Jyväskylä of pleasant surprises

Text: Jenni Kirkkomäki | Pictures: Mari Mansikkamäki, Visual Friday

Some of the apartments of Soihtu are annually reserved for exchange students. One of the exchange students living in the Kortepohja Student Village is Jenna Fontaneau.

Jenna has arrived in Jyväskylä from Bordeaux, southern France, at the beginning of the year. Whereas the university exchanges are generally scheduled for the academic year, some of the university of applied sciences’ exchange students study at JAMK for the spring and fall semester. Their exchange starts in January and ends in December.

“I arrived in Jyväskylä at the end of January, spent the summer vacation in France and came back again at the end of August,” Jenna explains.

She is completing an international degree in business administration, which includes several exchange periods in addition to studies in France.

“The subjects I could study at JAMK interested me more than other places,” she says. “Also, the fact that after choosing JAMK, I have the opportunity to complete the last semester of my studies in Argentina, influenced my decision.”

Cozy home

The coziness and warmth of Jenna and her roommate’s apartment surprise those who have only seen the concrete exterior of the MNOP buildings. The massive residential area is decorated with graffiti. However, behind the doors of the two two-bedroom apartments, located along the long corridors, the atmosphere can be totally different.

This is the case with Jenna’s apartment. She likes both her roommate and the apartment. Her roommate is her best friend, and in addition to the decorated apartment, Jenna has created coziness in her room with a blanket, pillows and lights.

The Student Village receives praise from Jenna. “It’s great that the saunas, gym, study facilities and barbecue sheds are available to all tenants.” 

Surprising silence

Before her student exchange, Jenna had never visited Finland. She only knew the annual World Rally Championship in Jyväskylä.

The first semester began in wintery January. The wintery Jyväskylä itself was not surprising, as snow is a familiar sight in Bordeaux as well, but the silence on the city’s streets, was surprising.

“I was very surprised at how few people there are on the streets in winter, because it’s so different from my hometown.”

However, the tranquility is exactly what she values in her new city. As well as the abundance of nature. “I love nature and I like to go hiking, for example.”

She had time to travel around in Finland during the spring semester, for instance to Helsinki, Tampere and Turku. However, one of the trips surpassed the others. The trip to Lapland with student friends became the highlight of the spring.

“The trip to Saariselkä was incredible, because I saw the northern lights together with my boyfriend and my best friend”, Jenna describes.

She hopes that the fall semester will be rich in experience. “I hope to do and experience more than during my first semester and get to know different places both in Jyväskylä and elsewhere in Finland,” she dreams.

“I was very surprised at how few people there are on the streets in winter.”

Jenna Fontaneau, tenant of Soihtu

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