Mannheim #läuft

Liebe Grüße aus Mannheim – warm greetings from Mannheim,

one of the cities in the Rhein-Neckar-Metropole-region in Baden-Württemberg, Germany. My time so far here in Mannheim has been an unforgettable time and I am looking forward to my remaining time here until July. I speak German as my mother tongue which means, that I can’t have the view of a “foreigner” but on the other hand I have been able to see a lot deeper into the everyday life and society here.

Alfred-Delp-House, my home in Mannheim.

 

Mannheim was almost completely destroyed in the second World War and after that they decided to build the city center into squares which gives Mannheim it’s own flair – no street names (only letters and numbers, mine for example D6, 12), geometrical routes from one place to another and a demanding organization of the traffic. Mannheim is also a multicultural city where especially the Arabic culture meets the German. I have the opportunity to go to a Turkish bakery, super market or café – that is amazing and gives Mannheim also a special flair.

There ist a University, a Music University, 2 Universities of Applied Sciences and some smaller Institutes here in Mannheim and because Mannheim isn’t a huge city itself you can feel the number of students in the street view.

Me enjoying the sun and 26 degrees between rehearsals.

I study at the Musikhochschule Mannheim – the Music University – which has about 500 students from all over the world. As in most Music Universities in Germany over 60 percent of the students are not from Germany. In Mannheim there are especially many students from Asia, mostly from Taiwan and South-Korea. Since the beginning of my studies last September I have had the chance to study in a very special intercultural environment – sometimes it’s me, who doesn’t understand a word of the conversations when for example my Taiwanese friends have a intense dialogue in Chinese.  Also the working moral of the Asian people is something all Europeans look up to. On the other hand I’m also aware of how privileged I am – as an Finnish-German European citizen I don’t have to worry about visa, student grants, language prejudices or collisions of two very different cultures. One of my prejudices has also turned out to be wrong: Though the music students from Asia are a class for themselves when it comes to music organizing or being well-organized in other fields of life is not their strength, I think this is a funny fact 🙂

In general I can’t compare the university here with the tiny music department of Tamk. For the first time in my life I only have all kind of music students from different programmes (performing, pedagogical, solo, music education, composing, conducting, media) around me and there is a special spirit at the university.

My set-up at the symphony orchestra.
Lanterns in front of the Concert Hall of Baden-Baden.

My studies here consist of percussion classes with two professors, music theory subjects, music pedagogy seminars, orchestra and choir project, chamber music, percussion ensemble and Alexander technique and of course all the practical projects end with one or more concerts. Last week the choir of the University sung together with the Baden-Baden Philharmonic Orchestra and last December we sung Händels’s Messias-oratorium.

During my semesters here I have tried to take as much classes and seminars as possible. Here comes also the first difference to my studies in Finland: financial ressources and the ability to form your studies by yourself. As a student you can choose from a large spectrum of seminars and the groups in music theory subjects are very small (sometimes just 2 students). At Tamk I don’t really have the chance to choose freely from different seminars. I have noticed that I like more the system here in Mannheim than in Finland.

The academic standards for home essays are high – Germany is one of the leading countries in Music Research and Music Sciences. Learning the way of the academic writing is one of the things I wouldn’t learn in Finland. Also the students are high educated – the have to have finished high school with matriculation examination.

At Tamk I am used to the evaluation of the seminars and self-evaluation and the dialogue between the students and the professors. The university here has a old-fashioned hierarchy and the students can’t really cititicise anything. Recently the student body has gotten more active and pointed out some really serious things which the university has done against the rights of the students. In this Germany could learn a lot from Finland.

Because Germany is also a home to me I don’t feel the urge to travel around Europe like most exchange students – I focus on the everyday life and sometimes I visit my relatives here in Germany. I live in the squares and right next to the Unisport – in my spare time I do a lot of sports with friends. I was lucky to get a room in a student home of the Catholic Church (it means this student home is modern, we can do lots of activities and the students have to pass an interview in order to get a place). This week we had already 27 degrees and today we opened the barbecue season! 🙂 I also work as a musician in the Holy Mass of the Catholic Student Community which is a great opportunity for me to get work experience.

Inspiring marimba music at the Mass.
Wine region from Mannheim to the west and south

In January I travelled to the French Alps with friends and in the Easter break to Rome – two unforgettable and influencing trips.

Breathtaking view over the French Alps.
Rome – city full of culture and beautiful architecture

As a conclusion I would say that I would like to continue my studies here right away but of course I will first come back and graduate from Tamk – after that I can imagine that my life will continue here in Mannheim.

Neckarwiesen – meeting your friends for barbecue by the river is a popular activity!

Frühlingsgrüße aus Monnem’ 🙂

#läuft – a popular German word which means that everything is in a good balance and you enjoy life everything you do!

 

Greetings from Wolverhampton

Greetings from the United Kingdom.

I’m now having my last month in the UK, just need to finish my assignments and exams and then my Erasmus exchange comes to its end.

I’m studying at the University of Wolverhampton, and here I’m taking a Construction Management course. First weeks I had problems with understanding the teachers, because the local accent is quite difficult to understand. With time understanding them became easier and I started to remember words related to construction industry so I didn’t need to translate everything I read or heard. I was the only exchange student on my modules and the teachers took it into account, for example they were often asking if I was able to understand them because of the accent.
At my exchange university there are not many lectures and tutorials for a module. There are four hours of classroom teaching per a module in a week, but students are expected to study a lot on their free time. Often after the lectures I go to the university library to work on my assignments.
What I like about the teaching style in here is that the teachers tell about their own experiences at lectures, which keeps them interesting. They also often bring up current topics from the construction news.

    

I have lectures only on three days a week, so I have quite a lot spare time here. Usually during the weekdays I spent my free time at the gym and with my friends. There are not that much to do in Wolverhampton, so we usually just hang together with our Erasmus group.

When weekend comes I usually do something more ” special ”, for example travelling. Only twenty minutes by train and we are in Birmingham, which has many thing to do. I’ve travelled a lot on my own, but also the university arranges trips for students to different cities in the UK. I think the trips arranged by the university have been great, we take a bus together but we can spent the time on the cities as we want. Because of these trips I’ve seen many amazing places where I wouldn’t have thought about going by myself.

Studying culture in here is quite different compared to Finland, studying here is much more relaxed. For example a student being half an hour late from lecture is normal here, and the teachers usually don’t mind.
In here they don’t have mandatory attendance, and there are usually a lot fewer students at the lectures at the end of the semester than at the beginning.

I’m really glad that I decide to have an exchange year, because this has been one of the best experiences of my life.

Bon dia!

I thought, that now is a good time to write this postcard, because it’s raining here at this moment. So, I am a nurse student, and I am doing my training in Spain, in the city called Manresa.

Kuvahaun tulos haulle manresa
Picture of Manresa, from Google

I am doing my training in big hospital. I don’t have one specific place in the hospital, but I have toured in several units during my training. It has been very nice, because I have seen and learned a lot of new things. I have, for example, seen and participated in treatments of cancer, different kind of endoscopies and treatments of surgery wounds.

The biggest problem has been the language. I don’t really speak Spanish and even less Catalan, and people here hardly speak English. Lucky for me, every unit I have been, has been person who has been able to speak English. And best of all, everyone wants to learn to speak English.

The things I have been noticed here in working culture, is that nurses really care about their patients. Or at least that is how I feel, when I see them working here. For example, in oncology unit, nurses really know them patients and their history, and they listen and speak with patients really much.

One thing, which was little bit a shock for me, was that here is only one break during the working shift, when there are often two in Finland. And in morning shift the break is breakfast, not even lunch. Now my stomach has started to get used to it, but first I was always hungry.

Picture taken when I was leaving work.

 

My spare time. Well usually after training days I come home and take a nap. It really isn’t so easy to do training in different country and in a foreign language!
But at weekends we usually travel to Barcelona with my friend. Manresa, where we are living, is really nice but pretty small, so here is not so much to see, and it is easy to travel to Barcelona by train.

Picture taken in Barcelona

The finest place so far has been the Montserrat Mountains. Views from the mountains are incredible.

Picture taken when we were visiting in Montserrat Mountain

All in all, I can say that I am very happy that I came here!

Foodstyling in Hamburg!

Back in my home country and my favourite city, Hamburg.

Here I’m doing an internship at 747 Studios, a company with almost 60 employees which specializes in food and non-food photography, CGI and VR.

(entrance hall at 747 Studios)

(I’m obligated to maintain secrecy, so this post might not be that rich in details)

I’m working in the food styling department which means I have to help preparing the food or products we shoot and arrange and drape them in an interesting and good looking way in front of the camera. We work for national and international customers and cover almost their whole range of products (food, non-food, clothes, technology, decoration, accessories etc.).

Two times so far I could do my own photos, so I could choose the topic, the mood and train my foodstyling skills. A photographer and stylist helped me implement my ideas well. The first time I bought a complete salmon and processed it over a series of photos. The second time I chose drinks/cocktails as a topic. These photos I can now use in my portfolio.

(own photos, topic 1: salmon)

During my spare time (which is not much) I sometimes explore Hamburg and test new restaurants, visit shops or go to the cinema or concerts. A lot of my free time is spent on traveling by train since I live at my parents for the time of the internship (3 h train drive each day altogether)…but at least I save money for rent. If I lived in Hamburg, closer to the workplace, I would definitely save time and money on trains.

I have never worked before in Finland, but I definitely can say that I needed some time to get used to the more fast paced, more professional and less laid back daily working routine at 747 Studios, compared to my studies. I still need to improve my cooking and foodstyling skills and probably will pursue a culinary education after finishing my studies.

www.747studios.de/en

Habari! Greetings from Kenya

Now when my trip has reached its’ halfway point it’s good to tell you something about hakuna matata in Kenya. I’m doing 10 weeks working placement as part of my emergency nursing studies. Here my objectives involve medical, surgical and pediatric nursing. Apart from the hospital work I’ve also worked with an organization that helps for example local kids who live on the streets.

First 3 weeks I spent in medical ward where we had 3-4 nurses, 25-35 patients and depending on a day 2-15 nursing students (both university and diploma). Students took care of the patients very independently (including iv medication). Sometimes their attitude even was that ”you learn from your mistakes”. The system felt very unorganized. People were never on time, they consumed time in wrong things (the morning report took always over 1 hour) and when it comes to asepsis they used same brannulas several times, didn’t have enough gloves or alcohol swaps but still told us not to carry dirty sheets but put them on a trolley instead.

Medicines, medical ward, patient files

In renal unit things were a bit better but still the sterile procedures weren’t sterile at all. Doctors and nurses have a lot of knowledge but I guess the lack of equipment affects also their working moral. Also it’s a bit hard to treat a patient who can’t afford the examinations you’ve ordered for them (for example ECG) and the hospital doesn’t always have the medication you have prescribed to the patient. If the hospital doesn’t have it, relatives should buy it. If relatives won’t buy it, patient won’t get it at all.

Kakamega rain forest

After a week in surgical ward they asked feedback from me. I talked about their way of documentation. Why are they writing that things happened at the ideal time when in reality the morning medication was administered at 1 pm. I also wondered their way of treating and preventing bedsores. There’s a timetable on the wall of the ward where’s also written the times when patients should be turned if they can’t do it themselves. Still I didn’t see anybody doing that. After wound dressing the patients were left just as they were: lying on the bedsores on their back.

The son of the chief of Masai tribe and me with a lion hat

Here we have a great team of seven Finnish nursing students from Vaasa, Mikkeli, Seinäjoki and Tampere. We didn’t really know each other very well before the departure but already the night we spent awake at the Nairobi airport made us a really good team. Together we went on a safari to Lake Nakuru and Masai Mara. A great experience that you cannot miss if you travel this far! Then we visited Kakamega rain forest and during our week off we’re going to travel to the east coast to enjoy the white beach and the ocean.

Giraffes in Masai Mara

Kisumu is one of the largest cities in Kenya. When you’re walking in the streets of the city center you’ll hear people greeting you (”Hello, how are you?”), calling you mzungu (a word meaning a white person in kiswahili) and staring at you. The prizes of tuktuks, fruits, clothes in the street markets are always higher for you than for the locals. You need to master the art of bargaining.

If you want to know more feel free to follow my blog www.ke2018nya.blogspot.com (in Finnish)!

Life in Linköping

During my exchange in Linköping I have had three very different placements, and 2,5 weeks of learning project at the University of Linköping. First 4 week placement was in Attendo Care in Linköping, the second 3 week one in the city nearby, Norrköping, and the last one at Linköping university hospital in geriatric ward. So I’ve seen a lot of patients with all ages, disordes and diagnosis. The ultimate best place was in Norrköping primary Care at the rehabilitation ward where I had a great mentor! I almost wish I could go back and work there, but my language skills are not good enough to meet patients my own. The language felt hardest with elderly people, when there was  barely  any communication between me and the patients. So, for me it was a lot of observing. In Norrköping I could develope my physiotherapy skills more due to younger patients and an awesome mentor.

 

Rest homes in Attendo were beautifully decorated fot the patients.
Office-dog Hermes at Attendo.
Basic treatment room in Norrköping Rehab öst.

On my free time I like to go to the gym called Campushallen, which is the best gym I’ve ever seen! It inspires working out several times a week and it’s only 20 minutes walk from my apartment.

 

Campushallen has everything!

We spend a lot time together with the exchange group and corridor mates. Usually on weekends there’s a party somewhere everybody goes to, usually at Flamman. With corridor mates we play cards and board games, drink wine or watch movies. Every other Sunday it’s cleaning Sunday and everybody takes their part of cleaning the whole corridor’s common spaces which is nice.

Friends from different countries.

On weekends I’ve also tried to travel as much as possible. After the first placement we had a week off with the other pt-student from TAMK, so we headed to Oslo and Lofoten Islands. Norway is so beautiful, it was one of the most best trips I’ve made! I also visited Göteborg, Stockholm, Vendelsö, Norrköping and Copenhagen.

Lofoten Islands, Norway.
Beautiful sunset in Lofoten Islands.
Stockholm’s old city and narrow streets.
Norrköping’s University is located around the waterfalls and river.
Colourful Nyhavn in Copenhagen.
Railwaystation in Göteborg. Most of the travelling I’ve done by train, so many railwaystations has been seen.

If I would compare the working and study cultures in Sweden and Finland, I wouldn’t find that much differences. Because the health care system is so similar to Finland, it has been easy to blend in during my placements. The one hard thing during the placements and project at the University has been the language. Communication with patients and teammates was hard on times, but we managed it through with the mixture or english, swedish and body language. Well, if I would say one thing, swedes seem to spend more time on morning and evening fika. They like to take it easy during coffee breaks and have conversations about anything, which is kind of nice.

Fika time!

 

Hoe gaat het?

Chao’s Cafeteria is maybe one of my favourite places to eat. Most of the staff doesn’t speak any language, so it doesn’t help if you have spent months in Duolingo trying to learn some Dutch. But the important thing is that you get fries with mayo for just a couple of euros.

There’s some mold in the walls but it’s not in the fries I think so you don’t have to worry. Oh and there is some strange thing hanging from the roof that teaches you mean words in many languages. Schlappschwanz for example (German, not Dutch). My belgian classmate ordered there once also some strange grey-ish sausage and for some reason I ordered it too. It was… interesting.

Wow, look at that knakworst! Chao has really prepared this one.

But Dutch people eat much more healthy and with variety than just fries with mayo. Like… bread, for example. And toasts. Here are some of them:

And the traffic. So amazing. Cars are for Schlappschwanzels. Bikes are the master rac… I mean, the thing! Whew, that was close. Didn’t remember this was a school blog. Anyway, look at this gif I made:

 Makes you feel bad to watch that for a long time. There are bikes like mosquitoes in a forest in Orivesi. In Utrecht there are 3 bikes per resident (source: the wall of my hotel in the first week).

So that’s it for now. Weltrusten! Ik ga nu luisteren naar de trap zangen van Jacin Trill. Tot ziens!

From the Green Island of Ireland

Last days in Ireland. 3 months went by quicker than I expected. There was so much to  do, see and experience, and so much was still left undone.

I came to Dublin at the beginning of January. First 4 weeks was spent studying Radiography in UCD. We had courses on Irish Culture and Cardiac Interventional Imaging. The first course was more about getting us Erasmus students familiar with Ireland, Irish Health Care System and what’s the role of Radiographer in Ireland. The course also included some trips and cultural events, like trying out Gaelic sports and a bus trip to Wicklow Mountains. The Cardiac course was an interesting one, as we don’t have a course specializing to Cardiac Imaging back at home. We covered subjects like anatomy, CT imaging, MRI imaging and Cardiovascular imaging in CV lab. The theory was interesting, especially since we had quite a lot of guest lecturers who were professionals at their own field.

After the month in school we had clinical practice for 7 weeks in a local hospital. I was in Mater Misericordiae University Hospital in Dublin. It was fun and interesting to see how the Irish health care system and Radiology department works. We had practice in several modalities, the modality was changing every week and sometimes even faster than that. It was great practice, although the role of a student is more like an observer here in some modalities. It was also very good opportunity to practice my English skills, although sometimes it was a challenge to understand the thick Irish accents… 🙂

My free time was spent mostly by traveling. I wanted to use the opportunity to see the country beyond Dublin, now that I’m here. So I tried to travel a lot. I went to see Cliffs of Moher, Newgrange, Hill of Tara, Waterford, Cork, Galway, did a roadtrip around Connemara… I also went to Scotland and visited Edinburgh, Inverness and Stirling. The pictures are from those journeys:

Cliffs of Moher
Newgrange
Cork
From the top of Blarney Castle.
This and the next photos are from Connemara.

Authentic Connemara pony in Connemara.

Good luck to anyone going on exchange to Ireland, you’ll love it. It’s a great place with amazing, lovely people.

Back to snow and cold, yay. 🙂

-Anne

What’s the craic?

Eramsus exchange in Dublin is nearly over. Three months in Ireland just flew by. I’ve been studying, working in a hospital and most important of all, meeting new people and travelling.

We had two courses here: Irish Radiography and culture, and Cardiac Interventional Imaging. There was seven weeks of clinical training included in cardiac imaging course. We had most of the lectures in January, and from February on it was all clinical. There weren’t many schooldays, but when there were, the days were long with multiple lecturers and not so easy subjects. You just had to try to keep up and make some notes. All the assignments we had was clinical related and had to be done during or at the end of clinical (at the end of Erasmus). And there was A LOT to do. More work than I would have ever done if I’d just stayed in Finland.

Culture course included a day of playing gaelic games – so much fun!

I had my clinical training in Mater Misericordiae university hospital in the centre of Dublin. It’s a big hospital, and about 60 radiographers work there. I worked in different modality every week, and it was nice to see so many different things in just seven weeks. Radiographers work in Ireland is basically the same as in Finland, so it was easy to start working in Ireland. In some modalities the work differs from Finalnd, and as a student I couldn’t do as much as I would’ve done in Finland, but on more familiar ones I got to do even more.  

In my spare time I’ve travelled around ireland, and tried to see as much as possible. I’ve been to Kilkenny, Cork, Killarney, Galway, Limerick… Just to name a few. So pretty much travelled all around Ireland. Surprised myself with the fact that I like everything outside Dublin better than Dublin itself. Much to do with the fact that Dublin is so big, and it takes ages to get anywhere. So I’ve also spent a lot of my spare time sitting in Luas, trying to get somewhere.  There is still so much to see in Ireland, so I will definitely be back someday. 😊

Ireland is full of pretty little villages.
And nice views.

-Reija

Glad Påsk och hälsningar från Sverige!

Time flies when you have fun and lot to do. I have only two weeks left here in Linköping. Like you can guess, the culture and scenes here are pretty much same than in Finland and that’s one reason why this city has been feeling like a second home. The other reason has been friendly local people and other exchange students who have made these three months so funny and unforgettable.

Stora torget Linköping
Street of the city center and my home street
Buildings of Gamla Linköping

I live in a corridor apartment in a student housing area. I have my own room with own bathroom, but kitchen is shared with other seven students. And  have to say it hasn’t been very luxurious… Now I see that everyone don’t have the same view of the cleanness and hygiene.

My corridor with a messy kitchen…

In the beginning of our exchange we had orientation week together with other exchange students who’re studying medicine, nursing or physiotherapy.  We played together funny games, studied Swedish and were introduced to the university of Linköping. It was easy and nice way to get to know each others.

Picture of my exchange student group, they are amazing people!

Working with a different language has been hard and has taken a lot of energy and effort. But I think it has given more than taken! My first placement was in Pain and Rehabilitation center, and my patients consists mostly of adults suffering from chronic pain. I got chance to instruct physical training and mindfulness to the patient group I saw three times a week. I had also individual patients who I examined and made them personal training programs. Professionals worked in teams of doctors, occupational therapist, psychologist and physiotherapist, so it was great opportunity also learn to work in an interprofessional working group. First I felt myself completely lost with the patients because of the language, but after couple weeks it got easier and easier.  I was happy that they gave me much responsibility and own patients because that’s the way I can learn the most.

After my first four-week practical wee took train to Oslo with my Finnish classmate. From Oslo we flew to Lofoten islands. It was so breathtaking beautiful there, no words to describe the landscape!

Beautiful landscapes of Lofoten

After our holiday in Norway, I had theoretical part in Linköping’s university with swedish students. It was interprofessional course and handeled of quality improvement with healt care. My group worked in Campus Norrköping, which is in the city next to Linköping. The city and campus were super beautiful!

Norrköping

Last three weeks I worked with home rehabilitation. I was surprised how relaxed it was. They had max four patients for a day and long coffee and lunch breaks. But it was interesting to work at patients’ home and rehabilitate them in their normal living environments.  Next two weeks I will spend in the orthopedic studentward in hospital of Norrköping. That’s ward where students of different degree programs works together with the help of their supervisors.

I’ve been spending my spare time at the local gym and with other exchange students. After long working days it has sometimes felt hard to find energy to do something in the evenings. But in the weekends we have had international dinners and just chilled together or visited different cities of Sweden with other exchange students. Every Tuesday evening I have Swedish course to improve my language skills. And not to self: it’s so much harder to understand native swede’s speech than the listening comprehension tasks that we have used to listen at school 😀

Huge cinnamon buns and beautiful streets of Göteborg
Sunny Stockholm

I’m feeling both happy and sad to return back to Finland after two weeks. I’m missing my family, friends and hobbies in Finland, but also going to miss people I have met here. I wish that Finnish people could be as open and share their feelings and thoughts as bravely than international people here. This exchange has taught a lot about physiotherapy and internationality and definitely gave me courage and great experiences. I can feel myself really lucky to have this kind of opportunity during my studies 🙂