Tiago Villanueva got his pick of the draw and spent a summer in Finland enjoying the cycling, saunas, and snow
- By: Tiago Villanueva
Going on elective is not compulsory for Portuguese medical students, but I took advantage of the professional exchange programme of the International Federation of Medical Students' Associations. You have to list three cities in order of preference, and I won my first choice--Oulu in Finland. At a latitude of 65°N, Oulu is home to the most northern medical school in the European Union. As I arrived in Helsinki, one glorious afternoon in July, I did not imagine I would end up staying two and a half months.
Oulu is the gateway to northern Finland and is famous for the parks of Lapland, which are perfect for hiking in the summer and cross country skiing in winter. The city itself is thriving because of extensive cooperation between the university and high tech industry. Although technology is the engine of the local economy, it is the students who are the soul of