This is going to sound like I’m from some third world country, but I find a HUGE gap between Finnish and Polish university facilities and equipment. I’ve only had two classes till now, both of them in the same building and almost in the same classroom, but I’ve already seen a lot of different rooms, auditioriums, etc. at the University of Jyvaskyla and I’m seriously impressed.

Department of Mathematics and Science,  JYU
Department of Mathematics and Science, JYU

First of all, here everything is designed. Like: seriously designed. It’s obvious that the architect (in this case it would be Finnish famous architect, Alvar Aalto) really thought it through and the buildings he designed are both beautiful and practical. The interiors are very spacious, there is a lot of light everywhere thanks to big windows outside of which you can see wonderful landscapes. All makes sense to me and it’s easy to find your way around each building.

Agora building lobby, JYU
Agora building lobby, JYU

What I like the most is that, apart from being bright, the insides are also very colorful. From the walls and lighting to chairs and tables: everything here “lives”. It’s probably because outside it’s dark most of the year and it’s rare to see sun shining through clouds during winter. Well, if you ask me, whatever the reason, I just admire the beauty and am grateful for adding some colors to the university life.

Faculty of Social Sciences lobby, JYU
Faculty of Social Sciences lobby, JYU

At my university, and especially at my department, everything is mostly grey and sad. You can see damaged walls, damaged desks and permanently damaged chairs. In some classrooms it’s difficult to find a chair that IS NOT broken in some way. I know that some of the departments of my university are new and shiny, but mine isn’t and it’s a Department of Philology (also Polish philology then), so it should be respected. Also, we don’t have half of the equipment University of Jyvaskyla has. It’s sad that the whole department only has two or three projectors and most of the classrooms are not equipped with a screen so we just use a wall (if we’re lucky and there is one without any cracks…). In Jyvaskyla every classroom or auditorium I’ve seen so far had all these things and more. Also everything looks really new and that also applies to chairs and desks.

One of the classrooms in Mattilanniemi campus area
One of the classrooms in Mattilanniemi campus area

It should be so simple to buy the necessary equipment for students, but in Poland, or at least at my department, it’s not. Let’s be honest: we’re poor and the government, university authorities — they don’t care about us. They prey on our successes, but they don’t give us anything in return. And we are their treasures, we keep them alive, thanks to us those people from “higher levels” are able to earn their money.

Viipuri City Library model, designed by Alvar Aalto / Alvar Aalto Museum, Jyvaskyla
Viipuri City Library model, designed by Alvar Aalto / Alvar Aalto Museum, Jyvaskyla
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