Student Story - Patrick Troisgros§
Construction Engineering, exchange student
Home country: France
What are you currently doing: exporting cooking stoves built in my hometown, Burgundy to the Canadian market.
How did you find out about TAMK and what made you choose it for your studies?
I was in my 4th year of Civil Engineering studies at ESITC Cachan, near Paris. We had the option to spend our spring semester in a partner university abroad. The choices were, if I remember correctly (that was in 2003-2004), Spain, Netherlands or Finland. At that time, Finland was probably the country I knew the least, but the little bit I read convinced me that it would be a good experience. I have always been attracted to Northern countries, so Finland and TAMK quickly became the obvious choice. A classmate decided to join me on that adventure, and after submitting a quick application, we booked our flights to Tampere for early January.
What did you like most about Tampere and Finland?
I could probably write an entire book on what I like about Finland. Most importantly, I like Finnish people. Finns in general are more reserved than other Southern cultures and this is something I enjoyed. Less unnecessary talking and more thinking. Finnish students also know how to party, no doubt about it.
Sauna is one of the best experiences I have discovered in Finland. The feeling of going from a 100C-120C heated sauna straight into a water hole in a frozen lake is unmatched. The first time I saw Finns doing that, I thought they were crazy. Now I know why they enjoy it so much. And of course, having a drink and a few "makkaras" on the grill after that, while standing outside with nothing but a swimsuit on or completely naked.
About nature in Tampere; the city is surrounded by two lakes and lots of forests, which means nature is only just a few steps away. I have had the chance to also travel quite a bit through Finland; it is a beautiful country to discover for someone who likes open spaces and natural wonders. Enjoying the Northern Lights in the middle of a frozen lake at -20C in Kuusamo, or a walk in the forest at midnight in the summer with no need for extra light is something I will never forget.
Regarding night life; as a student, Tampere was the perfect place to be. The city is big enough to offer variety in bars, venues and clubs but small enough to walk from one place to the other, and back home in the early hours of the morning when the sun is already shining. I'm sure it's even better now.
In what ways have your studies contributed to your professional and personal life?
My courses at TAMK were mostly similar to what I studied in France, with the addition of a few more Economics / Management courses and Log Construction. Above all, my 5 months in Finland opened my mind to new cultures, new people and new ways of doing things. Being surrounded by Finnish and international students, all with different backgrounds, was really beneficial on a personal level. I have also met a few great people who are still very close friends today, 13 years later. I have visited Finland twice in the year after my semester in Tampere, and just visited again in 2016.
How has TAMK supported your needs as a student?
From our first contact to our arrival in Tampere, the staff at TAMK was really helpful, making the transition very easy. Once in Tampere, our tutor Antti picked us up at the airport, took us for lunch before showing us our apartment. He spent many days with us, showing us around the city, helping with the small amount of paperwork required, etc. TAMK also organized Finnish courses for us, foreign students, allowing us to learn the basics and not feel intimidated by the language. A two-day trip early in our stay was a great opportunity to discover the Finnish wilderness and connect with a wider group of students, both Finnish and international.
What would you say to anyone considering studying at TAMK?
Do it! My semester at TAMK was one of the best periods of my life. TAMK is a great place to study while also having fun and enjoying the best that Tampere and Finland have to offer. Back in 2004, TAMK was already well in advance in terms of technology, learning aides, etc, and I am sure it is still true today. A word of caution: you may end up like me, never being able to forget your time in Finland and always feeling like you left a part of yourself there.
This story was written in January 2017.
Note: Construction Engineering programme is only available in Finnish nowadays.