Greetings from Costa del Sol.

 

I had been here over a month, before I figured out that most of the people, I have met has been Finnish. I was surprised about that fact. Fuengirola is far away and totally in the other side of Europe than Finland, even so its very easy to live here with almost only using Finnish. Here you can visit a Finnish doctor, food market, hair dresser, masseur, bar, dentist and of course Finnish church. It is possible to live here in a Finnish bubble with sun shining on it. And amazingly many, who has moved here, choose this kind of life. I met a couple that has lived here 25 years and don’t speak or even want to learn Spanish language. Local people think Finns as a bit mentally cold because they don’t take contact. And its difficult to take contact if don’t have a common language. However, Finns are accepted here because of the money they bring along. Of course, here is also Finns that are interested to integrate into Spanish culture and learn language. I was surprised because I know what is demanded about foreigners who wants to move Finland. There is a saying “maassa maan tavalla”, which means that you must assume the local habits and learn Finnish language if you want to live there. I don’t want to accuse anyone, but I honestly think that it would be more fun and multifaceted live if taken some of the local culture as a part of your own life.

Along with integration I have worked with loneliness and homelessness within my placement. Both issues appear my daily work here. Here are about thirty Finnish with no permanent place to live. They sleep outside, beg money and spend time in parks. We have met them, talk with them and helped them if possible. Often, they are pleased when you give them a moment and listen their story. Most of the people just walk past them with turning their look away.

Loneliness is seen within old people who has become a widow recently. They wheel sadness, tiredness and need someone to be with. There is a high risk that they are not able to get out from their apartment if not necessary. Our small cafeteria in the centre is great place for them to meet other people or even find a new friend. And we try to visit those who can’t reach the café right now.

My eating habits has become totally different here. During Spanish workdays its normal to grab a sandwich etc. after midday and another snack after work. Bigger meal is used to eat after sunset. In Finland I used to eat much more. Warm lunch at school or work and another one at home. Sometimes third meal at evening if needed. I would estimate that I eat less than half here compared to Finland. It must be the body heating due to cold that spends energy up north. Big change for body but it seems to be happy with it.

For me spare time is easy to spend here. From our apartment its only 200 meters to the seashore of Mediterranean and almost all services are as far. I enjoy meeting new people here. They are social and very friendly. Back in Finland I used to watch ice hockey and soccer when possible, but surprisingly here I can do that much more because of the Finnish restaurants and sport channels. I really didn’t expect that. And can you mention a better place to watch live football than Spain? And of course, at the end I must mention the sun. Its always present here, and biggest reason for Finnish people to move here. Maybe for me also.

Music on the beach

Funny that am in Mombasa making music! the irony of it all is that there is a Finnish song called Mombasa that actually doesn’t visually portray the vibrancy and love culture of this city.

  

Can show you  around my city? Yes, of course,  now you know that this city has grown me. Just some bit of History maybe? well Mombasa is a coastal city of Kenya along the Indian Ocean, actually the countries oldest and second largest city after Nairobi

 

its spiced up with a mixture of cultures tracing back from Arabic origin, tourists from Europe especially Italy, among other countries, locals, Indians, Americans actually everyone is represented here.

Music here has a lot of Arabic influence, coastal taarab and a lot of nice mellow rhythms, this is where I developed my own music genre, this is where it all started. I came home to work with other experts on what I started, I am currently working in studio with Shirko Media an amazing music label, the producer and owner is a multi talented young man.

       

During my spare time, am either on the beach, out hiking or just sleeping since I don’t get to sleep well as I work a lot at night.  Working with women and filming documentaries about women issues.

 

Comparing our way of studying to Finland, we are actually more into theory, understanding something completely then practicing after, My university is Finland is more of Hands on, with all these together, its a Win for me.

 

Talking about culture, Mombasa people and loving , caring and gentle.

Welcome to Mombasa.

Thank you  

Hot Torremolinos- Málaga

I arrived to Málaga for a couple of days before the practical training. I was located for those days at a hotel near the city of Málaga. The first thing to notice when I arrived, was the hot and humid climate.  I had to change my long trousers for shorts.

I visited the Old Town which was flocked with tourist. Moving in the tiny streets of the Old Town was slow. But the architecture of the buildings, along with their history dating back to the middle age made it worthy. The food is good and affordable. There are many bars and restaurants which are usually full. The locals also go out for a drink or two.

Figure 1 Photo from Málaga shopping street

There are many small shops around the centre of Torremolinos and you can find almost anything you want, also there are countless amounts of Chinese shops which sells from daily groceries to decorative objects. There shops are usually packed and full of items, with very narrow aisle.

I moved to Torremolinos the day before the practice started. I rented an apartment via online, from the centre of Torremolinos. The apartment was nice and cozy, unfortunately the very first night I heard a banging next door, and later an alarm set off. So, I had to call the police because of an attempted burglary, later I got informed that the house which was embargoed was already empty and probably the previous owners were trying to occupy the house.

Starting the practice

I went to a meeting with the head nurse from the Clinic I was going to do the practices. The head nurse told me that I should buy a nursing uniform. This was different than in Finland where students also use clothing given by the employee, because of sanitary rules. There was an epidemic outbreak weeks before I arrived and there were still cases of Listeria coming out in Andalucía and I was worried I had to wash my own clothing.

One-way bus trip was 1,55€, I went a week paying the single ticket. Then I bought a monthly ticket for the bus. The bus stopped every 20 minutes and took about 10 minutes to get nearby the clinic.  I had always my own lunch or dinner, and there was a store nearby open, if groceries were needed.

Figure 2 The uniform was inexpensive, bought it in a nearby Chinese shop.

I started my week with evening shifts, the first shift was nice, and I could see how the nurses interact with the patients and what kind of patients there is to take care of.  The interaction with the patients is warm and natural, although there are sometimes language barriers between the nurses and patients, but the patients get their treatment.  I paid attention to broad beds and small narrow passages, turning the beds in those passages needed skill. Also, the rooms were spacious and although there were usually two beds, only one bed was in use.  This was surely for the privacy of the patients.

The medication is given by room number, not by name. That can create confusion if there are two patients in the same room, but I suppose there is a good practice for that.   I used to have hand disinfectant in every room in my workplace, but I only have seen bottles of alcohol to be putted on gauzes., also the gauntlets must be taken from the office. For position changes there are no sliding linen, so we grabbed the patients, which is the way I learnt not to do it.

The nurses have given me the chance of putting IV cannulation, preparing medication and checking them. Two of four cannulations went well, although I couldn’t avoid blood spilling to the floor and patients’ bed. I learned much about IV cannulation with the nurse Bea.

I was supposed to do geriatric practice, but there is no geriatric ward on the hospital, the head nurse told me I was going to rotate the whole hospital from the inpatient ward, to surgery and urgencies. The inpatient ward was mainly patients going to a programmed operation, so it was mainly a surgery ward, the surgeries varied from beauty surgeries to cardiovascular surgeries. The age of the patients also varied from infants to elderly.  There were some patients who were brought by urgencies unit to take more evaluation on their condition.

The work on the ward was sometimes hectic, and to add some thrill, the doctors wrote all the procedures and care instruction with the medication by hand. We had a couple of moments where we couldn’t understand what the doctor had wrote. The nurses also wrote by hand all the medication that was given that day, there were no computers.  The third day I was giving independently IV medication to the patients.  The blood pressure was taken manually, because the electric one was broken, also the manual blood pressure was fixed but it didn’t fill well.  They told me that the situation in private hospitals like I was doing my practice was worse than in public hospital where for example alcohol hand gel was part of good aseptic procedures, but in the inpatients ward where I was there was no alcohol gel.

 

Paperwork

I received a month before the arrival the information for my practices. The University demands you to enroll yourself on the courses, and instructions were given. The first process was called the pre-enrollment where you selected the courses you do in the university, they sent ID and password for an incoming students’ website.

I went to the campus three times to take care of the enrollment, the third time I booked an appointment with the tutor to get the papers signed and enrollment happen. The area of the campus is around three metro stops, with wide desert areas

In the Clinic I wasn’t given a shift timetable but was instructed to come one week evening shifts and another week mornings.


Free time

The free time I spend outdoors walking with the locals and going to bars and meeting new people. The weather is hot and you can easily go on t-shirts in the night.

Figure 3 Me at the local gay club, Parthenon.

 

A City in the Countryside – Oita, Japan

When we landed in Oita Airport, I was too tired to even keep my eyes open, but I was still so fascinated by all the blossoming cherry trees and beautiful mountains. Everything was new and beautiful. I am glad that even after living there for a semester I still see the same beauty in the surrounding nature and cozy houses by the rice fields.

We settled down in a dormitory building near our campus, where other international students greeted us, showed the place and gave us free bikes to use for the whole semester! They helped us get started and we biked to some stores together, where we needed help with the language. I did not know any Japanese going there and studied mostly the language all semester.

During the studies we learned Japanese at an insane speed and went through the whole Genki 1 book. In addition to language studies, in one course we got insight on the problems and beauty of the culture, society and history of Japan. Maybe the most interesting part was to gain awareness of the reasons why Japan is the way it is, what causes the inequality and working culture problems. Oita University however was not interculturally very prepared and did not have clubs or weekly activities for English speaking people, which was a disappointment.

We made multiple road trips to Kunisaki, which a 1-hour travel from Oita. Kunisaki has very interesting spiritual and religious history as well as beautiful nature. In Kunisaki we joined a rice festival, connected with the locals, tried zazen meditation in a temple and heard a piece of history from the resident minister of the temple. We also saw multiple beautiful shrines and next to temples you could sometimes find “ojizosan”, little buddha statues.

 

After we were done with school, I travelled throughout Japan with my friend. First, we flew to Tokyo and started slowly traveling downwards from there by train, sleeping in Airbnb or hotels on the way. From Tokyo we went to Nagoya, where we visited some local tourist attractions and I finally bought a phone with a proper camera. From Nagoya we headed to Kyoto, which was stunning with its nature and old architecture. Kyoto was one of my favorite places I visited while in Japan. Next stop was Osaka, which was right next door and after staying there a few nights we went to Hiroshima for a little bit longer time. Hiroshima was another of my favorites, maybe because of how good accommodation we got! Then it was time to go back to Oita and pack our bags to head to Finland.

Overall the exchange was great. There were many happy moments and many disappointing moments, but it is all part of the experience. I have much better understanding of Japanese culture and people, and I have more perspective to life in general through this intercultural experience.

Kia Ora from New Zealand!

I started my practical training in Wellington, New Zealand in June and the training period lasts for 6 months. I am a fourth-year student and I am studying to be a Bachelor of Social Services, so I am planning to graduate this Christmas. My training placement is called Wellington East Girls’ College and I am an intern in Supported Learning class.

As an intern I am doing the same things as the teacher’s aids in the class. I support the students in their studies both in our own classes and also in mainstream classes, such as Future Pathways, Music and Arts. We also have couple of classes for supported students only, such as Life Skills and Colours of Sexuality. In addition, there are different kinds of therapies for the students in our class, for example Speech and Language therapy, Occupational therapy, Music therapy and RDA – Riding for Disabled.

I would not say that being a teacher’s aid in our class is a same thing that it would be in mainstream classes. It is really challenging, and I can definitely say that my education in Social Services has been a good help for me. In a class of 15 students with mental disabilities every day is different and you can never know when someone has a meltdown or when you have to act as a referee in a fight.

The working culture here is quite the same but quite different comparing to Finnish working culture. People are much more relaxed about things in general even though the rules do not always seem like that. For example, people might take sick leaves from work more easily (sometimes when they are not even sick) and a 30-minute lunch break might be 5 minutes or one hour, depending how the day is going. Lot of things are also just talked through, and many things people should know are not written down anywhere. This sometimes leads to me going to some events in two minutes warning and people forgetting things.

During my spare time I try to relax as much as possible. I also have two holidays during my training period. The first one I spent in South Island. The other holiday I am going to spend in Australia. During weekend I have also made smaller trips to closer towns here in North Island. During mid-summer (mid-winter here) I hiked on a small mountain. I will attach more photos below to show different places.

Dreams do come true!

Hello from Malta! 

My internship lasted almost four months. When I came here, I had no idea what is it really like working as a receptionist. The beginning was super intense, because there was a lot to learn. Reception duties are pretty easy, but there is just so much to remember. All the things, tasks and machines were new to me and it was my first time working overseas so the beginning was honestly pretty crazy. Although after a while everything gets easier when you remember what to do. The tricky part of being a receptionist is that you are the face of everything. No matter if you would do your job perfectly, you are the one people complain if something is wrong. That was actually a big part of my job: past things to different departments. Sound easy? Yeah, maybe, but before it gets easy, you have to remember all the different departments and their tasks and even the names of the people who work in all those different departments. For example in my work place we had leisure activities, lounge bar, which is our restaurant, IT-office, bookings department, accounts department, education etc..

I carried out several different duties, but mainly answering phone, dealing with clients queries, dealing with arrivals and departures, entering bookings in the system for online reservations, collecting direct payments for accommodation, excursions and lessons and so much more. As a receptionist in a language school you work with student in all of the ages and from all around the world. You have to have a lot of common sense, act fast and be ready to answer for the most different kinds of questions at any point of your shift. I know all this sounds like it was crazy and super busy, and most of the time it really was, but I still loved every second of it. It was the best kind of job for me, especially at this time of my life.

My summer squat ❤️

What it comes to my free time in Malta, it would not be nothing without my co-workers and students who became friends. I was never alone, it even came to that point that I couldn’t be alone because I didn’t know how. I was so happy and grateful to meet all those people who I can now call one of my best friends. So, what did we do in our spare time? We went sightseeing all around Malta: new cities, beaches, churches, restaurants. We partied a lot and just hang out basically everyday. We did everything together. Down below you can see few of my favorite go to places.

   

Eeetwell was one of the places I went to eat or at least crap a smoothie every other day. Easy and healthy 😉

You can find few eeetwell’s around Malta.

💚💚💚

My favorite (and probably most common places to visit in Malta) cities in Malta where Mdina and Valletta. Mdina is so cute, little and pretty. Valletta, the capital city of Malta is also a must to visit.

Malta’s longest beach is Mellieha Bay. You can easily spend your whole day there because there is also restaurants and bars around the beach.

Malta also has two islands very close by, Cozo and Comino. Both worth to go! In Comino you will find a beautiful Blue Lagoon.

My favorite church is for sure St. Paul’s Cathedral in Mdina. Breathtaking!

After spending four months in Malta, it started to feel like home. This summer was full of the most beautiful moments in my life which I would not change for anything!

This last picture is from Golden Bay, where you can see the sunset in a whole new way 💛

Pictures speak better than words but if you have any questions about my summer, my internship or Sprachcaffe in general, feel free to contact me, I would love to tell you more!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m in love with The Hague

I really had the best time of my life and I wouldn’t change a thing. Everyone should do exchange period!

I spent my August 2018 – January 2019 in The Hague The Netherlands. There are about 500 000 inhibits and it’s an hour’s train ride away from Amsterdam. I really loved the city and there were not so many tourists as Amsterdam has.

I studied in The Hague University of Applied sciences where my specialization was International Business. You could choose one 15 ects minor, I chose Human Resource Management. In addition that I had for example Business English Communication and International Business Law courses. The best thing about my studies were HRM courses. I learned so much! Teachers were all very motivated and inspiring and classes were well planned. I also think student respected teachers more which was nice. A lot of the studies were something I wouldn’t have had a chance to learn in TAMK so I was very happy with my curriculum.

I lived next to the school in this big building in 21st floor and had amazing view of The Hague from my window . I had my own room but shared the rest of the apartment with three others, two boys and one girl. They were also exchange students. We became a one big happy family and spent a lot of time together. Our friends often came to our apartment and we had movie nights, cooked together, sang singstar, talked, drank and partied and played a lot of Uno. So many happy memories. After Erasmus our group has stayed close and we even had our first reunion already!

 

During my free time I traveled to many other Dutch cities as it was very easy by train. I also visited Vienna (where I had two of my friends from TAMK doing their exchange), London and three Belgium cities.

I really had the best time of my life, in school and in the free time. More of my thoughts can be found from SoleMove feedback section and don’t hesitate to contact me if you want to know more. I can warmly recommend The Hague and all Erasmus experience.

Auf Wiedersehen Wien

Vienna, Austria was absolutely amazing. The land of classical music, äpfelstrudel and Sacher-torte.

I arrived to Vienna in the end of August and I left the city in the end of January. The experience was unbelievable. I can highly recommend the city and the country for a exchange, if you don’t want have big cultur shock. want to learn german and see beautiful places. Vienna was my number one choice when applying for exchange so it was like a dream come true.

I studied at a local business school called FHWien of WKW. Teachers were kind and professional and they understand that we were exchange students. I had teachers from around the world, from Australia etc.

I had seven different courses during my exchanges. For example Austrian culture, German language, HR-Management, Cross-Cultural Management and Communication Psychology. I think the courses very interesting and useful. Timing of the lectures changed every time in every week and sometimes I had only like two schooldays in a week. So I had a lot of spare time.

In my spare time, I traveled a lot. I visited seven different countries during my exchange, In Italy, Slovenia, Poland etc. Travelling there was very cheap and easy.

Greetings from the sparkling city of Kuala Lumpur!

This is my first time in Asia, so there is so much to discover here! Many exchange students were able to fix their timetables so that there would not be classes on fridays, which gives us one extra day to travel around. Otherwise I have classes from oenology to revenue management and even a course for holistic health and wellness. In my perspective, it seems like a very interesting catalogue of courses.

In Finland we are more focused on restaurant business in our studies while in Malaysia we will learn more about the international hospitality industry. This exchange period is probably going to be very useful for our future careers as we get to widen our knowledge from different viewpoints as well. Also, travelling in Asia and getting to know local cultures would serve us well when communicating with tourists in Finland – or wherever in the world, too.

Spare time in Malaysia is full of activities. There are fancy rooftop bars, swimming pools and numerous destinations to travel for either a cultural trip or a holiday on the beach.

Last weekend we visited Penang – a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site since 2008, which is full of culture and natural scenery. For example, you can take a hike in the national park and visit monkey and turtle beaches by boat.

Penang is also known for its street food, combining Indian, Malay and Chinese cuisines. Food in Malaysia is overall very delicious and offers many options for everyone! Also, the variety of street art found all over George Town makes the destination enjoyable for any art lover.

Looking forward to the next trip, lovely warm nights outside and many new local dishes to taste.

-Laura

Greetings from Antwerp!

Hello!

My Antwerp journey started in the last weeks of January 2019, and my exchange is about 5 month long. My expectations from Antwerp were little, since I knew nothing about this city nor Belgium as a country. I was very pleasantly surprised on how nice people are on the streets, and how in a way everything is kinda similar compared to Finland. My school here is AP university, which actually is a bit tougher than I anticipated. We have a lot of work. A lot. Gladly they are done in teams, which takes the load off my back a bit. Even though the studies are tough, I’ve enjoyed the vast selection of very very very good beers.

On my spare time we hangout with other exchange students, usually in bars, go out, do sports and just stroll around the city. I would say one can’t experience Antwerp only during a holiday. The real thing is to live here to actually and truly experience it.

Our exchange student organisation is gladly hosting different kinds of events, ranging from museum visits to pub crawls. I can’t tell much of the museum meets, but the pub crawls were fun! They also hosted a beer pong tournament which me and my team almost won. 😉

If you ever want to visit a very nice city with lovely street architecture and good vibes, you need to come to Antwerp.

city centre