I remember, it was Valentine’s Day when I got the first notification from the HEEM Programme.
I remember receiving the final notification from the University of Oslo two days before my last day at work and flying to Norway two weeks after getting married.
I remember buying grocery items good for one week upon arrival in Oslo and converted the total amount in Philippine Peso. Surprisingly, it was equivalent to my whole month grocery in Manila!
I remember the difficulty of explaining to my friends and relatives about my course and why I’ll be studying in three different universities.
I remember the initial reactions of people about European Master in Higher Education. Most of them thought that I’m intending to become a professor.
I remember the need to go home immediately after class because I have a “Skype date” with my family or husband.
I remember how my batch was able to organize a trip to Brussels and visit the European Commission and agencies such as EUA, ESMU and EMA. We appreciated that the University of Oslo shouldered our travel expenses 🙂
I remember reading more than 100 articles about higher education in just one semester. After discussing too much about Humboldt, I remember not wanting to deal with history anymore.
I remember playing UNO, having house parties and going to SAHA (a popular club in Tampere) until 4am.
I remember when my husband forgot his wedding ring at a wash area in Tampere. Two hours later, the ring was still there as if nobody had made an attempt to steal it.
I remember attending the auction at Tampere Police Station where I got a nice bike for 20 euros. My husband and I shouted our bid in Finnish.
I remember the sauna party that we had during spring. Recently, my classmates had started making plans of flying to Finland in May 2009 to attend this party and meet the new batch of HEEM students.
I remember how the Erasmus buddies in Aveiro failed to help us. Luckily, my two Portuguese classmates assisted the group in finding apartments.
I remember living without internet in Portugal and staying until midnight at the computer lab to download movies and search articles for my assignments.
I remember complaining about the University of Aveiro library, telling my friends that it’s the noisiest library on this planet! The situation made me feel that I want to go back to Finland for my last semester.
I remember when somebody told me that our HEEM coordinator was shocked to find out that I’m living with five other colleagues in a notorious neighborhood called Rua de Espinho. I’m happy to say that we survived Aveiro for 2 months and nothing happened!
I remember the excitement of catching Ryanair flights, backpacking and sending postcards. I remember travelling for 23 days last September before coming to Portugal.
I remember getting worried about writing my thesis starting January.
I remember contemplating the other day that I’ll be back to Nordic life soon and fulfill the last installment of this programme.
Charisse N. Reyes
HEEM-European Master in Higher Education ‘09
University of Oslo, Norway
University of Tampere, Finland
University of Aveiro, Portugal