I decided to do the essay with two
other exchange students as a final transfer task of Module 3: Living stay
abroad as enrichment. I chose two exchange students from our class who are from
Spain and Canada (Quebec).
I am doing my student exchange at
university called HES-SO Valais-Wallis in Switzerland. The university is
located in city named Sierre, in the South-West Switzerland. In our university
there is only five to ten exchange students, so not many.
At first when I arrived to
Switzerland I noticed that train tickets here usually are not for train at specific
time, those are valid to use at any time of the day. That was the first
positive thing that I noticed, already at the first train ride which I took
from the airport to Sierre.
During these couple months that I
have spent in Switzerland, I have noticed that in general Swiss people are very
polite and hospitable. Example if I have seen some resident at the first time
in the staircase of my resident building and said “Hello” or in French “Salut”,
they say also hello and immediately come to shake hands and introduce
themselves. Swiss people are also really curios about you and everything about
Finland. When seeing how polite Swiss people are, I have also started to saying
“Hello” to people who I don’t even know, example in my resident building’s
staircase. In general, I also think that my behaviour is politer and hospitable
than it was before in Finland.
There was couple negative things
that I have noticed during these couple months. For example, I thought that the
Sierre would be little bigger and more to do. Sierre is more of a village than
city. During the weekends we usually travel around Switzerland with other
exchange students. Also in Finland I have used to that stores are open late on
weekdays and also open on Sundays. In Switzerland the all stores close not
later than 18:30 and none of the stores is open on Sundays. This is one thing
that was hard for me at the beginning. Like you can’t go do your grocery shopping
late in the evening or on Sundays. After these couple months I have get used to
the opening hours of shops, so that is not problem anymore.
I think the university itself is
little harder than in Finland. Like when I compare the studies in here to
studies at Haaga-Helia. There we have project on every course and even can be
two exams per subject during the semester. At first when I heard about every
project etc. it felt that I had really much to do during semester. After these
couple months I realized that there is not so much to do, because many of the
projects are group work, so the workload will divide equally between every
member of the group.
I talked about these things what I
mentioned with two exchange student from our class. These students were from
Spain and Canada (Quebec). In some things we had different opinions and
habitudes, but in some things we also agreed.
We talked about train tickets in
Finland, Spain and Quebec. The thing that train tickets are available at any
time of day was also positive surprise for both of them. Because they had used
to it also that if you buy train ticket, then it is valid only for that train
you selected when booking the ticket, which leaves at specific time. So with
this thing we all agreed that it was positive surprise for all of us.
Next we talked about the politeness
and hospitality of Swiss people. For me it was positive surprise, that Swiss
people are so polite and hospitable, I expected them to be more like people in
Finland. Both students from Spain and Canada, weren’t surprised about the
politeness and hospitality. They both said that the people are kind of a same
like in their home country. Like in Spain people speak louder than in Finland,
and also in Switzerland the speak louder. Exchange student from Canada said
that people are kind of same that in Canada, and also they speak French where
she lives in Canada and also Sierre is French speaking area. With politeness
and hospitality of Swiss people I had different opinion and habitudes with the
Next we talked about the opening
hours of stores in Switzerland and specific in Sierre. I have used to that
grocery stores are open late during weekdays and open in Sundays. Both exchange
student from Spain and Canada told also that in their home country the stores
are open late at night and also open on weekdays, especially on Sundays. We
talked about it and for all of us at first it was little shock that you can’t
do groceries late at night, or get something if you are missing it at night.
After couple months we are all used to it that stores close early and are not
open on Sundays. At this point it is normal for us and we adapted to it. With
store openings we all had the same habitude that in our home country we can
get, example soda in the middle of the night.
With the studies at the university
we all had different habitudes and opinions. From my opinion we have little
more work to do and couple more projects than we had during last semester in
Finland. The exchange student from Spain said that school is harder here than
in Spain and also so much more projects and assignments to do than they have in
Spain. In Spain they have only couple hours of school and maybe just one test
on one subject during semester and in here we have at least one project and one
exam per subject during semester. The exchange student from Canada said that
school in here is kind similar that they have in Canada. With studying in here
comparing to studying at our home countries we all had different opinions. For
me it was little harder, for the Spain exchange student it is totally different
and harder and for the Canadian exchange student it is kind of same.
During this final transfer task, I
learned a lot about the habitudes in Spain and Canada. I also learned how
people from different cultures and countries sees different kind of things. In
my opinion this assignment was really good to think about things in Finland and
comparing them to Switzerland. It was also interesting to see how my own
behaviour has changed little during my exchange. For the remaining time of my
student exchange, my goal is to learn more about Switzerland and adapt more of
the polite and hospitable culture of Swiss people.