Finland – Summer School

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Lecture, Sauna, Forests, Lecture, Sauna, Forests … This is inevitably a cycle that waits for everybody who is planning to attend a summer school in Finland.

I had the pleasure to spend a week in a wonderful central city of Jyvaskyla attending lecture course at 25th Jyvaskyla summer school. The summer school has a long tradition and wellcomes students from all over the world to attend advanced lecture series in their areas of interest. There were at least 20 different courses offered this year.

Students are usually housed in a student village (or in Anglo-Saxon one would say student halls). This allows one to experience Finish student life from a close perspective. Finish students are easy going, relaxed and living in very nice student flats that are surrounded by nice nature and common amenities, for example, to me shocking, a primary school or a local food store. Many finish students have children during their university studies and the system is well prepared for it. Also, Finish families tend to be larger – check out Eurostat for interesting statistics. What have to be mention is that each building includes a sauna, and the local student office offers mushroom driers for rent. Well, Finish students are certainly original.

I lived in the cheapest possible form of accommodation with 3 other students in two rooms. All the other students were attendants of summer school too, and I must say we were a good fit. Every evening we had a common adventure in Jyvaskyla or a discussion that was enriching like none in a long time. After leaving accommodation in the morning, I was prepared for a 30 minute walk to the university campus that is located on a picturesque lake near an award-winning bridge. My lectures were based in what looked like a brand new high-tech building, but locals testified it is rather old (by their standards).

I attended a week long crash course in advanced nonlinear optimization taught by a Swedish professor Anders Forsgren, a very accepted authority in the field. In the morning we had an intense set of lectures with afternoon practicals to solve exercises. The course was enriching with an exam at the end which I passed (worth 3 European credit points).

Every evening the organizers prepared social program for us. To justify the introductory words, I have to mention that no matter what the social program was, there was always a possibility to go to the sauna after it. The social program included for example, barbequing, canoeing, grand party, hiking trip, boat trips and even a recruiting session from IBM.

Lastly, I want to mention that I was the only (as far as I know) student from UK university at the summer school. For some reason it seems not many people in UK know about this great opportunity. Therefore, if you are reading this blog post and would like to spend both academically and socially wonderful time in Finland definitely check out their website for Summer 2016.

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