasn’t used to, and the way all assignments revolved around the lecture was nice. The essay format was also different from what I had used before, but easy to learn.
What was your favorite Business course?
When thinking back to all of my six Business classes I have to say that I had two favorites. First one being BUS 245 Principles of Marketing. Even though I have studied in a similar class in Finland, I got a lot of new information and some aspects made a lot more sense after the course. The teacher was interesting and I enjoyed doing the assignments in this class. The second one was BUS 388 Global Entrepreneurship. This class was more challenging, but I was intrigued by the possibility of working with a real company and getting hands-on experience as well as the lectures and assignments.
Overall, what was your favorite thing during your exchange?
I spent almost nine months staying at Finlandia University and I made some extremely good friends while studying. Some of my best memories are of being shown around Hancock and Houghton, getting to know locals and exploring events. I had the opportunity to see Marquette and Copper Harbor, go to Duluth with my friend, spend Christmas in Milwaukee and New Years in Niagara Falls. It was nice that exchange students could be as involved as they wanted in events, but it was not required. While staying in the dorms, I liked the accessibility of the computer room and lounges that made it possible to hangout with friends. Finlandia University’s campus was small in a good way; teachers usually had time to help and answer questions about subjects, it was easy to get to know people you were studying with and everyone was welcoming and the atmosphere was relaxing, even when midterms were stressful.
Would you recommend Finlandia to other international students?
I would and will recommend Finlandia for people planning to do their exchange in America. A big plus for me was the safety that the Finnish speaking people provided. Why I would recommend Finlandia for others is that people at Finlandia were helpful and understanding. They did their best to make the semester enjoyable and fun. Courses were nice and well structured and class schedules were clear and easy to follow. Was there a lot of homework and assignments? Yes, definitely. Did I struggle? Sometimes. Was it worth it? For sure! Would I go back? In a flash.