Choosing to start in the RADMEP programme can be quite a big decision in your life. Maybe you are studying an electronics or physics bachelor or master, maybe you graduated, maybe you are already working as a lab assistant, lecturer or researcher. In any case, choosing to spend two years of your life in this programme can be an exhilarating and daunting decision at the same time. You will leave your family and friends, your trusted environment and go to countries with a whole other study method, culture and climate.
On the other side, you will encounter new people and make friends for life, you will work together and learn from world experts in their field of research. You will explore the fascinating world of particle physics, radiation, electronics and photonics. This programme has only one promise: to put you in the perfect position to work in the same fields of research and development as your teachers and professors, such as nuclear physics experiments, space development, nuclear medicine, nuclear power production and so much more.
Arriving in Finland to study in Jyväskylä was a little adventure on its own for all of us. A couple months before, in April, we got the good news of being selected for RADMEP, and then everything went quite fast. There where a lot of unknowns, we needed to enroll at the University of Jyväskylä, apply for residence permit, find student housing and much more. We had really good support from the university, and in general the process went smooth. But what about the things you need to pack, how cold will it be? And what about the transport in Finland, will we arrive there in time, and at the right place? And how will the city be, will we be able to go to the university campus efficiently? All sincere questions, but in hindsight not really something to worry about too much. The weather is indeed colder than most places on earth, so a good jacket and sweater are nice to have in the beginning, but everything else can be bought here. The trains and busses in Finland are amazing and a joy to ride on, with a good connection between Helsinki airport and Jyväskylä. In the city itself, walking and bicycle lanes are everywhere, so with a trip you can get everywhere.
The first semester has courses with a focus on laying the foundation of the programme, such as semiconductor physics, methods to measure and characterize thin films with beams, computational analysis for simulating and working with experimental data, and different techniques to measure physics experiments. All very important to design or research semiconductor and photonics systems for applications with a lot of radiation in the environment.
The first time stepping in the accelerator lab at the University of Jyväskylä to get a personal tour around all the particle accelerators and experiments is truly a magical experience. You could directly feel the atmosphere of international collaboration and drive for state-of-the-art research.
During our first three months of this programme, we explored new horizons and our expectations where completely surpassed with amazing new things we learned and experienced. We fell in love with Jyväskylä and its beautiful landscapes. The city is really student friendly and learning a culture such as traditional Finnish sauna was a lot of fun! We are still waiting for a good permanent layer of snow, so look out for our next blog post for snow pictures!