Last modified 15.3.2011 at 13:25
How about coming back to Finland after your Erasmus?
Text and photo: Kristiina Baltzar
Erasmus is a great way to get abroad, widen your horizon and get to know different cultures. But has it ever crossed your mind that it doesn't have to be the only way? Working in another country can be even more educating. Romanian Alex Vilciu, 21, is doing his practical training in Oulu and has decided to get the most out of it.
I meet Alex in a bar in the center of Oulu. He is wearing a winter coat. I point out to him in a frisky way, that we Finnish people usually wear those during the winters.
- I know but it's cold here, he answers smiling as we sit down onto the terrace.
And I'm thinking, that he should already be used to it. Last year Alex spent five awesome months in Oulu University of Applied Science as an Erasmus student. The time here was actually so good, that he decided once again to defy the cold and return to do his practical training period.
Alex started his studies of graphic design in the Faculty of Arts in the West University of Timisoara, Romania over two years ago. During the second year of his studies he felt it was time to try his wings in the big world.
- I wanted something new, something far away from home, he explains.
All other Erasmus locations his university offered felt too close to home, so Alex decided to travel up north to Finland.
- I heard from many people, that it's good here, that Finland is a very developed country and I should give it a try.
Making the dreams come true
Alex enjoyed his time here. He met new people, went to parties and got to know the culture and the city. Soon after he arrived, he already knew that he wanted to come back. It didn't take long before he decided to make it happen.
- Many Erasmus students had completed their practical training in Oulu and I wanted to do the same. So, I went to talk with the international coordinator of my faculty.
Oulu University of Applied Sciences gave him a hand by helping him to get in two job interviews at companies involved with graphic design. One of them was a match.
It's better to choose practical training here if you want to do it in the field of arts. Everything is developed here and you will be able to work with sophisticated technical instruments.
After his Erasmus period, Alex went back to Romania for a couple of months, but returned to Oulu in the beginning of September to complete his practical training period at Ilpo Okkonen Studio. The studio specialises in architecture, graphical design and photography.
- I'm supposed to work in graphic design, but I would also like to work with photography.
Patience is a virtue even in practical training
During the following five months as a practical trainee, Alex is expecting to learn a lot. He now knows that what he has learned during his studies, he is going to have to put in practice.
- I want to learn how everything works in graphic design. I want to learn how to make a living out of it.
Beginnings can be tricky though. Currently, Alex has a little to do at work.
- I actually don't know what I'm gonna do, he says.
Even though Alex hasn’t had any tasks related to graphic design yet, he is still hopeful and believes that the time here will be educating.
- Right now I am comfortable with the situation. It will probably take some time before I can work at my own field of studies.
Finland has not seen the last of Alex
It seems like Alex doesn’t mind the cold. After his practical training and after having finished his bachelor's degree in his university in Romania next year, he plans to return./p>
- First, I want to learn the language and do my master's degree here. If my current boss gives me a job after this, I will take it and do my master's later.
He also wants to encourage other Erasmus students to return to Finland for their practical training period.
- It's better to choose practical training here if you want to do it in the field of arts. Everything is developed here and you will be able to work with sophisticated technical instruments. If you manage to find a job afterwards, it will be well paid.
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