Monthly Archives: March 2015

¡Hola Benalmádena!

¡Hola!

I’m writing from Benalmádena, a small city situated in Costa del Sol, Spain. Here you can meet people from many countries since this small city is a popular tourist destination. On the streets one will hear Finnish, English, German and many other languages.. Benalmádena is in the Southern part of Spain and a part of the Andalucia region. Thus the dialect is different than what you can study from books and on courses back in Finland. Local people tend to leave few of the last letters of each word unpronounced, which makes it a bit harder to understand their speech and to learn the language here.. But I’ll keep trying :)!!

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Benalmádena is located between Malaga city and Fuengirola. It is easy to visit both places since the Renfe, a local train, goes often in both directions. So far my clinical placement has been situated at Fuengirola so I take the train for work. I have been at two different private clinics so far. First at Centro de Fisioterapia José Manuel Bonilla and now at Clinica Sohail. After this placement I still have 4 weeks at Xanit hospital in Benalmádena.

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Physiotherapy here has been very different than back in Finland. At least so far the treatment has consisted mainly of manual methods and always some machines. At Bonilla the manual methods used were mainly osteopathic since our instructors had studied osteopathy after physiotherapy. (Here osteopathy is not its own career, physiotherapist can study it after graduation.) At Clinica Sohail the treatment consist even more of many different types of machines such as infrared lamps, electrotherapy, EPI, shockwaves and others.

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This far I have been only in the evening shift so I miss a lot of the culture, since most events take place in the evenings. I have not met many local people yet, just those at the clinical placements, but I hope that when the placement at the hospital starts and probably the morning shift, I will have more opportunities to meet local people in the evening events. This far I have studied some Spanish and gone to the gym on my free time. We have also planed some trips to other cities with my classmate and with my boyfriend who will visit Spain in a few weeks. On these trips I hope we will see historical and cultural places (museums, caves etc.. what we can think of) and what the real Spanish lifestyle is like! So far my ERASMUS exchange has been versatile in all emotions and I think it will be for as long as I’m here. Looking forward to see what more lies ahead! 🙂

– Linda Continue reading ¡Hola Benalmádena!

FREE BEER, TRAIN RIDES AND SUSTAINABLE DESIGN

Autumn announced its official presence by a short one-week break from my Erasmus exchange studies in The Hague University of Applied Science (THUAS), The Netherlands. Half of the study term had swiftly passed by with time packed with lectures, discussions, mind-mappings, visits to design companies among many others activities on and off campus.

Making The Netherlands as my Erasmus exchange destination is no trivial as THUAS offers great academic design subjects such as Service Design, Information Visualization, and the very interesting Sustainable Design. One of the many ‘shocks’ that students usually thrive to adapt during exchange studies is the new learning environment. The Hague University of Applied Science has a rather huge campus located in Laakhaven and easily 10,000 of students and staffs passed by in this 8-floor mega campus every day. To navigate around and find the classroom was my main tasks during the first week! Another shock I experienced during my first week was a group of us international students sitting in a bar with lecturer, Jaap DeBie, who was so generously buying us a round of beers!

Haagse Hogeschool
Central point of Laakhaven campus, the Oval. (Photo taken from www.roem.in)

THUAS is located in the city of The Hague, which is known as the International City of Peace and Justice, and famous for its multicultural society of more than 145 diverse nationalities. I have the honour to be greeted by The Hague Greeters as part of my Service Design project: To design a new and sustainable service in the domain of tourism in The Hague. It was great to walk around the city and be told about the hidden church, secret passage, and unheard stories of places in The Hague with greeter, Maarten Kop. Having said so, the assignments are exciting and using user-centered design mindset to approach the tasks has sparked great learning motivations. Getting-out-of-the-building is definitely the best learning method!

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Secret courtyard of Rusthof, a female-only residence area. Left to right: Hyungjee, Joanne, and Maarten. (Photo courtesy of David Manfred Johansson)

There are 7 international students in a small group put together as a class where interactions between lecturers and us students are very friendly and personal. Lectures are conducted in smaller classroom and active participations during classes are very encouraged. International coordinator, Jannie Oosting, has been very attentive with making sure that we international students in the Communication and Multimedia Design faculty are coping well with the studies. A spontaneous Dutch language lesson is even arranged thanked to the passionate lecturers which I get to learn basics of Dutch language once a week. Yes, the Lowlander’s mother tongue might sound rather harsh for the ears with the profound pronunciation of ‘g’ in the sentence, but nonetheless it is great fun to learn a new language! And I specially send my heartfelt thank-you to Jannie Oosting and Berber Hartman for making this possible.

One of the best things about my exchange studies is the frequent visits to local Dutch companies for our Design Methods class. We would take trains from cities to cities each week to visit digital design agency that produce best websites in The Netherlands, service design agency that shared with us their working methods, and it was great experience to have our lectures set in different locations conducted by various professionals from the industry. We get to visit Rotterdam, Utrecht, Delft and Amsterdam which we had a great time.

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Ingrid Wendel, Senior Design Researcher giving pointers about Design Research process at STBY office, Amsterdam. Left to right: Ingrid, David, Kaat and Alfonso.

Another best thing in this studies so far was making counts of ALL THE STUFF I OWN during Sustainable Design class. The lectures focus on Sustainist Design which Sustainism was the name of such movement. Sustainable behaviours and collaborative consumptions were among the topics discussed. The final assignment of making sustainable design concept using business model canvas with slight modifications brings us into looking at the future of humane design.

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Do I need everything I have? Thinking in sustainable way via counting the stuff I own gives good overall impressions about myself.

Lastly, for the people who are curious about Dutch culture, here is a good tip: try the haring fish the true blue style! (Warning: not for the faint-hearted) And do check out this informotion video that I have made together with my Korean classmate, Zoe, introducing some Dutch food. We for sure did learn a lot about Dutch culture through playing with the food! For now, second half of the study term will starts soon: time for sprinting to make sure projects are presented before deadlines!

Written by Joanne nh Wong, a third-year TAMK Media student currently on exchange in The Hague University of Applied Science.


This blog post is originally appeared in TAMK Art and Media Blog.

Beannachdan à Alba!

= ‘Greetings from Scotland’ in Gaelic, the dying language native to Scotland.

It’s been now two months since I started my exchange period and travelled to this lovely wee city in the Highlands of Scotland. I fell completely in love with this place from the very beginning. The city of Inverness is really beautiful, not too big but not too small with its 80 000 citizens, and surrounded by stunningly diverse nature and landscapes. Even the weather here has been relatively pleasant during my stay, or at least not as unpleasant as I presumed. And it is only getting better towards the spring!

The River Ness runs through the city, right past the Inverness Castle (that is, from what I’ve been told, not a real castle as it’s only about 200 years old).
The River Ness runs through the city, right past the Inverness Castle (that is, from what I’ve been told, not a real castle as it’s only about 200 years old).
The city centre is quite compact, but it has everything one could possible want to find. And I love the tiny charity shops selling second hand bargains!
The city centre is quite compact, but it has everything one could possible want to find. And I love the tiny charity shops selling second hand bargains!

I do my studies in the Scottish School of Forestry that is located around 10 km away from the city centre. The SSF is integrated to Inverness College, the largest partner college of the University of the Highlands and Islands that extends all over the Northern Scotland. Sounds complicated, huh? The beginning of the studies was a bit confusing for me, but since things started to clear out I’ve truly enjoyed my time here. The forestry campus is small and cosy, and the people, including lecturers, are really laid-back, sincere and friendly. My studies include a lot of field work and site visits, which I find as a great advantage as I get to explore this beautiful nature, forests and landscapes while studying. Although sometimes I find myself concentrating more on wondering at the scenery than listening to what the teacher has to say…

The forestry campus isn’t that fancy, but a forestry campus doesn’t have to be.
The forestry campus isn’t that fancy, but a forestry campus doesn’t have to be.

 

Glenmore Forest Park in Cairngorms National Park includes some of the few native pinewoods in Scotland.
Glenmore Forest Park in Cairngorms National Park includes some of the few native pinewoods in Scotland.
We got to see skyline harvesting operations in great heights.
We got to see skyline harvesting operations in great heights.
I feel privileged to get to study in these sceneries.
I feel privileged to get to study in these sceneries.

My spare time (that I have a lot since I only have classes three days a week!) also revolves around outdoor activities and socializing. We have a fairly small group of international students here, and we spend a lot of time together doing sports, taking walks, cooking, playing games and going out. We also have some plans to travel around the Highlands later on spring (we’ve got a luxurious two weeks holiday on Easter!), which is something I’m really looking forward to.

Me and my cheerful friends enjoying a sunny day. As you can see, we’re having such a great time here.
Me and my cheerful friends enjoying a sunny day. As you can see, we’re having such a great time here. Picture taken by my dear friend Nathalie Triches (I don’t know what she was doing behind the camera to make us look so serious).

So far this experience has been brilliant and I am genuinely glad that I decided to do part of my studies abroad, and that I decided to do it in Scotland! I’ve still got two months ahead of me here, I hope they’re going to be as wonderful as the first two.

Love,

Krista

This is MADrid!

Here has indeed been so mad: the crowded but easy-going city, awesome people around me, late school days, crazy student parties and all what I have experienced during these two months. And I mean in a good way. I can’t believe that now it is already a halfway of my exchange period!

Plaza de Callao
Plaza de Callao – Home plaza

My school days start the earliest at 15, which means that I have a lot of free time and I can sleep long. Well, at first it was like that, but not anymore… At the beginning of March I started Spanish course in the city center. It is every day one hour and lessons are very intensive. At least I learn fast! At university, I also have group works and one midterm exam becoming.

However, I don’t want to stress about school too much. Luckily my courses are quite “easy” but interesting. The cases, we are handling in marketing and international relations classes, are highly topical. What is new to me, compared to Finland, is that students participate enthusiastically in conversations during the lectures. There are often heated debates between students and teachers, and it’s entertaining to follow those emotional outbursts.

Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, Vicálvaro Campus
Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, Vicálvaro Campus

My normal day in here starts from Spanish class at 11:30. After that I have a couple of hours free time and then I go to university around at 15-16. I end my day at school at 19-21. My schedule is so different from that in Finland, but for me this actually works pretty well. I have definitely adopted a Spanish daily rhythm.

In free time I hang out with my friends. Usually we go for dinner or enjoy some tapas with sangria. There are many nice bars, pubs and restaurants so you will always find a place where to eat, and with a very low price! We have also participated in some ESN events, such as city tour, bowling and international dinner. The events that they organize for Erasmus students are a great way to meet new people from all over the world.

International dinner - Italian food
International dinner – Italian food

One of the best experiences was the Real Madrid match in great Santiago Bernabéu Stadium.  Football is like a religion here, and you should go to see the game to understand the importance of it. Although I’m not the biggest football fan, I really enjoyed the atmosphere. I recommend to everyone to go watch the game in Spain, even as an “once in a lifetime” experience.

Watching The Real Madrid game in Estadio Santiago Bernabéu
Watching The Real Madrid game in Estadio Santiago Bernabéu

Sometimes I go for a jog in the beautiful Retiro Park. That is also a good place for having a picnic with friends or for sunbathing. I’m really waiting for the summer! In fact, last week the weather was very warm in here (+22 °C), though it’s getting colder again. But I’m still optimistic because I know that summer is almost here.

Beautiful Retiro Park
Crystal Palace in Retiro Park
Retiro Park
Retiro Park

I have also travelled a little bit here in Spain. I already visited in Cádiz and Segovia, and in the next two weeks I will go to Valencia and Barcelona. I really want to see new places, and travel outside Spain too, for example to Portugal and Morocco. My goal for the remaining part of my stay is to travel more, and I think it is perfect time now when the weather is warmer.

Roman aqueduct in Segovia
Roman aqueduct in Segovia
On the beach in Cádiz
On the beach in Cádiz

¡Adiós!

xoxo Krista

¡Vale, vale!

¡Hola!

Greetings from Benalmádena, which is small city in the Costa Del Sol, Spain. Benalmádena is one of the biggest tourist resorts in Spanish Mediterranean coast and it is one of the sunniest places in Europe (Today we had a first rainy day!). Living here doesn’t have too much to do with Spanish culture, as most of people here are not from Spain, but it seems that also the foreign tourists here have adapted relaxed and easy-going way of living, where it is acceptable to answer “vale” to everything, even if you have no idea what is going on. It has been a great experience so far and I am really looking forward next two months here!

http://www.langage.com/language.courses/summer.camp.in.benalmadena.html
http://www.xanit.es/es/centros/benalmadena

 

So far I have worked only in one ward in a local international hospital. The hospital is a private hospital, so most of the locals can’t afford to come there. That’s why most of our patients are tourists and I have been able to work with people from more than ten nationalities. All the patients have their private room and specialized doctor and with money you can basically get whatever you want.  In the ward we have had patients with all kind of illnesses, infections and injuries. I have also seen many plastic surgery patients and there are also some children in the ward.

You might think, that if more than half of the patients are not Spanish speaking, the staff would speak English. But no way, we are in Spain, so most of the staff don’t speak English even in a basic level. Luckily there is more than five translators working in the hospital, even two who are working with Finnish patients, so we are able to get help if needed.

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In my free time I have studied Spanish, traveled a bit  and enjoyed cheap wine and tapas in local restaurants. Life here is easy-going and slow, in my opinion nothing is done effectively here 😀 Living in Benalmádena is easy for a tourist as you can get service in English everywhere and you can even find some restaurants, bars, hairdressers, health services and shops with Finnish staff. But if you want to challenge yourself, luckily it is only half an hour bus drive to the towns, where no one speaks English and you can get a glimpse of real Spanish lifestyle!

-Laura

Sziasztok!

Greetings from Budapest (more closely from Pest side, because River Danude separates this city as Buda and Pest sides)!

I started my exchange with surgical ward in Szent Imre Hospital, which is counted as one of the best hospitals in Budapest. Still and all, the hygiene and aseptic things were shocking for me. To be honest the first day was a nightmare! I scared to touch everything because the staff didn’t washed their hands, not to mention used disinfection. They contaminated everything! After few days I interviewed the staff and they told that they are aware of the problem but if the government doesn’t pay money enough or invest new machines and equipments, then nobody wants to follow the rules. It’s simple! It’s odd that almost everyone is wearing watches, rings and nail polish and no-one cares.

Me and my Finnish friend, Kiia in Zsent Imre Hospital.
Me and my Finnish friend, Kiia in Szent Imre Hospital.

While time passed by I got used to tolerate everything. I have only good memories from there, anyway. But I still wonder if that was good hospital what will be next! I heard that my following practice in maternity ward is going to be delayed because of some kind of epidemic. The hospital doesn’t admit any visitors or students. For now anything I can do is waiting. The invitation can come on the day before so I have to be ready at any time. Unfortunately, this everything-is-always-late procedure is common in Hungary.

I’m really happy because finally, I have started my Hungarian language course! It would have been more helpful earlier because nurses don’t speak English at all. Fortunately, there have been Hungarian surgeons and nurse students who have translated everything. Hungarian is guite hard to learn although it’s relative to Finnish.

Did you know that Rubik’s cube and ballpoint pen are Hungarian inventions? If yes, this may surprise you: one Hungarian man invented telephone exchange! The legend tells that the man called from U.S. to Hungary and said to the phone ”halló?” which means ”do you hear”. This hungarian short sentence is the mother of more common hello or haloo. Sounds crazy but it could be – who knows!

Ruinpubs have became stabled part of Hungarian nightlife. Every ’kert’ as ’garden’ has a unique style and atmosphere. It’s hard to find words to describe those so, I kindly recommend you to see and feel it. Hungary is full of history. If you like sightseeing, here is a few hints: Heroes square, Chainbridge, Buda Castle, Margaret Island, St. Stephen’s Basilica, Opera House, Houses of Parliament, Millenium metro.

Houses of Parliament by night.
Houses of Parliament by night.
Heroes’ Square.
Heroes’ Square.

Why did I choose Hungary as my exchange country? Answer is simple: I wanted something very different than Finland and have to say that I got it! So far, this has been broadening experience.

Viszlát!

-Nurse student, Laura

Staying in Brno

čau from Brno!

I’ve been here almost for two months now. Travelling from Finland to Czech Republic was easy and fun. From Prague, I took Student Agency bus to Brno. My buddy was waiting for me at the bus stop in Brno. He helped me to get to accommodation office and my flat. I should mention that the service in Czech republic is a little bit different than Finland. It took me three hours to get the keys and it was so frustrating.

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Brno’s Railway Station

Well, I can say that I am enjoying living in Brno now. I have been here now about two and half months. I came here a month before starting of my studies.  I had a trip to Vienna which was worth it. I really liked Vienna. I have travelled a lot during staying here.  We had trip to Znojmo, Olomouc etc.  with Erusmus students which was fun. We also went to Bratislava, Slovakia.

Znojmo Trip
Znojmo Trip

Czech Republic is a country in the heart of Europe. Brno is near to a few capital cities.  Brno is the second biggest city after Prague in Czech Republic. It has almost 400 000 inhabitants.  Brno is the student city.

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The Father of Genetic, Mendel
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Brno City

 

There are some things that annoy me about Czech Republic. First of all, Many people don’t speak English here, especially old people. If you ask something then they start talking in Czech language. I dont like the services here, at all. Lots of people smoke here. They smoke almost every where, in the bars, coffees restaurants etc. School foods aren’t healthy here in Brno. You can almost have french fies, hamburgers and pizzas every day at school. On the other hands, I like foods here, especially chinese foods.

 

Ps. I recommend Brno for those who want to travel and have fun. School is not that good than Finland.

 

Szia from Budapest

“Szia” means hello and goodbye in Hungarian. That was one of the first words I learned when I arrived in Budapest along with “sör”, which means beer, and “egészségedre”, which means cheers! I actually have a Hungarian course, so I wish to learn more so that I can run errands in Hungarian. It is not an easy language to learn, I can tell you that much – even for us Finns who should learn Hungarian a bit easier than other nationalities.

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This month has gone by so fast that I am afraid that I will run out of time. There is so much to do in Budapest and I want to do it all! Honestly, there is something going on every day. Farm markets, thermal baths, outdoor events, bars, hanging out with friends… You really can not get bored in Budapest. We have already visited Széchenyi thermal baths, traveled to Vienna, been to an ice cream festival and tasted Hungarian national drink, Palinka.

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Budapest is definitely one of my favorite cities in whole Europe – you fall in love with the city the first time you see the lights of Budapest reflecting on Danube at night. Seriously. Not to mention all the parks and ruin pubs… Truly incredible. I would recommend Budapest to anyone.

 

Greetings from Budapest!

Riikka

One man’s meat is another man’s poison

The title was chosen with great care and illustrates British interpretation of common Russian saying — close translation — “What’s healthy for Russian is deadly for German”. It is to be understood that the phrase contains nothing about  ethnic identity and advocates using the word “German” meaning foreigner. Finnish reading of the proverb is “Toisen romu on toisen aarre”.

Some journeys excite us and enrich. Some — and it is debatable which ones teach us more — empty and bring us back to ourselves.

Enjoy!


I’m standing at the airport, waiting for my tutor to pick me up. That time I didn’t know he got seriously stuck at work and his mother — knowing only a word or three in English — hurried to greet me. That day not only didn’t I realised what awaits me, but also I myself was nothing but consternation. I had no accommodation, no connections and pallid understanding how to deal with that.

“That night the city wore the mask of a capital” — and that is all about my first days in Munich. Everything was marvellous: people around me, city vibes, the weather, the food. I was almost forced to stay at my tutor’s family house until I get own room and went hopelessly in love with welcoming Bavarians. Bad times make opportunities right?:) I lived in traditional German host family, where not everyone spoke English and was so delighted to explore that life.

IMG_1101 There goes a common saying among students in Munich, that “if one can find a room in München, one can do everything”. Situation is catastrophic, student accommodation is deadly overcrowded(four semesters waiting minimum), private sector is madly overpriced(to your reference – studio in suburbs is 700 Euro/month), the competition is as heightened, as if you don’t call in 5 minutes ad is published, it is most likely gone. But where is a will, there’s so many ways! Or at least a room 3 minutes walk from university which is — voilà! — mine. And probably yes, the saying was proven to be right.

The nature of Bavarian province is simply great, mountains are of a stellar height, lakes of crystal purity. It is such a joy to be in a centre of it and, geographically, in a centre of bigger beauties.  I’ve travelled to Austria, France and Denmark.

IMG_1510German food is unique and oh well, you need a stomach for it, even if you’re quite die-hard. Everything seems – and it is! – greasy, beer is drunk more often than water, where there’s salt, it is over salted and etc. As the post title suggests, I didn’t fully found myself in that culture yet I had my moments. The one is below;)

IMG_0351-2I worked late hours at the university on coursework,  walked casually on the streets of Paris and lived a month in Danish province during the semester break. I started learning Latin and argued about imperialism and nationalism over shisha late into the night. I’ve got so lost along the way, yet there was not a day I forgot how lucky was I and was thankful.

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Tschüss!

Best,
Sofia

Living in Budpest

Living in Budapest, Hungary has been pretty hectic. So much travelling and when you’re not travelling the city offers you so much to do. Something going on pretty much every night. Nice to have a refreshing 1l beer in Red ruin after hard day at the univeristy. No boring moment here.

Studying is as great as studying can be. Awesome erasmus friends make it tolerable.

Studying isn’t that hard as it is in Finland, but I think it rarely is in Erasmus. School starts usually around 9 or 10 and in average I have like 6h of lessons. But the Fridays are off so not as many lessons than in Finland. Teacher speak very good english (mostly) and seems like they know what they are doing. Relatively much lessons in a week but only like 1 exam in the end so I’m not complaining.

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Just kidding, im all for education.  And see how lovely the countryside is.