JYU Student Ambassadors


Friendship Family Program

Moving to a new place 6500 kms away from home, with a completely new culture, new language, new weather and new people can be quite an overwhelming experience. This was my situation when I stepped into Finland with the curiosity to learn about the Finnish education system and gain exposure by pursuing master’s in education at University of Jyväskylä. The university kept me occupied with courses, assignments and deadlines, but it also gave me an opportunity to know more about the Finnish culture through the Friendship Family Program. This program connects the international students with the local Finnish families in Jyväskylä. I was introduced to the wonderful family of Marko and Eija with their children Sonja and Eero, and three cats.

“The activities we did with Gomathy is something we would do with our own kids when they were 5 years old,” laughs Marko. From shakily holding on to the horse’s bridle, sledging in the snow, ice fishing to plunging into the lake after sauna, I pushed myself out of my comfort zone and tried new things with the family, and experienced Finnish culture to its fullest.

Horse riding

Finnish Delicacies
More than the experiences, each one in the family became my pillar of strength and support on whom I can rely on and trust. Throughout the year of 2018, under the grey skies of November, the snowy days of February and during the sunny May, the care and concern of Marko and Eija, the love of Sonja and Eero and of course the warmth in the eyes of the cats (really!) gives me comfort and happiness. To top all of it, when my mom and aunt visited Jyväskylä and all of us got together, the Indian and Finnish culture beautifully blended together through food, coffee and conversations.

Gomathy Soundararaj, Student Ambassador
Master's in Educational Sciences

Friendship Family Program Friendship Family Program Reviewed by ambassadors on 13:25 Rating: 5

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