I’m studying social services in Sakarya University. I started my exchange in autumn 2021 and it will end in June 2022. My studies have included courses at Sakarya University and online courses at my university in Finland. My studies have been very different from those in Finland. I take my courses privately, with lessons about 2-3 times a week. In addition to the lessons, I have done various essays and reports as homework, according to which my course grade is given. My studies have been interesting and varied, and I have enjoyed most parts of the studies.
Comparing studying in Finland and Turkey, I think there are many differences in the study culture and education system. Here, teachers have a lot of power and, for example, questioning a teacher is a mistake. It immediately affects your course grade and your ability to pass exams. Courses are difficult to pass and this causes a lot of stress for the students. Lessons are wasted when the teacher talks during the lesson without any discussion with the students. Unlike in Finland, I am used to the fact that there is also a lot of open discussion and group work. Here, not all lessons are compulsory either, which means that students don’t show up for lessons either. The concept of time is also slightly different here: almost always the teacher or the students arrive late for lessons. This has been difficult to get used to as a punctual timetable-keeper. However, the student culture here is very relaxed and students spend a lot of time at school, playing volleyball and having coffee, for example. I have adapted well to the student culture and I am happy with my exchange experience here. I have also come to appreciate the Finnish education system even more.
Most of my free time has been spent meeting new people, hanging out with friends in cafes, playing sports, touring different places and travelling around Turkey. Sometimes in the evenings we go to school to play games like volleyball and basketball, which I have particularly enjoyed. I’ve also been going to the gym with a friend, but we stopped after the weather got hot because it started to feel more like a sauna. Occasionally we go to the lake for a barbecue with friends, and sometimes I just spend time at home relaxing and watching movies.
The exchange year has been a unique experience that I would recommend to any student. It’s an amazing opportunity to get to know a foreign culture, develop your language skills, make friends from all over the world, study in a different culture, develop professionally and most of all learn about yourself!