Hilsen fra Danmark!

Oh, how time flies by! I have been here in Roskilde for three and a half months now and soon it is time to come back home. First of all, I have to say that I really love Denmark, not only because this is so beautiful country, but because the people here are so friendly and the whole atmosphere here is really relaxed and calming. It is all about hygge! But now, let’s get to the point. I am here studying course called Children at Risk at the University College Absalon. The course is expressly designed for exchange students and consists of three modules. The emphasis is on social pedagogical work with children and youth. In short, this course is all about human rights, children rights, early childhood education and special education, inclusion and exclusion and different methods in social work.I came here with very high expectations and now after two modules I must say that I am slightly disappointed. Basically, we are learning a bit of this and that but not really going deeper in the subjects. But that is part of Danish pedagogy: you have to find out yourself what is important and interesting for you and then go and do your own research. Secondly, the Danish education system is all about freedom: if you don’t feel like going to classes you don’t have to go there and you won’t be punished for that. I.e. if you are ill and skip the class, you don’t have to write ten-page essay to compensate your absence. This system shows that pedagogues here rely on students, who are seen as responsible adults and it really doesn’t serve anybody’s interests to give extra assignments. And third thing about the education: if you don’t like teamwork, never ever come here for exchange! We do everything in groups, so during this three and a half months I’ve had only one individual assignment. Honestly, one!

 One thing I have really enjoyed is that we do lot of field visits and we have lots of guest lectures from different kind of institutions – from Denmark and around Europe. For me the field visits have been the most educative and interesting. Visits are a great opportunity to see how services are produced here and what kind of methods are used with clients. We have students from eight different countries, representing six different profession. So, this is a great chance to practice multi-cultural and -professional work. It is also interesting to compare differences and similarities of social services and legislations.

Our study schedule is quite loose, so I have plenty of spare time. Some of that time I of course have to use for school assignments but still I feel that I have more time to do other things than back at home. We do a lot of things together: go different kind of events and parties, watch movies, hang out and play games, have a dinner together etc. The city of Roskilde is small and cozy. We got bikes from our school so it has been easy to investigate neighborhoods nearby. Here is lot of great running trails with nice views so I have been really motivated to run. On weekends, I usually do some traveling. I have visited in several different castles like Kronborg, Egeskov and Frederiksborg. Since Copenhagen is not that far from Roskilde and is easily accessible by train, I spend a lot of time there. At this point it is one of my favorite cities, there is always something happening. Every time I visit there I find something new and exciting and I still have lot of exploring to do!

Med venlig hilsen,

Johanna

Osijek, Croatia – a small big city

Osijek – A small big city

When I started to plan my training abroad, Croatia wasn’t my first choice. Deciding to come here for a traineeship was quite a gamble because I didn’t know a lot of things about Croatia or Osijek in general. Now it is the last week of my stay, and it has been an experience that I’ll never forget. I’m happy and thankful that I’ve had a chance to work and live in this place and learn about it’s culture and way of living.

I’m staying in a small city called Osijek. It has been a big industrial city in the past and you can still see it. The river Drava flows through the city, making it a perfect place for fishermen. And  not only the river, but the numerous of parks here really warm a nature lovers heart. Osijek has a long history and you can still see and feel it when you walk along the streets. One of my favorite places here is Tvrda. It’s an old part of the town that has been kept and partly renovated to look as it was originally built. There you can find a lot of cafes and bars and a few interesting museums.

What I love most about Osijek, is that even though it is a quite small town, they have everything they need here. You can walk or cycle anywhere and while doing that see beautiful places and buildings around you.

My Traineeship

So, I study emergency care in TAMK and I came to do my surgical and community nursing training here. I didn’t know much about the hospital or what my training will include beforehand, so I didn’t have much expectations.

The hospital of Osijek is a medium sized central hospital of this area in Croatia. I spent there six weeks, every week in a different surgical department. Because of my interest in emergency care, my favorite departments were trauma ward and trauma control. I also really enjoyed seeing the operating rooms and to follow the operations they proceeded. I had very good mentors on every department and I had a lot of good conversations about health care with the local nurses and doctors. All in all, people were very welcoming to me and I could always ask questions and discuss things that I found interesting. All the workers didn’t speak English, but they tried their best. With a bit of body language and creative ways of explaining things you can come a long way.

The last 4 weeks I had in community nursing, it included two weeks in home nursing, one week in pediatrics reception and one week in cardiology. In home nursing, I was doing some regular check-ups with another nurse, it was interesting to see people’s homes, but I couldn’t really do much because most of the visits were about interviewing the patients and most of the patients didn’t speak English. In the pediatrics reception, I had a very learnfull time. I learnt a lot about how to check children’s normal development and about the common sicknesses. The doctor there was super helpful and nice.

The training itself was different than I’m used to. I have some previous work experience in nursing, so I don’t think that my clinical skills were improved so much, but I got some new perspectives in nursing and got to see many things I’ve never seen before.

My freetime

The good thing about Osijek is that it is surrounded by other interesting cities. You can rent a car and travel around Croatia and its neighbor countries. I’ve been on weekend visits to Zagreb, Pecs and Budapest and I still have some places I’d like to see and experience! If you are willing and able to drive here, renting a car is a good option. It’s not very expensive especially if there is a bigger group going. Of course there are also buses for weekend trips.

These pictures are from Pecs Hungary. A small city 80 km away from Osijek. I hadn’t heard from this city before but I strongly recommend visiting it. Lovely architecture, a stunning cathedral and much more. It isn’t a tourist city but worth visiting.

The capital city of Croatia. In Zagreb, you can find different museums, a lot of restaurants and bars, gift shops etc. I recommend you visit the Zagreb 360. Up there you get a view of the whole city. Also, Maksim park was beautiful.

If you want to stay in Osijek, you can find a bunch of lovely cafes and bars and if you are interested in history, here are some very good museums. And if you get sick of eating and drinking at cafes and restaurants, all the parks and the river that I told you about earlier makes Osijek also a nice place to exercise.

FINLAND vs CROATIA

I think it is quite hard to start comparing Croatian work life to Finnish. We have a lot of similarities but also our differences. Croatia may not be as developed as Finland but its heading to the same direction. The biggest difference I’ve experienced here is that the whole atmosphere, not only at work, but in general is more relaxed. I had really big problems at the beginning to adjust to the laid-back attitude. After all I think my exchange here has helped me to loosen up a little bit with everything.  It has been a positive experience for me to see how health care system and practical work are done here. I think I can appreciate the medical schools, our nursing education and our state of health care, and its techniques and technology much more than before.

-Vendi

Greetings from Ireland!

Hello!

I’m currently doing my exchange study period in Cork, Ireland. I study Business Administration and was happy to hear I was accepted to CIT. I live in a student accommodation at Edenhall with my three roommates. I’ve been here since September and have only three and a have weeks left. I can’t believe how fast the time has gone by!

Cork City
Galway

Cork Institute of Technology

Here at Cork Institute of Technology I’m mainly studying marketing. I had some problems with the courses at the start of the semester but I got everything sorted out. I have four courses including: Emerging Markets, Digital Marketing Management, IT skills for Marketing and Digital Advertising. I’ve been very pleased with liked my course choices and learned so much about marketing. I have for example set up a digital marketing blog, learned and did AdWords campaigns, set up a professional Twitter and Facebook account.

The first semester here lasts for 13 weeks and after that are the final examinations. Studying here hasn’t seemed too hard. The lecturers were easy to understand even if they had strong Irish accents. All of them were really friendly and helpful. It was nice to notice that some of the lecturers were really interested in Finland and asked us a lot of questions for example about Finnish companies and their ways of marketing. This made the lessons even more interesting.

Cork Institute of Technology

 Free Time

Most of my free time I spent with my friends. We have spent a lot of time just here in Cork but also been to many trips around Ireland. We have an International Students Society at our school and I was a member of this society. The society arranged a lot of trips that I was on to places like Blarney Castle and gardens, Mizen Head, Mahon Falls and Cobh.

My roommate from Germany came to Cork with her car and this was really nice because we had a chance to do trips by ourselves also. With the girls, we had a weekend trip to Galway on Halloween and we also saw the Cliffs of Moher. Also, when my parents were here we drove around the Ring of Kerry and with my Finnish friends we had a two-night trip to London.

Cliffs of Moher
Cliffs of Moher
London
London
Ring of Kerry
Ring of Kerry
Cobh
Mizen Head

What is Different

The school her is a lot bigger and It took some time to get used to the lessons. They only last for 45 minutes which is really short compared to Finland. It is a little weird to me that many of the Irish students wear track suits to school.

The people here are very different compared to Finns. It’s awesome when you enter a pub and people come to say hi and ask where you’re from. I think this sentence sums up the Irish culture very well: “There are no strangers here, only friends you haven’t met yet.”

 

 

Grüße aus Salzburg, Österreich

The city of Salzburg

I am a second year nurse student and I’m completing two mandatory internships in Salzburg. The internships are clinical nursing and homecare, and the first one I had at the University Hospital of Salzburg on gynecological ward.

Festung Hohensalzburg from Kapuzinerberg 

Working with the nurses was more challenging than I expected: I was hoping to get guidance in English, like I was told back in Finland. Soon I realized that this was not the case. Nurses on the ward spoke very little English, and few of them only used German while speaking with me. There was an opportunity to improve my German skills (even though the local dialect is very different from the common German we were taught at school), but regardless of this opportunity I really feel like I did not receive enough guidance to improve my nursing skills.

Mirabell Palace and its gardens

My working experience in Finland is not very vast, so it is hard to compare the working cultures between Austria and Finland, at least not in detail. What I can say is: working days here are longer, most of the time twelve hours, and on my ward nurses only had one break a day. I had a belief that the laws concerning the breaks during the working hours were very similar to Finnish ones, but once I got here I was told nurses on the ward didn’t have time to have any more breaks.

Nordkette, Innsbruck

All in all, the first internship was not the most enjoyable of experiences, but I have high hopes of the second one. I’m enjoying my time a lot more in the homecare. The work is more relaxed in here than at the ward, and my colleague speaks excellent English and gives me consistent guidance that I need to become better at my work.

River Inn, Innsbruck

On my spare time I’ve tried to travel as much as I can. Austria is a very beautiful country, and there’s so much to see. Salzburg itself has a rich and long history, which I am interested to explore and learn about. The city lies between two small mountains and Festung Hohensalzburg, an iconic castle on one of them. Salzburg is a small city, it doesn’t take too many days to see more than one side of it, thus I have to use every free weekend traveling in other Austrian cities and near regions.

Dawn in Salzburg

Graz, a city in a valley

Hello!

I’m an exchange student at University of Music and Performing Arts Graz, Austria. I study singing as my main subject and I’m here for 6 months, the summer semester 2017. I love my school and the city. It must not come as  a surprise, but this country is a dream for a student of classical music! I was so lucky that I got to take my boyfriend and our 2-year-old son with me, so the 3 of us are experiencing this all together.

I have been planning to travel more on my spare time, but life has been quite busy with school.  The only places I went to were Salzburg and Vienna. It’s very handy with Flixbus! Though always when we have a little chance to do something, we have been getting to know the city more. Especially after getting to know some local friends, we have found amazingly beautiful places, mostly on tops of some mountains. Well, like the topic describes, Graz is surrounded my mountains. There is also one in the middle of the city called “Schlossberg” with an amazing view of course, and places to have a beer… And because of the mountains the city itself gets very hot at the beginning of June and lasts for long! No air-conditioning trough the mountains 😀

Between TAMK and here.. we can see that in Graz the school can afford more different kinds of courses. Of course it’s a fact that people around the whole world want to study classical music in Austria, it’s very popular. Singers get 2,5 singing lessons per week, they learn French and Italian for all 4 years. They have individual lessons with correpetitors twice a week and on the side of a big opera project each year they offer high quality opera-class projects. They even have individual weekly classes with professional opera directors. The level is so high that I can only listen to my colleagues and learn how they do it all!

I’m so happy to have had this experience. And Graz is so magical !!! <3

Yours,

Piia

Greetings from Cork!

Studies and School

I have been studying here in Cork Institute of Technology in Ireland now for seven weeks. The first semester lasts 13 weeks and after that there are final exams. I have chosen four courses, which are Digital Marketing Management, Digital Advertising, Emerging Markets and IT Skills for Marketing. All of the courses have been really interesting. For example we have created a digital marketing blog, professional Twitter and Facebook account and learned how to use Google Analytics. I think that these things are really important when finding a job in Finland.

Compared to Finland the lessons here are really short, only 45 minutes. It goes so fast. We have every course three times a week. Another difference, which I have noticed, is that the students always dress up in their tracksuits at school. Almost every boy wears Adidas sweatpants and girls wear some gym leggings.

The school feels a lot bigger than TAMK. Here are many different societies, anything you can think of, from karate to Muslim society. I have only assigned to international students society. They arrange really nice trips almost every weekend and the trips are really cheap.

 

Spare time

At spare time we have been to trips around Ireland. I have seen so many beautiful places here, for example Mizen Head and Blarney Castle. I also visited Dublin last weekend. The city was similar to Cork but bigger. One thing I still must see, the Cliffs of Moher.

We have also gone shopping to city and for a cup of coffee. Here are so good shops and almost every clothing store has a student discount. This should also be in Finland! In few weeks we will also visit London, which will be fun.

Olá! Greetings from Portugal!

Hello Finland!

I study to be a nurse and I wanted to do my intership in other country. So here I am, in Portugal, city called Coimbra. Sebtember and specially October have been so warm; over 30 degrees most of the days.  No complaints…

 

Work place

I work at a university hospital at the infectious department. In the ward, there is lots of different kind of patients; HIV, pneumonia, cancer, drug users etc. I have done so many different things, for example taking blood examples, treated the wounds, diluted antibiotics and I have given intravenous medication to patiens. 

 

Free time

Coimbra is pretty small city here in Portugal but still there is something to see. The university is very famous and popular. The school was built in 1290. It’s oldest school in Portugal.

Also Santa Clara bridge is beautiful. Rio Mondego- river flows through Coimbra under the Santa Clara bridge. From there you can see all those colorful buildings and beautiful landscape. 

I have travelled few times in here Portugal. I have been in Figuera da Foz and Porto. One of my classmates from Finland came here and she is living in Porto. Figuera da Foz in near to the beach. Coimbra is inland so it is nice to visit the seafront sometimes. I am planning to go to Aveiro and Lissabon soon also. 

We also booked a trip to Paeva Walkways- event. There we went to this amazing park. Paiva Walkways are located on the left bank of the Paiva River, in Arouca municipality, Aveiro. There is route what is 8 km long and that provide a walk “untouched”, surrounded by unique beauty of landscapes, in an authentic natural sanctuary along the brave waters downhills.

 

What is different

I think the ward in the hospital itself is pretty similar than in Finland. In our ward, there is 29 beds for patiens. In morning shift works five nurses, three nurse assistant and several doctors. Nurse assistans differs from our practial nurses. Nurse assistants just help nurses if they need help. They are not allowed to do anything by themselves. You don’t need any kind of education to be an assistant; you learn when you work. Here nurses do lots of things. Some wards in Finland, nurses don’t take blood samples anymore. And nurses and doctors works together. Here they doesn’t.

The hierarchy is strongly exposed. Doctors are almost like God and students are lowest ranked. Even though they said that in Finland we are quiet and shy people, still we are friendly and openminded. Here not so many are interested from students or wants to know who we are etc. They don’t speak english, even if they can. 

In general, I think here people are nice and friendly and helpful. If you ask something, at least they try to help you (sometimes they just tell anything, just to get rid of you 😀 ). And ofcourse here they are “slow” as in the West European countries. Nurses comes to work like 10mins late every day, and that’s okay. If you ask something important, they answer you “don’t worry about it”.

But still, I like Portugal. Maybe we can learn to be little more flexible and relaxed… 😉

Love,

Jonna

Nĭ hăo! Greetings from Shanghai

Studies

I chose four courses which are Foreign Trade of China, Chinese Language, Chinese Culture and China and Globalization. Every subject is held once a week except Chinese language is twice a week. The culture and language courses really help in this big city since it is really hard to find someone who speaks English. Learning about the Chinese culture is interesting because the cultural differences are so noticeable in some cases.

   Spare time

There are so much to see in Shanghai so whenever we have spare time we try to use it wisely, such as exploring the city and places. Shanghai exchange is really short which does not leave that much spare time so you must plan ahead what you would like to do. We have made plans for traveling and sightseeing. So far we have been to famous tourist attractions such as Yu Garden, Shanghai Zoo, Shanghai Museum and The Bund.

Studies – Finland vs. China

The classes in the school are longer, they last about 3,5 hours. Lectures are really similar to Finland. When it comes to the differences between Finland and China, there are not that many. Teachers don’t give assignments here and the projects are bigger and require more effort in Finland which was surprising.

Lenge siden sist!

It’s been a little while since I came back to Finland, but I still long to be back in Oslo. When I took the bus towards the airport at the end of summer 2016, I had absolutely no idea what kind of an adventure I would have in Norway.

World famous statues and views from Vigelandsparken in Oslo, Norway

I arrived in Oslo about a week before the start of my studies. I did this because I wanted to spend the week just indulging in the more touristy things, aka visiting land marks and shopping. Walking around the city was a good way to get a little more familiar with the surrounding area and the place that I would be spending the following year in. At first the city seemed huge but as I got to know it a little more, I was surprised how cozy it felt after a while. Pretty much everything was within a walking distance, which was a huge perk.

Once my 3D-graphics -studies started at Westerdals School of Arts, Communication and Technology, I was bombarded by deadlines and tasks that were challenging to say the least. One course I was interested in was unfortunately entirely in Norwegian. I told my teacher I had no issue having to translate things on my own, if I could just enroll myself. He not only enrolled me, but he actually managed to switch the course language for me, including the lectures and all study material. This just shows how hospitable Norwegians can be! Out of +40 students, the language of an entire 4 month course was changed because of one foreigner. Talk about being lucky!

I also befriended people in my class and I was able to relax and wind down with them after each school day and during weekends.  We enjoyed just hanging out by watching movies and playing games, but we also took walks on top of Grefsenkollen, which is a hill (almost a mountain) overseeing Oslo. I recommend anyone who goes to Oslo to check it out, the pictures do not do it justice!

You can see the entire dowtown of Oslo from Grefsenkollen. Climbing to the top is a great way to spend a chill sunday

I spent the first half a year living right in the city center. The school was just a few minutes of walking away and I could get pretty much anywhere in the matter of 15 minutes. This was nice, but unfortunately the noise was quite bad at times, especially during weekends. This is to be expected of course, living in the center of a capital city and all. I was, however, relieved to move to a new apartment in Ullevål at the start of 2017. I had to take a tram to get to school each day, but the environment was a lot more quiet, which was huge for me.

Tramstop near my apartment on January 2017

After a few months of staying in Oslo, I was comfortable calling it my home. The language barrier was hardly ever an issue and most people were extremely helpful and friendly towards me. The year I spent abroad was definitely one of the best years of my entire life!

Tiny cottage by Akerselva, the river that runs all the way across Oslo

 

 

Greetings from Sofia

Hello! I live in the capital of Bulgaria – Sofia. My stepmother is Bulgarian and she has been getting me acknowledged with Bulgarian culture and traditions, so to improve the language skills and general knowledge of Bulgaria. I have many friends and relatives here, caring about me. I never feel lonely, yet sometimes I want to be alone, as there is always someone next to me. They care about me too much, and are afraid, that something may happen, as it is not safe to be alone on the streets of Sofia at night.
When it comes to my local school – National Academy of Music ”Pancho Vladigerov”, it reminds me of the Soviet Union, in a way. They have very strict teachers, each specialising on one specific musical instrument. Students have no right to speak their own opinions out loud and have to be absolutely quiet when teachers speak to the class. It seems that every student is always afraid to speak out or to do something wrong. I had such fear as well, so I did my best during my violin practice, in order to master it to a desired level.
I was treated the same way as native students; I was not an exception. Apparently, it is because I am Russian and come from the Slavic origin, just like Bulgarians. Perhaps, it was also because of how well I spoke Bulgarian; even looked like one. Meanwhile, I had friends from another parts of Europe attending the very same class, who were treated more kindly than us.
When it comes to my spare time in Bulgaria, I used it well, travelling around the country as much as I could afford. I had been to many places including: Kavarna, Varna, Dobrich, Burgas, Selistra, Blagoevgrad, Pernik, Mezdra, Plovdiv, Pazardjik, Haskovo, Starazagora and Banke. They all were, in their own charming way, special to me. And yet, I spent the most of my time in Sofia with one Bulgarian family, who are close friends of mine.
One of my favourite places to spend time was at the mountains. Out there, I enjoyed speaking to God, as it is such a peaceful and quiet place for a prayer.

When it comes to educational difference between Bulgaria and Finland, it seems harder to study in Bulgaria, as you have less freedom of choice when it comes to what to do and how to do, strictly following your professor’s orders. For example, during the aural training, teachers are the ones who pick individual singers, and you have to obey at once, if you are the one who is chosen, with no right to express your opinion or decline. In Finland, you may choose, whether you sing in a group or by yourself. However, in my point of view, Bulgarian students are more developed than Finnish, due to such strict orders and discipline.
I like it to be here, even though it is difficult. I have a great deal of old and new friends here. Everything is great!