Otago Polytechnic

Tane Leilua

Bachelor of Engineering Technology

Tane Leilua is a third-year Bachelor of Engineering Technology (Civil) student who was fortunate enough to get the opportunity to study abroad in Finland for two months at the Lappeenranta University of Technology.

“When I first heard about the opportunity to study abroad, I was a bit hesitant. I had never studied in another country before. However that is why I decided to go. 

“When I first touched down in Finland, there was an immediate culture shock. It was -28 degrees and for the majority of the time the place was pitch black as the sun rose at 9am and set around 3pm. This certainly took me while to get used to as I had just left from a New Zealand summer. Due to this, the first week was quite tough but after that it felt like home. I started to meet new friends and get into a normal routine, which consisted of going for walks around the frozen lakes, class, then into town for a look around the shops before topping the night off with a sauna.”

Located a three-hour train ride from the capital of Finland, Helsinki, Lappeenranta University of Technology where Tane studied, has an intake of around 220 exchange students.

“It was great for me as a new student as it meant I wasn’t alone in the first few weeks.”

“While studying in Finland, I was also fortunate enough to get a bit of travelling done around Europe in the weekends. This was definitely up there as the most enjoyable part of the trip. It was so cheap to travel around and I got to meet so many amazing people from all over the world which was just awesome.

“Looking back at my trip, I not only gained an education and an amazing impression of Finland and the other countries that I went to, but I also gained friendships and contacts all over the world. It truly was an experience of a lifetime.

“So for anyone a bit hesitant or unsure if study abroad is right for you, I would say just do it. It’s an amazing opportunity that you would regret wasting.”