Monthly Archives: April 2015

Sunny Days and traveling for a change

So yeah, spring’s here in the UK and weather is getting warmer and less rainy so it’s more appropriate time to shoot some photos for a blog post and so on.

 

So to start off, the city of Salford where I happen to live looks somewhat like this now that the sun dares to come out after a long and chilly winter.2015-04-07 14.44.33 HDR

I had plenty of free time on Easter so I had a good excuse to leave my apartment in Castle Irwell for a while and head for Salford Quays, where you can also find MediaCity and local BBC HQ. That was also the place where I was assumed to go to study but that assumption was apparently quite wrong as I’m studying in Adelphi building. Too bad though. I wouldn’t mind having scenery like this everyday right outside of my uni.2015-04-06 13.48.54

I also went to visit Manchester United stadium in Old Trafford. There you could buy any merchandise with United emblems. Even golf balls, that I was just about to buy to my uncle.

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Then I went to visit Manchester Piccadilly and surroundings. There you can shop till you drop of that’s your cup of tea and I didn’t really mind just walking around and sightseeing. They even have a ferris wheel there, although it spins for quite a hefty price so I skipped that one and marched onwards.

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During that week I took a bus to visit Trafford Centre, which is quite a sight for a mall. The founder of that place has had quite an expensive taste when creating this palace but I’m sure it’s worth every penny as you walk around there just for the fun of it and the actual shopping feels extra.

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After my little tour it was time to come back to my little and earthly Salford. It’s not all bad though, because there are some quite impressive buildings in there and in general the building style differs quite a lot of what you encounter in Finland. Somehow they just leave rubbish a bit everywhere and it looks quite depressing in gray weather.

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So yeah, I’m doing good. Studies go well and all the assignments should be in time for the submissions. All the assignments are portfolio based with one exception of a presentation that I already held so I’m good with that and I don’t have to sweat with exams or anything like that. There’s still some time for me to return to Finland but honestly I’m waiting for it already. It’s not that I dislike it here but being here for a full year is quite enough for me.

Cheers!

– Sami

 

Surprisingly sunny! – An Exchange in the UK

Here I am, studying in the University of Salford. Time goes surprisingly fast here, and why not? The weather is sunny and warm most of the time and it’s sumemr already, while Finland is just getting rid of it’s snow.

What to tell? Time goes fast when you’re somewhere else, faster than you’d expect! First you get used to a new country, then you find yourself trying to see and experience everything, then you look back and notice that time’s flying faster than you are. DSC_0032

Time can fly even in the countryside

The studies here are slightly different than they are back home, different ways to turn in assignments for example, but the difference was smaller than I’d expected. I have to say I’m impressed by the amount of help you get from the teachers if you have any difficulties. That goes for all the staff of the school, they really make things go as smoothly as possible.

The first thing you’re getting to know is probably the other exchange students. All the internationals hang together from the beginning, have good time together and explore the city. I live in a house with only international students from all around and it’s pretty awesome to get to know so many people all around the world. The architechture is different than finnish architecture is, and cities are nice places to just get lost for a day and see what you can find.

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maybe you’ll even find a house built on a bridge

The nature is different in a nice way too. Less forests, but more hills, and more animals. Many locals have suggested hiking around might be a good idea around here. There should be a lot of beautiful sights and areas to explore. We were visiting in a local national park and it’s falls and forests were certainly worth visiting.

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UK in springtime. nice.

This place is definitely worth seeing and spending time in. Try it out!

-Tatu

Lost in Bruges! Found in Belgium!

Here I am! Passed the half way mark of my exchange period! The time has gone surprisingly fast even from the beginning, much to my surprise. I expected it going past like a snail, but every day seems to have fewer and fewer of hours to do things around here. Yes, our studies keep us busy. I study here in BBC which means Bruges Business Class, which is partially different than what I do in Finland, as I study hotel and restaurant management. My class composes fully of Erasmus exchangees, but we do share some classes with the Belgian students as well.

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Our school
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The VIVES university from outside

The City is absolutely amazing and the beautiful buildings are astonishing. Within a course of Hotel visits we got the only 5 star hotel in Flanders, called the Duke’s palace hotel. The hotel was amazing and really honored the cities heritage and old styled building. The course here are very interesting and informative. My own favorite is the Taste of Belgium, in which the teachers teach us about Belgian chocolate, Beer, dishes, fashion and sport. Its a nice theoretical way of getting to know their culture and the meaning behind it.

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Putting the learnings to test!

The Spring is in full speed here and many flowers are already blooming. We just had our two week vacation during which I came to compare the weather of Finland to the one in Belgium. It’s really nice that the summer is already shining and you can dress up lighter. There are already incoming our final exams in some courses. The end seems to come too fast!

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Greeting back to Finland to all my teachers! I got to meet some familiar teachers from Salford and Finland today, and it’s always funny to freshen up memories of another schooltrip within another “schooltrip”. I’m sure that this won’t be my last time in Bruges, and with the connections gotten from here, I’m sure that I’m also welcome in other countries as well. 😀

Happy Vappu to all! (they have it here too)

Nursing studies in Shanghai, China

Ni Hao from Shanghai, China.

Unfortunately the great firewall of China is blocking my internet access, so no pictures can be downloaded. Wifi at our campus is constantly overloaded and mainly  it works after midnight. Google and Facebook are blocked by the Chinese government. If I want to use them I have to pay for a VPN.

Shanghai is a very busy and over populated city. Everythings designed so that it can handle large crowds.  Im sure the Shanghainese have invented new professions that we don’t have back in Finland. For example they employ people to weigh your fruits,  a person to take care of a  patient at a hospital (NOT A NURSE /PRACTICAL NURSE) , a person to get your pick n’ mix sweets  and a person who only cleans tables.  The people in Shanghai have long working hours to earn some chunky monkey. The Shanghainese nurse works approximately 8 or 12 hours. The work isn’t physical and the job description differs alot from the Finnish nurse.

I’m very sad to say that the nursing culture in China differs so much that I wont be taking any skills back home with me.  The only thing i’m taking back is a suitcase full of fake nike’s. The nursing program in China takes 6 years in total to complete. Our campus is full of 16-year old student ‘s  that study ‘practical nursing’  and after three years they can head off to university and get their bachelors degree. Our campus is located in the suburbs of Shanghai in East Zhoupu, it’s about 40 minutes away from down town.  The campus is situated with the locals, so  it’s interesting to see how poorly some shanghainese have to live. Downtown Shanghai is full of chinese millionaires and forgeneirs who have all the luxuries.

Practical training placements have been dissapointing. The wards that we have been on are cardiology, neurosurgery and a nursing home. A Chinese nurses job is to start iv-infusions and take blood samples, nothing else. All other measures and procedures are done by doctors.  Chinese nurses say they have a lot of patients and they are always in a hurry (not true). The nurses in China have always time to sit, chat with co-workers and play on their mobile phones.  The  hospitals and nurses’ profession in China is truly out of date and would need major renewing. It is scary to think that the nurses don’t know what illnesses the patient’s have and what they are taking care of.

It also amazes us, how poor english language skills the nurse’s have. Basically everyone speaks only chinese to us and we reply in english. Most of the time we don’t understand what’s happening. The Chinese find it very funny and start to giggle when we don’t understand Chinese. Practical training should be changed to Practical stareing. The only things we are able to practice are temperature taking, pulse and bp measuring, blood sugar testing, bed sheet changeing and trolley cleaning. Patient’s basic care is done by family members. If the patient hasn’t got family, they can hire a person to take care of them. They are usually older people in the society that can’t get any other job anymore.  Also nursing homes aren’t for those who really need it. The old people don’t have diseases’ and don’t need any care. They just choose to live in a *hotel* full of activites, that they pay for. When they do get dementia, they are transfered from the nursing home back to their families so that the children can take care of them.

I love the international spirit in Shanghai and all the foods we get to taste. I’ve also enjoyed learning traditional chinese medicine; acupuncture, cupping and herbs. Living, exploring, eating, partying and travelling have been experiences that I wouldn’t change on my trip.

The practice and school aren’t suitable for nursing students. I’ve learnt so far a lot of patients and keeping quiet.

XIE XIE, Aurora

 

 

 

 

The Netherlands, feels like home

I have found it extremely easy to adapt to the Dutch culture and after staying here for eight months the Netherlands feels like home already. Why has it been so easy to feel comfortable in this small country? I think the main reason for that is the people. The Netherlands is full of open-minded people from all over the world and both the culture and the values are actually very similar to Finnish culture and values.

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First I did my study exchange in the lovely medieval city, Utrecht. After that I really wanted to stay in this country and decided to do my internship here as well. Finally I got an internship in the company located in Eindhoven, which meant that had to move to a bit smaller city.

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I was both nervous and excited before starting this internship! However, soon after moving to Eindhoven and starting to work at Any Lamp I noticed that I don’t have worry at all. Everyone was eager to help and easy-going. I was relieved. We actually spend a lot of free time together with the colleagues and if someone needs help, people are always eager to help.

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All in all life in the Netherlands is a pleasant experience and I’m sure I’m going to miss the country and the cities when I leave from here. I haven’t only gained good international experience but also lots of new friends and memories! I definately have to come back one day!

Greetings from Thailand!

Sawatdii khrap!

It’s now almost four months since I arrived here in Thailand. In that four months have happened a lot! My attitude and way to see world have changed many ways and also my interests about different cultures and travelling is just growing up every day.

I organized my courses so, that I have only two long days school in week. That way there’s long weekends time to travel and explore Thailand. Most of the time I’ve been just inside the borders. There is so much to see in Thailand, that even five month is not enought to see all the places I liked to. Thailand has also nice neighbour countries, which everyone has something totally different to see. I’ve had only one week trip in Laos this far and unfortunally it might be my only one during that exchange.

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That beach is  from beautifull island Koh Samet, where we spent amazing weekend with other exchange students.

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My first trip outside of Bangkok headed to old capital Ayutthaya. Ayutthaya was full of different kind of monuments, Buddha statues and tempels.

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Most of the Islands have amazing fireshows that you can watch in the evening time. Same time you can lie on triangle pillows and enjoy your great time with friends. That picture is from Koh Tao-island where I was four days to graduate my scupa-diving license.

Assumption University’s Suvarnaphumi campus, where are most of the classes nowadays, is huge place. For me that campus was something totally new and something that you usually can see only in movies.

There is a huge contrast between teachers in ABAC. Some teachers speak really good fluent english and really want to teach and help students. Unfortunally there is also few ones who are not interested about students at all and their english is really difficult to understand.

In traditional Thai school culture it’s not accepted to ask questions in class or doubt with teacher, so specially dealing with some older Thai-teachers it’s still working that way..

At the end I want to recommend Thailand as exchange-country for everyone. Studying here is maybe not the best quality you can get and everyday life is not always as cool as in pictures, but that has still been great time here in Thailand!

 

Best Regards!

Aki Kortetmäki

Building services engineering

Greetings from the French Riviera!

Greeting from Nice, France!

I hope that you have had a good spring so far. In Nice, life is good. The sun is out almost every day, and the temperature has started to be very summery. I walk about 15-20 minutes to school, and our each class lasts 1 hour and 20 minutes. During freetime, in addition to spending time in Nice, there are a lot of very nice places  to visit nearby. For example Cannes and its islands, Antibes, Monaco and Èze are worth visiting.20150402_141925Here is the view from Castle Hill overlooking Nice and its Promenade des Anglais and the old town. The airport is at the West end of the promenade, about 7,5 kilometres from the city center. The beach promenade is the best place for walks or running. There is a nice park area and good viewing points on the castle hill. There used to be a castle up on the hill, but there are only ruins left nowadays. In my course of French Culture and Civilization at IPAG Business School I have learned about the history of France and Nice. I study French language, French Culture and Civilization, Tourism Marketing and Business Strategy. 20150212_183115Above is a photo of socca, a local specialty. It is a savory crêpe made using chickpea flower, and it’s very delicious. One good place for socca is Chez Pipo near the port of Nice.

2015-02-16 09.31.51 2In Nice there’s a pebble stone beach. It isn’t very comfortable for laying on it, but it’ll do! It is lovely to sit or walk on the beach in the evenings. The water’s still very cold. There are great sand beaches in other towns nearby, and also in Nice there’s a small patch of sand beach.

2015-04-19 09.35.15 1In Nice, in addition to walking, we use the tram and buses. The tram goes around a circle, and in the picture you can see two trams going to different directions at Massena Square, which is a square in the heart of the town. Nice is one of the biggest cities in France. The old town is very different compared to the new town. In the old town the streets are more narrow. The streets were built narrow, because people wanted shade to their homes so they wouldn’t get too hot, and also it felt more safe to have narrow streets. The tourist season has started after the weather has begun to warm up. There is a daily flower and fresh produce market in Cours Saleya, which is on the edge of the old town near the sea. On Mondays there are also antique items being sold.

I also got to experience French hospital when I has an appendicitis and had the surgery here. Luckily I went to the hospital at an early state of the disease, and received very good medical care. I was happy to receive such great care in France. So anything can happen while you’re studying abroad, and make sure to have a comprehensive travel insurance.

I am very happy about my friends here! Now I will continue my day here in Nice. Have a nice day! 😉

Best wishes, Leila

The Netherlands or The Nevergoinghomelands?

Hi guys and greetings from the land of tulips and windmills!

I’m doing my study exchange in The Hague, The Netherlands. I’m studying European Studies at The Hague University of Applied Sciences. The choice of the school was quite easy for me. Back home my main studies consist of law studies and there were quite few schools that offered law studies. THUAS offered definitely the biggest amount of interesting courses and progressive school facilities. At THUAS there are over 10 000 students in a huge 8-floor campus at Laakhaven. As you might already guess, trying to find the class rooms at the first weeks was challenging. Luckily the campus is round so after a couple of laps you will end up in the right room.

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As I mentioned earlier I study law. I chose couple of really interesting courses of European law and decision making but I found another subject I really got hooked: politics. I haven’t considered law studies before but because of some clashes with timetable I end up in to a Media and Politics class. I really got excited about the subject so for the second term I made some changes and took another politics course. I have already had my first exams and they were my worst culture shock. I had an open question exam that included ten highly applied and extensive questions. I could have written an essay of each of them, but we only had one and a half hour time. So nine minutes per question, it was mad. For the last question I had only 2 minutes time to answer and basically I had to just write whatever came to my mind and sum up roughly. Somehow I still managed to do quite well. To my mind the exams have been so much harder than I expected and here teachers assume you a lot of work on your free time because a course has only one lecture per week for 1,5 hour or two 45 minutes lectures per week.

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This is my first time living abroad and at first I was a bit worried. How could I survive alone in totally new country and culture? Well, quite easy. After all I could describe the culture as European. It really doesn’t differ that much from the Finnish culture. People act kind of the same way, food is quite similar and other usual habits are similar. So I haven’t experience the culture shock, vice versa I have absolutely fell in love with the country, especially the cute little city of Delft nearby The Hague. I had a mission to get to know the culture as well as I possibly can and for achieving that I have cycled around the Hague and visited the historical museum and old jail museum, had a canal cruise in Amsterdam and visited Jewish museum, The National museum and Anna Frank house there, visited Rotterdam’s famous food market twice, danced in the city center of Maastricht during carnival, explored Delft blue porcelains, made Stroopwafels in Gouda and much more. I have also travelled to Belgium with my new friends and in couple of weeks we are going to Prague and Edinburg together. In addition to travelling at my spare time I hang out with my new friends, bike a lot and enjoy my time here. The Netherlands had stolen my heart. It is just a blessing to experience the exchange.

– Emmi

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Habari? Muzuri!

If you ever visit Kenya you will hear these two words. They are Swahili and mean: How are you? I’m fine!  If the answer is something else you know that something is seriously wrong. I have learned that even really sick patients tell you that they are feeling good. And remember to greet with a handshake!

I have been in Kenya over a month now! We are staying Kisumu City and I have to tell you  that it’s been eye-opening experience altogether. I thought I was well orientated when I left but you can’t prepare yourself to all you see, feel and experience here.

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Our living arangements are good considering where most of Kenyans live. We have running water, electricity and even wifi (although sometimes more off-working than on-working). Most of Kenyans live at country side at mud houses which can fall down during the rain or at city slums in houses made of sheet metal. So I can’t really complain! But for a Finnish girl who has get used to have an own apartment it’s been interesting experience to live with three other girls and share a bed with one. And to make it more interesting we are sleeping under mosquite net like real princesses because of the malaria risk. We live right in the city center and I love it because at the country side you would have nothing to do beside the work. In the city you can have a break at coffee shop, eat nice meal at restaurant or just shop a bit. We can spent a free day at pool and bath in the sun.

I have been working here with Blue Cross organisation, which works with street children. I heard that in Kisumu live about 900 children at streets. Imagine that! They are hooked to glue, alcohol or drugs. With Blue Cross we have seen real life. We have visited homes where children who are supported by Blue Cross live. They check regulary how the families are doing.  Most stopping moment here so far has been when we got to streets during the night. We bought bread to the street kids and went to see them at night time. They say it’s not safe to move around after dark but the opportunity was so unique that we coudn’t pass it. And workers from Blue Cross were with us. We talked to kids, gave them bread and milk. I was really touched by their lives. I hope they can get some help somehow.

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Now I have been working at local health center. It’s been really interesting and taughtful experience. I think I have give more shots than I have ever before. I have got a good training about intraventricular injections. They gave them here straight to vein with the needle and give for example antibiotichs as a bolus. I was also suprised about their maternity care – most of the things are free to pregnant women and new-born baby. Next I’m going to work local hospitals for 6 weeks and then it’s time to go home.

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Time runs here in Kisumu! I can’t believe I have been here over a month! The experience has been great and unique. I just hope I could do more to help these people here. I think resources I have are so limited.

Walking up the city of seven hills

Lisbon, the capital of Portugal, isn’t called the city of seven hills for no reason. There really are hills almost every direction you go. So my high heels have been basically only decorating my room. Still the hills give possibilities to see amazing views from different sides of the city. And in the case you feel too tired to walk up the hills, there are lots of trams that take you up.

A tram in Lisbon
A tram in Alfama in Lisbon
One of the views from Alfama
One of the views from Alfama

The city is charming and so are the people as well. There are all the time something to do and see. Also the weather is, surprise, better than in Finland. We spent a day on a beach sunbathing already at the first week of March. Great escape from the winter of Finland!

Erasmus students after the first day at beach in Carcavelos in Portugal.
Erasmus students after the first day at beach in Carcavelos in Portugal.

Here in Portugal travelling is really cheap. For example roundtrip train tickets to Sintra is 10 euro. Or flights to Azores 70e. That’s a reason why I have also made a road trip to Andalucía to Spain with my flat mates. 6 days in 5 cities under 200 euros. Also other things like food is cheaper here than in Finland. It is also possible to enjoy nightlife basically for free or with only couple of euro. Excellent for a student..

During the road trip in Andalucía we also visited Gibraltar and saw the cute monkeys.
During the road trip in Andalucía we also visited Gibraltar and saw the cute monkeys.

The university where I am is actually a private one. That I found out after two months, haha. The university is quite small but nice. I have only a few classes so I spend most of my time elsewhere. Thing that I’m really grateful is the buddy program in my school! Without my buddy I would have been totally lost during my first week here because of all kinds of problems with accommodation. But after all I have found lots of new amazing friends from all over the world. I wish the time wouldn’t pass so fast.

Other Erasmus students and buddies at the university.
Other Erasmus students and buddies at the university.

 

Até logo Finlândia!