Friend- family program or “ystäväperhe” is a notable feature in International Business Program at Karelia University of Applied Sciences, which allows staff and international students to exchange cultures. It is a chance for international students to have first-hand experience of Finnish culture and life in Finnish family. Meanwhile, the families get an opportunity to learn about students’ home countries and cultures.
At the beginning of the first semester, I applied for this program through my student counselor. I was a bit worried because I was afraid of not getting a Finnish family this semester due to high number of international applicants. Fortunately, after a month, I got an email from my teacher with my Finnish family’s contact information. I couldn’t wait to meet them for the first time, which was also the first connection with local people during my study in Finland.
My Finnish family are lecturers in Tourism and Creative Industry at Karelia UAS. Both of them are passionate about cultures, cooking and travelling. We decide to meet at least once a month at the weekend and stay in touch via social media. I find myself lucky to have such a local family that I always feel happy and relaxed when spending time with them. I love visiting their cozy house and I can’t stop admiring their huge bookshelves with hundreds of books as in a library. Thanks to them, I have opportunities to try as many local cuisine as possible and foreign cuisine as well. Whenever we meet, she prepares different dishes from different countries and I also make Vietnamese food and cakes as I love baking. In addition, I also keep them updated and ask advice for my study, daily life and my future plan as well, which makes me feel more secure and less homesick.
(To be continued)