안녕하세요 여러분! (Hello people!)

As you can see, I’ve learned some Korean while studying my exchange in South Korea. My actual studies were Business Information Systems (Computer Science might be easier to understand). I tried to be as open as possible to the new environment and people. In a nut shell, I got new friends, visited cool places, developed my ICT skills and also learned Korean alphabet and some common phrases during my four months stay in Korea.

My exchange started with first moving myself and my luggage to the SeoulTech campus and dormitory. To my surprise, I was soon greeted by a Finnish room mate. Actually there were quite many Finnish exchange students in SeoulTech. I also made friends with foreign exchange students and Koreans who I met especially in the numerous school clubs: music clubs, English conversation club, bowling club, running club etc.

Compared to TAMK the studies in SeoulTech were more reading than trial and error oriented. There seem to be more stress on the details than on understanding the big picture. The reason might be the nature of my studies, which was mostly software engineering (programming) so I can only speak of my own degree programme. There were also more lessons and less independent studying than in TAMK. I was mostly satisfied with the courses I had. I learned new programming languages, improved my Unix skills and learned to use Korean in some every day situations.

One of my favorite things in Korea was the beautiful nature. I visited several smaller or bigger hills, mountains and forests during the summer. The nearest small hill was my most frequently visited place where I went to refresh my mind alone or with a friend. Even the campus area itself was decorated with cherry, pine and other trees and a stream that crossed the whole campus and was surrounded with flowerbeds. There was a pond which surroundings appeard as a common living room to students. It’s hard to name which place was the best or most memorable. The longest trip outside the school was to Jeju and Udo islands. Speaking of nature, this time we went also under the rock to Manjanggul cave in Jeju island. Being 13422 meters long, it’s one of the longest lava tunnels in the world. We could see interesting volcanic rock formations along the 1 km tour and even touch them and feel the moisture.

South Korea can provide a lot more than I had time to experience. I’m happy that I chose SeoulTech as my exchange destination and can recommend it to you!

SeoulTech campus
Rainbow bridge in Seoul
Jeju island
Jeju island
Gamcheon culture village in Jeju island
Udo island
Haeundae beach in Busan

Rally English ambassador in Switzerland

When I got chosen to go exchange to Lucerne University of Applied Sciences for the spring semester 2018, I got super scared at first, and actually was pretty 50/50 to cancel the whole thing. Biggest doubts I had, was about my capabilities on studying in English, which you might be able to believe if you keep reading this blog…Sorry but not sorry! However, after pushing all the negativity aside for awhile, February arrived and it was time for a departure. I packed my snowboard with me and hopped on white&blue-wings at Helsinki-Vantaa airport and hoped to come back one day mentally and physically more or less healthy. Possible credits would be just a big plus!

I took the train to Lucerne from the Zurich airport and the journey took approximately 45 minutes. Just to mention, Swiss railway network is amazing. The network is super comprehensive and Swiss people has built tracks even on the mountains and these trains are always on time, unlike in some other countries! Have to admit, that the arrival in Lucerne was some sort of an shock. The city had just started an four day festival and 90% of the people were wearing an festival costume in a very crowded station. I had no idea of the festival before my arrival, and the sight really wasn’t corresponding on my thoughts I had about Swiss people. At this point I decided to forget everything I thought I knew about Switzerland and all the expectations I had on my exchange semester.

After surviving first two weeks in Switzerland, and when I started to be settled down in Lucerne, and speaking only in English wasn’t that big deal anymore, I really enjoyed every second during my stay. The best part of Switzerland, in my point of view, was of course the Alps. The first day on Swiss slopes felt unreal.

 

 

 

Academic level is relatively high in Switzerland, however, if I was able to pull it trough by compensating bad English with hard work, I’d say anyone can. Switzerland is very expensive country, but in the end, places I saw and things I did, justifies the fact that I successfully burned my student loan! Accommodation was arranged very well by the host University, and I don’t have a bad thing to say about my apartment. I was sharing the apartment with 4 other students. We were sharing the kitchen and the shower, but we had own rooms. The best part of the accommodation was, that it was in a building which consisted of 50 rooms in total, and all the rooms are reserved exclusively for exchange students. 50 exchange students in one building = great parties every week and new friends from all over the world for life.

 

I really suggest everyone who’s thinking about going exchange to give Lucerne at least a thought, since I can’t imagine better exchange semester than I had!

University of Salford, TV studies

My time studying Television and Radio at University of Salford was beyond amazing. I must say, if you want to work in TV or Radio,  Salford is the place to go. Media department of this university is located at MediaCityUk, which is basically a home for ITV and BBC. Lots of shows are being recorded/filmed in MediaCity and students have an opportunity to do freelance work in a real production. 

 

 My choices of modules were: TV Drama, TV studio and TV Documentaries. During my TV Drama module, I had a chance to Write and fully produce one short film and Direct a short film of my other classmate. I had to study a lot during this course in order to produce something good. Most of my spare time I was spending in the library reading books on scriptwriting, directing and producing. I really had to come out of my comfort zone during this course, especially when I was taking a role of Producer. Finding professional actors, finding replacements for the actors that dropped out last minute, recruiting people for filming crew, booking locations and equipment, settling down conflicts, and tons of paper work – all mixed with a stress of an upcoming deadline. Hands down, I’ve learned a lot. 

Another module of mine was TV Studio. That course was really well made. Every week, we had a chance to learn a new job in the multi camera studio or in a gallery.

There was a decent amount of both theory and practice, but for those who wanted to deepen their knowledge there were additional workshops held 2 times a week. The technicians that were giving us those workshops were always extremely happy to help.

 

 

 

During this module we were developing 2 TV shows: For the first show I was doing all the visuals and animations and for the second show I took a role of a show Director. I was really glad that everybody accepted me on equal terms and I was given such a big role, even though I was an exchange student.

 

 

 

My absolute favourite module was TV Docs. It was a module that made me apply for an exchange extension.

 

 

During this course, we had to make 2 documentaries: one – observational documentary and another one – a documentary with a narration. Basically, the course structure was similar to TV Drama, except for the fact that we were mostly concentrating on working with real people with real issues and stories to tell. I found this fascinating. 

 

All these modules required a lot of work, I barely had any spare time. This taught me time management really well. After TAMK, Salford felt way more strict with all those rules and incredible amount of tasks. I enjoy this kind of crazy working routine, and my area of studies was really social oriented, considering I had to work with people all the time. There was a lot of team work, so I’ve managed to find really great friends that were constantly dragging me out to party. 

 

I’ve done most of my travels around the UK in the beginning of exchange, during the Easter break and after the exchange. I would totally recommend to buy train card, because it saved me plenty of money.  Well, I think that’s it! Enjoy your time in UK!!!

 

 

Lively Seoul in my eyes

My exchange destination was in South Korea. It had been in a great 4-month of a journey not only about studying but also about culture experiencing. The partner school for my exchange term was Sungkyungkwan University which is the Korean university with the longest history of foundation and development dated back from the Joseon Dynasty and locates in the heart of central Seoul.

Being one of the premier universities in the country, SKKU has been consistently maintaining its reputation internationally as well. During the time there, I had an incomparable experience in so many aspects besides studying. Despite located in the city center of crowded Seoul, SKKU’s campus is however huge. There are many old traditional Korean buildings inside the Seoul campus of SKKU. These include Munmyo (Confucian Shrine) and Myeongnyundang (the main lecture hall).

I chose various courses from not only my main major which is Supply Chain Management but also about Korean cultural and political history and language. I learned so much about the traditions and cultures of Korea and a basic Korean communication as well which helped a lot in daily life in Seoul such as reading to distinguish landmarks, location and inside the restaurant too. The Korean language does tell a lot about its culture which reflects a distinctively hierarchical society. I also had difficulties at certain times when there was a language barrier involved and in certain cultural differences. As I learned more about the culture and interacted with more locals, I quickly began to realize that as a foreigner adjusting to Korean traditions would take some time.

Food, shopping and vibrant city nightlife is my favorite part about travel. I really loved the Korean cuisine and the different types of spices that Koreans used in their traditional dishes.

Apart from the exam period, the rest of the time is quite enough for my exploring adventure in Seoul. I took part in several local volunteer activities and event for foreigners and it was an extraordinary experience and pleasure during my stay in Korea

In my opinion, South Korea is truly a lively, dynamic and lively country. There were so many activities held by Korean non-profit organizations for the foreigner. On one hand, it creates a plenty of unique and meaningful opportunities for the international student like me to socialize and get on with such exotic lifestyle here, while on the other hand it also acts as an extraordinary marketing tool and tourism promotion for South Korea.

One of the most unforgettable and meaningful activities that I had the opportunity to participate in was the Lotus Lantern Festival which was is one of the largest cultural events held annually in public to honor Buddhism, one of the most dominant religion in Korea. I have made many new friends including Koreans and other countries around the world. My university’s travel club in Seoul also offered me many chances to travel Korea not alone but with good companies and memorable experience which would be unable to obtain while traveling by on one’s own.

 

The academic experience I had in Korea was also distinctive comparing to what I have experiences in Finland and my home country. The higher studying program here is very professional and intensive despite the fact that there was a lot to do with online procedure and registration which sometimes made it appear lengthy and complicated to me. It was very interesting getting to see how Korean students studied and how the classrooms and courses were set-up. There are so many places in the school, which are set up as small studying cabinet, serving for self-studying with up to a large number of seats and can be used overnight.

The examination here in SKKU is also different from my home university Tamk. In my case, there is a great amount of lesson which required to be learned by heart in order to proceed with the exam paper and get passed. I think this might be one of the reasons that causes the very stressful and intensive pre-exam studying period here in Korea. In this part, I personally prefer the studying style in Finland which is more about logic thinking, teamwork and project operation

Atypical Antwerp

Oh Antwerp, you son of a gun. What can I say, I loved my time there.

Antwerp is a city in northern Belgium. A local proverb states “Antwerp is the city and the rest is parking”. Apparently the rest of Belgium isn’t too happy about that, but as a fresh citizen of Antwerp that sounded promising. It’s a city of diamonds, fashion and is home to one of the biggest ports in the world. You could definitely see this walking down the street or next to the river, but as the most usual destination was a terrace of some bar, me and some of my exchange buddies missed a few cultural aspects due to tunnel vision.

I chose Antwerp since they offered a comprehensive marketing-central course load, and while I was optimistic about my studies, the courses in digital-, content-, and data-driven marketing exceeded my expectations. I felt that I achieved a comprehensive understanding of marketing in the modern digital space, although I had already completed all my marketing studies in TAMK. Big up for the marketing studies offered at the Artesis Plantijn University College of Antwerp.

Apart from the studies there’s a lot to do. The city is booming every weekend and there’s a lot of events during the week held by student organisations or other entities. There’s a lot of culture to see if you happen to be a fan of the arts; and if you’re not, there’s a lot of beer to drink, since Belgium has one of the most prominent beer cultures in the world. Belgium itself is a relatively small country so you can see most of what it has to offer by buying a train pass for around 55€, with which you get ten domestic train rides.

There wasn’t a significant difference as to how studying / working is in Belgium in relation to Finland. The Flemish people are pretty similar to Finnish people in a lot of ways.

If you go to Antwerp on exchange, here’s a list of tips:

The ESN Membership is probably not that worthwhile to get.

Do NOT take the European Project option (EPS). People who had it were pulling their hair out for 5 months.

If you want to travel in Belgium, do it rathersooner than later. I only really saw three cities during my time there. Oops.

Bolleke & Triple D’Anvers (made by De Koninck) are local beers specific to Antwerp. At least try them.

The beer is stronger in Belgium and you usually can’t tell that by taste. It will get you by surprise.

Stay clear of a bar called “De Prof”. Or don’t if you’re curious, but you’ll agree eventually.

Most exchange students I got to know during that five months really came to like Antwerp and its atmosphere. Go out, go to events and activities even though you might not feel like going, it’ll all be worth it at the end of the day. Five months is a short time, but I’m happy to have spent it in Antwerp.

 

My friend sporting a Triple D’Anvers on a chill street in Antwerp

 

-Petteri

Greetings from Ireland!

I was really happy when I got accepted to Institute of Technology Tralee. It was exciting toknow that I am going to study abroad during the autumn 2017.

Tralee is a small town in the south-west Ireland. The dialect is pretty strong in County Kerry and sometimes it is challenging to understand the native speakers. Anyway, it is easier to understand the dialect after living in the country for a while. Studying in different language is not easy in the beginning but after all, it is really enchanting to see how much my own language skills have been improving during the exchange.

IT Tralee is smaller institute than TAMK but there was also modules of social services. My main goal was to learn English and it is quite easy when all studying and communicating are happening in English.

The Irish are not so precise with time so sometimes the class starts about 10 minutes later than it should but all students are still expected to be on time. That is the reason why the lectures feel short but on the other hand school days can be longer in its entirety. In Finland the lecturers are usually on time and also students should be. Our lectures are three hours with a break but outright our school days are usually shorter than in IT Tralee. Also the style of study is different. In TAMK we typically write a lot of essays and we have less exams but in IT Tralee they always have final exams (which remind matriculation examinations) in the end of the module and some essays or exams in the middle of the module as well.

View from IT Tralee’s window

 

We have been traveling with other exchange students and we have seen so many beautiful places during this experience. The scenery of Ireland is breathtaking in some places, even though the weather is often cloudy and rainy. Pictures tell more than my words here so I decided to add pictures about my free time in Ireland.

View from a mountain

 

It was pretty windy sometimes

The Giant’s Causeway
Titanic Belfast
Dublin Zoo

I am so happy that I had the courage to experience something like this abroad.

 

Greetings from Bangkok!

I did my practical training in Bangkok, Thailand. My practical training lasted little bit over 3 months. My workplace was 25 km from Bangkok downtown. I rented apartment close to office because Bangkok´s chaotic traffic would take too much time if I had to drive in rush hour. My title was HVAC engineer and most of my job task were related to cooling systems because Thailand’s very hot climate. My days started at 9 am and workday ended 6 pm. I had 1-hour lunch break.

In Thailand working culture hierarchy and respecting older people are very important. Rising voice or losing temper are things you should try to avoid. My co-workers were very helpful and interested in Finland. I learned from them lot of about Thailand and its culture. In Thailand people have more relaxed attitude in work and free time. Sometimes it caused some problems, example in Finland I got used to that if we agree to meet at 6 pm it really happens 6 pm and not 7 pm.

In weekends I tried to explore Bangkok or travel around Thailand. Bangkok is very big city and there are lot of things to do. Many markets, shopping centers, temples, restaurants, bars and nightclubs. Domestic flights in Thailand are very cheap and it was easy to fly to different cities to explore more Thailand. Good location of Bangkok offers change to go explore neighboring countries such as Vietnam, Cambodia or Malaysia. My favorite place where I traveled in Thailand was Phuket. Phuket is big island in South Thailand which offers many nice beaches and beautiful nature. I had also time to travel to Cambodia and Malaysia.

 

Beautiful Tenerife

I did my practical training in Tenerife. I had never visited the Canary Islands before so it was very interesting to go there. My friend and me lived in the capital of the Island, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, but we also got to know many other places of the Island. Here I want to share a few places I really liked.

Teide

Teide is a volcano that is located in the middle of the island. Big area around the volcano is Teide’s national park (Parque Nacional del Teide). We made a trip to the national park and near the volcano by car. Views around Teide were amazing. We did not have the chance to go to the top of the volcano, did not book the elevator trip before. From the top it is possible to see the whole island. If I travel back sometimes, i I definitely want to go there.

   

García Sanabria City Park (Parque García Sanabria)

This park is a big park in the centre of Santa Cruz de Tenerife. There are a lot of different trees, flowers and plants in the park. There are also many beautiful fountains. We went to the park many times because it was near to our home and it was a calm place to relax for example during the siesta time. There was also a good restaurant in the park that I can absolutely recommend!

La Laguna

La Laguna is an old city in the northern part of the Island. I found it very cute and pretty place. Everything wasn’t so “big” like in the capital. It is an important historical centre and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The loveliest part of La Laguna is its old town. Thera are beautiful buildings and only pedestrian streets, so you can walk around in peace.

Feeling Austrian wibes

Hey!

Time flies in Austria. As soon as I arrived to Airport in Vienna, I knew I chose the right place to come studying. Beautiful landscape with its old cities and historical places got me feel like that I won’t get bored during my stay here. Even though the city of Wels felt first like it was quite small for a five month visit. Already after first two weeks, I got to know most of the common places around the city. But it didn’t bother me, because I knew that the location of the city is perfect for traveling. In the beginning using almost every weekend to go to new places, was definitely one of the best things to do, because I knew that there will be more schoolwork to be done at the end of semester.

Studying in Austria is a little different that I’m used to in Finland. As in both countries most of the people are well motivated and the professors have a really good knowledge about their subjects. Still the feeling I have about the studies is that most of the courses in Austria are, more or less, just trying to learn new things by reading it from a book. Then later at the exams there’s a big hurry to put all you know to the paper with so little time to use. Normally I prefer more hands-on doing by discussing more and analyzing the new information we get by doing exercises. That’s why I think that the best experiences I have from the university are the project classes with local students. It is a nice way to see how they work as a group and support others in their team.

Even though the times I have spent at Wels have been one of the greatest of my life, I know that getting back to studies in Finland is something I like more. Still I feel that the Finnish way of education suits me better.

A beautiful scenery from Austrian Alps

-Pauli

Austria, the amazing place to be

Greetings from Austria! A truly beautiful and amazing place to be.
Its a great retreat if you like Nature, you can go to the Alps, or if you like cities and architecture, you can go to Vienna. Absolutely astonishing buildings make you feel like you are living in the 1700s.

The International Business field in FH Wiener Neustadt is very in depth and you can select to study whatever you really want and really deepen in that field. There are a lot of courses which offer a great opportunities. The school facility is amazing and the atmosphere is great too, which motivates you to study well.

During my exchange in FH Wiener Neustadt i have learned the key differences between Finnish and Austrian schooling system. It is somewhat more strict in here and there is a stronger discipline. For example, from some courses you have to have more than half % to even get the worst possible grade. You really need to put hard work to it in order to get a good grade. The good news is that the courses are distributed so, that there are only few per day, and some days you will have “free day” so you can study from home and not show up to school. This is always great because you get to sleep longer and not wake up early.

Our school

One of the biggest problems however is the fact that in the library there are not enough course books for all, which means you will have to find a partner from which you could borrow the books.

Free time!
Of course its not only about studying all the time. You get to hang out with people and learn to know them. Luckily in our dormitory we had the most amazing people living in our student housing. Party? No problem. Breakfast? No problem, Dinner? You say it, Chief.
This is a truly great place to socialize and be with people after hard studying -> Our dorms. We had parties every weekend and there were always people that left somewhere to explore Austria during the holidays and you could come with them.  Luckily Vienna is just 20km away so that is like 13minute train ride to the big city. And there is always something you could do there. Meet people, go to restaurant, clubs, and such. Its cheap and its fun!

Our amazing dorms

The amazing Wiener Neustadt