My exchange experience in Seoul, South Korea

Greetings from Seoul, South Korea!

I have spent over 5 months now in South Korea and the final week at school has started. I wish I could stay another semester because I have been enjoying living in here. I have had an amazing experience that I wouldn’t change for anything.

I studied Film, TV and Media at the Sungkyunkwan University. I knew how hardly people study in Korea so I was surprised to see how similar studying was compared to Finland. I was expecting to see a lot of stressed, hardworking students but instead people went out a lot after their studies. Earliest classes started at 9 AM and the latest class ended at 5.45 PM. There were mornings when I could just sleep as long as I want and go to class at 3PM which is very opposite to my own university, where most of our classes start in the morning. We had a lot of home works to do outside the classes so between traveling and sitting in classes you had always something to do. I have noticed that the pace in teaching is a lot faster than back at home and sometimes it was hard to keep up with everything teacher was teaching. Also, 3/4 of my classes the teacher talked in Korean, even if 35% of students would be exchange students.

I lived 5 minute away from my Campus in a local house. It is usually very unlikely to get a studio as an exchange student but I got very lucky. I really liked the neighborhood. In Seoul the neighborhood around schools are cheaper than anywhere else in the city, since mostly students live in the school area. There were a lot of places to eat and I didn’t have to pay more than 5€ from my lunches or dinners.

During my free time I spent time traveling around the country. I travelled a lot of cities in South Korea like Jeju island, Busan, Ulsan and Gangneung. Since I have visited South Korea few times before I didn’t experience any cultural shocks and I had the benefit of knowing the language which made it easier to live in here.

When I wasn’t traveling I usually just spent time with my boyfriend by exploring the Seoul itself. We visited a lot of exhibitions, mountains and tourist attractions, and tasted a lot of different kind of foods and drinks. 

I haven’t regretted going to South Korea. This experience gave me a lot of inspirations and it widened my view of how much opportunities there is when you leave your comfort zone. The best thing during the exchange was getting to know this culture I have liked for many years by actually experiencing the local life. I made a lot of amazing friends around the world and we made a lifelong friendship through this exchange. Korea is amazing country with a big history and culture, and I can’t wait to come back.

Sziasztok!

I am so happy that I chose this beautiful Hungarian capital for my exchange semester. My university, Budapest Business School the Faculty of Commerce Hospitality and Tourism, is situated in the heart of Budapest two blocks from the Parliament house and Danube.

I have been studying marketing, communication and organisational management. BBS offers courses that I have not possible study in TAMK, such as Advertisement Psychology. Because I am interested in events and fairs, I also took one tourism course called MICE tourism which I found one of the most interesting subjects during the semester. Unfortunately, our university did not offer Hungarian language course even though they promised in advance. It would have been useful to learn at least the basics of the language. I can speak only couple words in Hungarian, but I have not ever had any problems because majority of the people speak passable English language.

One of the reasons why I chose Budapest was that it is situated middle of the Europe and good connections to many countries and cities. I been trying to travel as much as possible in my spare time in Hungary and neighbouring countries. Here is so much to see in Budapest too so I have spent many weekends enjoying the atmosphere of the city. Every day is able to find different cultural events, music theatre and dance. It was so positive surprise that here is organised stand-up comedy gigs every second week in English. Those gigs have become tradition among friends.

Studying in Hungary differ from studying in Finland. Classrooms are simpler, the teachers use less technology during the lectures and we have had more individual assignments than in Finland. The schedules of the courses usually do not hold up, if there is any schedule, and teachers can change the plans middle of the semester. I have learnt that nothing works here but everything will be taken care of. Despite the mess at the beginning all the teacher have been helpful and especially the international coordinator has helped a lot!

Finnishness ?!?

The country, Finland, is  really nice country. It’s not that popular in China, so I only know when I really arrived in Finland. At the day when I came into Finland, I got suprised by the European style. This style isn’t just the style the house had been made, but all types of style.

Living style:

The first thing makes love Finland and feel the finnishes is the life style. I came to Finland and living in a Northern town. The people there are mostly elder people. I had many trouble not only on studying but the living as well. Sometimes, even the elder lady can’t speak and understand English, they still tring to help me with my troubles. This makes me feel so close to the people living there when I first get there.

After that, I moved to Tampere. Because I didn’t find the student apartment, I had to live in a private apartment with 5 females in it. It made me too nervourse. But even some of them are busy and having their own work, I can still get some help when I really getting troubles. For example: forget the key…

Even though Finnish people don’t  care too much on Famous Brand Products, but the promotion did effect on them. My living view is buying Famous brand Products and wasting lots of money even I don’t really need them. But I change my mind slowly after I had living fewyears in Finland. My friend also told me one story of her: She wastrying to find a shoe for running. She asked the waiter if there are some famouse brand shoes for running. The answer is “The most famous shoes for running is which can make you feel comfortable during your exercise.” Finnish people don’t foucus on the Famous Brand that much and this also causes less comparing.

Environment style:

The Finnish environment is the best of Finland. Finnish people has their mind and thinking to protect their environment. The recycling and separating the trash makes the environment clean and easy to reuse the resourses. In Finland, people separated the trash into different types of trash: paper waste, compost waste, glass waste, and other types of waste. With the different waste type, the trash will be separated already before enter into the waste factory. It’s efficient and clean for the people living in Finland. Because most of Finnish people had their own summer cottage, they don’t want to live in a forest surrounding by the waste.

Student Nurse in Operation Theaters at Scotland, Ayr.

How wonderful life can be to having this kind of an opportunity..!

About me: I just turned 35 during my placement here in Scotland. I’m studying for my second occupation, to become a Nurse. I used to be an entrepreneur for 14 years, and I remember thinking what an awesome chance it is for those who can go abroad during their studies.. 😀 And look at me now! You never know where life might throw you.

I’ve been to Scotland once before, maybe 7 years ago, with my sister. We were on a holiday for a week. And during that time my I fell in love with this country. It makes sense now why I’ve always loved rain and small, quiet places, and kind, helpful people. -It’s how this is!

So when it came to my knowledge that there is a chance to go abroad the first thing I had to find out was – could it be Scotland? And ’cause it could, that was my aim.

The process of applying started in Autumn 2018 and we had a placement, with my class, in Finland at Christmas that i had to skip so I would have few options for Placement in here. That made some difficulties, personally, to understand what I’d be doing in here.. And because of that I understood, we do have this strict way of doing things and wanting to plan and know how things will go ect… 😀 But the worry was totally unnecessary. When I came here everything solved out the best way possible and people are at ease for adapting a new  situation.  I had to embrace that ability as well.. 😉

My sister came with me here(, of course, again. She loved the place just like I did.) to escort me. We had the chance to get familiar with my new hometown, find out where my new beautiful home was, how to get around and – most of all, enjoying Scotland.

Placement started on Mon 22nd of April, that was Easter Monday and I didn’t know at all what I would be against with because it was a day off for most people. Of course Emergency Theaters are always running but I didn’t yet know how.  Everyone were so welcoming when I walked in and took me with them. My own supervisor came to back shift, but ’cause there was another student for a first day ass well, I got the first tour just like any local would have it. Anyhow the day was quiet (good thing for mankind) until in the afternoon.. There was a planned patient coming for washing of an Necrotising fasciitis. The washing was made under a General Anaesthesia. (This may sound awful for most, but for those who are in Nursing or in other Health -field, this is amazing..!) That was a great first day. (And FYI the Patient had the needed help and was doing better. ) 🙂

There will be more of those Operation later, but I’ll try to write the way how normal people write and are able to read. Without gagging.. 😛 -And of course, no one can be recognized.

But for now, cheerio!

-Henna 🙂

Ciao from Italy

I have been in Italy almost two months now, and I am in love! Here are so many things to learn about the culture and so many new perspectives to gain. I am living in the middle of most beautiful landscapes and I recommend if you are going to visit Italy, you must visit Barolo area.

A little town called Verduno, is where I live now, has 600 habitants with lovely restaurants and wineries. Pelaverga wine is smallest DOCG certificated wine in Italy. This unique wine can be exclusively produced only in this little town!


Luxury villas

There are a many other little villages nearby worth to visit! For example Roddi, La Morra, Serralunga and Barolo.

I am studying Hospitality management in TAMK University of applied sciences. For my last year internship I came to work here in Monvigiliero Vineyard Villas. We have four beautiful luxury villas which can accommodate up to 40 persons, or individually up to 13 persons.

I came here in the beginning May and I will leave in the middle of August. I am sad realizing that my internship is almost over. Even though I love Italian hot summer, I would love to see Italian magical autumn as well. Especially because in the beginning of October starts famous Alba white truffle- season and harvest in the vineyards.

I wanted to come here, because I am interested to work in a hotel business. After I finish my studies, I would love to find a job in a hotel’s reception. On my spare time I am sunbathing, relaxing and spending time with my boss. Usually I have 2 – 3 days off. Everything is doable if I want to travel somewhere; for example, I visited Genova last week and I before spent one night in Torino as well. I have a small apartment at villas, so it doesn’t take a long time for work.

I didn’t have any special expectations for my trip to Italy. The only thing that I considered as a difficulty was the language barrier. I did not speak Italian when I came here, only English. Now that I have been here almost two months, I know some words and I have started to understand some Italian.

In Finland it is quite rare to drink even one glass of wine in a lunch break. Here it is normal to drink one glass of wine while eating. It is actually vice versa; if you don’t order wine, everybody looks at you like you are sick! Of course, it is okay to drink one glass of wine, but I have not never seen that quite often. Overall this trip has been my best thing ever, I have learnt something new every day and I can’t believe that I need to return home so soon!

-Nora

Greetings from Austria!

Greetings from Wiener Neustadt! I have now spent almost 4 months in Austria and the time has flown by. It is quite sad to think that this experience will soon be over.

I study business administration at the University of Applied Sciences Wiener Neustadt. I have now finished most of my courses, but during the exchange I normally had classes two or three days per week. Sometimes there were classes from 9 in the morning up until 8 in the evening but having some days entirely off during the week was quite nice. We had a lot of work to do also outside the classes so between travelling and sitting in classes you had always something to do. I have noticed that here the teachers focus more on the fact that they want us to learn more specific details about to subject where as in Finland I think the teachers want us to be able to apply the learned knowledge to different situations.

I live just a 5-minute walk away from the university in a student dormitory. Since all of the exchangers live in the same floor, all 25 of us live right next to each other. This has been really fun since you always have someone to hang out with and it has been easy to get to know everyone. My roommate is from Uruguay and it has been an interesting experience to live with someone who is from a totally different culture.

     

 

During my free time I have travelled a lot with the other exchangers. We have gone to Italy, Slovenia and Czech Republic. We have also done trips inside Austria. Going to Slovenia and making trips to see the Austrian nature with its beautiful mountains have been my favorites.

 

When I am not travelling I usually just have a normal daily routine with some studying, going to the gym and hanging out with the other exchangers. Our dormitory is in the middle of an industrial area and for example on Sundays there are no busses to the city center, so we try to come up with something to do at the dorms. Maybe watch a movie or play cards together. The best thing during the exchange has definitely been all the people I’ve met. They have made this experience unforgettable.

– Alisa

Herkese merhaba!

Greetings from Turkey.

I am happy to say that coming to Ankara was one of the best choices of my life. There is so much to learn in this culture and so many new perspectives to gain, mostly because Turkey differs from Finland quite a lot. One of the biggest differences I noticed is religion, also being the most prominent as there are many mosques and calls to prayers five times a day. These are probably the first things a newcomer will notice here. Also, my exchange takes place during Ramadan, which I am as well excited to experience, although from a perspective of an outsider.  I have been able to visit some of the best attractions in Ankara during my time here, and also places in other parts of Turkey.

 

Inside Kocatepe Camii, the largest mosque in Ankara

Photos from the mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk – the founder of Turkey

Bilkent University is said to be one of the best universities in Turkey. When we have mostly large, project-oriented courses in Finland, the ones in Bilkent are more theoretical and scattered in many smaller entities. Students here need 52 courses in able to graduate, which seems too much for someone who is used to two 10 credit courses per semester. Although, instructors are knowledgeable and know how to teach, which provides good chances for learning.

One of the more practical courses I am taking is International cuisines, in which we prepare foods from different countries and serve them to the customers. As a part of the course we had also an opportunity to take part in Bilkent Mayfest and sell our products there. That was in fact challenging but fun addition to the course! The final exam will be like ‘mystery box’ from MasterChef, everyone getting different ingredients to prepare dishes from.

-Laura

 

 

Bisous from Paris!

I have now been studying here in Paris for a few months now and I love it. Paris seems to be a place that needs a bit more time to be fully understood and appeciated. A small holiday here just isn’t enought. I am so happy that I got the chance to experience this beautiful city with time and that I could really dive in to the culture. I have enjoyed seeing beautiful architecture, going a round small galleries, all the little book shops as well as eating amazing food.

I have been studying marketing as well as luxury retail and have been pleased with my studies. I enjoy the topics and have made alot of new friends. These courses will help me in the future with my up-coming jobs, for sure. During my spare time I enjoy drinks and good food with my friends, take a lot of pictures and just relax.

Studying here is pretty different when you compare it to studying in Tampere. Tampere is so much more relaxed as a city and you can’t really feel that people are in a hurry or that they are stressed. Paris is very hectic and it seems that the studying culture is too. It is much more fast paced here in France.

I hope it is sunny in Finland!

Best regards from Paris,

 

Milja

Tallinn is a city with an allure of its own

I saw the title written in some tourist guide book, and I have to say that I agree. In Tallinn like in the rest of the Estonia, the past centuries are layered in architecture and culture. Kristian said in his blog text that he liked to visit the old town in his spare time, and so do I. The old town of Tallinn is a beautiful example of a medieval city with lot to discover. Every time I visit, there is something new to find. There are more interesting museums, lovely cafeteria and good restaurants than there is time to visit.

On the other hand, Estonia is also land of controversies. The country’s past decades can be seen in the architecture outside the old town. There are side by side very old buildings, soviet era apartment blocks and modern buildings. I would say an incomplete is more interesting than perfect.

I study business in adult education and I am doing my international internship in Tallinn, Estonia, where I work in a bank. If I would have to compare Finnish and Estonian work culture, I would say the both cultures are very similar. The moral and work ethics are based on the same principles. We both are taking the work seriously, but Estonians from my perspective seem to be more considerate towards others. Here, colleagues are very helpful towards each other. They remember everyone’s birthday and like to commemorate them with flowers, and the one who is celebrating brings sweets for everyone. Estonians by the way love flowers. You can see them everywhere and there is always someone carrying flowers in the city center.

This week has been very active, because I got visitors from Finland. We went to see the Katariina I ballet by Toomas Eduri in the Rahvusoopper Estonia, which was elegant experience. Another day we visited the Kadriorg park, where trees, bushes and flowers were blossoming. One of my favorite things here is going to the great outdoors, which is easy and fast even with public transportation system. Especially now during the spring, the nature is very beautiful. After the Kadriorg visit, we went to the Nomme Adventure Park that is located in a beautiful green oasis in Tallinn. They tell on their brochure that adventure trails are suitable for everyone, but I think it is not true. From my own experience, I can say that they need new trails for chickens.

Tomorrow we are going to have dinner in the Old town into a restaurant called Leib resto. Their philosophy is to make Estonian food out of local ingredients and everything they have on their list is locally produced. I really look forward to visit there, because I have eaten local food only in our workplace’s canteen.

All memories have been written to my mind forever.

 

Greetings from Akureyri!

I have been studied here this spring and I am totally in love with this place. Akureyri is so called  “capital of north”. Even thought it is a very small town, approximately 18000 habitants, they have their own university.

I am a Hospitality Management student, but I wanted to go to Akureyri even thought they don’t have any courses for my studies. I took some business courses which I found very interesting. I also took courses that are made for exchange students for example Icelandic language and Icelandic Nature.

In Tamk I used to do almost everything in groups, but because now I studied in the university, teaching was totally different. Courses consist mostly lectures and there were only a few group works.

I spend my spare time mostly with my flatmates and other exchange students. Because Akureyri is so small, basically all the foreigners know each others. I have met so many amazing people here and it is gonna be hard to say goodbye. With other exchange students we have done some roadtrips together around Iceland and I have seen many beautiful places.

Before I went to Iceland, I thought that people are similar with Finnish people. Culture is quite similar, but there are also differencies. Finnish people are way more punctual than Icelandic. One of my teacher gave a very logical explanation for that; the weather. The weather can variete during the day a lot and that is why Icelandic people are not good at planning in advance, because it depends so much of the weather can you go somewhere or not.

-Maria