Michael Ryan has always been envious of students that have the chance to study abroad so when the opportunity arose for him to complete a semester abroad as part of his Bachelor of Engineering Technology (Civil) programme, he immediately signed up. 19 year old Michael chose to study in Finland on a winter school exchange at Lappeenranta University of Technology.
Located 4 hours north of Helsinki, Lappeenranta University was “awesome” according to Michael.
“The university has a cafeteria where all students can eat together throughout the day, plus two gyms, indoor sporting courts, a sauna and even an underground night club! The campus has a really green approach too and uses renewable energy.”
Michael shared an apartment with a 24-year old Russian student who was doing a Doctorate in Mechanics and each night him and Michael would stay up late sharing stories from their home countries. “He became one of my best friends and we still keep in touch often via social media,” says Michael.
While on exchange, Michael was fortunate enough to get the opportunity to travel around Europe and also to Asia and South America, meeting lots of interesting people and experiencing many countries.
“Having this chance given to me by Otago Polytechnic has been unbelievable and helped me grow in confidence, character and culture. To anyone thinking about participating in an exchange, I would say just grab it by two hands and run with it. You will have an amazing time and you never know, you might even catch the travel bug.”