Last Fall I lived in Toronto and it was awesome! I spent my exchange semester exploring Canada, enjoying maple syrup, meeting new people and having lots of fun. Oh, and I also studied, haha! I attended to OCAD (Ontario’s College of Art and Design) which is by the way largest art and design school in North America. OCAD was huge and it offered a lot of interesting courses which were pretty different compared to my school back in Finland. Wow.
I arrived in Toronto at the end of the August. I remember my first two thoughts: I was amazed by tall buildings and people being so polite even towards strangers. I heard that Canada’s climate can be very close to Finland’s, so I was surprised to find out how summer kept going on for two more months. People started to consider using jackets maybe in the middle of October. I have to admit – at first I was really excited but then I started to miss chilly, autumnish weathers too.
My exchange semester went by very fast. I was busy with school but every weekend I discovered new parts of the city and tried something different – whether it was a Korean restaurant or a road trip to the northern parts of Ontario. Overall, these exchange studies were amazing and I’m never going to forget my fun experiences with all my new friends. I think I left part of me in Toronto.
But enough babbling! Pictures tell more than thousand words… eh?
(The quality of pictures varies; I used my smart phone, film camera and disposable cameras since I don’t own a digital camera.)
I spend my autumn in Porto, the second largest city of Portugal. Porto is located northern part of the country in coastline. Porto is surrounded by water; in the west side is Atlantic Ocean and in the south is the Douro river. In the district of Porto is living about 1,5 million people. Porto is famous about the portwine, which is produced there along the riverside of Douro. Me and my friends made a trip to see how they do it..
Porto has warm atmosphere and people are friendly. The weather is chancing rapidly because of the affect of the Ocean; in one moment it is completely blue sky and sun is shining and suddenly the sky is full of clouds and it starts to rain. During the autumn when the summer sun start to fade away, couple days it was raining a lot. So much that even if you have umbrella, it would be the same be outside without it. It is very windy also, so it is common to see a lots of broken umbrellas around the city after a rainy day. But most of the time the weather was pleasant.
I have been doing practical training there in the Hospital. I have realize that the hospital environment is actually quite the same as in Finland, but of course there are some differences. Most of the patients don’t speak English with me, but it has been nice to notice that everyone are still very nice to me and don’t mind that I’m taking part of their treatment.
I have been traveling around the Portugal as much as possible and my dream was when I came here to travel to Azores. And I did it and it was amazing place! It was mixture of great new people, beautiful hiking trails in amazing nature; many of the trails were inside the cater, whale watching in the Ocean, relaxing in hot springs under the sky full of stars…
Portugal is amazing place and I will definitely go back there, I didn’t see enough yet!
I spent my autumn semester in sunny Nice studying at IPAG Business School. City of Nice is located in the French riviera and as a person who loves the sun, the warm and sunny climate in addition to all great stories I had heard about Nice were the reasons I chose to do my exchange in Nice. Very soon after I had arrived in Nice all my expectations regarding the weather and towards the French riviera were more than fully fulfilled.
My days passed by sunbathing at the beach, strolling around the streets of Nice, travelling in France and abroad and of course – also at school and studying.
Our school was quite small private business school with almost one hundred exchange students from all around the world. One of the best things in my exchange were all the new people I got to meet and also so many new cultures I got to know through them.
Now after my exchange is over I feel very happy and thankful from this great experience and will remember this as one of the best experiences of my life so far.
I have spent the past four months studying in Frankfurt am Main, the largest financial centre in continental Europe. The city is known for it’s skyline (hence the nickname “Mainhattan”), apple wine and trade fairs. Frankfurt is a very international city, as 40 percent of the residents come from an immigrant background. It is the most expensive city in Germany and the prices seem to be on the same level as in Finland – not counting the cost of groceries. My grocery bill has actually gotten smaller since moving here.
A view from the Main Tower
Studying international business at the Frankfurt University of Applied Sciences (previously known as the Fachhochschule Frankfurt am Main) has not differed much from studying in TAMK. Fast I became accustomed to the lack of printers, the great variety of menu options, knocking on desks and short lectures (1,5 hours). Living in the middle of European Union and having school only for four days a week have enabled me to travel much more than before. And there are options as the school’s international office and the Erasmus Student Network both organize a variety of group trips to another cities and abroad.
Maps and brochures from some of the places I visited
My German roommate approves
Some things I have learned as a Frankfurter:
to eat Brezels
never ending toasting (“Prost!”)
to enjoy Christmas Markets
to sit in the aisle seat in buses and trains even though the window seat is empty
and to use my Sundays enjoying the banks of the River Nidda and Main. Mostly because in Germany on Sundays all stores are closed and hoovering and doing laundry would result a complaint from the neighbours.
A Christmas Market stall
Time has run faster than I would have preferred and like my fellow students I will spend the next weeks preparing to the exams. I have really enjoyed my time here as I have met such lovely people and seen many new places. If you would like to ask something about student exchange, Frankfurt am Main or Germany, don’t hesitate leaving a comment down below.