My name is Anna, I come from Saint Petersburg, Russia and I graduated from Saimaa University on 24th of May, 2017. I received specialization in International Business, department of Business Administration. Four years have passed since I first came to this university. Surely, coming here I had my expectations but the reality turned out to be so much better! It is hard to mention all the good things I experienced in this place but I will try to highlight at least some of them now.

First of all, I am incredibly happy that I chose this country for studying. Over these four years Finland has become my second home, my safe haven, with one of the most unique cultures and kindest people, not forgetting wonderful peaceful nature and delicious food (although, mammi and lakritsi are the only exception, I am sure it is loved by true Finns but it turned out tough Russians can’t cope with that).

Secondly, I am very glad I got a chance to study in this university. There are too many advantages and too much experience this place gave me: diverse and well-structured studying programme, wise and kind teachers and staff, always there to help and guide us, international atmosphere, friendly students, great facilities and accommodation opportunities, various teaching methods and materials, as well as wonderful exchange studies opportunities.

Right from the moment I got accepted to this university all my life has dramatically changed: I moved to another country, learned how to live by myself, make my own choices and decisions and gained responsibility for my own life; I also made new friends, travelled to new places, gained knowledge and experience I never knew before and acquired new skills I never thought I could master.

I am sure what I just named can be applied to any student. We all think that we come to university to receive specialization and study professional subjects, which, undoubtedly, we do, but we often forget about the school of life and adulthood that this place gives us. The university makes us better people – wiser, smarter, kinder, more generous and open to the world, and I hope that our university is proud of those people we have become.

Street poet and philosopher Eminem once said:

“Look, if you had one shot or one opportunity

To seize everything you ever wanted in one moment

Would you capture it or just let it slip?”

As we are celebrating graduation, none of us knows exactly what is waiting for us out there, but we all have to remember that there is not gain without pain and in order to achieve something the hard work and struggle are necessary. Nevertheless, the more confidently we are moving towards our desired goals, the more success we achieve. All of us have different paths in life, and as easily we become close friends, as easily we lose each other in this world, but we will always have this place, which connected us all and will always remain a thread that bounded us together, a memory never lost, and experience never forgotten. I do not want to give graduates ten pieces of advice on future life because I am no Steve Jobs or Joanne Rowling but still there is one ultimate thing I learned for myself, which has become crucial for me, so I would love to share it.

Optimism is a key to everything. Positivity of mind brings positive events and emotions come to life. Never believe anyone who says your destiny is decided by the stars or something else – you are the only person who can build and rule your destiny, and it is only up to you what your life will be like and no one else. Start from yourself: clear your mind, believe in yourself, do not doubt in yourself, set the right goals, dream big and go for your dreams, and you will make everything happen. Always stay positive, and do not let anyone say what you can or can’t do, because you are the only person who knows. Be true to yourself no matter what – simple as it is. Your destiny is in your hands – remember this and you will achieve the unachievable.

I thank Saimaa University for teaching me this and for everything else it has given me. Thank you for your attention and congratulations!

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