A Brit in England

Greetings from Manchester, England! Yes thats right. A British man from Finland has come home on exchange.

I write this post after the awful events which occurred a few days ago in Manchester, therefore I am feeling very patriotic right now. Mancunians are flooding the streets getting a bee tattoo to show solidarity and to show that we have all come together. The bee is a workerc8d94d64b4954f34f8346b9caec0897f bee and is a symbol of the city’s hard-working past, during the Industrial Revolution. It’s times like these I am so glad that I came back to this wonderful city and I am very proud to call myself a Mancunian still, after losing it somewhat whilst being away in Finland.

 

Moving to a more positive note, my time here has been wonderful. My exchange15626274_10153926761121652_2286677521212785433_o has probably been quite different to most considering this is my hometown. I think it is fair to say I did miss out on a lot of the experiences others will have. My flight into Manchester was my standard yearly flight coming home for Christmas. Except this time I wasn’t coming back..for awhile. I didn’t actually tell my friends back here in England I was coming back for Christmas, but after New Year. This lead to a delightful surprise visit from me during the traditional Christmas Eve drinks.

After some stressful organising I managed to get my modules in check. Things took a long while before gettingIMG_3446 everything sorted (others had the same problem) which is something I warn others about before applying here, although it was worth it, I swear. The University is Salford, I probably should mention that.. After confirming my modules, I was ecstatic to announce that my entire studies would be based at Media City UK. Home of the huge and most popular TV stations BBC and ITV.  The modules I picked were scriptwriting, editing and TV drama. TV drama was the main module which I wanted to pick so I was delighted that it was still available.

Finding things to do was much easier than what others may experience here. I have a big group of friends here already, however I did my best to mingle with the other exchange students. My home was about an hour and a half away from the University on the bus, an hour away from student accommodation’s. It was hard to keep in touch with everyone whilst I was there so my biggest advice would be to live as close as possible to the campus and its people. This way there would be no way in missing out on activities and things like that (I don’t mean drinking I promise.) One thing I did not miss about being in Finland were shop prices! It was nice to be back in a country where I could pick up a broccoli for 45p! I also enjoyed being able to chat to shop workers etc more easily rather than in Finland because of no language barriers. I don’t speak Finnish so I don’t fully know whether conversations are had like this, but I certainly enjoyed asking the shop worker whether hes “alright?!” and whether he watched “the game” last night.

Being in Manchester I went to watch Manchester City play several times, went to wrestling shows and took part in any social activities I could do. I got to say goodbye to a hero and meet two new heroes. Not all heroes wear capes..they wear moustaches.

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Tyler Bate. Trent Seven.

 

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Manchester City vs West Brom. Zabaleta’s final game.

Being at this university has been an amazing experience. It is certainly something I will be referring to for a long time in my life. The classes have not been anything special, but I have enjoyed them all the same. The workload has certainly been different compared to TAMK. Classes have been much shorter. 3 hours Monday, Tuesday and Thursdays. However they expect you to do a lot of work outside of these times. 90% of my work has been projects on my own, which is something I am not used to recently in TAMK. My original understanding was that TV drama would be a module where you create a number of different pieces in a big team together. It was actually a module designed for me to be the producer of a film and produce a 5 minute short film. The workload was then increased when I was informed I would be directing another piece also. Getting a crew together with a cameraman, actors, director and sound is probably one of the most stressful things I’ll ever do in my school life.

It was difficult getting involved in the majority of the classes as I was the only exchange person in them. I did enjoy however pretending to be the greatest Mancunian of all time.. it didn’t last long. Scriptwriting however was a completely different ball game. Every class we read out loud each others scripts in a big semi circle. Being British helped me out a lot here considering English is my mother tongue, however I can’t help but wonder what it would have been like for a foreign exchange person. This was by far my favourite module as I thought the teaching was fantastic and it was so refreshing to see someone care so much about your work.

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Unfortunately the only picture I took during filming!

My conclusion about the country? Come to England before it’s too late, stop the Brexit!

My conclusion about the city? Manchester, I love you.

 

Dober dan from Slovenia!

Ciao!

We are two girls from Tampere, and we are currently doing our exchange in Koper, Slovenia. Koper is the biggest city in Slovenian coast, and  it’s located just 10 minutes from Italian border and 20 minutes from Croatian border. This city is bilingual, locals speak Slovenian and Italian, and their English is also good. Slovenia is much cheaper than Finland, which has allowed us to travel, shop and eat out more than at home. The time is one hour less than in Finland. The weather here has been much warmer and sunnier compared to Finland. Even though the locals say, that this spring has been really cold here, we have been sunbathing already for over a month. 
ranta Koper beach walk.
mäKoper looks like small Italian town, with its narrow alleys and colorful houses.
seaThe best thing about Koper is its location next to the Adriatic sea!

Studies

We are studying management and our courses here are concentrating on strategic management and entrepreneurship. From our courses we get 24 credits. One semester is divided in two periods, just like in TAMK. In the first period, we had only one course, and because of that we had only one or two classes per week. In this period we have two courses and classes 2-3 times per week. Studies have been easier than in Finland, but the study methods are the same. We have made many essays and presentations during these courses. Before we came, we thought that we could learn Slovenian in school, but they didn’t offer any Slovenian language -courses in the spring, so that was a little disappointment.

School food system is different than in Finland. Here we get this Studentski boni, which means, that school co-operates with many different restaurants who give students discounts. For example in our favourite restaurant, a big salad/pasta/pizza etc. costs only 3,07€. And if you feel like eating junk-food you can go to McDonald’s and get burger, fries, drink, fruit, salad and ice-cream all just for 2,70€!! So as you can guess, we really like this system here, because you can choose from many different restaurants. You can find these restaurants all over Slovenia.

Here is also good opportunities to exercise. School offers discounts to gyms, swimming halls etc. If you want to do your workout outside, here is this free sport park, Bonifika, where you can find football, tennis and basketball courts, running tracks and outside gym equipment.
_MG_9206Visiting lake Bled with our closest friends.

Daily life

We live in city center with four Slovenian girls. Our rent is student-friendly, only 160€ per month per person. We are really happy with the location of our apartment, as we can reach everything in few minutes. Our basic day without school consists of going to gym or running, and meeting our friends. Life in here is extremely relaxed which has been quite difficult to get used to, because it’s so different than our lives in Finland, but we have started to love it!

The best things here are our new friends and the opportunity to travel a lot. We have traveled around Slovenia, Italia and Croatia and visited also Greece and Austria. After the school ends, we are going to Split, Croatia and to Bulgaria. Most of the trips we have done by bus, which is the cheapest transportation, but if there has been a bigger group we have always rented a car.

Even though Koper is a quite small town, here is one big shopping mall, Planet Tuš. There you can find cinema, bowling, restaurants, night club, gym and all our favorite shops (ZARA, Stradivarius, Bershka, New Yorker, H&M etc.).
bikesBest regards from Marja & Ronja!

Where the craic is mighty!

Ireland, the land where strange tales begin and happy endings are possible!

They say that times fly when you’re having fun – Which is very true in my case. I was almost five months in Ireland having the most wonderful time in my life and can’t believe it’s over now!

Athlone and river Shannon
Athlone and river Shannon

I lived in a little town Athlone, in the midlands. School where I studied is Athlone Institute of Technology and I liked it very much. Lecturers were very friendly and there was a lot of exchange students from different countries. The courses I chose were about tourism and hotels, also including revenue management and professional/enterprise development and I liked those courses a lot. There was four other erasmus students in my class so it was nice to study also with Irish students.  I took a English for studying skills- course to support my studies and I think those classes were my favourite. The English lecturers were so friendly, always so positive and welcoming and it was nice to learn with so many different nationalities and have interesting conversations during the classes.

Department of Hospitality Tourism and Leisure studies
Department of Hospitality Tourism and Leisure studies
Cliffs of Moher
Cliffs of Moher

One thing I found challenging there. In Finland we do most of the assigments in teams, but here almost everything was individual. First it was hard, but by time it became easier and I found the best ways to study. We had to do different  reports, project, wordbook, essays and at least five different presentations and after submitting the last one, I felt so proud and relieved. Also the final examination weeks were hard trying to read as much as could and exam situations were different compared to Finland.

During the semester, I got so many new friends and spend amazing time with them. Many times when we had free time,  we spend time in a pub next to our apartment playing pool and enjoying Guinness or going to parties organized by International society or other erasmus students.  I think that always people who you meet wherever you go, makes your time there. That semester wouldn’t been the same without all those lovely people.

Cliffs of moher
Cliffs of moher

During that time, I saw a lot of beautiful Ireland. And I  really mean beautiful. Green scenery everywhere, numerous mountains and cliffs, fields with sheeps and the coastal roads with ocean views. Seriously breathtaking country which I fell in love. Definitely going back maybe after few years to experience the whole Wild Atlantic way and other cities I didn’t see.

Wicklow National
Wicklow National
Pub in Dublin
Pub in Dublin
Game of Thrones- tour in Belfast and role playing
Game of Thrones- tour in Belfast and role playing

I made trips when having free time. International society organized few trips to erasmus students to Cliffs of Moher and Wicklow national park. Also in St. Patrick’s day, there was three buses full of exchange students going to Dublin to celebrate. With friends I made trips to Dublin, Galway and to Belfast and all those cities were so nice. Including to our courses, we made fieldtrips to Dublin, Westport and Clonmacnoise visiting different attractions and learning about tourism.  Everywhere was a lot of activities and attractions for tourists and sometimes it was difficult to choose what to do and see.

Celebrating St. Patrick's Day
Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day
Ballintoy Harbour
Ballintoy Harbour

To people who are thinking about going to Ireland, I can only suggest that lovely country! Not only because the scenery, but also because the Irish people, culture and way of living!

Ireland, Sláinte!

Cheers from Tralee!
It has been a amazing adventure I have had here this far and now it is almost time to go home already. Time flies when you are having fun!

Institute of Technology Tralee (IT Tralee) is a bit different than TAMK. The lectures lasts only an hour and the examinations are very strict. The courses’ final examinations are as strict as the matriculation examinations are in high school. There is only two semesters that equals to two periods, not like in TAMK with 4 periods per academic year.

The Starbucks cafeteria in the North campus has a nice view to the mountains, and is has been nice to see the mountains where ever you go in Tralee or how I have noticed, anywhere in Ireland.

View from the North campus of IT Tralee

The courses I had here were mostly marketing courses, but very different that those I had in TAMK. Sometimes the lecturers just did not show up but that happened to me only once. Some other course teachers were gone for most of the time without any note.

I have travelled around Ireland and visited also in Edinburgh, on the holidays and weekends. The nature here is wonderful and yet it amazes me every time how green it is here. Anywhere you go, for example from Tralee to Dublin, when you are sitting in the train, every 30 seconds you see either cows, sheep or horses. The sheep are everywhere, it is true that they can lay anywhere.

Ballyseedy Wood in Tralee
Ballyseedy Wood in Tralee

Ballyseedy wood was only for a 15 minute cycling away from the city centre. If ever going to Ireland, I recommend to rent a car. The public transport is not at the same level what it is in Finland.

Cliffs of Moher, Galway
Cliffs of Moher, Galway

Cliffs of Moher was beautiful and no wonder why it is a known place in Ireland with Giant’s Causeway.

After getting used with the accent of the Irish people it was easy to understand the people. For example our bus driver on the Northern Ireland trip, he was from Kerry, and he had strong Kerry accent, and for awhile it was almost impossible to understand what he was saying, but I got used to to the accent pretty fast.

Dingle Peninsula

The day trip to Dingle was the first one I did and I was impressed about the view there. Definitely worth seeing.

Killarney National park
Killarney National park
Giant's Causeway, Northern Ireland
Giant’s Causeway, Northern Ireland
Blasket Islands
Blasket Islands
Edinburgh Castle
Edinburgh Castle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The people that I have had the chance to get to know here are so great! They have made the studying and the small town Tralee feel like another home.

 

So as they say cheers in Irish, Sláinte!

Hej from Denmark!

Hello you people and greetings from Roskilde!

I have been on exchange here in Denmark since end of January, and now I have only 4 weeks left anymore. Time is flying so fast, I don’t get it!

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Three vases in Roskilde
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The spring time in Roskilde

Roskilde is a bit smaller city (about 50 000 people living here) and it’s only 30km from Copenhagen. Probably you recognize the name from the Roskilde festival, which takes place here every summer. And other things why I would recommend this city – there’s beautiful nature and magnificent harbor where you can have a nice walk for example. Also the Roskilde Cathedral (Unesco world heritage) is a worth to see! Almost 40 kings and queens of Denmark are buried there, and it’s really impressive with all those graves around!

But about my studies – I study Social Services in TAMK, but here I’m following course called ALECE (Aesthetics and Learning in Early Childhood Education) and it’s more concentrated to early childhood studies. Actually, it’s the only thing we do here. If I would know that this course teaches more kindergarten teachers and pedagogues, I’m not sure if I would pick this at all.  It’s been an interesting journey, and first I really liked all the drama and aesthetics we did, but because I don’t want to work in any kindergarten in the future I think this is too much for me. Not saying this is bad at all! Just not the right one for me, if I think how much I will gain this to my future.

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Otherwise, the school here isn’t that different than our school in Finland. With all those aesthetics, we also have to write assignments and read articles for example. There is one different thing though – here we do our all works in groups. At first it was a bit strange and frustrating, but I got use to it really fast. And in my opinion, it is important to learn to work in groups with different people (and from different cultures).

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Statue of the Little Mermaid
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Famous Ny Havn in Copenhagen

You would like to know something about my spare time? Well, this it the time I want to praise my new friends here. We have such an international class – people from Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, UK, Spain, Vietnam, Czech Republic… In the beginning of this exchange, I was afraid that I won’t have that many (and close) friends than the others, because they live at Campus and I don’t (didn’t have room for me anymore, I found my place via AirBnb… Trust me, it’s really difficult find apartment in Denmark.). But it hasn’t been bad at all! This people are so nice and friendly, and they’re always welcoming me to stay night at their places if there’s a party or something. And we do lot of things together even I don’t live with all the others. We have visited different places in Roskilde, Copenhagen and once we went to more Northern Denmark to visit Frederiksborg castle. Few people from our class even did road trip in Denmark during our Easter Holiday. And of course you have to cook and clean and do homework here as well, not only having fun. I could tell you so much more, but I think it would be too long postcard. So if you’re considering to go an exchange to Denmark, I highly recommend that. You can also read more about my journey from my blog (in Finnish): http://vaihtariroskildessa.blogspot.dk (you can also find more pictures from my blog, somehow I’m struggling to put my pictures to this blog nicely…)

 

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Can you feel the Danish “Hygge” via this picture?

This exchange has taught me so much – not only about the studies I have had, but about myself. I also got many friends here, and I’m already planning to visit my friend in Belgium during this year… It feels horrible I have to leave all this behind only in four weeks. But gladly nowadays you can always call or chat on Facebook, and see how people are doing! Hopefully you enjoyed my short story about my exchange, adios!

-Jenna

Greetings from the Herzo base!

Servus!

Closing in on three months since I started my internship at adidas in the town of Herzogenaurach, Germany so it´s about time to take a look back and blog about my experience so far.

Things turned out well for me as I was able to start my internship right after finishing my exchange semester in Heilbronn. The relocation wasn’t that huge either, roughly 200 kilometers. What I found most difficult was the accommodation. Herzogenaurach being a relatively small town with little to no shared flats or other student friendly housing, I decided to set my sights on finding a place in the nearby city of Erlangen. Many employees of adidas also live in Nürnberg and the company has arranged a private bus line to bring people to work and take them back home, but I’m not a big fan of being depended on bus schedules. So it had to be Erlangen for me. Turns out, the housing situation in the whole area is quite bad, with Erlangen being a popular university city and the Erlangen-Herzo area having other big companies like Puma, Siemens and Schaeffler. I got a place for a month in the center of Erlangen and it took me the whole month to find a permanent one. Commuting by bike feels like a pain sometimes, especially when it’s raining, but hey, I didn’t want to depend on schedules. Alright, back to my internship.

So, I’m working at the adidas headquarters in the Global Logistics – 3PL Strategy and Management -department in the Procurement team. The team is responsible for inbound and outbound freight rates globally, we negotiate with carriers the freight rates to be used for a certain period of time. The project are long and demanding and the ultimate goal is of course to save as much money as possible, since adidas ships worldwide and the share of logistics costs from the overall costs is quite significant.

During my first weeks I had a talk with my boss about my tasks and my role in the team. The outcome of that meeting was that even though I have no work experience in the field, I would still be responsible for certain things in the team, to get as much out of the six months of my internship as possible.

The whole experience has been great so far and I see no reason why it wouldn’t be going forward. The work environment is great and so much more relaxed then one might expect from a German company, the normal office wear is jeans and sneakers. Not to mention the employee discount you get from adidas products. My wardrobe has never been so full of stripes. The company encourages a healthy and sporty lifestyle which is seen in the casual office attire, healthy foods offered in the cafeteria and a gym just outside the office. Walking around the campus, it feels more like a university than a company. You have flexibility in your working hours so you can take a break in the middle of the day and go to the gym, go jogging, play beach volley, tennis or basketball.

I don’t usually take a lot of pictures, but I’ll see what I can gather.

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These two pictures were taken during the Global Brand Conference evening party. The cafeteria was transformed in to a disco and some light effects were added to a pond that’s inside the campus (and is also home to a family of geese, who sometimes get aggressive and chase people).  The party had several artists performing and there was also free food and beer for everyone.

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And this is a pair of sneakers I wear around the office. Told you I don’t take a lot of pictures.

G’day mate!

Greetings from sunny Straya!

I am now about halfway through my internship at Schenker Australia working in Product Management Air Freight based in Sydney. My team is responsible for the financial as well as operational results of Air Freight in Australia and New Zealand, including business and product development, budget planning, profit and cost savings and carrier management among other tasks. I have learned a great deal about operational as well as commercial side of air freight and freight forwarding. This experience has definitely confirmed that I’m on the right track and want to continue working in this field in the future.

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Our office in Alexandria

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Just another day at the office

Working in a multicultural environment has been a great experience, in our office we have people from all over the world and we are in touch with our colleagues in Europe, Asia and America on a daily basis. Australian business culture is somewhat casual, people are called by their first name and general atmosphere is relaxed, yet work is taken seriously and appropriate business attire is expected in the office.

Sydney is a beautiful city full of beaches, parks, attractions, activities and events, and of course friendly and super polite people. No worries –attitude is something I’ve absorbed very quickly, left-hand traffic took a little more time and proper Australian accent and abbreviations still manage to confuse me sometimes.

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Sunday chill and chess in Hyde Park

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Opera House and Harbour BridgeIMG_4855

Bondi Beach

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Blue Mountains National Park

The only bad thing I can think of Sydney are the high living costs. Accommodation is considerably more expensive than in Finland and everyone lives in shared flats or houses, it is common to share even your room with other people. Also life without a car is not made too easy unless you stay in CBD area. The city is huge with over 300 suburbs and almost 5 million inhabitants yet public transportation is not great nor cheap hence everyone has their own car and the traffic is pretty bad on mornings and afternoons.

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Cute animals in Australia vs. not so cute…

The winter is on its way this part of the world but so far the temperatures have stayed above 20 Celsius and as a Finn I’m not too worried about the Australian “winter”. Time is flying and there is still heaps to see in this amazing country. I hope to get an opportunity to do some exploring after the internship is over and enjoy the Australian summer as well!

My day in Marbella

Hola!

I have been doing my practical training here in Marbella, Spain. And I just love it! Of course sometimes I have been frustrated and missing home but most of the times I have enjoyed my time here. The weather has been perfect and food is delicious so I would say: all good in Marbella.

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Churros with chocolate

First I was in healthcare center and then I went to the hospital. In both places working habits has been quite different than in Finland. I think the biggest different is that everyone is in the same room. I mean everyone. There is a big room, like a small hall where is 8-12 tables were physiotherapist can do the treatment to the client. There is no curtains or walls so everyone can here everything. I think that is weird because in Finland it is very strict that you can not speak someones things to another. But no in Spain. For example if there was a baby everyone tried to entertain the baby. I think there is good and bad things that everyone is in the same room: clients made friends during their treatment period, but sometimes it is so noisy in the room that you can’t even here your own thoughts!

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The healthcare center and my colleague.

When I am not in work I try to explore the area as much as I can. I have visited cities nearby such as in Estepona, Fuengirola and also Sevilla. I have also done some hiking because Marbella is surrounded big mountains and you can walk up to the highest point named La concha. It means a shell and it is 1200m high! The view is absolutely amazing and when there is no clouds you can see Africa. Amazing right?

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At the top of the mountain, la concha

Like I said before: all good in Marbella

Saludos,

Veera

Postcard from Madrid, Spain

Hello my beautiful friends from all over the world!

I’m Erika, a 21-year-old student nurse from Tampere. Currently I’m living in Madrid and fulfilling my dreams. As a future nurse I’m doing my practical training here in Spain. The training is held in the city of Madrid and of course – only in Spanish. These past weeks have been very intense. Before departure my Spanish level was  B2  so I expect a huge change both in my nursing skills and in my Spanish.

My first placement took place in a health center in the neighborhood of Vallecas. My first day in health fulfilled every expectation I had – and much more. At 6 am I woke up and took the metro to Buenos Aires. I found the health centre easily with the help of Google Maps. But the problem is that I’m a typical Finn, so arrived 20 minutes early so I had to wait for the nurses at least 30 minutes.

Those 30 minutes felt like a lifetime because I was so nervous. At the same time, I felt excited to start my Erasmus but mostly I was terrified of meeting everyone. My worst fear was that my own tutor nurse, Diego, wouldn’t like me or we wouldn’t get along. So I waited, and soon I saw someone walking towards me. The first person who I met at the door was Manuela. She introduced me to Alejandra – one of the nurses in the health centre. Both of the girls were really nice. I got my ”bata” and I was shocked to get a” doctor’s jacket”. I was so amazed that I, a nursing student, could wear something as cool as that. In Finland they would never allow it: Those jackets are only for doctors. I think it’s nice that here everyone wears the same type of uniform. I’m so sick of the Finnish way of classifying everything and everyone to certain groups.

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So the first thing Alejandra told me was to follow her to ”sacar sangre” which means taking blood samples. I had just changed my clothes and hadn’t even met my tutor nurse yet, and I was already asked to do something. I loved it! No one treated me like a foreign student, I was part of the team now. So I followed her and she showed me how to take blood samples from the veins of the arm. I felt terrified at first, because actually nurses in Finland don’t really do that: blood samples are taken by the laborants. We had practiced venepunctures at uni but I didn’t remember anything of it but I was ready to learn! Alejandra showed me the technique one by one and before I even realized I had taken the samples.

In the end of the practical training I was already taking blood samples independently. So much fun, right?

Sacando sangre
Sacando sangre
Vaccination a baby
Vaccination a baby

During the first week I realized the nurses in Spain and Finland in health centres do completely different things: In Spain the work consists of dealing with chronic patients, preventive work and helping either elderly or young people – at least in the health centre of Alcala de Guadaira.  In Finland most of the time I evaluated the need of the treatment (for example if the patient had sudden chest paint) and dealt people with flu, pain or other symptoms they didn’t have before. MostIy the workday in my home country consisted of giving people influenza shots and taking Streptococcus smears.

One of the biggest surprises for me was to notice that no one in the health centre used an automatic machine to measure blood pressure. I’m happy that I actually practiced manual blood pressure measuring (more than most of my classmates) because I thought I’d never use this skill anywhere outside school property. In Finland it’s very rare to see someone using the old fashioned way.  But anyway I was able to do it without any problems when I practiced a few times first. It was actually more fun to measure the blood pressure manually than with a machine.

Another silly difference I noticed in the daily life were the different measurements. During Diego’s consultation I tested the patient’s blood sugar many times but at first I couldn’t understand the results at all because in Spain the health care professional use. In Finland the ideal glucose levels are 4 to 7 mmol/L and after meal under 9 mmol/, if the patient has diabetes but here in Spain normally the goal is to keep the sugar under 150 mg/ml after a meal. Before meals the result of glucose test should be 70-145

The highlight of my practical training was without a doubt the paediatric nursing part. Me and Diego were working together with the specialized children’s doctor for couple of sessions. The kids came to the health centre for their monthly check up and I was able to vaccinate, measure and weight them – even the small babies. I mainly focused on small children from 28 days to 3 years old. I check the kid’s sight and reflexes like for example the Moro reflex and the walking reflex. Also it was very important to evaluate the movement and flexibility of the baby but also how tense the baby was. I love working with babies and I’d like study the profession of midwife one day.

Measuring and weighting the baby
Measuring and weighting the baby
Checking the reflexes of the baby
Checking the reflexes of the baby

I have lived in Madrid before, so my exchange is not the most typical one. I haven’t been doing many touristic thing anymore because I know the city and the culture pretty well already. My favorite things to do in Madrid are to have tinto de verano in Chueca, enjoy the amazing tortilla de patatas in lovely Malasaña and finish the day going out to Kapital. Also Madrid is a heaven on earth for shopaholics like me. There are stores EVERYWHERE. I mean, I bet there are at least 30 Zaras in the city center… Really bad situation for my budget.

Madrid rooftop
Madrid rooftop

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When I was living in Madrid the first time I didn’t have enough money to travel. Last summer I worked my ass off to be able to enjoy this Erasmus to the fullest… So this time I’ve been focusing on traveling on my spare time. I have been to traveling around Morocco, since I found extremely cheap flight to fly there. They cost 19 euros in total! Can you believe that? I had the chance to go to Sahara desert and ride a camel, stroll around the Medina in Marrakesh and be amazed by the amazing blue village of Chefchaouen. This trip felt surreal…

After Morocco I went to celebrate Las Fallas to Valencia. ALUSINANTE!

My ride of the day - Ali Baba
My ride of the day – Ali Baba
Sunset in the dunes
Sunset in the dunes
Las Fallas -fiesta in Valencia
Las Fallas -fiesta in Valencia

I also traveled to Palma de Mallorca with a friend. We did a stand up paddle surfing course to the caves of Mallorca. It was absolutely breathtaking.

SUPping in Mallorca
SUPping in Mallorca
Palma de Mallorca
Palma de Mallorca

Of course I had to go to Andalusia while I’m here in Spain. I spent my Semana Santa watching Easter parades that lasted for hours and hours. I was traveling solo and spend my nights in different hostel. I met so many amazing people from all over the world both in Sevilla and in Cordoba. Finally me and a Canadian girl decided to continue our trip together. I might need to go and visit her in Canada next.. I wouldn’t travel to the South again during Easter because there were so many people, that at one point I couldn’t even enter to my hostel. But it was definitely worth the trouble.

One of the patios
One of the patios
Cordoba and its patios. Flowers everywhere
Cordoba and its patios. Flowers everywhere
Sevilla - Plaza de España
Sevilla – Plaza de España

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Semana santa parade
Semana santa parade
The cathedral/mosque of Cordoba
The cathedral/mosque of Cordoba

Finally I did two separate trips to Portugal. First to Lisbon and later to Aveiro and Porto. If you haven’t been to Portugal yet, you should go there ASAP! Portugal is easy to reach from Spain. I can highly recommend the carpooling system called blabla.car which I took to go to Porto by myself. It’s safe and cheap. I don’t want to write more about my trips because I’m not talented enough to describe all the amazing experiences I gained during these visits. I can only encourage you to travel now, while you still have the time. Be brave and don’t be afraid to do things by yourself.  LET’S GET LOST! NOW!

Lisbon
Lisbon
Praia costa nova in portugal
Praia costa nova in portugal
Cloudy Oporto
Cloudy Oporto
Riverside of Porto
Riverside of Porto

OTRR8726– With love, Erika

Greetings from Ireland

I have been in Tralee, Ireland, already for over two months and the time is flying. I think I have to start with the topic everyone here talks about: the weather. To be honest, it hasn`t been that bad and it has been  raining maybe two days in a week. But it`s true that you never know what the weather is going to be like. You can be freezing outside and two days from that it can get really warm. At the beginning of April there was a very warm weekend and I even got sunburnt! That was very weird and funny at the same time, because I have never got sunburnt before. Last thing what I expected from Ireland.

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I`m a second-year student nurse, so I have been doing my placement in University Hospital Kerry. I have been working in different wards and I have really enjoyed it. At the moment I`m working in Theatre for two weeks and after that I`m going to be two weeks in maternity-wards. Really looking forward for that. There are couple of things that are different when comparing hospitals in Ireland and Finland. The basic care is mostly the same, but the hospital itself is a bit more old fashioned in here. For example, they don`t use computers here at all, so all the patient information, medications and care notes are on papers and you write them on papers. The working hours are also different. You always go to work at eight o`clock in the morning and you work either 10 hours, when you finish at 6pm, or you work 12-hour shift, when you finish at 8pm. With longer days, you only have to work 4 days in a week, so you have 3 days off in a week. It`s very good while you are abroad, because then you have more days to travel and explore the country. But in Finland I prefer shorter shifts, so you have time example for hobbies.

The Irish accent was a bit challenging at first, but you get used to it so it`s not a problem. People talk very fast so that`s maybe the most challenging part. Everyone is very talkative and warm welcoming so it has been easy to make friends.

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It`s been nice to get to know to local students, but also to other international students. Almost every weekend I have had some plans and I have been around Ireland. So far I have been in Dublin, Cork, Limerick and Killarney. The town where I live is a quite small one, but there are beautiful places near. I have been walking in mountains, spending time in beach and visiting windmill. There are still many places to see and I can`t wait to explore them with my friends. All in all, I have really enjoyed my time in here, meeting lots of new people, spending some time in pubs and learning a lot of English.

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