Du bist meine kleine schwarze Katze

I spent my 5 months in a beautiful, small town called Krems an der Donau, in Austria. At first, I was a bit nervous to go abroad all by myself, because I had never travelled alone. The other fact that made me a bit nervous was, that I wasn’t sure how good English people speak in Austria. All I knew about German was “Du bist meine kleine schwarze Katze”, and that wasn’t really helpful in my daily life. And yes, there were times when people didn’t speak (or just didn’t want to speak) English, but still I somehow managed to survive.I studied in IMC Krems, which had two different campus areas in the city. All my classes where in the international campus, which was in the old town. The building was an old monastery, so some of the classrooms were really beautiful. The professors spoke quite good English, and the international relations office was always happy to help you with your issues.My classes were with the regular students who studied Export Oriented Business in English. There were many nationalities in the group, as only about a half of them were from Austria. I felt like most of the professors gave good grades way too easily, but otherwise most of my courses were pretty good. Some of the courses I took were HR, Export marketing and German for beginners. I have never learned a language as fast I did with German. It really helps when you hear and see it everywhere. And also the fact, that you must learn it to survive in your daily life, or a t least make it more comfortable.Maybe the best course I chose was “Austria Business, Politics and Culture”, not just because I learnt about the country I was studying at the moment, but because the teacher was so nice. At the end of the course she invited our group to her home for an Austrian dinner. We spent the evening with her and her family, eating, drinking a local white wine and sharing stories about our lives at our home countries. At that point I was so happy that I was prepared for moments like these, as I brought a “Finnish gift bag” with me from Finland, containing a small Moomin towel in a Marimekko cosmetic bag. It was a perfect gift for a moment like that.My spare time I spent traveling across the country. I got to see amazing views, hike in a sunny autumn weather and snowboard in the Alps. I loved the nature and the historical buildings and old towns. Austria was a good choice, and I’m sure I will go back there someday.

 

 

 

 

 

Annyeong From Korea

I am going to Kyonggi University, in Suwon, South Korea. It is a good university, though it was built in literally a HILL, so you would have to climb the hill to go to class. Not that I’m complaining though, it’s like working out, which is good for your health and body~.


I took some courses in English, related to International Business and the East Asian region. Actually, the selection of courses wasn’t that great, but enough. The classes in Korea are quite different from Finland, more about listening to the lecture of the teacher than discussing among students. It is not hard, I don’t have to put a lot of effort to get a good grade. But I believe that because my courses are left easier for they are in English. I’ve been witnessing Korean students study so so hard for their exams: no one playing sports, no one hanging out, just eating ramen and studying.

I also took an intensive Korean Language course for 10 weeks, from Monday to Friday every week, which is really “intense” and so I could be confident to say that I can speak Korean now. So if you are interested in Korean language, I highly recommend this kind of intensive course since you can really take something out if it (of course with a lot more effort) compared to the normal language course once a week.

 

I had quite a lot free time during the semester, considering taking only 4 courses. I usually hang out with other exchange students, most of which are from France or Germany, some from Mexico, and I am the only one from Finland. Everyone is nice and friendly. Together we try Korean food (most of which is SUPER spicy) and travel around. Suwon is less than 1 hour away from Seoul by subway so we go there quite a lot.

There are so many places to visit and many things to try so you have to be selective. My favorites are the palaces, museums, Korean sauna (called Jimjilbang), or just wandering around shopping areas like Kangnam or Myungdong.

 

 

 

Korean people are really friendly, you can get a lot of free services in restaurants and shops when you are foreigner. Some of them also love to ask about you and your country, in Korean most of the time of course. But Korean students can be very shy, if you are foreigner and speak English. I guess they are afraid of making mistakes in English. But when you got to be friends with them, they are really nice and fun. Korean students are good at drinking and having fun in clubs and bars, or so I’ve heard since I don’t really go there.

Oh and one thing, there’s literally so personal space in Korea, which I miss the most about Finland. People love to squeeze together over here. And sometimes, in the subway or elevator, they just come straight to you, pushing you out of your place so that they can stand there, which still puzzles me until now.

We went to the DMZ (Korean Demilitarized Zone) and that railway is supposed to be going to North Korea~

 

All in all, I’ve been having a great time in Korea. It is a nice blend between tradition and modernity. I found the country so young and lively and buzzling but also deep in rich culture and history and tradition. So I’ve got to experience a lot, all of which is precious to me, as well as to make so many great friends, not only Koreans but all over the world, each of whom is dear to be now.

 

 

Life in the city of beer

Now that my exchange is about to end here in Munich, I could tell you something about my experience here. My semester in Munich University of Applied Sciences started in early September with two weeks of intensive German language course which was a fun start for the semester. After that we had a gap of two weeks before the actual semester started. This offered a great chance to enjoy the Oktoberfest – which was awesome by the way – and to travel as well.

Oktoberfest.

During the first weeks we had to choose our courses which was a bit of a mess in the beginning. We had to apply to the courses and it wasn’t always sure that you would get to the course. Well, if you chose engineering subjects it was sure, but other than engineering not. There were not that many people taking engineering classes. In the classes I had there were approximately 5-10 students attending the course. Even if planning the courses was hard there was a good side in it too. I managed to have Fridays off, which was awesome!

What comes to Munich, it is a beautiful city and I find the atmosphere really similar to Helsinki but the beer is better. Adapting here was easy. On the spare time I met friends and we did different kind of activities such as drinking beer in a beer hall or beer garden. One thing which was a surprise for me was that you can surf in Munich as you can see in the picture down below. Unfortunately, I don’t know how to surf even though I tried it on my trip to Portugal.

You actually can surf in Munich.
Sölden ski trip.

Munich’s central location in the Europe is a good benefit. Traveling from here to all over the Europe is really easy. Easiest and fairly cheap ways to travel were by a bus or a train. But the best way was to rent a car with a bunch of friends and go wherever we wanted. And you know what you can do once you get to the Autobahn. For example, we did couple of road trips to the surrounding countries and a ski trip to the Austrian Alps.

Road tripping and completely lost somewhere in Croatia.

 

 

 

Studying in Germany seemed different than in Finland. At least studying engineering subjects. The teacher usually just kept a lecture and the students took notes, that’s it. Sometimes it was quite boring and hard to focus. On the other hand, there was no mandatory attendance neither homework which was a good excuse to travel more.

From Munich With Love

I spent five months in Munich University of Applied Sciences, Germany, studying in the winter semester 2017/2018. The semester started on the beginning of September with a two-week voluntary German intensive course.

Marienplaz

Munich is Bavarias biggest city and locates in the southern Germany near the Alps so it offers a beatiful landscape for exhange studies. The highlights of my time in Munich were definitely the Oktoberfest and our ski trip to Austrian Alps.

Munich University of Applied Sciences “MUAS” offers a great variety of courses in many different departments. My courses were from tourism and general studies departments. I choose ten courses in total including the German intensive course before the actual courses. My general studies were business English courses which were quite useful and at the end of the semester I had an opportunity to do UNIcert -certificate in English.

Oktoberfest

In MUAS there is two types of courses: regular once every week classes and so called block courses which can take place for one weekend or two days or for more ETCS’s a week. This makes the course planning and scheduling quite challenging because usually the teachers don’t approve if you miss classes. But I fortunately managed to take all of the courses I needed.

Germany and Munich offers a lot of freetime activities inside the city but also in the near by areas. One of my favourite place in Munich is the English Garden where you can also surf in artificial waves! In the summertime there’s many beergartens everywhere. Before our brake in December we rented a van and drove to the Alps to ski with other exhange students!

English Garden

Compared to Finland, studying in MUAS is a bit more intensive since most of the teachers and professors are very strict with attendance. Ofcourse every course is different and it’s understandable that you cant miss a day from a two-day course. I experienced that I had enough freetime during my studies even some courses were more demanding.  Most of my courses were very dynamic and the teaching style was conversational which was nice.

Austrian Alps

Toronto, Ocad and I

Hi everyone!

Streets of Toronto

I just spent 4 month in Toronto, at Ocad university which is the largest art, design and media university in Canada.

Ocad  had a really wide selection of an interesting courses,  so I got a bit greedy by taking 5 instead of the 4, which was the recommendation.

Now I know better. I recommend taking just the 4 courses, because they all are very time consuming and the teachers expect you to work a lot, all the time.

Choose wisely, you don’t want to spent your whole exchange doing nothing but school work!

Streets of Toronto
Classroom from Ocad

I would also recommend taking the figure drawing and painting classes,(If you are interested in painting and drawing, of course.) those two were my favourites and I learned the most from them.

But regardless the busy schedule with the school, I did managed to travel a bit! I went to see Niagara falls, it’s only two and half hours away with a bus from Toronto.

Totally worth it, even though it can feel like a tourist trap during the summer seasons, at least you can do it in one day!

Niagara falls

During my study break I went to Montreal, Ottawa and Quebec, which was a great experience, especially in Montreal and Quebec you could feel the difference, people spoke mostly French and it was a bit smaller city and the nature felt a lot closer.

Ottawa, Parliament Hill
The Montmorency Falls, Quebec
Mont-Tremblant National Park

I felt that in Ocad, or in Toronto in general people were pretty busy. The public transportation wasn’t great, and it was really expensive so if you can, try to find place close to the school. But then again, also finding the apartment can be tricky and expensive for sure.

I had a lot of fun during my exchange, and I hope I can visit Canada someday again!

Toronto skyline

 

 

Welkom in België

I am going to be studying here in Belgium for 10 months all together! 5 months behind, 5 are now ahead.

First town that I got to live in was called Kortrijk (literally nobody knows of this city, nobody) and it is a small town that has about 70 000 inhabitants. The area is quite big, but the city center itself is quite small. Some restaurants and shops can be found, but if you would want to do something, smarter to just go to visit for example Gent, Antwerpen or maybe Brugge. Best part about Belgium is the fact that it is such a small country, you can travel to any city with the train at it takes max. one and a half hours!

At home I am studying Hospitality Management, but in Kortrijk my studies mostly contained from business. Nice little change and it is connected in some ways to my own studies.

Course selection was not so big and many courses were cancelled for some reason in the beginning, which was a big disappointment for me, because all the courses I wanted to take and were connected the most to my field were the ones that got cancelled. But anyway I feel like I have learned some new things.

The study part is quite the same here as it is Finland! A lot of team works, quite many presentations and some exams. Big difference is that in Finland in one semester I might have maybe 3-4 courses but here I had about 10-11. Also something new for me was doing an oral exam, never have had those in Finland.

I think that quite sums up my semester! Now getting ready for my next semester which I will be doing in Brugge.

The Southampton Times

My studies in Southampton have been constructed by different units from different courses. I am studying Music Production in TAMK, but wanted to add a little bit of visual media studies while I was over at Solent University. In the end my studies in Solent included Studio recording and mixing, music video production and practicing a live set with a university band. It turned out to be a nice and balanced combo of units. A big percentage of the studies was working with groups, but we also had some little individual assignments to go with it.

Southampton is not exactly the place one would like to go visit on the holidays. Though it is a coastal town it does´t really have the coastal feeling that most would maybe hope for. Most of the shoreline is covered with ports with big ships importing and exporting goods, and the beach is no where to be seen because there isn´t one. Though it´s not the most idyllic coastal city, it has a certain rough romantic touch to it. If it so happens that you´ll get bored with Southampton, there´s a lot of great places to visit by just spending a little of your time on a public transportation system. Bournemouth and Brighton for example; do have the idyllic beaches and would be the kind of place to visit for a summer holiday.

There is a good music scene in Southampton, with cool venues and open mics all day. I have got to know some of the locals involved in music, and through them I have found myself in some house parties/music events that I would have otherwise missed completely. There is a lot of activities to choose from, if you want to activate yourself and get involved in stuff. There is even surfing and scuba diving if you want to go all in. I myself settled to start a little climbing hobby which included a weekly climb at The Boulder Shack , social nights of drinking and chatter, and an occasional trip to a climbing destination. All in all my stay in the UK has been a blast and there will be a lot of friendly faces missed, though I think I will not be settling down in Southampton for longer. Been there, done that, got the hat.

¡Hola, estoy en España!

Valladolid is known of beautiful religious buildings. For example the cathedral of Valladolid or the church of San Pablo and many others. Valladolid is not much bigger than Tampere. It is a city of 300 000 people and is located 200km north from the capital of Spain, Madrid. I think the size of Valladolid is perfect for Erasmus. It`s not too small but small enough to know, where you can find other Erasmus students when you want to spend your evening outside. The size of the city made it very easy to adopt the Spanish life.

   

 

I study building services engineering and all courses I chose in university of Valladolid were in English. When I arrived at university of Valladolid, I had a problem with my courses. Due the lack of information all courses I had chosen were available only in the spring semester. I met my responsible professor to help me with the courses. Even though the responsible professor didn`t expect any students from Finland, she helped me to find the right courses for me. I had to take courses from the field of study of chemical engineering and industrial engineering. It was easy to understand a big difference between Spain and Finland: The things did not work as smoothly as they do in Finland. Every appointment and process were always delayed and took a lot of time to happen. First it was really frustrating, but I got used to it and I just had to accept the way it is. Although the people had difficulty with time, all teachers and persons I met at university were really helpful and kind.

I came to Valladolid with my Classmate and being in Erasmus with a good friend is great. We have been living and traveling together, which have made everything simpler. The best way of spending your weekends in Erasmus is traveling. We have been all over Spain and Portugal visiting many beautiful places. One of the best part has been the atmosphere in the football stadiums around Spain.

Greetings from Ireland!

I have been living in Ireland for four months now and I got to say that I love it! Beautiful evergreen Ireland stole my heart. (Actually now even more, but my blog never loaded here…)

My Erasmus experience didn’t start as well as I hoped but at least it wasn’t boring at all! The second day after my arrival I fell down the stairs in Dublin and sprained my ankle.  First three weeks I walked with crutches and a boot on my leg.  Through that accident, I got to see how helpful and kind Irish people are. I met so many nice people during those weeks who helped me in different kind of situations.

I’ve been studying in Tralee which is a cosy little town with little under 24 000 people living there. It has everything you need and pubs actually more than you need… but that’s Irish…

Institute of Technology Tralee is quite a big college and also a really nice one. It has two campuses (North and South) and I’ve been studying at both. North campus is bigger and a new one and basically all social service classes are there. It is about three kilometres from the centre and south campus is about one kilometre away from the city centre.

In the beginning, it was hard to catch up with the Irish accent, but surprisingly I got used to it really fast. The way of studying is different comparing to TAMK. There a teacher usually speaks the whole hour and your job is to make notes. Usually studying is not practical, but sometimes we had the possibility to talk in groups about a topic set by the teacher. We got a lot of assignments, actually I’ve never done that much assignments in one semester in Finland. But in the end, it wasn’t as bad as I thought. The most important thing there is to listen and make notes during the classes. 

I lived in Tralee Town Centre Apartments. The rent wasn’t expensive at all but the electricity bill was really high during winter time. The owners are super nice people and the most of Erasmus students lived there and I would say that it was definitely the best part of it!

During these months I’ve been travelling a lot around Ireland. I’ve been spending time with my new friends, enjoying pub culture and Irish music. I was also a member of college music society where I met a lot of talented local people too. I also got to see Northern Ireland through Irish Experience Tours which I highly recommend because of their student prises. Ireland is amazing country and I love the atmosphere there. The most beautiful place was definitely Giant Causeway! Unbelievable. 

For me, Ireland feels like home. This country is so outgoing and relaxed! I don’t feel like going back to Finland at all, but unfortunately, I have to come back to do my thesis. This time here has really opened my eyes, I’ve learned so much about myself and about life itself that I’m forever grateful for this experience. 

Saludos de España

Hola! I’m studying building services engineering in Spain, city called Valladolid. Valladolid might be unknown place for most of you, but it’s a beautiful old city located 200 km up north from Madrid. The city has a lot of old architecture, narrow streets and small river flowing through. Along the river is a small beach where was nice to play beach volley and take a sunbath in a beginning of exchange when the weather allowed it. Although the city doesn’t have many specialities, so it’s pretty unknown and tourist free. Moving around the city is easy with a good bus network and citybikes. Citybikes are cheap and useful way to go around the city and you can reach all the places in an half hour. I think Valladolid was perfect place for me to do my exchange. Good parts in a smaller city is that you will get to know the city and the people more easily. Valladolid gave also good opportunity to learn the new language because they speak clean Spanish here (in Spain they have lot of different dialects and languages) and the lack of English speaking people force you to learn Spanish.

First thing what I noticed in Valladolid was that no one speaks English at all. It was quite interesting for me who didn’t know a word of Spanish before reading travel guide for Spain in an airplane on way to here. After two Spanish courses, help from the other exchange students and a tons of Google Translate the Spanish language starts running pretty smoothly.

 

I came to Valladolid to study building services engineering on the University of Valladolid. Due to my bad Spanish language, all courses I took was in English and matching with my own field of study. However after wrong informations and misunderstandings all the courses I had chosen in Finland, wasn’t available on autumn semester. To replace these I got courses that were taught in English from different field of study. On top of that my responsible professor in Valladolid didn’t even expect student from Finland. These kind of lacks on organising made me realize the biggest differences between Finland and Spain. After all the teachers tried to do their best to find the most suitables courses and helped me with every problem I had.

I was lucky that I could do my exchange with my classmate from Finland. We have lived, studied and done almost all together. Traveling with your good friend has been also awesome and easy. We made a lot of trips together or with other exchange students. In this five months I have visited places like Bilbao, Madrid, Salamanca, Porto, Sevilla, Valencia, Alicante, Barcelona, Zaragoza, Málaga, Gibraltar and maybe something more before I come back to Finland.