Bachelor of Sport Journalism student Andrew Lotherington has recently arrived home after a two week trip to Finland as part of a CSU Global program.
The International Experience Program sent a group of students to study at the University of Jyvaskyla during the 2016/17 university holidays as a part of a winter sports study. CSU staff member Wes Ward caught up with Andrew to ask him a few questions about his time in Finland.
What drew you to study overseas?
I’ve travelled a lot, so having the opportunity to study a short course overseas was a good one. I think getting a taste of study in a foreign country while not committing to a six or 12 month exchange was a great experience.
It was a climate and culture I hadn’t experienced previously, but always wanted to. The course also fits in perfectly with my CSU studies in sport journalism. The academic lectures, training and participating in Nordic sports combined with free time made the trip worthwhile.
What did you do academically?
During week one we learnt about ‘International Perspectives to Organisation & Management’ which provided a fantastic opportunity to learn about sports, funding and politics. We not only learnt about Finland, but other European countries as well. It was also a good chance to learn more about Australia and how they compare to other countries in these areas.
In week two we studied ‘Sports Marketing’. This subject had a variety of focal points including marketing, climate change, volunteerism and the increase in sporting legal issues.
Over both weeks we had several amazing lecturers from Finland, Norway, America and England and we were given the opportunity to work on real life case studies, reinforcing what we learnt.
How did the trip fit with your studies?
The trip fit perfectly with my studies as the program runs in January when we’re on uni holidays.
A big advantage was being able to receive academic credit (depending on the course you study). While there is a lot of information to be taken in, and in such a short period of time, by completing the pre-assignments and learning logs it’s possible to get a full subjects credit.
What were the three most interesting things you learnt on your trip?
That Nordic countries live more active lifestyles than Australians. Even despite having to overcome lack of light, a lack of sporting facilities and sub-zero temperatures for a lot of the year.
I also learnt that linguistically, Australians in general are poor. Other international students could speak reasonably fluent English as a second language, but also speak a little French, German or Spanish. Living in Australia and having everything written or spoken in English severely limits our ability and needs to learn a second language.
How did the trip affect your social / cultural awareness?
Being so far north and dealing with limited light and extremely low temperatures certainly made me appreciate the weather in Australia. I think being able to interact with students from all over the globe such as England, Spain, Germany, Uruguay, Belgium, France, Slovakia, Czech Republic and Finland really does allow you to learn from them.
Most importantly, did you have fun?
I had so much fun! The subjects we studied were interesting, as were the lecturers presenting them.
The highlight of my trip was getting to try out all of the Finnish sports. Skiing and snowboarding were great but getting to play ice hockey was amazing! It’s so much fun, I wish we could play it more in Australia.
We had a close, strong social circle of about 30 students so free time was really fun and eye opening at times.
I would definitely recommend studying overseas to all students. Especially the Finland Winter Sports program.
Details are available for CSU Global’s International Experience Program in Finland for 2018.
Editor’s note: CSU Global offers a range of programs to provide CSU students with the opportunity for international study experiences. Read more here.