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9 Incredible weeks of living in ‘The Sink’

Moi! Kate here, & I’m currently writing to you from Sunny Helsinki, Finland. I’ve been living in Helsinki (also referred to as ‘The Sink’ or ‘Heavensinki’) for just over 2 months now, while I’ve been studying at Aalto University. To say the least, exchange has been a crazy rollercoaster so far; think sauna’s, forests, the NORTHERN LIGHTS, husky sledding, Marimekko, Finnish Sitsit party’s and of course, an amazing student life.

To begin, Aalto’s exchange program is FLAWLESS. The orientation program was not only impeccable in its organisation, but its execution too. Business exchange students are also BLESSED with KY-Sub, which is a student run organisation exclusively for Aalto Business exchange students. KY are constantly running events, parties, beer pong tournaments, Sitsit parties and different trips. I had the chance to experience the Finnish Lapland where we saw the Northern Lights in all of their glory. Along with this, we went snowboarding, husky sledding, snowmobiling, visited Santa’s Village & there was plenty of bonding and partying in between. Cottage trip was also a major highlight; learning how to mentally overcome running out of the warmth of the Sauna and jumping into a frozen lake in the Finnish winter was some straight up character building, to say the least. Finns also have a student overall tradition, so after each event you attend, you receive a little badge to sew onto your own overalls to create a little montage of memories. In terms of workload, Aalto’s teaching schedule is set out into learning periods of 6 weeks, with a one-week exam period. I am studying here for 3 learning periods, so the workload is broken up, leaving me with plenty of time to travel, socialize and explore Finland.

Aside from Uni, the lifestyle in Finland has pleasantly surprised me in every way. The city is so incredibly user-friendly and efficient. The city is clean, safe and so beautiful. It’s great for travelling to places like Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Estonia and of course Europe more broadly. The nightlife is also incredible no matter what night of the week it is (5am becomes pretty standard here). You’re usually spoilt for choice between KY events, international student events at local clubs, live music at bars and if all else fails, there will be a party in someone’s flat. The main takeaway: The Sink is always happening. But even if you’re not a party goer, there is always so much to do and see here, that you couldn’t be bored if you tried.

Exchange is 100% what you make of it and the best thing you can do is to just SAY YES TO EVERYTHING. The people I’ve met along the way and the bonds we’ve created in such a short amount of time, have made the experience everything and more. I definitely credit a lot of that to the organisation of Aalto’s exchange program, as they definitely provided the means to facilitate all of these new friendships. I remember seeing a blog post about Aalto when I was in my application process for exchange and it was exciting because Finland was somewhere, I hadn’t even thought about going to before. But I’m so grateful that I threw myself into the deep end and changed my preferences last minute, because Finland is totally underrated, and I honestly couldn’t recommend it enough for exchange.

Kate Nomchong
Bachelor of Management
Aalto University

For more information about the UTS Global Exchange program please visit:

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