Monthly Archives: October 2014

Land of consonants

I’m studying civil engineering at West Pomerian University of Technology. University is located in city of Szczecin in North West Poland. Szczecin is the fourth biggest city in Poland, it is almost same sized with Helsinki. Szczecins round shaped center remind little the center of Hamina.

Szczecin centrum

I came to Szczecin 27th of September and the academic year in our University started on 1th of October.  Before I came here I traveled one month in Europe.  It was good time to have little intensive course of English before starting studies in Poland. Here in Poland it is harder to improve your English because there are few people who speak properly. Most of exchange students come from Spain or Turkey. Usually Spanish and Turkish guys speak just their own language and it is quite hard to have conversation with them.  So probably Szczecin is not best place to improve your English skills.

Szczecin central railway station

School has started and I learned that studying here is pretty different than in Finland. I study in class called European engineer  where are  also Polish and exchange students. Most of lectures are in English but some are in Polish and i had to do some special arrangements. The level of teaching varies lot and some of courses are quite thin and poor.  Fortunately there is few good teachers and courses.

Polish architecture

– Juha

That’s Grand!

What’s the story?

Crazy how fast the time goes by! Almost half of the time in Ireland is already gone. This far the whole experience has been (as the Irish say) grand. The town where I am staying is a small town in the west coast of Ireland. Luckily there is a huge amount of exchange students bringing life to this place.

It took some time to get used to the way they study here. First it was the thick Irish accent that made it a little difficult. After getting used to the accent it took some time to get used to the way they study here. Now that the first shock has worn of, it’s just the fact that there is a lot of work to do. But I’ll make it through.

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The beautiful scenery of Ireland
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Belfast Peace Wall

Outside school, everything has been great. We’ve had the chance to travel around Ireland and admire the beautiful scenery. It has been great to make so many new friends from all around the world. And we’ve really been having the best weather you could ever expect in Ireland. And of course we’ve had lots of fun with the pub culture here.

 

Ach so!

Oh and the time flies they say and yes it does. At the beginning, we had a two week intensive German language course. I have to say it was good way to get started on the language but also on getting know some of the other exchange students.

Out of all the exchange students, me and couple of others  are lucky as our lectures are taught in English. This, of course doesn’t help much with my language studies but at least I know what they talking about (since my German isn’t that great).

My days are pretty much the same, I study, go to the gym and spend some time hanging out with the exchange students cooking and visiting nearby cities. Our lectures have only few people and for some reason it had taken some time to get to know some locals.

Wolfenbüttel
Wolfenbüttel

Good thing is that the food is cheaper and life in general seems to be a bit more cheaper than in Finland and people are kind and really helpful and life is going well 🙂

I can’t wait to see the Christmas markets! I’ve heard they are pretty amazing here!

Elina

My adventure in South Korea

I arrived to South Korea at 21st of October. I stayed first few days in hotel. After those days I get a place from dormitory in Korea University campus area. The dormitory building and rooms reminded me a Finnish army so those are not in so good shape but exchange period lasts only a few months so I will deal with it. Usually we don’t spend so much time in the rooms because there are a lot of activities in the City. My roommates come from Mexico and Canada. Canadian guy moved out because he didn’t want to stay in dirty rooms so now I get a new roommate and he comes from United States. I like to live in dormitory because there is always somebody to talk with and that’s how I can improve my language skills every day.

There are about 10 million citizens in Soul and there is not direct center area in the city as we have in Tampere. The city is divided into sub areas and you can move to another area easily using by subway. The subway of Soul is one of the best in the world and it’s the most convenient way to move inside the city.

I am studying in Korea University which is located in Anam district. The most of time we spend in Anam area but we have explored also bigger areas e.g Hongdae, Dongdaemun, Itaewon and Gangnam. It feels like there are Korean restaurants everywhere with menus only in Korean. Couple times we have ordered a dinner without knowing what is actually included in meal. Usually bigger sub areas are more international because there are universities in the district. There you can found more western restaurants.

We have spent the most of time with other exchangers and peoples are very nice in here. There are available personal buddy assistants from our university and they are really polite and they do everything to helping exchangers. They also arrange various activities e.g city tours, dinners and sport activities. This way I can meet locals and learn more Korean culture. Especially dinners are good way to meet other exchangers and locals. In dinner we have ate Korean barbeque and drunken couple bottles of Soju. Soju is Korean drink what they drinking in almost every dinner. The food culture is different what we have used to eat in Europe. In Asia they eat meals with chopsticks and they eat a lot of rise and noodles. They don’t eat that much protein and meat than we have used to eat in western countries. Koreans eats quite spicy food and couple of times I have not able to finished meal because it has been too spicy.

It belongs to Korean food culture that they usually share all meal. With main course they serve plenty several of dishes. Once we get in restaurant and our table was full of dishes before we ordered even the main course. In western countries we eat from our own plates but in here they usually share dishes with other peoples from the same plate. They also split the costs with all diners and it does not matter what have you ordered. So in Asian countries they are living lives in collectivism whereas in western countries we live in individualism.

I have studied few weeks and at first it was challenging to follow lectures because it is my first time to study only in English. Week by week it comes easier to listen lectures in English and I have improved my language skills. There is almost in every class some kind of group assignment or presentation and we introduce topics in front of class. Europeans speaks relatively fluent English and locals are pretty shy speakers in front of other peoples.

I have spent memorable time in Korea so far and it feels like time flies but thankfully we have couple months left and many places to explore. Exchange period is a great way to experience unforgettable moments and I can recommend it for everybody.

-Teppo

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Korea University Business School

Kaffee und Kuchen and so much more

”If at some point you don’t ask yourself, ‘What have I gotten myself into?’ then you’re not doing it right.” -Roland Gau

That was exactly what I had to ask myself already after two weeks. I was going to spend three months in a city of less than 6 000 inhabitants located in the middle of the German countryside where I knew absolutely no one and the only reason for my stay was my internship in a local hotel.  So yes, what had I gotten myself into.

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Well like so very often also in this case the beginning was hard, then it got easier and in the end everything was good. Now after staying more than two months in this small BurgStadt of mine I can honestly say that despite the small difficulties it has all been worth it. During my work as a marketing assistant at the hotel I have learned so much new about hotel business, marketing and naturally also about Germany, its’ culture and the language. After all, improving my German skills was the reason why I decided to apply for a training in Germany in the first place.

joet

On weekends when I usually don’t have to work, I have spent time exploring the state of Rhineland-Palanatine with my friends. In the photo above there is the Deutsches Eck in Koblenz and in the photos below are a waterfall  on the Baybachklamm hiking trail and the famous castle Burg Eltz which I also had a chance to visit.

waterfall              'burgeltz

Less than three weeks and then my internship time here in Germany is unfortunately over. The experience has been amazing and I’m so in love with the country and the language (which I will one day speak fluently)! But before I have to leave I still have plenty of time to enjoy the tradition of Kaffee und Kuchen which is like designed for me.

Viele Grüße aus Deutschland!

Africa bro!

Namibia, Africa!

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I’ve now spent almost four months on the African continent in Namibia and I have to say I really like it.

I stay at a student house with around 40 other people who are mainly from Namibia. There are also some students from different African countries like Zimbabwe, Tanzania and Malawi so it’s very easy to learn the African way of doing things.

The level of competitiveness and teaching at the Polytechnic of Namibia are very near to the standards I’ve gotten used to back home but my studies are not so hard that  they keep me from doing other things like travelling around the country which I’ve done a lot already.

The Namibian wildlife is totally amazing. Of course there are the also many beautiful places to visit too.

Like Sossusvlei…

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I hope I still get to experience loads of different stuff and take these awesome memories with me back home to Finland!

 

 

 

It’s not about the destination it’s about the journey

¡Hola! 

I cant believe that I have already been here in Gijón, Spain for two months! Gijón is located in the north of Spain and it is a costal city with almost 300 000 habitants.  I have truly enjoyed every second of my stay. I have made a lot of new friends and learned Spanish language as well as the culture. I have experienced and seen so much during these two months and I am so grateful to be here.

I go to school Monday to Friday, my school is located 20 min bus ride away from my apartment. My apartment is in the city center and I share it with an Italian girl and Spanish girl. Both of the flatmates are really nice!

During the weekends we usually do little trips with ESN, for example we have gone hiking, canoeing and visited other cities. We also go surfing together with the other Erasmus students at least once a week. I try to travel as much as possible since it is pretty easy and cheap to get around from here. My next destinations will be Madrid and Sevilla!

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Surfing with some friends in Playa de San Lorenzon in Gijón
Harbor of Gijón
Harbor of Gijón
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Playa de San Lorenzo, Gijón
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My university, Universidad de Oviedo
Sunset in Gijón
Sunset in Gijón
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Canoeing, Sella river
Covadonga
Covadonga
León
León
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Cudillero
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Monte Naranco, Oviedo
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A Coruña

 

 

Salsa, tequila, corazon, cerveza, muy bueno

¡Buenos días! from Mexico

Right now I’m in the half way of my one semester long exchange studies in Mexico City, Mexico. So far I have enjoyed my stay here and I see no reason why I wouldn’t enjoy the rest of the year too.

On my free time I have explored the country by traveling as much as possible. Besides Mexico City, one of the world’s biggest cities with around 21 million inhabitants in the metropolitan area, Mexico has a lot to offer. I have seen a lot of amazing things, for example colonial cities, paradises on the beach, volcanoes, etc.

997048_10152613430033150_3503122829180691573_nWith some friends in Cholula, me the third from the right.

20140830_150815Monte Albán, pre-Columbian archaeological site in the state of Oaxaca. Mexico is full of history and interesting ancient places to visit.

20140831_142159Beautiful landscape in Hierve al Agua with my czech roommate Nikol.

G0350104Snorkling in Islas Marietas with my boyfriend, who was visiting me for 3 weeks.

WP_20141013_10_39_53_ProHere’s a proof that I have studied in my free time too. In Puerto Vallarta.

2014-08-06 08.35.58First day at school.

School is very different from TAMK. I have three courses taught in English, one course in Spanish and one course about Spanish language and Mexican culture. My favorite is definitely Spanish language course and I feel that I have learned a lot since I came here. After all I’m living in the largest Spanish-speaking city in the world.

With the headline I’m of course referring to Anders Nilsen’s song “Salsa Tequila” which I haven’t heard here in Mexico, but I guess it was/is a hit in Europe, and it’s funny because it consists of many familiar (or everyday) words for me.

2014-10-17 17.32.33With Love from Mexico

Exploring the Beautiful Emerald Isle

 

I have been in Dublin, Ireland for almost two months now. I truly have to say that I have enjoyed my time over here. I was imagining it to rain all the time over here, but luckily I was wrong and the autumn has been quite dry and warm. At least it has been warm for me, but some of my friends from South Europe are freezing already even though it is still almost over here.

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River Liffey in Dublin

My studies have started just fine over here. In Dublin, I study Environmental management in Dublin Institute of Technology. I do not have much course work to do for my studies, because I somehow managed to pick the kind of courses that do not require doing that many assignments. In TAMK, we get assignments much more often than over here.

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Dublin Institute of Technology from inside

It took a while to get used to the Irish accent. In the beginning, it was sometimes difficult to understand people. I am very glad that any of my lecturers do not have very thick accent. It does not matter if I am slightly confused on my everyday life, but I would like to understand in the lectures.

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Glengelough

On my spare time and weekends, I have tried to see as much of Dublin and other places in Ireland as it is possible. It would be shame to go back home without seeing more of Ireland than just Dublin. Dublin is a nice and friendly buzzing city in Ireland. Even though it is a big city, people are really friendly and helpful. I used to be quite lost during my first week and there was always someone, who showed me the right direction. I have grown to like Dublin quite much and it already feels like home.

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Northern Ireland
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Lovely house in Adare

 

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Adare

I will continue enjoying Ireland as an exchange student and hoping that the rains will not start any time soon. Cheers!

Feel Slovenia!

I’m studying automation engineering at University of Maribor. Maribor is the second biggest city in Slovenia, but it isn’t very big. It’s even smaller than my home city Tampere in Finland, but like Tampere also Maribor is a very active student city. Today over 300 exchange students are studying at University of Maribor.

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I came to Maribor 25th of September and the academic year in our University started on 1th of October.  Truly I can say that I haven’t studied anything yet.  It really takes time to get everything started! I have five courses, but only two courses are held in English. I’ve to make some individual studies in other courses which are held in Slovene. I’m the only exchange student in Industrial electronics course and I’ve to go make laboratory works with locals. I’ve also noticed that communicating with teachers is here little bit more formal than in Finland.

Erasmus student network (ESN) is very active in Maribor. Our student life in Maribor started with Welcome weeks. It means unstoppable fun in many events for the first two weeks in Maribor. I got some unforgettable memories, when we had a chance to attend Timber raft and Zorbing tournament. Of course we had parties every night somewhere in the city. Zorbing was as fun as you can imagine. It looks a bit unsafe but I think it’s safe. Over 100 students tried it and we did not suffer any accidents.

Zorbing tournament
Zorbing tournament

I’m living in a private flat with a German and a Polish flat mates. I’m sharing my room with the Polish guy. Both of my flat mates are studying business and economics, which is the biggest faculty here. And of course, I have to tell to you, that my flat mates are awesome. I’m very luckily that I can live in a private flat, which is in excellent location, very good condition and the rent is quite cheap.

I want to tell you something about Slovene student food system. It’s great and quite unique. Every month government gives 20 to 22 food coupons to each student. Food coupons can be used in most restaurants. It’s funny, because with these coupons, going to eat something in a good restaurant is cheaper than cooking at home.  When you are using food coupons you will always receive a starter, a salad and a main dish and some restaurants also offer desserts.

Student meal
Student meal
Photo: ESN Maribor
Photo: ESN Maribor