At 8 am on Monday morning, I opened my e-mail to find a message from my advisor who was at a conference in Hungary. The e-mail read “I assume you received the good news from several sources, but I wanted also to congratulate you.” This was, however, the first I heard of it. The first I heard that my application had been reviewed and accepted. The first I heard that I was going to Finland for four months!
I will be studying at Åbo Akademi in Turku, Finland with some of the best professors in my field (solid contact ion-selective electrodes). For over a year, my advisor and I had talked about the possibility of me studying at this university but very little actually happened. I continued my research here and defended my Master’s at the end of April. Soon after, we heard from a professor at this university that they were beginning to accept applications for the scholarship. After reading a lot of scholarly articles published by this group and many others and multiple research proposal drafts later, I was ready to hand in my application.
It just so happened that two days after I handed in my application, both my advisors would be at the same conference in Hungary as the professor from Åbo Akademi who would have a lot of say in the possible acceptance of my application. To my surprise, the application was quickly reviewed because a short 4 days after I submitted the materials, I received the good news!
So now what?! There are a million and a half things running through my head right now. I’m so thrilled to be going but it seems strange - after a whole year of talking about the possibility of me studying abroad, it’s now true. I am officially going. I have to buy a plane ticket, find a place to live, find a storage unit for my things here (and my car), set up a new phone plan, make sure all is well with my credit card company and insurance, ahhhhh!! Not to mention that I struggle packing when I visit my parents at Christmas for two weeks…will it even be possible for me to pack for four whole months?! (I literally can’t)
So much to do but what a great experience and opportunity that I have so much to panic over. I really believe that it will be an amazing experience and I hope that I make the most of every possible minute. I’m extremely lucky that almost everyone in Turku speaks English. I will, however, try to learn some Finnish because why not?! As of now, I know one word - Kippis - it means “cheers”. I think that’s a pretty good start.
My brother (sjarvis - my co-blogger) had mentioned that I should start blogging a while back. I can now appreciate how that will help me to share my experiences while in Finland. All those that read my blog (hi Steve) can follow me on this new journey.