I became the happiest girl in the world when I got to visit my old university town of Turku, Finland!
Turku is a beautiful city located on the coast in Western Finland. Turku is the previous capital of Finland so you can bet it’s filled with history, culture, and classic architecture.
Before studying medicine, I was just like every other college kid and spent a nice portion of my 20s in a physics lab in Turku University college of Math and Science. I truly loved studying in Turku. The University was academically profound (everyone is well aware of Finlands degree of excellence in the sciences, right? Ok good, just making sure 😉 ) The state of the art facilities and quiet studious libraries made studying enjoyable. The professors were kind and easily approachable, offering help well after office hours. I liked that as soon as we entered the university, we were set up with an orientation group. Each group had a mentor from the same program from whom you could ask questions. I never felt ‘lost’ or confused starting my studies there because there was always such an incredible support system.
Future physicists making the world proud 😉 The above photo was taken in 2009 from a math and sciences winter cruise. Trust me, it wasn’t as dorky as it sounds (ok it maybe it was) but it was a lot of fun! 🙂
Turku is the perfect place for a budget conscious student as everything is in biking or walking distance. I lived in the student village so I was always surrounded by other students. Best case scenario: my best friend lived right beneath me! 🙂
Unarguably my time in Turku was made enjoyable by one of my favorite forms of art: choir music.
Before I moved to Turku I lived one year in Helsinki where I was deprived and void of all my dancing and singing hobbies. So you can bet I searched for a choir the day I got to Turku! Luckily, I found one immediately: Turku Univeristy Choir . I signed up for auditions immediately and couldn’t wait for my audition. I counted the days until my audition and donated earplugs to my neighbors while I rehearsed in my apartment. Waiting for the final list of new choir members on the door of the music hall was a nerve-wracking two days. I ran down between each class and lab practice to see if I’d made the cut. I remember seeing my name under ‘First Soprano’ and being so elated I could barely focus in my next class.
I was in!
Thanks to this choir I have made some of my proudest performances, happiest memories, and lifelong friendships. I just remember laughing a lot with these people, and being so happy and proud to be able to sing with such talented musicians.
We’ve traveled the world
Represented Finland in competitions
…with albeit broken flags… not important…
Entertained at events and holidays
Broke out in song on the street
And created acapella rock quartets!
And had entertaining “singing camps” on boats and at cabins!
One of the most treasured friendships I’ve made was with my mentor, my idol, my big sister, Heidi. That’s Dr. Heidi to all of you 😉
She had a beautiful baby girl Spring 2012 and I was thrilled to be asked to be her godmother! She’s a pretty smart and cute little peanut.
Also in Turku resides my best friend, Katrin. Whom I can call my twin (do we really look that alike?), sister, soul mate! Seeing Katrin is like a burst of fresh, humorous air that reminds me how friendship keeps the earth spinning.
Turku is a gastronomical paradise, filled with interesting restaurants for every budget. Katrin recently graduated medical school, so I quietly reminded her I’m damn broke, I mean, poor, so we headed to a Fontana Café.
And what a treat that was! I got a chicken ceaser panini while Kat2 got a goat cheese salad. Both were phenomenal! We sat outside in the sun and the atmosphere was top notch. What a treat!
Naturally, dinner is followed by dessert, which in the case of Finnish summer is ice-cream. Some of us have better luck with that than others.
Since Turku is famous for it’s riverside (‘Jokiranta’), Katrin and I sat on the grass enjoying our ice-cream and talking about life, love and everything in between.
One of the hardest parts of studying abroad is being separated from your closest friends and family. But one thing is for sure, I will treasure these friends and memories forever! Love your family.
Thanks to the lovely Anna for graciously taking and sharing some of these photos for the blog! 🙂