Monthly Archives: February 2015

Meanwhile in Russia

I have been now in Russia, Saint Petersburg, three weeks and all the time have had lots of to do. Our “normal” school day start at 10 and end of school day take place at 18. This is really weird for Finnish student to start school so late and be there so late. My branch of studies is business even if in TAMK I study mechanical engineering. First three weeks have been very hard for me because I am novice in business things. Until today we have had one study visit to Baltika Brewery. There we had some tour and after that we had opportunity to taste different beverages.

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Spare time I have tried to find new places with my friends. For example we found Mazapark where you can play laser war, table tennis, roller skate, billiard etc… I was watching hockey game СКА -Йокерит (SKA – Jokerit) with my friends. Atmosphere in hall was awesome and game was really good. SKA won that match 2-1 after penalty shots. And in weekends we have checked local night life. There are lots of night clubs but those are really small when we compare to night clubs in Finland. Night clubs are open very late morning, 6-8 a.m.

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This picture is from our city tour. Собор Воскресения Христова = The Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood

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Local Police car.

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Hockey.

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Local kebab = шаверма

My lovely ruined Budapest

Budapest is beautiful in its own weird ruined way. I have totally fell in love with the city and people I’ve met there. During my stay I have gone way out of my comfort zone, studying in an art school, doing independent projects all by myself and trying all these new things: Ceramics, media art, editing and even wrestling.  Studying in Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design is very different from what I’ve used to do. I’m free to do almost everything I want as a school project, but also I miss the group projects and the teamwork I’ve experienced in TAMK.

The most important school project I did in MOME was a research of vintage shop owners in Budapest. In Hungary I learned that I want to open my own vintage shop one day. Vintage and second hand in Budapest is affordable and there is a huge variety of different shops. This gave me a spark to start my own second hand clothing business.

During my spare time I travelled for example Belgrade, Berlin and London. Travelling from Budapest is very easy and cheap, there are so many countries close to Hungary that are worth visiting. I also enjoyed the art galleries, thermal baths, concerts, restaurants and the wide range of interesting ruing bars.

Now I have friends around the world and memories I will never forget. I feel more relaxed and confident because of my experience. I would recommend it to everyone!

Puszi, szia,

Rosa

 

Sawadee Kha!

Greetings from sunny Raya Yai island!

It’s my first time in SE Asia and it’s been awesome time here! First I got a little bit homesickness but not anymore. I’m doing my practical training in Finnish diving company Raya Divers and our office is in Raya Yai island, located about 20 km from Phuket. This is a very small island and here isn’t even bank, doctor or general markets. This island is so small that we don’t actually need cars or motorbikes to moving here,  we use tractors and trailer to carrying diving equipment’s (and customers) to the beach.

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About 80 % of this island is jungle and here is only a couple of hotels. Here is 5 different beaches and those are so beautiful. My favorite beach is Ao Siam. You can really realize that this is a paradise when beautiful butterflies are flying over your head, so amazing!

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My usually workday starts about 8 am and it ends at the earliest 7 pm, if we have some night dives we have to be at the office until 9 pm. So we are doing pretty long days, but working rhythm isn’t so hard so it usually doesn’t feel so hard. In the middle of the day we can go dive with the customers or take customer to island walk. Of course we have to do also office works and prepare and upkeep diving equipment’s. I have learned so much more about diving equipment’s and now I have knowledge and confidence also to sell those.

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I have complete Open Water Diver and Advanced Open Water Diver courses and now I can dive maximum 30 meter depth.  I’m enjoying of diving very much, definitely going to continue with this hobby.

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SPINNING THE MANCHESTER WHEEL

Hello from Manchester, England!

For those who are without a clue where I am, Manchester is one of the biggest cities in England. My own believe is that the larger the place, the easier it is to get to know. Here are so many places to see, things to do and fun people you can mingle with.  If you get bored eith the city life, around Manchester there are also a lot of different types of historical places, beautiful nature and interesting smaller towns, like York. Even Wales and Scotland are only a-few-hour train ride away! I visited Scotland while my week off and absolutely loved it! Here is a picture of Loch Ness, unfortunately without the monster, Nessie. If you like gorgeus sceneries, funny accents and fascinating cities, than Scotland is the place to be!

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If you like football, go to England. Football in England is not a sport, it is religion! Once in England pay a little respect for their heritage and beliefs and go to see a football match. The atmosphere, the songs, the game, the crowd…it is a must experience when visiting the origin on football hooliganism. I went to enjoy a match with my friend and must go again the next in England. Of course a British CURRY dinner afterwards is a must.

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And yes, I have studied too. I have finished my first placement working with district nurses. I really enjoyed my time working with them and made few good friends too. I learned a lot about English houses and living customs and got to meet some very interesting locals.

Now I will keep spinning the Manchester wheel and on to my next placement in the Children’s hospital! 🙂

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Kalle

Hakuna Matata !

Hot like a a sauna in the day and cold like the winter in the night. Dar es Salaam city in Tanzania it is. Travelling back home for my practical training especially to work in a company that is located opposite my home was crazy! fun! smart! & yeah Hakuna Matata

I worked for 6 months in the National Environmental Management Council of Tanzania that handles all environmental issues of the nation. The experience was awesome for me as a future environmental engineer. It was as though i was practising what i acquired theoretically from University. Well its a city that needs an engineer for real as i had numerous site visits and the practises all did not seem okay to me. Yes, I know Tanzania is a developing country and Yes I know there is inadequate funds but it is a straight No when the environment is being compromised negatively.

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Flip the coin and the beautiful side of my vacation.. boom!!!!

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Brewing Bavaria

In October 2013 I got a practical training place in Germany. There were three hectic (and stressful) weeks trying to get everything sorted out before starting work. Miraculously everything worked out and I even managed to find a furnished apartment in the village (which is not easy, as apartments tend to be unfurnished, and usually stripped to bone, meaning no appliances, no kitchen or other cupboards, even no sink..). I started work at Schneider Electric Automation, in the marketing department of safety processing devices. In the office there are about 400 employees. I can speak some German, but at work I only use English.

Marktheidenfeld

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I live in Marktheidenfeld, which is a village/town of about 11 000 inhabitants, by the river Main, about 100km. east of Frankfurt. Unfortunately the area is not very traditional, on contrary to what I expected. Most of the buildings (around 90%) were destroyed during World War 2, so it’s mainly new-built. However in the nearby towns there are still some old buildings left. The area is popular wine country, and the hill sides are often covered with vines. It seems like almost every town around has their own wine, and a brewery.

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A few tips for the travelers: Most restaurants open earliest at 17, so don’t plan to eat out before that (unless you want kebab). Credit cards or foreign bank cards (debit, electron) are not accepted pretty much anywhere (only at some bigger hotels they accept a credit card). Most people use cash or a German bank card. Also drawing cash is quite expensive.

 

 

Long time no see

So, Spain again. It’s my third time in Spain and second time in Asturias. I take a deep breath and the odours of the local culture mix with the fresh mountain air. Every country has its own smell and my mind is immediately filled with all the memories from my previous experiences here. I hop on the bus and smile as all around me I can hear Spanish spiced with the local dialect. On the way to Gijón, I get to admire the mountains I’ve missed, green and magnificent. The scenery changes the closer we get to my seaside destination. The quaint villages are left behind as we enter the city. My memories are hazy and I recognise very little but I’m sure it will all come back to me during the first few days.

I get off, the bus station is the only place that seems a little familiar. I take my luggage and make way to my accommodation.

***

The first time I enter La Laboral, my campus, I am at awe. I had seen pictures of it already and knew it was nicknamed Hogwarts but as I walk through the high arching gate, I am still surprised by its wonders. The courtyard opens before me and I feel excited: this is where I’ll be studying for the next few months.

All the lectures I’ve chosen will be in Spanish, after all that is why Spain was on my list: so I could refresh my Spanish. At first, I feel my brain struggling to remember the language it has stored away somewhere deep, getting dusty and rusty due to the lack of use. Especially my marketing teacher, Javier, speaks so fast that once the first lecture is over I walk out with my mind reeling and head aching. Maybe I’m aiming too high. But after the first two weeks, it gets easier and I find myself laughing at the jokes and making notes just like everyone else.

***

After the first month of weekendly partying, I’m exhausted. Sorry people, but I’m too old for this. I let the other Erasmus students continue the weekly celebrations and find myself some other things to do. Don’t get me wrong, Gijón is a wonderful city to go out in, there are bars and clubs for every taste and for every hour. It’s not Gijón, it’s me. Maybe I’m too old 😀 Luckily, I’m not the only one who’s had enough of parties, so in our small group we go the theatre to see some ballet, we enjoy the Gijón film festival and we go horse trekking. Time flies by so quickly.

***

When it finally starts raining, I exhale in relief. It has been an unusually hot end of summer for Asturias. I was expecting cool weather and rainy days so the first few hot and sunny weeks wore me out. Finally, I can dig out my wellies and umbrella. I go for a walk along the now empty beach. The waves are roaring. I’m not a beach person but I do like the sea. There’s something mysterious and majestic about it. I can see the first lightning and hear the boom afterwards, the wind is picking up so fast that I have to close my umbrella and find shelter in one the boulevard cafes. I find a table inside and order a café con leche. The thunder moves quickly and before I get my coffee, it’s right on top of us. Each lightning makes an explosive sound, so loud and strong that I can see the windows of the cafe bend inwards. The lights flash quickly but the Asturian people are used to this so everything goes on normally. I get my coffee and some complementary tapas. It’s a thin slice of baguette and a piece of the Spanish tortilla, a potato omelette, pierced with a single toothpick. Around it there are some olives. Mmmmm, tasty.

***

Back at the uni, we have our first group presentation and I am petrified. I’ve only once given a presentation in Spanish and it was about anime. Now I’m supposed to give a summary of a CSR analysis of Iberia, the Spanish aviation company. These group presentations seem to be a big hit here in Spain, I have to do one for each of my courses. I look at my group members, all of us are Erasmus and just as scared. At least we’re all in this together. We open the slide show on the screen and begin. Afterwards my mind seems to have wiped out the whole experience, I can’t remember what any of us said but at least we survived.

***

Me and my flatmates are sitting in the living room, having a few ridiculously cheap beers while watching Rio 2 in Latin Spanish. I’m laughing because I’ve seen the film in English and some of the Latin voice actors are so different. My Spanish flatmate is laughing because she’s used to watching the film in Castilian Spanish, not South American. Surprisingly, it’s my German flatmate who feels the most comfortable listening to it, she has been to Guatemala so she’s used to this kind of Spanish. I got really lucky with my flatmates, they’re both really nice and social and friendly.

All in all, life here is good.

(Sorry about the time lapse, this was written in the autumn)

A place where the sun rises

 

The Korean peninsula is shaped like an elongated irregular rectangle, but according to the more poetic-minded people it is a tiger with an open mouth and stretched out paw. Tail as in “tiger” is on the body and only the tip of the tail sticks out a bit.

The “tip of the tail” is not named so by accident. If you look at the map of Korea, on the southeastern coast 40 miles south of Pohang is beautiful cape Homigot. Translated, it means “cape tail tiger.” So this is exactly the case when a beautiful association with powerful animals inspired the official name of the place.

The first thing I saw was Keimyung University campus. It was really big and beautiful. It has got its own church, temple and parks. It was full of trees and hills.

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Dormitory experience was quite odd. Firstly, our dormitories did not have kitchen as they normally have anywhere else. In this case, we all had to go to eat to the campus student restaurant or outside of the campus area. It was not a big issue due to low prices in restaurants. In case people want to get something to eat desperately, many convenient alternatives are available in stores, for example instant noodles, boiled eggs, bread etc. Secondly, we all suffered the curfew. Students were obliged to return to the dorms before 11 pm. In case a person was late for the curfew, he would get a penalty of certain amount of points that would lead to the expelling form the dormitory. However, it was possible to stay out for a night when informing a floor leader beforehand.

Upon arrival, within the first days I already found friends who I went to my first trip with. The place we visited was Donghwasa temple. It is a buddhist temple located near Daegu’s northern border. The place was incredibly beautiful where we experienced so much Korean nature that was literally everywhere and the temple itself was made completely in Asian style including a huge statue of Buddha.

_MG_4701 1However, the weirdest point was that I hadn’t had time to buy good shoes that would be very well suitable for that trip that included hiking a very very high hill… So I went just with my flip flops. It wasn’t as bad as I expected.

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Another Interesting place we visited was Busan city. It is located about 100 km to the south from Daegu. The first thing I experienced was the sea. We swam there a little bit no matter that it was in October, it was still quite warm. _ytHT--jGo4

 

The next day, we went to walk around the city, where we found a huge temple located on the seaside.

_MG_4918The Busan city is famous for its fish markets. I tried my first alive octopus in my life, which was very delicious._MG_4833

 

In places like that people usually do not speak English, but we had our Korean friends with us, so they helped us to communicate with locals. However, by that time, we had been able to keep a basic conversation in Korean, including understanding numbers that was one of the most important issues at the time we first arrived to Korea. During those three days of our stay in Busan, we also hiked couple of big hills in Busan and witnessed a nice light show that was conducted at the biggest bridge of the city. The music that was played on the beach was followed by the lights on the bridge. The thing was just amazing, so it just took the breath right out of me. _MG_4969

 

The photo above represents that bridge and beginning of the light show that lasted for one hour. My camera wasn’t good enough to capture as much light effect as I wanted. I would like to come back to the place again in the future.

Another thing that completely changed my mind was the lantern festival that was held in another town called Jinju. I went to that small city for couple of days and I did not regret at all. Everything that I could imagine was shining right in front of my eyes.

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There were thousands of statues and figures shining around the city in the park, castle, in front of the temple and floating on the river. Probably one of the most beautiful things I have witnessed in my life._MG_5340

If you are going to go to Korea, you better pass by that city in October and visit the lantern festival that lasts for twelve days, so you won’t miss it.

 

 

 

 

 

Groeten uit Holland!

 Greetings from Holland! 

Lomogram_2015-01-23_05-11-17-PMIt’s been a crazy journey and the time flew by so fast. It feels like just yesterday I arrived to Breda Centraal Station with my three suitcases and a back bag. The last 5 months were definitely memorable; Breda and all the people I met during my stay there will always have a place in my heart.

I followed the International Business Operations -exchange degree program in Avans Hogeschool, which is located quite close to Breda city center. The distance from my apartment to Avans was around 2 kilometers, so the trip to school took less than 10 minutes by bike.

I was surprised how strict the teachers and the school system was compared to Finland. The pace we were going with the school books was insane, considering the books had several hundred pages and we had a lot of courses. However, in a way it was good for me since I really had to kick myself to work harder.

Breda is a beautiful old fortress town bordering Belgium. It is around 1,5 – 2 hour drive away from both Amsterdam and Brussels. There are a few universities and colleges in the area so there are a lot of students living in Breda. And despite being a relatively small place there is still a lot going on; student parties and events were organized all the time by student unions or private persons.

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