Greetings from Vukovar!

Hello from Vukovar, Croatia!

I’m doing my three month clinical practise here in Vukovar. This is a small and very cozy town situated right near the border of Serbia. Population is around 30 000 on the paper, but the actual number of people is lower. This town has pretty dark history because it was bombed down during the Croatian war in 1991 and some ethnic cleansing was done here by the Serbs during the occupation. You can still see some bullet holes in building walls and one burned down hotel. Nowadays people (especially young people) don’t really care if someone is serb or croatian, they just want to move on and aim for the future.

I’m working in a local hospital as a physiotherapist. Me and my classmates are only exchange students here at the moment, so  everyone here is eager to meet and spend time with us. People in the hospital has been very kind to us and always willing to help in whatever we need, whether it’s a car trip to local supermarket or getting a car to hire for weekends to tour around. I work in two shifts which differs from Finnish working culture, because in Finland physiotherapists usually works in only one shift.

I’m living in a brand new student dormitory 300 meters away from the hospital and 800 from the local university so the distance to work or university ain’t too bad. Other students in the dormitory have been really kind to us and are also willing to help with any problem we face. In spare time we usually hang out with people in the dorm or other people from the university.

All in all this time here has been really enjoyable and I think this gives me tons of good memories to bear with me. And maybe someday I’ll return this place and meet the people I call my friends, or maybe someday some of them will visit Finland! You never know.

Best regards, Iiro

Not that rainy after all, The Univeristy of Salford, UK

Hello from Salford, United Kingdom!

I am happy that I came to Salford to do my exchange studies. Salford is a part of Greater Manchester, so it doesn’t have a center of its own (well it does, but it there’s only supermarkets) so as you wish to shop, go to bars and pubs etc. you go to Manchester city center.

I have lived in a student housing called Bramall Court, it is in a good location between the center and uni, I walk to both of them in 15 minutes. The public transportation is expensive in here so I would suggest you to move close to the uni so you can walk there.  Student apartments are popular here, and there are a lot of them. Bramall Court has been ok to live in, but I would get more with the same money if I still lived in Tampere. So, living here is pretty expensive. Also, if you move to a student accommodation, you have to buy __everything__ yourself. Pans, pots, glasses, cutlery, sheets, pillows etc, nothing is here waiting for you. So if you wish to save some money, bring something already with you and use the second hand shops that the university provides. They sell kitchen supplies there with a good prices. Btw, you also have to pay the rent for the whole 5 months in advance, so be ready for that.

Lectures start pretty late here. Mine started 23.9 if I remember correctly, but I moved here on the 6th of September already. That was a wise thing to do. Semesters start first with early arrivals week (mostly exchange students come then) then welcome week takes place and only after those two weeks, lectures start. During the first 2 weeks, there is a lot of free events on campus where you can make friends, and that  is also what I did.  There is a lot of exchange students and also international students here in Salford, so I am sure that everyone will find friends here.

You will select 3 modules (=courses) that you study while being here. I study service sector marketing, managing international events and business ethics and sustainability. I have school only 3 times per week, 4 hours a day. So there is a lot of free time to do you assignments and travel. I think the courses are very good here and teachers are polite, well educated and want you to learn, so they are here for you.

The weather is also better than what I expected, it does rain a lot but not that much. If you come here with an attitude that it will rain all the time, you will be surprised that it does not and then don’t even mind the rain when it does. The winter here is nice because there’s more sunlight than in Finland and it’s not as cold. Now in November its usually from 4-8 degrees.

All in all, I think Salford is a place to be and if you want to do your exchange in the UK, I think you should come here. Manchester is a good location, big but not too big of a city, close to Liverpool and in the center of the UK so it’s easy to travel to Scotland, Ireland and other places. Btw, trains  are suuuuper expensive here, so be ready to sit in a bus when traveling.

 

Working in Theaters, Scotland, Ayr Hospital.

During the time I was in University Hospital Ayr, doing my Placement for six weeks, I had the opportunity to take care of real People as they went through an Operation. My supervisor was an Anesthetic Nurse so my job description was in that section too. I learned how to handle Patients who are scared and nervous of the upcoming operation, as we went to pick them to the Theaters. Anesthetic Nurse (at least in Scotland) arranges the Theater ready for every operation. Making sure that there is right kind of equipment, they are on the right side, everybody knows what’s coming and know what they should do. In Finland we might have this division a bit different. All the arrangements are done in the Operating Room before we went to collect the Patient. With the Patient we went straight to the Anesthetic Room, witch is connected to the operating Room but different area from it. There the Patient is put to sleep or have a local anesthesia, depending on the operation. Anaesthetist is the one, who does this all. Anesthetic Nurses are there to assist. During the Operation the Patient is under the Anaesthetist’s wach and after the operation Anesthetic Nurses help the Anaesthetist in the post-operative work and accompany the Patient to recovery ward.

There were seven different Theaters:

  • trauma
  • urology
  • general (x2)
  • orthopaedics (x2)
  • vascular

The Operations I accompanied with for example were: fistula, part removal of colon, prosthetics of hips knees and shoulders, hernia, TURP, amputation, gallbladder removal, evacuation of aorta, removal of sigmoid colon.  And these are only part of the operations.. 🙂

I absolutely loved working in Theaters!

All the best!

-Henna xx

Enjoying Scotland

Living in Scotland for 2,5 months gave a chance to see more than just the Hospital I had the placement in.. I worked from Monday to Friday so Weekends were off and that gave me the opportunity to go around and discovering what was around..

One beautiful spring weekend I decided to visit Ireland, Belfast. We (another Erasmus-student, from Finland) took a ferry from Scotland, Cairnryan. Buss drive to the Harbour itself was already so joyful. Weather was sunny, the drove was near coastline and there were tiny villages with lots of sheep all around. In Belfast we walked around the City, dropped in a Botanical Garden and had a blast!

 

 

Picture: Statue in front of Belfast City Hall

 

 

 

 

During the time in Scotland, I thought the weather would be rainier than it was. Actually it was mostly so lovely, sunny and bright, I even had to go and buy shorter clothes for the “heat”. Everything was blooming and I couldn’t get enough of the Nature around me.  I lived in student flats near the University of The West of Scotland. It was located by the River Ayr. To being so close to a River, the trees and everything were really soothing for walks and enjoying outdoors.

   

 

Now that I have been back to Finland for several months, I find myself longing back there.. And if everything goes planned, I will be visiting my old Home Town over there at least for short period of time. And wee meeting with all the great people I had the privilege to meet by the Placement. After visiting Ayrshire, I’m gonna rent a Car and drive the rest of the Country. Even though the driving on the “wrong” side of the road will take it’s time.. 😀

Things I miss from Scotland: Cheerful People, sarcasm, Fish and Chips, Rhubarb and Ginger Gin, fresh Fruits, Tennent’s beer, Sticky Toffee Pudding(!!!)

Things I missed in Scotland: Visiting Islands of Harris and Lewis. And didn’t see enough of the Highland Cattles.

Things that helps for the longing: Irn Bru. (Scottish soft drink. Second most popular drink, after whisky) And gladly You can find that some places in Finland too!

Oh, I almost forgot.. My supervisor bought a House during my Placement. And the most hilarious thing is that there is a Sauna in their new House! I told them everything I know about having a Sauna, but of course, when there is a lot of new information You can’t remember everything.. That’s why I wrote them a Practical Guide having a Sauna. 😀 It was 10 pages and Mark (the supervisor) was so touched by it, he even send me a message afterwards.. We all joked in tee brakes about the fact that we have a thing called Sauna-sausage. And I explained how you roll the sausage in tinfoil before going in. You place the wrap in to the hot stones and when you throw löyly, you throw it around the wrap. Must remember that beer is one of the most popular Sauna-drink. And You can throw a wee bit of it in to the kiuas as well.. (“Do not forget to drink enough water as having some Sauna-time, ’cause You should sweat alot in there.”) After a relaxing time in the heat, be cautious and take the foiled sausages of the kiuas and enjoy the warm sausages as a snack afterwards.

 

Cheers!

-Henna

 

Books and beer in Germany

During my exchange I studied business administration in Technische Hochschule Ingolstadt in Germany. The school is technical university of applied sciences, but they also have a Business School within. Courses for international students were diverse and major of them were about international business or technology based. I found it harder to study in Germany than in Finland. Of course, one reason for that was that the teaching was not in my mother language, but also courses seemed more difficult. I was really surprised how much I had to study to cope with my courses. The studying culture in Germany is differing from Finland and often the main point is to memorize everything from the course material. The quality of teaching was good on my opinion. The school’s library was open everyday till 12 pm and in the exam period 24/7. It was nice place to gather with friends and study together. I never thought that I would spend the whole night in the library before exam especially during my exchange but now that I have done it, I can’t recommend it to anyone.

Despite the hard studying life, we surely had lot of fun things to do in Ingolstadt. Naturally as we were in Germany, drinking beer was one of the top activities in our spare time. Beer culture is very strong in Germany and especially in Bavaria where Ingolstadt is located. They say in Bavaria that beer is rather food than a drink. Our school organized a lot of different events for international students as well as all students. For example, we had beer bong tournaments every now and then. Ingolstadt is quite small city and with the bad weather it was sometimes quite boring. On sunny days we spend time outside playing games, riding bikes or in the lake.

Germany’s location is brilliant for the person who wants to travel. You can take a cheap Flixbus to many destinations or rent a car and drive buy yourself. Also Ryanair has very good flight offers and you can buy tickets with only 20 euros. I traveled as much as I could during my exchange and in 4,5 months I visited 11 countries.

Experiencing Korea

South Korea is a truly unique country. I knew early on that I wanted to do my exchange studies there. TAMK has an amazing amount of partner schools in Korea and it was quite hard to choose one that would suit me best. In the end I ended up going to Sungkyunkwan University in Seoul. The university has two campuses, but all my classes were located in the city center one.

The location of the school is amazing, being very central and at the same time having views over the city. The campus has modern stylish buildings where the classes are held and that house many other kind of services too. The university was originally founded in 1398 and still has an area of beautiful traditional buildings that were used for teaching.

 

All my classes were aimed at exchange students with topics revolving around Korean culture and language. The teachers mostly spoke good English so I didn’t have any troubles with understanding. They were also very nice and understanding, unlike my expectation of strict attitude based on pop culture. Even though natives were studying very long hours, I didn’t find the studies too stressful and studied pretty similarly to how I do in TAMK.

The neighbourhood surrounding the university is nice with lots of shops and places to eat. I spent a lot of my free time hanging around Hyehwa area with my friends or going around Seoul. The city has a lot of interesting events and so many cool things to see and explore. I also recommend travelling elsewhere in the country to experience a different side of Korea.

 

What’s the craic? Greetings from Ireland!

I fell in love with Ireland. Irish people are heartfelt and funny, nature is gorgeous and there is live music everywhere, everyday. I studied at Cork Institute of Technology in Bishopstown. My course of study was Creative Digital Media (BA Honours). I think I was the first media student from TAMK in Ireland so far? Therefore, there was a great deal of misunderstandings though. To prevent anyone else to go through this: TAMK don’t have a contract with CIT in Creative Digital Media, only with the Fine Art students. After all the trouble I had to go through, I got a permit of exception from CIT to study one semester in Creative Digital Media and I’m truly grateful for that.

CIT campus building

It was very heart-warming how well the Student Society kept an eye for students’ well-being and how much there were organized trips and events by the International Student Society as well. In addition, we had a chat with our course lecturers from time to time as they wanted to know how we are keeping up.

In Ireland after school clubs were a big thing. There were a whole lot of sport clubs and society clubs to choose from. One of my best decisions during my exchange was to join the CIT Canoe Club. That was basically how I truly got to know Irish culture as the whole club was full of Irish students. I had the chance to make Irish friends and have long chats with them about life in Ireland. There were meetings outside the canoeing as well. Their team spirit was incredible and I felt very welcome. There was always help offered in everything before I even asked for it. I got to see more of the beauty of Irish nature as well. One of our trips became one of the most incredible experiences in my life. We drove to a bioluminescent lake of Cork on a dark night. We kayaked around the lake under the wide and starry sky. I even got to see Saturn and Mars in the sky. If you touched the water, it started sparkling! I felt like I was in a fairytale.

The first Canoe Club meeting

My free time in Ireland included kayaking, jogging with my roommate and seeing my other friends. One of the best things were road trips around Cork County and Galway. I really enjoyed that all of my friends lived so near, so we could walk to the campus together and have dinners at our student apartments. As I had French roommates, the best ones I could have wished for, sometimes I felt like I got to know French culture even better than Irish. I got very familiar with Frech foods and ways of life. We had a custom to prepare both French and Finnish dinners together and talk about our cultures. I taught them some Finnish and I learned some French as well (my roommate still remembers “rock, paper, scissors” in Finnish).

At the Galway road trip
Sheep in Galway

But back to Ireland – I really liked Bishopstown. Its size was perfect. You could find anything you needed and there were always people around but it still had the feeling of a small, heartfelt town. We participated in the events of international student society, went to the movies quite often, including Cork Film Festivals and of course visited quite many pubs. We had one favorite place, called Franciscan Well, as they had delicious brick oven pizza.

Speaking of food, fish and chips dish was as good and common as it is in England. Even though the traditional food of Ireland is meat stew, different sea food came a cross more. Not a surprise though, as Ireland is an island. What comes for Irish drinks, I really liked fresh Guinness and Beamish as they are very soft and tasty. However, Irish Coffee and Orchards Thieves cider became my personal favorites. If you are having a night out, a strong recommendation for Baby Guinness as well! 

From Bishopstown city centre

My courses in Ireland were Applied Animation, AV Technology, Creativity Innovation & Teamwork and Web Design Basics. Compared to my course of study in Finland I had less lectures to attend but much more assignments and tests to do. I really liked that we had two exam periods, the first one in October, so everything didn’t build up for December. One thing I was really shocked about as a Media student was the poor equipment. In Finland we have a large storage of different cameras, lenses, lights, recording equipment and basically almost anything you could think of needing. In Ireland we had a couple different Canons, one or two stands and not a single light or even a reflector. In addition, the “equipment storage” wasn’t open every day during the week and there were certain days for rental and for returnings. This made scheduling quite challenging with other students and modules. When we had to do the music video with two Canons and zero budget, I started to appreciate our circumstances in Finland in a new way.

Applied Animation exercise

I was told in advance that in Ireland there can be very thick accents. I was a bit worried at first how I could manage, with school especially. It was comical how shocked I got in the very beginning of my way to Ireland, as I sat in the airplane and the first announcement came. I couldn’t understand a word. So many thoughts rushed in my head how hard this would become, until the announcement came in English. The first one had been in Irish. 

So, I didn’t have a hard time with the accents after all. Cork accent is very nice to mind, actually. All my lecturers spoke loud and clear. I had only two times when I couldn’t understand what someone was saying and both of them were older people, one was a janitor and one was a bus driver with a very thick Cork accent.

Being in exchange offered lifelong memories and friends. My self-esteem grew as well as my interest towards other countries and cultures. I learned a bunch of new things and I got better with speaking English, significantly. After being exchange, some kind of longing for living abroad again arose. I can’t wait to go back to Ireland again.

Slán leat!

 

The wine city with a lot of offerings

I really like the way Kedge Business School takes the approach on studies and how the professors take their jobs seriously and in the most professional sense, yet providing all sorts of beneficial information and helping students reach their personal goals and also the course objectives.

I love how each professor talks about their experience and linking it to a methodology and explaining how it could work in a real life situation and how they have faced challenges in career because of certain experiences or mindset. Although, strictly speaking this would not be part of the course, however, most of the teachers believe in self-improvements when it comes to students and if their own experiences can provide assistance or something they can relate or learn from that not only gets students to actively participate but also ask more questions and learn about more things in general.

In a double degree program you may be thinking that a lot of stuff would be repetitive, but you would be surprised to learn the same course may have a different approach on the topic and what sort of learning objectives that teacher may set. However, the methodologies may be the same but a different approach on the same topic could raise a lot of questions and sharing of experiences, hence, enhancing the learning.

Moving on, when you have time for yourself Bordeaux and the cities neighboring it could offer very heart-warming site seeing and a great time with friends. Not so far, from Bordeaux is a place called Arcachon which is known for its beaches and breath-taking experiences. Image result for arcachon bay"

It is a great way to spend an afternoon/evening with the friends and just go surfing or sunbathe in this beautiful area and the people are quite welcoming and friendly of tourists and students.

In my experiences, the food is quite expensive comparatively to Finland and if you think the rents in Finland are high wait till you see how much a student accommodation may cost in Bordeaux, France. However, even though it may be expensive but the quality of food is something to die for and certainly offers tastes that you would only experience from a French Kitchen.

Furthermore, in terms of studies Kedge is quite similar to TAMK in many ways, teachers genuinely want to help students and are available for them to clear doubts and provide further feedback on their assignments/work. Nonetheless, it is different in its own way and just the way one can create networks in Kedge is something very interesting and not what you may think or experience in Finland.

However, during my last months I can see the similarities and differences in terms of experiences and the significance of the learning outcome form them. All in all Bordeaux, would be an amazing place to go for an exchange, just if you remember to book an accommodation, WELL ahead of time due to the shortage, other than that you are sure to meet a lot of people with multicultural backgrounds, inevitably creating a very informative and learning environment. A word of advice would be to try as many Macarons and Chocolatines (chocolate pastry) as you can, it is worth treating yourself to that after or before a long day at the university.

Greetings from Sapporo

This year I had an internship in the city of Sapporo, Japan in Hokkaido University’s department of engineering. There I mainly did laboratory works with my pair and reported on the findings we did. I didn’t participate in any lectures, but I did participate on weekly meetings with our professor to update our situation and seminars in which each week somebody announced their progress to the members of the laboratory.

The main thing what I actually did was studying the materials related to the next laboratory work and then making a lot of experiments. Then after that was handling the data in excel and reporting it to the professor.

Arrival to Japan happened in late spring just in time for the late cherry blossoms of northern Japan. It was an historical time to be in the country since I was there just when the emperor retired, and a new era, Reiwa, began. To celebrate there was a festival in the local park, where I went. It was timed to group of national holidays called golden week, which was extended this year.

In my spare time I visited neighbouring and went to eat local food towns with some new friends from my laboratory. One such trip was to the town of Otaru with a bicycle. It was an interesting trip and, on our way back I definitely noticed I need more exercise. The place is famous for its seafood, historically remarkable city centre and beautiful landscapes.

 

We also visited the town of Furano in central Hokkaido to see the lavender fields they have there, also there was a place where everyone could try their hands at pottery. I went also to couple of mountains around Sapporo. Mount Moiwa is said to have one of top five, night landscapes in Japan.

One great thing about Hokkaido University is that the University has clubs that arrange meetings and different events where locals and international students can meet. There were barbeques, cooking sessions, one museum tour and many other things. There are also all kinds of event for the whole school. There was a sports day, and a festival, where the main street of the campus was filled with different stands and all kinds of events like mini concerts and dance competitions. This and my other activities made it so that it doesn’t get boring!

Studying there was different at least for me. I wasn’t a normal student so I can’t compare the lectures given there to the Finnish ones. But for the working culture around the laboratory and maybe little in general is something I can compare.

It was very common to work late. The seminars where I did attend started generally at 5 pm. Sometimes there were still people in the student room of our laboratory working at 9 or 10 pm. It was not a rarity to go out eating after the day. I discussed about the working culture in Japan and apparently it is common in the working world that you go out to drink most days with your boss and co-workers after work. This way you can bond with them, but you miss a lot of time in home compared to Finland.

People are also much more company loyal and don’t really change their workplace that often. But companies also take good care of their employees. This is what I heard at least. However, my work in the laboratory was very independent. I needed decide by myself when and how to do the tasks that were given. In Finland we have some courses that are relatively independent but nowhere close to that level.

Greetings from Kuala Lumpur

Time has just flied past really quickly here in Kuala Lumpur. We only have a few weeks of classes left, and after that we will have our exams. Even though this autumn has been pretty amazing, I’m actually looking forward on getting back home to Finland.Taylor’s University

The school system here is quite different than in Finland. In TAMK you will get a lot of credits from one course, but here the courses are divided to smaller units which means more exams. The local students are younger than in Finland, and you can see this for example in their behaviour, but also in the responsibility for their studies. It feels like the students are not responsible for their learning and the teachers and parents are the ones who are in charge of everything. For me this has been a challenge, because I’m used to being independent and being the only one who has the responsibility for my studies.

In Finland it feels easy to reach a teacher. They seem to be on the same “level” as you, but here In Taylor’s University you can really feel the ascendancy between students and teachers. You never call the teachers by their first name. Using Mrs. or Mr. when talking to them is almost always mandatory. It has not been once, twice or even three times during this semester when the teacher never showed up for the class, and without any notice for the students. The local students are used to this, but for me it felt kind of rude. If the teacher don’t show up in 30 minutes, the students usually give up and leave the class.

On the first orientation day we had a health check and we weren’t informed about it at all. They took blood samples, x-rays etc. but no one knew why and what they are would do with all the information of us. In total the health check with all the waiting took more than nine hours. This tells something about Malaysians way of handle things: nothing is done the easiest way. For example, I wanted to drop out from a course, and in total the process took over a month. I had to fill up several papers, run around the school and get signatures and also get an official confirmation from TAMK.

Luckily, we have a lot of free time, so we don’t have to be annoyed at school more than a few hours a week. We had to submit our passports on the first week because of the visa process, and during the five first weeks we only travelled within Malaysia: we saw the cool art street city Penang, “Asia’s little Venice” Melaka, Langkawi island and the paradise island Perhentian.The Perhentian Islands

Our campus is located around 15km from the city center, and since we are living on the campus there are not much to do on the free time. Some people spend time at a huge mall which is located close to the university and there they might do groceries or have dinner. You can’t walk ANYWHERE since there are no sideways (expect from our apartment to uni) and you have to take a Grab (Asia’s Uber.) Luckily, it’s really cheap, but sometimes this campus area feels like a prison because you just can’t walk anywhere. Of course, sometimes we take a Grab to the city center, and there you can spend a lot of time. Walking around the countless skyscrapers and trying different dishes from all over the world is really nice.

When we finally got our passports back, all the travelling started. The first destination was a weekend trip to Krabi in Thailand. After that I was travelling for almost three weeks nonstop. We didn’t really have any weeks of from school, but we made a “Leave of Absence” application for one week. There were also several public holidays which made this possible. We went to Cambodia, Malaysian Borneo, Brunei and Bali. I hope I will have time to spend a weekend in Singapore before we have to submit our passports to school again.

As said, this time in Asia has been great and I’m really happy I’ve had the possibility to travel and experience different Asian cultures. I’m glad that we still have some time left here in Kuala Lumpur, but at the same time I can’t wait to get back to Finland for Christmas.