Exchange semester in Lisbon, Portugal

The exchange semester in Lisbon, Portugal taught Ada Rautakoski more about self-reliance and coping skills in tough situations.

Name: Ada Rautakoski

Study Programme: Bachelor’s Degree in International Business Administration (BBA) in Helsinki

Exchange Location: Lisbon, Portugal

University: University of Lisbon, ISEG (Institution of economics and management)


Why did you choose to go abroad?:

  1. It was an opportunity that I couldn’t pass. I was curious about how it would be to study in a different country and live the local student life. I love traveling, and experiencing different cultures so it felt natural for me to go on exchange.


Did you experience a culture shock?:

  1. I didn’t necessarily experience a culture shock but maybe just the shift from living alone to living with 5 other people from different countries was a bigger shock for me. It took some time for me to get used to always having something going on around me but I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way at the end of the day.


How did covid19 affect your studies and life in Lisbon?:

  1. Covid-19 didn’t have that big of an impact on my exchange. The restrictions were taken down at the beginning of October so everything was open until the beginning of December when they restricted restaurants and bars for a few weeks again. We were able to enjoy student life quite freely which was nice. The restrictions never applied to universities, and all my classes and exams were held on campus. 


How do you feel this experience has affected you and the way you see the world?:

  1. This experience taught me about patience. Having no expectations is usually the best way to go in life so you never get disappointed when things don’t go your way. Also, the diversity of personalities and cultures is always something that amazes me, yet still, we all have the same desires and wishes in life no matter where we are from.
  2. Going for an exchange also taught me more about self-reliance and coping skills in tough situations. I learned to be proud of my personality and who I am unapologetically.


What was your most memorable moment during your exchange?:

  1. One of my most memorable moments was seeing the big wave surfers in Nazaré, where they have the biggest waves in the world (up to 30 meters). I’ve watched a lot of surfing videos and competitions online from that place, so seeing it in person was very special.


Would you recommend going for an exchange to Portugal?:

  1. Lisbon is a beautiful city and the weather is perfect here all year round. It gets a bit cold during the winter, but the sun is still always shining. Portugal isn’t the most organized country but it’s something you just learn to deal with. There is always a good party going on somewhere and the cute little streets keep always surprising you. I will have a special bond with this city, and I would definitely recommend Lisbon as an exchange location.


The next application deadline to exchange studies is on the 1st of March 2022. Get familiar with our partner universities around the globe.