Nihao, greetings from China!

This is a postcard from China, one of the culturally richest country. So I have started my exchange in China from August 2018 at the Qilu University of Technology in Jinan, the north part of China. This is my second home country and looked forward to this exchange journey!

(This photo was taken a front of the library of QLU, nice fountain!)

Studies weren’t so easy, okay the hardest part was the weather. It was so hot in China when I arrived, almost 30 degrees. And of course, there was no air conditioning, and for some reason, those fans never worked… But fortunately, exchange students had air conditioning in their room, so whenever the lecture finished, I enjoyed my study in my room (or “our” place with my roommate). Besides the heat, for me, everything went well (okay, Chinese professors had a quite strong accent, but you would get to familiar with that).

(Jinan Expo Garden near by the school)

Usually, I hang out with my friends during my spare time. Attending to the local church and had a few travels on the weekend or holidays. Oh, and Business Street was s cool place! Basically, I could find everything from there, like gyms, restaurants, karaoke, pubs, bakeries, stores, hairdressings etc, just everything!

Having a bicultural background was helpful for me to adapt to this country. Surely, there were some difficult times and it was hard to adjust to the local way of acting. But finally, everything went well.

A wee greeting from Glasgow

I actually didn’t know what to expect. I left to this trip without expectations, so I could enjoy it fully and I kinda succeed in that. I had almost a week free before starting the school and that time I used to walk and get known to the city. Glasgow is full of beautiful old buildings and it makes you wonder what kind of life they had before the modern times.

Anyway.

The reason I chose Scotland for my destination was kind straight forward. I wanted to go to a country where I can manage with my own English and is not “too far away” from Finland and there I had it. Country where I can live with english and study environmental engineering.

Lectures started, and it was little different what I would have thought. Students mostly sat and listened and then we headed home, and work needed to be done at your free time, but I got used to it kind quickly.

Days went by day after day and week after week.

Since accommodation was next to the school no public transport was needed. Just crossed the road and there you are but there was a major difference, yes, I mean traffic. It took 2 months to get used to the fact that first you have to check right and then left. Not vice versa.

Free time mostly went just walking around the city but time to time school event team organized day trips to further away with cheap prices. I got to see Edinburg, Stirling, Kelpies and lots of many other things that cannot be seen in Finland. The most breathtaking and mesmerizing event was enchanted forest and it is way beyond describing.

I don’t see much of a difference in studies between Scotland and Finland. Both have lectures and esseys and reports you work at home. One thing you had to do was to “check in” with your student cards which indicates that you are in class.

Time went flying and my exchange studies have almost come to an end and I say you if you got the opportunity to do studies abroad, JUST DO IT.

Greetings from Greece!

I’m doing practical training here in Athens and this has been an amazing experience and I’ve learned a lot about both life in here and nursing culture. In general, people are friendly and in the training placement in the hospital nurses and doctors are guiding me and telling me about the patients, diseases, treatments, operations, etc. I’ve also got many tips on what to do in Greece.

The hospital is a public hospital and I’ve been in a medical ward, operation theatres and a heart-thorax surgical ward. The patients are kind and interested in what I think of Greece. Health care system here is different from what we have in Finland and patients depend on their relatives, who stay with the patients all day. It is hard to see how the hospital’s lack of money affects the care patients get. Still, nurses and doctors are doing their best with what they have.

The hospital

Some things here I absolutely love, for example, the food and the weather and even the metro, and some other things I’ve got tired of, like the traffic and people smoking everywhere, really everywhere, anytime. On the streets there are lots of homeless people and their shacks. And cats. One advice regarding the weather in February and March: the temperature may be +15C but the wind is chilly, and apartments are heated by air conditioning systems. So layering clothes is a must.

There are lots of things to see and do in Greece and in Athens, from ancient sites like Acropolis and parks and shopping to tavernas and late night concerts and festivals and more. But to my mind, the best thing is to have a reasonably priced coffee and feta pie on a terrace on a sunny day 🙂

Hello from Athens

I am a second year social service  student. I decided to do my practical training in Greece, Athens.  I am  doing my practical training in  The Finnish Seamen’s Mission. It is a meeting place  for  Finnish people who has moved to Greece  and tourist can come  too.  There you can read Finnish newspaper, wash your laundry and get local information. We also organize  different programs such ass movie nights, lectures and I organize games for different senses. I am also at the cafe four times a week. Since I am working with Finnish people, the working culture Is the same than in Finland.

In my spare time I like to bathe in the sun on my buildings roof and I enjoy  walking around the city and see all the historical sights.  Every time I am walking in the city I go and have frozen yogurt, it is my favorite treat <3.

Because of the economy crises, there are a lot of  disadvantages, poor and refugees here and 3rd sector does not exist here.  There is a demand for lot of different social work.

Greek people are very family orientated and they take care of each other so poor people who has no family are in trouble  and without support. The only  good thing about economy crises is that people are more equal than before.

Greetings from Namibia!

Hello!

My name is Eero and I’m studying to become a bachelor of social services. Me and my two friends decided to do our second years practical training aboard and so we chose Windhoek which is the capital of Namibia. We’re social coaches and teachers of social skills in Windhoek Football Club and we are working with kids who are under 19, 15 and 9. All the age groups have their own teams, so altogether we are working with 60 kids. At the first, the kids were shy and quiet but they are slowly becoming out of their shells. You can’t compare working culture in Namibia with working culture in Finland, things are so different here. For example “time” has no meaning here, in Finland when the day begins at 8am it begins at 8am, here the day may begin at 12am or 2pm. One local said: “Swiss make clocks, Germans know the time and Namibians have the time.” That metaphor is 100% true.

Things are ok here, Namibia is a very dry and hot country so it was quite a shock when we arrived here three weeks ago. When we left, in Finland there was -4 degrees and finally after 36 hours of traveling we arrived in Namibia and here it was +36 degrees. Namibian people are polite and friendly and they have quite strange sense of humour. We are truly enjoying life here, because we like working with Windhoek Football Club and all of their players – they are magnificent people. We’ve also met a lot of locals and they are so kindhearted in every possible way. People just don’t act this way back in Finland.

And of course, beer is cheap and the food is just great. Namibians don’t eat so much vegetables so this is a heaven for carnivore like me. I still miss Finnish vegetables almost every day…

Below, you can find some pictures so you can see how things are going here.

The house we are living.
Us working with the U15 team.
U9 team won silver in the tournament.
Me and my Windhoek Football Club shirt.

So, all in all, these are going well and we got still seven weeks left. I’m sure I’m going to miss all the lovely people I’ve met here.

Best,

Eero Heinonen

 

Hilsen fra Bergen!

The campus in Bergen was luxurious combination of modern buildings and history of the city. It was functional and cozy. I only had one course that required campus life. Language course was in the other building in different place. Studying was similar like at home.

My clinical placement was in the university hospital. I liked it very much. I was doing two modalities during eight weeks. Although the placement was super, in the end your brain was very tired. It might have been better, if we’ve had even one week between the modalities.

Spare time was spent studying more, exploring the city and just charging your own batteries. All the social activities during the day, speaking english all days long and being away from your family were all surprisingly exhausting.

But still, I’m happy to go back home.

Everyday life of Wolverhampton Wanderer

Greetings from Wolverhampton, United Kingdom! I’m Veera, construction engineering student from Finland and I’m doing an Erasmus in England.

Picture 1: Part of the campus.

Our campus here is huge. Pretty much half of this (small) town’s buildings belongs to the University.

Here in the University of Wolverhampton we don’t have many lectures and even if we do, we are not required to go there if we don’t want to. However, I work more for the University here than I do in Finland, but mostly cause it takes so much time to read and write in a foreign language.

 

Pictures 2&3. On the left: a silent study area with a nice view. On the right: Mainstream. But yes, we have a Starbucks on campus.

Most of my friends here are also exchange students and we all live in an university accommodation. Everyone has their own tiny room with a bed and a table in it and then you share your kitchen and bathroom with five other people.

Football is a big thing here. Wolverhampton Wanderers F.C. (Wolves) compete in the Premium League and the stadium is between the accommodation and the university, so you cannot miss out a match day. On match days there are a lot of kiosks near to the stadium, and one of my favorite things here is buying some sausage and chips on my way home after a long day at the library!

Yesterday (2 March 2019) I happened to walk beside the stadium when Wolves scored their winning goal against Manchester United. Memorable moment.

 

Picture 4: Molineux stadium.

Wolverhampton is a small but well-connected town. Birmingham International airport is only 30 minutes away and coaches to London leave almost every hour. I’ve been to London four times already and during our winter break we flew from Birmingham to Ireland and tickets were only 60 euros each. Also Manchester and Liverpool are only few hours away. Since lectures here are optional, you can easily travel a lot if you want to.

In conclusion, Wolverhampton has been a good place to do Erasmus. Studying here is pretty much what I excepted and there are a lot of exchange students here so it’s super easy to make friends.

Best,

Veera

While in Slovenia

Hi folks!

It has been almost 3 months since my stay in Slovenia for internship. It has been such a worthwhile experience!

Sorry for not introducing myself first 🙁 My name is Hang, from Vietnam. I am studying Energy and Environmental Engineering degree programme in Tampere University of Applied Sciences (TAMK). I started my internship for a company in Slovenia this January and it is a 3-month internship. I worked as a digital nomad in Slovenia so I could combine my travelling hobby with working. I also took time to travel to some countries in Europe, sometimes alone, sometimes with friends, sometimes with acquaintances.

Slovenia is indeed a small country in area, but it is here where many of my first times occurred. I gained a huge amount of knowledge while living here. I met new people, made new friends with people from all around the world. I learnt valuable lessons. And the most importantly, I realized many new parts of me that I have never discovered before. I now understand what are important in my life. The melody of song ‘Catch & release’ by Matt Simons just poped out of my head. I recommned you guys to hear this song before starting any adventure. To sum up, I appreciate my opportunity to work and live here in Slovenia!

I do miss Finland so bad. I miss my friends, the snow (yes desperately), my private room, public transportation, and many more. But the thing I miss the most turns out to be my whole life in Finland. It includes the atmosphere I was breathing in, the people I used to meet and talk to, the jobs I used to have, the road I used to walk under the snow, the lakes I used to swim every day in the summer time, the apartment where I used to live in, all these good and bad memories. I guess what the wise man said that you only what you got once you lost it is true in this case. I realize how much I love my life in Finland only once I leave it… Such dilemma, isn’t it? But life is constantly moving forward, not even waiting for anyone. I also need to move on, leaving the past behind and keep rolling 😀

I have changed my mindset a lot since my stay in Slovenia. All these stereo types, all these misconceptions, all these unrealistic ideologies, all turn into ashes. 3 months is not a huge period of time, but it is enough to make a man become much wiser and even enough for him/her to transform. Btw I grew my 3rd wisdom tooth here in Slovenia 😀

I highly recommend everybody to have their study abroad, with exchange programs, degree programs or woking abroad. By doing this, you can know exactly how strong you are and how stronger you can become! I literally live like I am going to die tomorrow, a bit rusher than my normal life, I got sick in Slovenia here in 3 months more times than my life in Vietnam and Finland … But that is okay, another adventurous life!

Student,

Hang Nguyen

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hello from beautiful Seoul

After hearing that I got accepted to do my exchange in South Korea, I was beyond excited. I had never traveled to Asia before so I was excited to explore the new country and culture. I studied at Konkuk University in Seoul. Konkuk University is one of the leading private universities in South Korea. My studies consisted of business courses as well as Korean language and culture courses. Konkuk has a great selection of courses in English, especially for business students. However, managing to get into these courses is hard and stressful. All the courses fill up in seconds and only lucky ones manage to get into courses they want. I was lucky enough to get into couple of the courses that I wanted.

Student life in South Korea differs quite a lot from Finnish student life, especially studying. Konkuk University as well as the dorm had study rooms that were always full of students when the exam week neared. Many students would spend hours and hours studying for exams. Overall studying at Konkuk University was really different from studying at TAMK. Much more effort had to put in to studies and attendance was stricter. Studying in your own time was required because it wasn’t enough to just listen at the lectures to pass exams. Studies consisted of more individual work rather than group work which I was used to at TAMK.

My spare time consisted of exploring around the city and eating lot of delicious food. Seoul is a mixture of new and old so there is lot of historical places to visit alongside of modern shops and cafes. Seoul has lot of different coffee shops and restaurants where you can spend time when you are not exploring sights. Seoul had so many beautiful places to visit so I was never bored.

In the beginning Seoul seemed very overwhelming but nearing the end it felt like home. I definitely recommend Seoul as exchange destination for anyone who is interested in studying and exploring Asia.

Seoul is definitely my favorite city that I’ve ever been to.

Szia from Budapest!

Time really flies. It´s hard to believe that it is already my second month here in Budapest. The weather turned to be sunny and pleasant although some locals said this has been the warmest winter in their memories. Suits me well that the spring is on the doorstep and sunglasses have been needed already for a while. These warm days has given me a reason to enjoy terraces alongside of Danube where my university is located too.

I was kind of forced to come to Budapest since other TAMK´s partner universities didn´t offer that much of master level studies. But I don´t regret at all. I could even say that I felt in love with this city in the first sight. It has been super easy to relocate here. I can guarantee that it is easy to like this city. I really don´t wonder why Budapest has been voted as the best European destination 2019. Budapest has so much to offer. Just to mention that it is called as the city of spas. I already have visited in 4 spas and there is more to go.

Hungarian language is quite tricky like the name of my university which is Eötvös Loránd Tudományegyetem. It can be shortened as Elte. It is the biggest university in Hungary. I am studying at the Faculty of Social Sciences. I have attended the courses, such as, Advanced issues in human rights and Measuring wellbeing and social progress. I chose the following courses, Interculturalism in practice and Intercultural training courses from the Faculty of Education and Psychology. That faculty had a lot of other interesting courses as well which made study planning a bit complicated.  

Budapest is nicely located in the middle of Europe. That offers great possibilities for traveling. So far, I have done a day trip to Vienna, Austria by car. It is somehow unbelievable that after driving couple of hours you can reach another country. During the spring break I´m traveling to Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan. In addition to this I thought to celebrate my birthday on May in Belgrad, Serbia. I´m into traveling but I also really enjoy meeting people. I´m glad that it has been easy to socialize and find people to hangout even I haven´t participate almost any of those Erasmus events. In the beginning of the semester I joined for Parliament house tour, Buda Castle & Basilica sightseeing and for welcome weekend which was held in the city of Eger. These events were organized by student union. I kind of felt been over aged in Erasmus crowd so later on I discovered other ways to socialize.

What else about Budapest?! There is plenty of nice cafes and restaurants which are reasonable prices. One of the most interesting and unique one was robot café where the drinks were served by robots. As a vegetarian, I have found several vegan and vegetarian restaurants which has made me happy although I was scared in advance that the situation wouldn´t be that good. I haven´t cook that much at home since I´m eager to eat out and try different things. I share a flat with a student from Bangladesh who is super nice. The flat feels home and it is centrally located but still without been middle of the buzzing city center.

I will be here for a one semester which started on beginning of February. Elte has spring break on April. After it the semester continues until mid of May which is start for an exam period. Luckily, I don´t have any exams. Most of my courses requires some essays, reflection papers or presentations. I already kept one presentation and two more to ahead. I attend to university 2 or 3 times per week which leaves me enough free time. Life feels good and can´t wait what this spring brings with it. Greetings from BP 😊