Greetings from Prague!

I have been studying in Prague for four months now and I have really enjoyed it. I study civil engineering and architecture here at Czech Technical University. This fall has been somehow hard what it comes to studies but still I have had a lot of time to explore Prague and some other places in Czech Republic. 

 

On my spare time I have been getting to know the city and spend time with other exchange students. I have made some trips with my Finnish roommate on weekends for example to Bohemian Switzerland National Park and to Kutna Hora to see the Sedlec Ossuary. The best way to spend a day off in Prague is just to hop on a tram and wonder around the city. There is much more to see than you can read from a guide book. 

Studying at CTU has not differed much from studying at TAMK. In the beginning the hardest challenge was certainly to study in English but I got used to it in a month or two. The quality of the courses and knowledge of professors are very high-quality. 

 

Na zdravi!

Hi/Dobry den!

Greetings from Prague, Czech Republic

My studies have started well. I have lectures only from Monday to Thursday and the courses I have picked are from civil engineering and architecture course catalogue. These courses are in English and customized for exchange students so my class mates are from all around the world.

I love to spent my spare time in Prague by walking around the city because here is definitely a lot to see! In addition I love shopping and have a cup of coffee in some cute little coffeehouse or drink a pint of beer like locals do.

Studies differs a bit compared it with studying in Finland. For example here in Czech Technical University we have more assignments and not that much exams. The quality level of teaching is pretty high in CTU which was nice to notice because I have used to it in Finland.

See you soon!

#czechrepublic

Servus!

Greetings from Wels! Wels is small city in Upper Austria where you don’t have so much to do. But next to Wels is the third biggest city of Austria, Linz, which means good public transport connections all over Austria and Europe  (Tip: buy an ÖBB Vorteilscard Jugend for 20 € and get 50% off all the train tickets for a year). For example you can go easily in Salzburg, Munich, Wien… Also car rental is really easy and cheap option for a group of five person, especially if you are going to ski and you bring your own skiis or if you go travel in Europe. Austria have 7 neighboring countries which are actually really close! The longest drive is to Switzerland and it’s just 4,5 hours. From Turku you can’t even get out of Finland in 4,5 hours!


Graz and Salzburg castle


Vanish and Wien

Level of equation is comparable to level we have in TAMK. So, courses aren’t too difficult usually, but of course there are also exceptions. Teachers are mainly good, helpful and they speak clear english. Other students are always ready to help if you have some questions and usually they like to work together, as brainstorming.


Alps

When I don’t have anything to study I usually spend my time in gym or hanging out with other exchange students. Exchange is the best opportunity to to get new international friends!

-Petri

Hallo, Kristi, Servus aus München!

Almost time to say Tschüss to Hochschule München! It is beginning of the exam period and since I only got one exam, I am almost done here! It was truly a good experience! After some problems with finding suitable courses, waiting whether I got enrolled or not and  and if I get enough ECTS for the stay.

I ended up feeling good with the courses I selected, the teachers were great and really made things interesting! I was really happy about that, since my first goal for the exchange was to come and study and learn new things! There were no studies in English from my faculty, social science, but I found good ones from business, design and common studies that I think really gave me new skills and mindset for the future!  

I expected university to be more modern and on point in a German efficient way, and it really was not. Systems were really old school and could be so much faster, easier and efficient with newer tools and apps. So, I found myself to be very spoiled with Finnish new technology and Tuudo app. Nothing like that in here 😀 but in the end, like things usually do, everything worked out!

I was living during my exchange in Innsbruck, so I had quite a commute to university 2,5 h one way, but it was fine, since I was able to make nice timetable and didn’t need to attend classes many days a week. And actually it is not mandatory to attend classes in here, so actually you saw most of the other students only just before the exam period when they started to show up, until that, classes were quite empty 😛

I enjoyed my time in the alps, its nature and the mountains. So, it was worth it to stay there instead of the city. During the days in Münich I took most of the culture and art the city offers, and all the multiple nice restaurants and coffee places it has!

During my exchange I also fi Finished my Master thesis, so it was actually really good not to have too full calendar, but it also meant that I did not have too much free time. When in the weekends many exchange students travelled around Europe, I just stayed home and relaxed and enjoyed all the goodness my surroundings had to offer, like going biking, hiking or snowboarding!

Liebe Grüße

Emma

Greetings from Pompey!

Greetings from Portsmouth!

I did my exchange in Portsmouth, England, which is located on the south coast of England, and as you can see from the picture it wasn’t all cloudy and rainy all the time. At the moment I’am already back in not so sunny Tampere, but my exchange went well. The studies were nice and interesting and Portsmouth really is a student town as the population there is around 200 000 with about 20 000 of them students. I had two supply chain courses and one finance and accounting course. The courses where structured nicely as all of the lesson involved a theoretical part which was then followed by a practical part. It made the learning easier. The only minus was that the courses I had chosen happened to have all of their assignments in January, so I had a pretty busy couple of weeks.

I did, of course, still have a good amount of spare time. Portsmouth is a very small town, so there isn’t much to see there after the first few weeks. Luckily, there is a lot to see around the UK and for example London is only about an hour away by train. By the way, if you want get cheap train tickets in the UK, you should book them well in advance. I also visited London for a couple of days and I have to say, It never lets you down! I also went to Southampton, which is also about an hour away and has way better shopping opportunities than Portsmouth. I also took a bus to Manchester, which was a bit of a mistake, but as the train tickets get massive expensive when you travel a longer distance, I had no choice. And now I have experienced the standstill traffic on M6. It was a nice 9-hour trip on the buses. A place you must visit when in Portsmouth, is the Isle of Wight. It is an hour ferry ride away from Portsmouth and the landscape there is just breathtaking. We also went to Pompey FC’s football match, which was quite something. And yes, Portsmouth is called Pompey for some reason.

The studies were quite different from Finland or at least from Tamk. Because it is an actual university, the focus was on the academic side all the time. I have now become a master at referencing as that seemed to be the main focus.  In your essays you can’t even say that the earth is round without having an appropriate reference for it. The rules were also stricter and attendance was always compulsory and it was monitored with your student card that you had to scan always before a lecture. If you were sick, you had to get a note from a doctor, otherwise it was a forbidden absence. Reports and essays also have s strict word limit and if you go above that just by 1 word, you get 10% taken off from your mark. How crazy is that! But all in all, the exchange was a nice experience and it also made me appreciate Finland more. The student accommodation there was absolutely awful with mold, small rooms and sky-high rents so it is really nice to have Toas and cheap and comfortable apartments. School is also nicer in Finland as you don’t have to worry about all these different kind of penalties if you go above a word limit or return the assignment a minute late.

 

Br,

Katri

So Near but Still Far Away

Hello people reading this,

I arrived back home June last year, but let’s pretend it’s spring 2019 and I’m still living in Tallinn.

Tammsaare Park
Walking trough Tammsaare Park next to Viru Keskus.

I like the name of this blog as Estonia is the country eighty kilometers below Finland – so not so far away. That’s why I named my post So Near but Still Far Away. Tallinn is a South Helsinki for many people from Finland like Helsinki is North Tallinn to Estonians.

One time in this comedy club an Estonian woman, who works as a guide in Tallinn said

“Everybody asks me that what should you see while staying in Tallinn?

I tell them

… Helsinki.”

I’ll start to use that in reverse.

At MTÜ Õigus 6th Annual Ball

In my spear time outside of Uni and school work, I hang out with my friends, eat, travel, see movies and go to different music events or clubs. I have already seen many movies in the theaters in Tallinn and will see many more! The ticket prices here are so much cheaper compared to Finland. And this spring is coming so many good new movies out. The more sunnier and warmer it gets I’ll spend more time outside. I have visited once Budapest, Hungary and Riga, Latvia. Many times Finland – Tampere and Helsinki. To Riga I went with a bus which took approx four hours and the bus ticket was like five euros. From Tallinn you can take bus to multiple big cities like St. Petersburg and Vilnius. So if you come here for your exchange – try to visit even one European city among Tallinn.

Vegan cakes at Vegan Inspiratsioon.

I study in Baltic Film, Media, Arts and Communication School at Tallinn University. I have six different courses from different study fields. Even couple from Master’s Studies. I have classes only two to four days a week, one or two classes a day. Well we have a lot of essays, readings and other tasks beside lectures and classes.

“Tallinn University is the largest university of humanities in Tallinn and the third biggest public university in Estonia. We have more than 7,500 students (with 9.5% of them international), and over 800 employees, including nearly 400 researchers and lecturers.”

Souvenier from me to me. This is one of the three tattoos I got while living in Tallinn.
Walking next to water line, Pirita tee.

I hope everybody has a great time during their exchange!

Parimate tervitustega,

Milla

Greetings from historic Brno!

I arrived in Brno two days before the exchange period started. I was going to live in dormitories close to the school hole time. First thing that I noticed when I came in Brno was that it was feeling like summer, because everything was so green, and sun was shining everyday although we were living September. Luckily, I packed few shorts with me.

The school system here is very different than in Finland. Of course this school here is university and that’s first difference and the second is that there are much more lessons in TAMK than in here. There are no very much of any schoolwork so the independent study is important here. What is been also different is that many of the classes have cancelled in here because teachers have to go somewhere abroad or some training events. In addition, studying here is been very nice and it’s been good change to studying in TAMK. Beneath in left picture is the dormatory where I live and in the right there is Faculty of Mechanical Engineering where is most of the classes.

In spare time I have visited many other countries that are nearby for example Poland, Hungarian, Slovakia and Austria. In addition I have visited in London by airplane which was very cheap. In the weekdays I usually exercise a lot for example go to the gym, running, swimming or play football with other students. The food is here cheaper than in Finland so I eat out almost everyday in week and that’s pretty nice, because I don’t like cooking very much. Czech Republic is world’s number one beer consumer and I understand that well because the beer is very good and cheap.

 

Thank you!

 

 

 

Saludos desde España

I started my third year of studies by doing my exchange in Madrid. I started the semester in the beginning of September and now four months later it is my time to return to Finland. My stay in Madrid has been mostly studying, doing sports and meeting new people. I had six courses in total and some of the courses were a bit challenging, so I was studying a lot. In TAMK I am used to have quite a lot of tasks in groups but during my exchange we barely had assignments in groups. It was a nice chance, but also it was more work for each student. Most of the courses had mid-term exams, so during one course we could have three mid-term exams and then at the end of the course a final exam.

Rey Juan Carlos University

Studying in Finland or in Spain is not that different but I noticed some differences too. For example, an exchange student without a knowledge of Spanish might have some problems living in Spain. Most people I met working in the customer service in Madrid did not speak English. Some of the teachers and the staff of the university did not speak English, exception of course the teachers that teaches the courses in English. In Finland I think the knowledge of English is better, if you go to the supermarket and speak English to the staff, they will understand you and probably will be able to answer you in English. And in TAMK nearly all of the staff has a good level of English.

My schedule included lectures from Monday till Friday, mostly from eight to 12 or 14. My apartment was not really close to the university, so I needed to get there by bus and a metro. The easiest way going around the city is going by metro and the public transportation in Madrid is good and also cheap. On my free time I was either going around the city, going to the gym, but mostly studying. I saw many nice places in Madrid, tried nice restaurants, went to watch football in the stadium and went around the beautiful streets and parks. Something I founded really nice in Spain was the weather. The first couple months it was over 20 degrees, nearly 30 and the last months it was from 5 to 15 degrees. The nice thing was that it didn’t rain much, and it was not as dark as in Finland, actually it was sunny almost every day.

All in all, my stay in Madrid went well and I can finish my exchange with some new experiences and good memories.

Saludos,

Jonna

 

My Exchange Semester in Seoul

Hi everyone! I recently completed my exchange studies at Korea University in Seoul, South Korea. When I was thinking about my exchange destination a year ago, it was clear to me that I wanted to get to know an East Asian country as well as spend a few months in a major city. Turns out, Seoul was the perfect choice!

Korea University Main Building
Korea University Main Building

I spent four months at Korea University (KU), and it definitely was a great experience. Apart from its good reputation, KU has a lot of more great things to offer. A great part about the exchange was the KUBA program, a buddy (tutoring) program, organised by KU degree students. All exchange students were divided into groups, and everyone got assigned a buddy (i.e. tutor), who takes care of the exchange student’s concerns. The tutors also organize multiple events each week for exchange students, so I got to meet a lot of great people quickly.

The course organization and implementation largely differs from TAMK. Course registration is very competitive, so it is highly recommended to do the course registration at the earliest opportunity (which was on some day in early August at 4 am). I was able to get most of the courses I wanted to take. The courses are usually oranized as lectures, so there is not as much exchange between professor and students, however, there are also courses which are very similar to TAMK (i.e. a lot of group work, practical approach). Therefore, it makes sense to study the course descriptions before deciding which courses to take, especially if you prefer courses with a similar teaching style as in TAMK.

The study culture is very different from TAMK, as the Korean students are under a lot of pressure from the family to perform well. Also, most exams are brutal, and it is, even for Koreans, very hard to get good grades. Before and in the exam weeks, I saw a substantial number of students studying until late in the evening at school and even taking a nap while sitting at a table in front of their study papers.

In my spare time, I visited different places around Seoul, especially in the early part of my exchange. Unfortunately, I didn’t manage to travel to other parts of the country. However, there were a lot of other students who went to places like Busan or Jeju, among others, and from what I’ve heard, these places are really worth a visit.

Instead of travelling around Korea, I visited Hongkong and Tokyo during the semester. Especially Hongkong, with its amazing skyline and its mix between chinese and western cultures, is a must-see city when visiting East Asia or Southeast Asia.

View of Hongkong from Victoria Peak
View of Hongkong from Victoria Peak
Shibuya, Tokyo

So if you are thinking about choosing Seoul and especially Korea University as your exchange destination, go for it! You will not regret it.

My time at SeoulTech at Seoul, South Korea

In SeoulTech I didn’t have any problem enrolling to courses. Here we just did excel of courses we wanted that we sent to the person in charge. Most of the people got what they wanted. All of the courses were mostly in English, sometimes mix of Korean and English. Professors English might be hard to understand at first, but when you get used to the accent isn’t that hard to understand anymore.

 

I had six courses and that didn’t leave me much spare time with all the assignments in the end. But I still managed to experience most of the stuff I wanted to do since I prioritized my work and exploring (no time for Netflix).  Courses I had weren’t that hard but they did required lot of my spare time compared to Finnish studies.

 

After studying we did a lot of sightseeing around Seoul. With international students we saw most of the things that is advertised around Seoul, though it is much, we did spend almost four months there. These places were really nice and worth exploring, for culture we visited various palaces and a shrine that had interesting stories in them, worth taking the time and reading the story behind them. Also, Seoul has nice museums, especially the War Museum where you could spend days just reading and diving in to the history. For Korean culture the markets were a must-go, there is one for various of traditional goods, Korean street food, and one with various shopping centers. Lastly, I had chance to fulfill my childhood dream: visit abandoned amusement park.

Abandoned Amusement Park (Yongma Land)

For general sightseeing the nicest things were riding bike along the Han-river, visiting Haneul Park for sunset and awesome view of the city, walking along a stream in middle of metropolis, going for Namsan Tower for the mini hike, and lastly going for Lotte World Tower observatory for the awesome 123rd floor view. Lotte World Tower is must-go, but when we went there for sunset, we had to queue for two hours to get in, which wasn’t that pleasant. If we would’ve gone other day or other time, probably wouldn’t have to queue at all.

View from Lotte World Tower

We also did a lot of hiking around Seoul’s mountains. Since there is bunch on mountains around Seoul, it is easy to just take bus in the base of a mountain and just start hiking. When hiking you can see fit elderly Korean people just blasting through like nothing, and even some hikes have an outdoor gym where people can just blast a quick extra workout during the hike. One of the reasons to go for a hike, is to see the awesome sunsets, and we saw lots sunsets from the mountains. Of course, the sunset is just perfect with great people and few cups of Soju. I’ve never seen so many sunsets in my life that I get to see in this short time. After enjoying the sunsets, we had to be careful going down from the mountain, since it got dark fast after sunset.

Sunset views from the top of Buramsan Mountain

Highlights of the exchange was hanging out with great people around the world and sharing stories, cultures and ideas. We spent countless hours in campus’ cafe Two of Us just enjoying coffee and talking. Also, we enjoyed Korean culture in a way of eating every day, just ordering bunch of food and drinks for the table and sharing it, no better way to enjoy food like in this social way. All of us made life lasting great friends, and we already planned meet-ups around Europe.

Korean Barbeque

During October We had trip to Busan. It’s large port city on South Korea, and it’s known for its beaches, mountains and temples. Busan has population of 3.43 million which is around 65% smaller than Seoul. Traveling there with buses and taxis the whole place felt small, when we had already adjusted in Seoul. In Busan we did mostly sightseeing around docks, culture village, beaches, fish and food markets, and lastly a lighthouse, where we were stuck for an hour because we managed to go there just when it started to wind and rain hard. During nights we enjoyed Busan’s nightlife and lived in a little cozy guesthouse. Other than sightseeing we reserved one whole day for surfing in Songjeong Beach, where was just enough waves for complete beginners. First touch to surfing and loved every minute of it.

Busan’s surf day