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Volume 10, Edition 2 October 2010


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My Once in a Lifetime Experience at UNCG

by Paula Pirilä

My name is Paula and I am a 22 year old exchange student from Oulu, Finland. My major is Communication Sciences and Disorders and I will graduate as a speech and language pathologist in two years. I came to UNCG because I have never been in the States before and I like adventures. I will stay at UNCG for one semester and I have been here for seven weeks now. It is October and I am enjoying especially the weather because in Finland, the temperature is already below zero and they are waiting for the snow to come.

I am staying in Phillips-Hawkins Residence Hall (the I-House). In Finland I live in a studio apartment and I have never had a roommate. Here I share a room with another international student. At first I was a bit worried how things would go but everything turned out very well! It is nice that there is always a friend who you can talk to, even in the middle of the night. I feel she is like a sister to me. At times I would like to be alone for a while because I am used to have my own space. Most Finnish people are used to have lots of space around them and I believe it is due to having such a big country for only 5 million people. But I definitely prefer living here with a roommate than alone, it is part of this experience and I love it!

It is fun to consider myself as an exchange student. In Oulu, I thought it was funny that all the exchange students were always together everywhere and it was fun to see that they were so lost in the city and in the university. Now I can understand them perfectly! Exchange students are always together because we are like a big family. When I am somewhere alone or with people I do not know, it feels like coming home going to I-house. All the exchange students are in the same situation and it is something that strongly connects us. 

In Finland, we start to learn English in elementary school so we know English pretty well. However, it is more difficult to study with a foreign language. I have found it difficult to comment on lectures because the terminology is different. Also, it takes a lot of time to translate what you want to say into English and sometimes the moment is gone when you are ready. But, I’m here to learn and this is a great opportunity to learn English.

All in all, it has been only one third of this semester and I have just started to have a routine. Time is flying and when the last day here comes, I know I will be sad. I will miss everyone and hope I could stay longer. But at the same time I know it will be exciting and touching to go home again. But I will not think about those things yet; it is still 12 weeks to go, and I will enjoy this once in a lifetime experience!



Study abroad student Michael Tuso featured on UNCG homepage

A student in political science and international and global studies, Michael Tuso is currently in Peru for the fall semester, participating in an internship with International Institute for Electoral Democracy and Assistance (IDEA), an organization that supports sustainable democracy worldwide. Michael has served as Student Government Association senator his freshman year, president his sophomore year (the youngest ever in the UNC system), and was a secretary for part of his junior year. He’s also been a Spartan orientation staff leader, a Student Advisory Board member for Lloyd International Honors College, and served on the Mayor’s Task Force, the Chancellor’s Budget Committee and the Inclusive Community Task Force. He is also a recipient of a Gilman Scholarship and a participant in the Global Leadership Program.

To read the full story, see “Where’s Tuso?




Paula fighting the UNCG Spartan with Laura Ciaccio and Suvi Isohanni, also exchange students

Paula with fellow exchange students during the ISA Myrtle Beach trip


Previous editions:

Volume 10, Edition 1, September 2010

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