To Finland and beyond

Story by Kris Kotlarik

This is going to be the last time you’ll be hearing from me for a while. On New Year’s Day, I’ll be flying to Helsinki, and I’m not coming back until, at the earliest, Aug. 16.

But don’t worry; this isn’t me rambling about how I’m going to have the best semester ever in a country that fits my crazy depiction of paradise while you’re stuck in Eau Claire. There’s actually a point to this.

For you see, I’m studying media at the Tampere University of Applied Sciences in an international exchange program through UW-Stout. While Finland was my preferred country to study in from the get-go, I figured I would settle for any Scandinavian country with a history or media/journalism concentration offered by UW-Eau Claire.

Eau Claire does have a program in Sweden that offers history courses and even some courses involving sports. In the end, the allure of Finland was too much for me to pass up, so I took my chances.

I thought things would be extremely complicated in terms of orientation and communication, but none of it was complicated at all. Aside from having to wake up at 7:30 a.m. on a Saturday to drive to Menomonie for (a boring, but unavoidable) orientation, everything has been smooth sailing thus far.

My point here is that students of any UW System school can go on another System school’s study abroad program. If Eau Claire’s Center of International Education doesn’t have what you’re looking for, there’s nothing stopping you from exploring what the other System schools’ programs have to offer.

This isn’t a knock on the CIE in any way. They’re extremely beneficial in helping you find the program that’s right for you, even if it’s not offered at Eau Claire. That’s how I learned of the programs offered by other System institutions to begin with.

The lesson I wish to impart to you is this: Study abroad, even if it’s during winterim. The anticipation of going to a new environment has given me something to look forward to as I take on finals week.

Until we meet again, Eau Claire.




Kris Kotlarik is a senior social studies secondary education and print journalism double major and Staff Writer at
The Spectator.