My Adventure in Seoul, South Korea

My time in Seoul in coming to an end. I can count the days I have left with my fingers. I have been studying in Kyung Hee University for the past semester. My major is hospitality management. I have had a lot of fun and I have met new people from all over the world.

Kyung Hee University, The Grand Peace Hall

Studying in Korea has been surprisingly easy for me. I have five courses and they have all been going well. Right now, I only have my finals left and I only have two of those. Registering to courses is very competitive here so I had to wake up at 4.15 to be able to register to the courses I wanted. I also needed to change few courses and got one more added before I traveled to Korea. I haven’t had any problems with the language of the courses, and I got to keep all the courses I registered to. Kyung Hee has a lot of international students so those courses that have a lot of international student and exchange students don’t have to worry about the language. I have had very few assignments during the semester, so I have had quite a lot of free time.

Library in the mibble of the COEX Starfiled mall

During my free time I either wander around Seoul. I have also traveled to few cities inside Korea and I also traveled to Tokyo during the semester. Busan and Jeju island are a must visit in Korea. Both are beautiful places and are very different compared to Seoul and each other. I also won tickets to a music bank concert so for that I had to travel to another city. But at that time, I did not have time to see the city itself. Seoul has a lot of places to visit and it is easy to travel in Seoul. There are many popular areas to go to clubbing or shopping. I had spent most my free time going to cultural places and going shopping all around Seoul. There are also many cultural places that are nice to visit in Seoul. The food is good and cheap in restaurants. I eat in a restaurant almost every day because we aren’t allowed to cook in the dorm and there is no kitchen in there. There are only few microwave ovens, few toaster ovens and a toaster. One tip if you want to travel to Korea there are very few options for vegans and vegetarians. So, if you don’t eat pork, beef or chicken you should think very hard about if Korea is the right option for you.

Geongbukgung

Comparing the education and studying to Finland. In Korea university is very competitive because grades are given in cumulative so only a certain percentage gets an a and so on. But most English courses are not like this. They are mainly point based grades. Because in Finland the grade is always point based and everyone gets a grade based on their effort. In here sometimes you fail a course because you just didn’t fit into the percentages. So, it’s very competitive and grades are very important here so getting the best grade possible is important. That is why many people spend most their time studying and not having fun the closer to the exams we get. Classes here are mainly lectures and it is not encouraged to ask questions during class you can questions after the class from the teacher personally. And you should always try to take notes because you don’t always get the lecture material for yourself to review.

I have had a lot of fun during the past semester. I have Made new friends and traveled to new places. I think Korea was a good choice and Kyung hee university has been a great place to study at.

Greetings from South Korea

South Korea is an amazing place to visit!

There is a lot to see and do, but the university system is really different compared to Finland!

I have to say that even though I had an amazing experience in Seoul I also had a lot of challenges. The enrolling system in Konkuk University is really hard to deal with: who is fastest to enroll ( and im talking about seconds) will get in the courses and since there is no spots reserved for exchange students you will have to deal with a lot of competition! Once you get in the course you might still find difficulties: some korean teachers ( all the teachers of the engineering field) kindly asked to me to leave the class. I ended up not being able to take courses of my major because even though the classes were supposed to be in english the teachers were asking foreigner students to leave so that they could teach in korean.

The other challenge i found was related to the food: i’m vegan and here in Korea being vegan or vegeterian is a real challenge. This is the reason why I had to move out of the dormitory so that I could cook my own food!

Once I moved out and the enrolling period was done I finally had time to enjoy Seoul! There is a lot of opportunities for cultural activities and hikes!

 

Hello from Seoul!

Hello everyone, I am an exchange student for one semester in Seoul, South Korea. I want to start with saying that it has been a wonderful experience to have the opportunity to be a part of the exchange program and witness the traditions, culture and beauty of an exotic country such as South Korea. I must say I have also encounter some issues as well, such as the unavailability of sufficient courses in English in my field (Energy and Environmental Engineering).  In my spare time I have visited many traditional sight seeings and temples. South Korea also has fantastic outdoor traditional markets where local elderly ladies provide various Korean dishes and delicacies. If I had to compare Finland’s education system to South Korea’s i must say that they differ in many aspects. Here students go under tremendous social pressure to excel in academics having minimal free time for other activities than studying. In Finland I would say the education system is more balanced with work and spare time. Nonetheless, I have enjoyed my time here and experienced many unforgettable memories!

Best Regards, Ikaros.

Greetings from Stoke-On-Trent

I have been studying in Stoke-On-Trent for almost three months now.  Stoke-On-Trent is a city in Northern Staffordshire that has a population of a bit over 250 000 citizens and is best known from its pottery industry. Even though by its population Stoke-On-Trent is slightly bigger than Tampere, in my opinion, it feels a bit smaller. However, it has a lot of nice things to offer: it has, for example, many beautiful parks, a shopping center, museums, a movie theater, many pubs and restaurants, a shopping village and even a monkey forest.

         

         

In my opinion, the best part of the city has been the university where I study, Staffordshire University. The courses I have studied have been very interesting and the professors have been really nice, helpful and good at what they do. The contents and implementations of the courses have been well structured: they have involved both theory and practice, and instead of just listening to lecturers the lessons have involved a lot of discussions and group work. There are a few differences between studying in Staffordshire University and studying in TAMK. For example, in Staffordshire University there are preparatory tasks for each lecture, whereas in TAMK, at least in the courses I have attended, there aren’t. In here, I also have more independent studying and less contact hours. I have lectures only on Tuesdays to Thursdays and only two to four hours per day. Another example of the differences between my host and home universities, is that in the courses I have studied here, the final marks are based on essays or portfolios, whereas in most of the courses I have in TAMK the grade is based on an exam done in the end of each course. In here, we have to write usually one 3000-word essay per course and you can plan and write it whenever you want to, as long as it’s done by the deadline in the end of the semester. For my personally, regarding my learning and development during a course, this way is more suitable. In all, I have been very satisfied with my host university and I have learned a lot during the semester!

My free time I have spent, for instance, hanging out with my new friends, exploring the British culture (including celebrating the local holidays, such as Guy Fawkes Day and Halloween) and enjoying our university’s weekly student happenings.  I have also spent a lot of time travelling. Right in the beginning of my exchange period, before arriving Stoke-On-Trent, I spent a few days in London with my friend, which was a great way to start the student exchange.  In September we also traveled to Dublin and Belfast, in October to Manchester and in November to Scotland. Next week, I will travel to London one more time, and the week after that my destination will be Finland!

Best Regards, Katariina

Small city called Zlín

I am located with my practical training in Tomas Bata Regional Hospital in Zlín. I would say the hospital environment is basically the same compared to Finnish hospitals even though there is a lot of differences. Itself the hospital is large complex of different buildings which all has own departments. So the hospital isn´t just one big building with different sectors and that is what makes the working there little tricky. Whenever you need to go to another department you might need to travel all along to the different side of the hospital area for few minutes easily. Our locker rooms are located in different building and after changing to uniform you have to head outside and find your way to the department. You usually find yourself walking outside depending what weather it is, which doesn´t make it very pleasant. Also, for moving the patients between different departments it´s not very handy system.

Aerial view of the hospital

We have changed the departments almost every week to another. Basically they are not as modern as in Finland. I wouldn´t say that is a surprise. Mostly no one speaks english except the students that we are with. It makes the communication with nurses and patients and other staff little bit difficult. Comparing to practice we had in Finland to practice here, it doesn´t offer that much what we expected. It seems that the students here doesn´t have own mentor and maybe that´s the reason we don´t get to do so much things in the hospital. The days in the hospital can really be boring when there is nothing to do or see. Best things might be those when we had opportunity to see different surgeries.

The architecture in Zlín is called “functionalism”

Even though the Zlín isn´t that big city it has decent amount things to do and easy ways to travel somewhere else to enjoy your time. There is a zoo just nearby where we visited in the first week. The city has also own ice hockey team called PSG Berani Zlín whose matches we have gone to see with other students. Time to time there is country presentation with two different countries against each other where we get to hear history and other information about them and lastly taste the food they have prepared for us. Zlín also has a mall with movie theatre where you can enjoy the new movies. Likewise in Finland there is a lot of parties every week with different themes that contains parties with other students abroad. So the most common way to spend your time is to grab a drink or two of good Czech beer and just hang out with other Erasmus students.

PSG Berani goaltending
The draft beer in Czech Republic

Another option is to travel somewhere in Czech or nearby countries. Zlín is located actually very central place when thinking to travel countries like Hungary, Austria or Slovakia. So when there is time enough in your schedule you can find yourself in places like Budapest or Wien which are really nice. In Bratislava there wasn´t that much to experience though.

Parliament house in Budapest
Christmas market in Vienna

Greetings from Malaysia!

I have been studying in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia almost three months now. Time has passed very quickly. I have five different courses at the uni and I feel like some of them are similar that we could have in TAMK. In TAMK we do almost everything in groups but here we have more individual assignments which I prefer more.

Sunset at Pangkor Island

I spend my spare time usually with my friends, the other exchange students. There are approximately 70 exchange students, mostly from Europe but also from the United States, Mexico, and Australia.

Swimming with my friends

I have been traveling quite a lot around Malaysia so far. Almost every weekend I have been to different places inside Malaysia and it has been a lot of fun. I have visited for example Georgetown in Penang, Perhentian Islands, Tioman Island, and Langkawi. All the trips have included many hours on a bus. I still have many places where I want to go to Malaysia. During the past month, I have been visiting also in Cambodia, Borneo, Brunei, and Singapore.

Perhentian Island
Melaka

 

During the weekends I feel like there is not that much to do at home. Sounds crazy- I live in Kuala Lumpur. However, I live quite far from the city centrum and you have to go by car every time you want to go somewhere because there are highways all around. There is not that option to walk from one place to another. That is something, what I really miss from Finland.

View from my window

I live in a student house where most of the exchange students and local students are living. It is ten minutes walk from the university and a mall, where there are places to eat. In my opinion, it is cheaper to go to eat than cook food yourself. I usually eat at least once in a day in a restaurant at the university area. In Finland the student lunch is 2,60€ and here you usually pay approximately the same amount of a good meal.

This is my second time in Asia so I already had some experience with cultural differences. I think you will really get inside the culture and habits after years of staying somewhere. Malaysia is a Muslim country and you are able to see that in your everyday life, for example, women wearing scarfs and the Islamic call to prayer. At the university, I feel like some things are more strict, like the way you talk to the teachers and the dress code. It might be also because it this is a private university and students have to pay for their studies and also because some of the students are so young.

Overall, this has been a great experience and I still have one month to go!

Petronas Twin Towers

 

Love,

Maria

 

All pics taken by me 😊

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