BFH-impressions of an Indian student from Finland

Shashvat Kapoor is 20 years old, born & raised in India, and studies International Business at Jyväskylä University of Applied Sciences in Finland. Since the last autumn semester, he has been working as an Erasmus-trainee at the international office of the health division.

1. How did you reach the decision of doing an internship in Switzerland?
Honestly, I never had the thought of doing it in my mind. But, on one very usual weekday, my classmates and I received an email regarding the opportunity to do an internship at Bern University of Applied Sciences, in the international office of the health division. And I remember getting really excited about it. Although I was almost completely sure I would not be the one selected for the job, I applied for it, to give myself a chance. And what do you know.. I got it! 2 months later, while I was doing another internship in India, as soon as I heard the good news, I was almost dancing in my office chair.

2. What are your main tasks during this internship?
My core tasks are to take care of the various processes involved in international student mobility, for example – counselling students on what opportunities they have with in regards to going abroad for a semester or an internship, managing the documents required by our university and other institutions in order to make the mobility possible, liaising with the partner institutions, etc. However, my supervisor and I have been working on multiple projects that focus on internationalizing the health division - projects like developing a "Buddy program" for incoming students at BFH, developing a concept for a potential summer school at the health division, etc.

3. What are the main cultural differences between Switzerland, Finland and India?
I'd say the main cultural difference lies in the way people deal with different situations in everyday life – whether personal or professional. Where Indians get positively aggressive during a conflict, the Finnish react with complete honesty (however bitter it might be) and the Swiss maintain their diplomacy, while still managing to get the message through. It is quite interesting to come across these intercultural – clashes first hand.
And the other main difference would be the way people make friends, their humor, etc. In India and in Finland, surprisingly, it takes much less time to get to know someone well, than it does in Switzerland.

4. Have you already seen a lot of Switzerland?
I wouldn't say "a lot". But yes, I have seen the main cities, such as Zürich, Geneva, Luzern and other small towns like Montreux, Interlaken, Zweisimmen, Ittigen, etc. And these small places are one of the most beautiful places I have ever visited.

5.    What would you still want to experience in Switzerland?
I still want to visit the Italian part of Switzerland, and also take on the "Haute Route" 12 day hike through Switzerland and France. That would be just the perfect way to end my stay in Switzerland.

6. What will you do after your internship?
After I complete this internship, I am going to Seoul, South Korea for an exchange semester, which would be 4 months long, before I go back to Finland. I am really looking forward to it, because I have not travelled much in Asia yet. It would be a completely different experience.

7. Would you further recommend doing an internship in a country other than the one in which a person lives?
For sure! Travelling to different parts of the world - meeting different people, experiencing different ways of life, adds value to a person's life. These experiences are the ones that you remember till the end. They give you stories to tell – stories about the challenging times and the stories about fun times. Travelling gives you different perspectives to look at life, be more tolerant to non-identical attitudes that people carry, explore the simplicities & complexities that exist in different parts of the world.
Travelling outside India was one of the best decisions I ever made, and a great chunk of credit goes to my parents, for always supporting me and giving me this privilege.

Thank you Shashvat and all the best for your future!

More information about Erasmus internships can be found here.

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Jolanda Kieliger

Projektmitarbeiterin IRO