Out of the comfort zone – the place for growth and personal development | SeAMK Blogit

Out of the comfort zone – the place for growth and personal development

A person is in the forest.
Nick van Wijngaarden spent the autumn semester 2022 at SeAMK as an International Business exchange student.

A Gateway to International Business Double Degree student Linus Vennebörger from Germany, shares his experiences at SeAMK, alongside with the Gateway to International Business exchange students Alessandro Rebucci from Italy, and Nick van Wijngaarden from the Netherlands, and a Professional Studies in Technology exchange students Erik Meyer from Germany. All the four students spend their autumn semester 2022 here at the Seinäjoki University of Applied Sciences.

We asked them what they have learned about themselves during the exchange period. How has it been to study in foreign language in an international study group? What skills they developed, and do they think they will benefit them in the working life? And finally if they would recommend exchange studies to others?  Let’s see what they had to say!

Many learnings during the exchange period

According to Alessandro’s and Nick’s experience, it is good to keep an open mind, approach people openly, not to shy away and do new things with positive attitude. Linus agrees with them. He especially appreciated the skills he gained on how to create a relaxed atmosphere by initiating and taking the first step. He found himself enjoying the multicultural crowd of people.

– Approaching new things with a positive attitude will really benefit you as a person but also benefit the experience you are going through, Nick says.

During the exchange studies Erik says, he learned how to related to different cultures and approach various situation with an open mind.

Studying in foreign language was great

Studying in English, as a part of an international study group, was a great experience according to Nick. It made him look through different perspectives and he learned a great deal on how to approach and communicate with different people.

– It made me force to look through different viewpoints and it was something totally different to what I am used to. I think I really developed as a person through this, says Nick.

According to Linus, studying in a foreign language as a part of an international study group with lots of group work, made it very easy to get help with some words, which meaning was not clear in the beginning.

– Everybody had to participate in a group work, this led to a lot of communication, which improved all our language skills. All in all, it was easy to follow most of the teachers and to participate successfully in a group work, Linus tells.

Similarly, Alessandro points out the unique experience that allowed him to improve his knowledge of the English language and get to know other cultures.

Collage of images from the Finnish nature.

 Skills and insights that benefit in the future

All the four students agreed that the experience of being in an English-speaking multicultural environment outside of their comfort zones, gave them skills and insights that benefit them in the future. In addition to improved English skills, all of them learned group working skills as a part of an international group. They learned how to understand and adapt to new cultures and different settings. As Alessandro states working in groups “will be fundamental in my working life”.

Linus listed, besides the skills above, some of the skills he has developed that can benefit him in the future working life: open-mindedness, empathy and self-organisation.

A technology student, Erik, believes that social contacts, knowing how to approach people, and understanding technical terms and its communication in English will be beneficial in the future. A business student Nick learned leadership skills, due to the group-work they were signed to do during some of the courses, and he is very grateful for having this opportunity.

An amazing time you will never forget

Putting it all together, all the exchange students that were willing to share their experiences as an exchange student at SeAMK recommend the exchange study period for others.

According to Erik and Alessandro this experience is a unique, once in a lifetime experience that will change your life.

– I absolutely want to recommend this experience, because it is unique and allows you to test yourself by stepping out of your comfort zone, says Alessandro.

– This opportunity is once in a lifetime, and you take so much from it! Friends, parties, English, and the culture of course!, adds Erik.

Gateway to International business student Linus found the study environment to be very relaxed yet providing good opportunities for gaining new knowledge.

– It was an unbelievable time, during which I met beautiful people and learned a lot about Finnish people and culture. The nature and calmness, I experienced were amazing!, Linus states.

Nick would recommend exchanges studies as well.

– It will bring your new opportunities to grow, and it is just an amazing time you will never forget. I loved my time at SeAMK!


Images: Nick van Wijngaarden