French engineering students’ summer school at Centria is coming to an end – Finnish nature and safety have impressed
At the beginning of May, a group of 32 French engineering students started their summer school at Centria UAS’s Kokkola campus. The students have completed five courses at Centria and spent their free time exploring Kokkola and its surroundings. From karaoke bars to canoe trips.
The group of students come from ESIEA (École supérieure d’informatique, électronique, automatique), a French engineering school with campuses in Paris and Laval.
– We contacted them in 2021, and in 2022 we had our first exchange student group from them. They were so happy with the exchange that we immediately started discussing a summer school, and the idea quickly took shape, says Hubert Spiz, International Services Manager at Centria.
Engineering students Edvans Souplet and Alexandre Bouijoux wanted to come to Finland because they were interested in Finland’s nature and its peaceful reputation.
– I had always wanted to visit a Nordic country, so this was the perfect opportunity, says Alexandre.
In addition to lectures and assignments, the students have been able to visit several different companies, including Beamex in Pietarsaari and Huld in Kokkola. Outside their studies they have visited the Tankar lighthouse and mountain biked and paddled to the Harrbåda lighthouse on an excursion organised by Villa Elba.
– Our most memorable activity was an overnight trip to Södra Trutklippan. We paddled there from Villa Elba. It was amazing to sleep in a tent by the sea and wake up in the morning to see the sea first, says Edvans.
Before returning home on 2 July, they still have a trip to Rovaniemi to meet Santa Claus.
The mobility team at Centria has a French student intern Ethan Perruzza who has also organised lots of activities for the students outside the official programme. They have experienced a Finnish sauna, played frisbee golf, cheered on Käärijä during Eurovision, baked cinnamon rolls, and discovered the nightlife of Kokkola.
Despite all the joint activities, Alexandre’s most memorable experience was his solo trip to Ohtakari:
– I cycled there and slept on the beach in a sleeping bag. In France, I couldn’t do that, and you would have to plan your cycling route to avoid dangerous areas, for example. The only mistake I made on my trip to Ohtakari was not having mosquito repellent, he laughs.
The safe atmosphere is another thing that has impressed the men, apart from the Finnish nature. For example, if you forget your phone in a restaurant on campus, it’s still there when you remember to pick it up. Back home in France, they say, you can’t forget your belongings as safely.
– Here, people also wait for the traffic light to turn green. In France, people look both ways just go, Edvans says.
When asked if the men plan to return to Finland, both say, without hesitation, that they definitely want to come back on holiday.
– I could even imagine living in Finland, says Alexandre.