Monthly Archives: May 2015

Adventures in the lowlands!

Hello from Leeuwarden, Holland!

The Netherlands has surprised me with its beauty especially now when the summer is almost here. The never ending green fields and colorful tulips are really something to see. Last week I was traveling from Amsterdam back to Leeuwarden by train and the list of animals I saw on the way was huge: Cows, sheep, a lot of different birds from ducks to eagles, dears, horses and even camels (no, I wasn’t dreaming), the nature is really something unique with its beauty and versatility.

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Keukenhof 

I’m studying in small city in the northern part of Holland called Leeuwarden, it is the capital city of Frisian province. Leeuwarden has everything to offer in order to enjoy yourself: a lot of small cafeterias, nice green parks, good shopping possibilities, active nightlife and a lot of students.

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My homestreet in Leeuwarden

Besides studying I have had the change to travel a lot and not only in the Netherlands, but also elsewhere. I have visited a beautiful city called Bryges in Belgium, always so lovely Paris, sunny Barcelona and trendy Brighton in the UK. The travelling is really easy and with train or bus you can get almost everywhere in the Europe.

These four months that I have spent here in Holland have tought me so much. I have met a lot of great people and learned a lot about other cultures and different ways to live. I wouldn’t change anything!

Take care!

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Grinning Like A Cheshire Cat

Chester Cathedral
Chester Cathedral

Greetings from Chester, England! My stay here in the county of Cheshire surely has given me many reasons to smile and enjoy this opportunity – in fact, I think I couldn’t have chosen a better place to do my training exchange. I have absolutely fallen in love with Chester and Cheshire.

I have been travelling around Cheshire during my stay here, and the combination of peaceful countryside and lively towns has really made me feel at home in here. Many of you might remember Cheshire from Cheshire Cat in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, but the phrase ‘grinning like a Cheshire Cat’ is older than the book written by Lewis Carroll (born in Darensbury, Cheshire). One of the stories behind the origin of the phrase is that the cats in Cheshire grin since the county is famous for it’s countryside, cheese and dairy farms, hence the cats will always have milk and cream to enjoy.

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Countess of Chester Country Park
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Chester

I live in Chester, which is a city located in West Cheshire, close to the border with Wales. I would like to describe the city as historical, cosy and simply stunning. Chester was founded almost 2,000 years ago as a Roman fort called Deva Victrix. The city centre is surrounded by old city walls, originally built by Romans. The walls are my favourite place to walk in Chester, as many of the landmarks in Chester can be seen from the walls. I’ve enjoyed various sunsets from the walls next to Chester Race Course, watched herons standing in the River Dee and admired the magnolia trees blossoming in the garden of the Chester Cathedral. Other attractions in Cheshire are it’s black-and-white architecture and the Chester Rows, unique combination of medieval walkways and shops in two different floors. The location of Chester is perfect for travelling – I’ve been to various places during my stay, including Manchester, Liverpool, Bradford, Leeds, North Wales and Dublin, Ireland.

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Chester Rows
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City Walls

Clinical training has taken majority of my time here, and I have had the opportunity to do different kinds of placements. I have been working at a respiratory care ward, renal unit, endoscopy unit and operation theatres here in Chester, and community care team in Ellesmere Port, another town in West Cheshire. I’ve also had brief visits to leg ulcer clinic and a day care surgery unit and it’s recovery. There is definitely differences in nursing and practices between England and Finland, but I feel like I’ve learned a lot of new things, seen a lot of new ways and had placements I wouldn’t have been able to do in my own country.

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Roman Amphitheatre

I would definitely recommend visiting Chester, North West England and North Wales; there is a lot to see and do, especially for those who enjoy beautiful scenery and many different kind of places within relatively small area. My time here will soon be over, but I’ll definitely come back some day.

– Hanna

Τι κάνετε;

The title is one of the things I learned in Greek while I was here in Cyprus. It means “How are you?” or “How do you do?”. If asked from me I would answer: “The same as back home.” Because my experience here was pretty much normal life in different environment. I’m not  big party person nor am I the most sociable person on planet. I’m the Lone Wolf character when there are not people I really connect with around. Luckily I had my good “friend” Seppo (in the picture below) with me, who was given to me along for the ride by my girlfriend.

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My normal life consisted of computer, school and wandering around. In that order. I was able to deepen my friendship with one of my already best friends, which was kinda funny considering where I was. School was nothing special, I just went through it with the same attitude as back in Finland. Sometimes I really thank my ability to learn easily by listening.

Cyprus is a really laid back country and you never really feel threatened, except I did once. I had promised my father and brother to go and watch a football match so I did(after many hardships mind you). Firstly I made the mistake of wearing green shirt, the one time I could have wore orange I decided to wear green. Orange is the color of APOEL Nicosia and green is the color of the local competitor. I was sold a ticket to APOEL fan stand basically, and heck was that scary for a Finnish guy with wrong colored shirt. Cypriot football culture is miles ahead of ours. In good and bad.

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My exhange has already reached its end, last week I spent with my mother, brother and girlfriend in Larnaca. Now I’m at the same time excited and afraid of the return to Finland tomorrow (this will be posted when I’m already there though).

Oh, and if I would give a proper “Very good” answer to the title in Greek it would be: “πολύ καλά

Greetings from Antwerp!

Greetings from Antwerp, Belgium!

Already four months in this diverse Flemish city have passed. Time flies when you spend your days studying, travelling, drinking beer, eating fries and chocolate and exploring this beautiful port city with new friends.

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Antwerp is the second biggest city in Belgium and is located on the river Scheldt.  With the population over 500 000 inhabitants and over 170 different nationalities, Antwerp is truly one of the most ethnically diverse cities in the world.

Since Antwerp is the city with most pubs/ bars per inhabitant, you can never get thirsty in here. Pubs selling excellent Belgian beers are in every street corner. And so are Frituurs, typical restaurants selling Fries with mayonnaise and all other delicious sauces I just have to try!

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Besides good beers and food, Belgium is also a nice country because of its central location within Europe. So far I have traveled to the Netherlands, Italy and Spain besides traveling inside Belgium. During my last month I’m still going to see Germany, Luxembourg and England.

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Since the rainy and windy Antwerp weather is finally turning into summer, I’m going to enjoy my last weeks here by chilling and spending a lot of time outside with friends.

Enjoying Stockholm!

 

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My stay in Stockholm has been full of joy, exitement and learning new things. This has been a great opportunity to have a taste of life in Stockholm and to see how Swedish people live.  During my tranings I have improved my nursing skills and my Swedish. By learning more Swedish has given better chance to blend in and talk to people from all age groups.

My stay here has taught me also a lot about Finnish culture and many others. My accomondation with other exchange and Swedish student has given me possibility to talk about other European cultures and Chinese culture and compare them. My corridor friends has become like a family to me and I’m going to miss them a lot when I go back to Finland.

Stockholm is a very beautiful and old city and there is lot to do and see. I haven’t done everything I wanted to during my stay but that just gives me a reason to come back to Stockholm!

Picture I added is from Kungsträgården when the cherry trees where blossoming♡

Best regards

Juliaana

Oh, the craic was mighty !

When thinking about Ireland, most people think about St Patrick’s Day, Guinness, sheep, leprechauns, red hair and funny accent. And actually, that’s what Ireland is all about.

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You could see sheep everywhere

Studying differed quite a lot from what I had used to in TAMK. First of all, the lectures lasted only one hour at a time. We had no breaks in between lectures, so we had to hurry from one to another. Mobile phones or ipads/laptops weren’t allowed (10e fine!) and students had to print a lot of notes and teachers handed many sheets of paper.

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Institution of Technology Tralee

Four and a half months went so fast. Tralee is really small but cute town, where everything is near. I didn’t want to spent all of my time staying there, so in my free time I travelled all around Ireland – North, West, South.. The people I met were amazing. I was living with three girls in a student accommodation and even though I was really afraid of that at first, I loved every second of it. Life in Ireland is pretty much the same as in Finland, except the price of the electricity is really high and that’s why apartments are cold. And when I say cold, I mean 3 sweater + 2 sweatpants + woolen stockings cold. They also have separate tabs for hot and cold water which makes sense..

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Tralee

When you got used to rain, you could realise that Ireland is pretty awesome. And to be honest, it didn’t even rain all the time. I never knew I could hike or surf in Ireland. I did hike but saved surfing for the next time since it was freezing.

In my opinion, photos tell more than words so here you are:

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St Patrick’s Day in Dublin
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Sunset at the Cliffs of Moher
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Cork
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Guinness storehouse, Dublin – Learned to pour perfect pint of Guinness!
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Wild Atlantic Way – popular driving route
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Connemara National Park
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Titanic Museum, Belfast

I never thought that there were so many beautiful landscapes in Ireland. And there was something in the cities that makes me want to go back. I am so happy I took part of Erasmus 2015 and spent a semester in Tralee.

Greatings from Brugge!

Hi you all! Greatings from small pretty town from Belgium. I started my studies here at VIVES on the beginning of February with my friend, and it has been great! We have had lot’s of opportunities to travel around besides our studies and we have met lots of new friends. And, of course, because we are in the land of beers, chocolates and frites, we have tasted lots of them.

Brugge is a beutiful medieval town and the center is UNESCOs World Heritage Site. There have been lots of festivals and happening during our stay here. On our first weeks here we visited the Wintervonken festival and Beer festival. In Wintervonken you had shows all over the town and Beer festival, surprise surprise, had many beer producers showing their broduce. And in this country, there are many.  And the visitors in the festival, there were even more, as you can see.

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We have also travelled a lot! We have been in Brussels many times, both as a trourists and also with our courses in school. We visited Brussels with our Comparative Constitutional Law course and European Law  course. With school we visited the European parliament and Palace of Justice. We have also had courses like Presentation skills, Business game and Intercultural Awareness. The courses have been nice, but the hardest ones have been the law courses. You can watch this viedo to get a good idea of what we have been studien.

Besides Brussels we have visited also Antwerp, Gent, Leuven and Rotterdam. And also London on our first holiday. It’s so easy to travel here! It takes only 2 hours in the train to go from Brussels to London. And it’s cheap to travel withing Belgium; 10 trip Go Pass is 50€, and with that you can travel where ever you want inside Belgium. And there’s lots to see. We have only traveled in the cities that are near by, but there would be the whole Walloon region to concure.

And since we are in the land of the best beers in the world, we have had to taste them. The Brugge has itself probably hundreds of bars, restaraurants and pubs, but we have found “our own hole”, T’ Poatersgat. We found that place by accident and basically, we never left. Think about almost barren street. Then you see a hole in the ground, no visible signs and a stairs down to a cellar, what would you do? Well, we wanted to see what was down there and found the most cosiest bar you could imagine and a big beer list. Now the bar owner, who works there always when we’ve visited there knows us by name and asks after us if he hasn’t seen us in a while! So if you come to Brugge, go there! It’s the best place to go. But not just yet! We don’t want it to get too crowded! 😀

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Greetings from Goat Island!

Koper, the biggest city of Slovenian coast with population 25 000, was ages ago island that was inhabited by goats. That is where its Italian name Capodistria originates (capra=goat). Koper has long history with Italy. It has been under Roman and Venetian rule, Koper is bilingual and you can go to Italy in half an hour. Italian effect can be seen in city architecture and in the menus of restaurants. I have been living in this picturesque city for two months now and I have really liked it here.

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Koper above rooftops

I had my first practise in regional hospital of Izola. I was practising 6 weeks in surgical ward, in vascular and abdominal section and 2 weeks in surgical intensive care unit. System of practical training is really different here. At first, university arranges placements for every student, they don’t have to take any responsibility about that. And second huge diffenrence is that there is always several students practising together. For example I had my practise in the surgical ward with two Slovenian students, so we had to share every task we had in the ward. Because of that and slight language barrier with the nurses practise is not closely as efficient as it probably would have been in Finland. Two weeks in ICU were better, because I was only student and there was more for me to do.

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Splošna bolnišnica Izola

Now I’m having my second practise, perioperative nursing, in neigbour town Ankaran. There is private orthopedic hospital, Valdoltra, that is very highly valued hospital around here. Orthopedic patients all coming from all over Slovenia and even neighbour countries, especially from Italy. Valdoltra is old hospital, established in 1909 for childrens hospital. It is located right next to sea and with its beautiful garden athmosphere is more like holiday resort than hospital. I have seen a lot while working in operating room but Slovenian students of nursing don’t practise perioperative nursing, so sometimes I can see that the nurses are little confused what to do with me.

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Ortopedska Bolnišnica Valdoltra

Life here has been really nice. When I first arrived here spring was already far and it was very sunny. Now here is practically summer. The city is cosy, prices are cheaper than home and the best thing, distances are short! That’s why I haven’t spent many weekends here in Koper. I have been several times in Croatia and Italy, and visited other cities in Slovenia. And for spring break I travelled to Budapest. Because I’m having only practical training here my free time has really been free time, no studying at all! That’s why life has been easy here. After practise I can just go to beach or for cafe to read a book. I will really miss this freedom next fall in Finland!

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Ljubljana – beautiful capital of Slovenia

– Fanny

The View From the River Dee

Hiya from Chester, England!

Chester

So the weather here is not as bad as I thought! It’s actually quite sunny and when it rains it’s very light and like a warm summer rain. The wind is very cold though.

Chester is a gorgeous little traditional British town in the border of Wales. The location is actually excellent because trains go straight to Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham, North Wales and the lovely London is only 2 hours away. There is also a lot of people from all around England and Wales studying and working here.

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I fell in love with Llandudno in Wales.

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London was just brilliant.

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Birmingham wasn’t really my favourite place but you have to love all those pretty cherry trees!

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I have visited Liverpool three times now and it has been quite gloomy and cold each time. Lovely city otherwise! There is a nice combination of old buildings, like the Three Graces in the picture above and some very modern buildings.

I have almost gone through the whole Countess hospital from respiratory ward to a day in ICU to renal unit to endoscopy and theatre & recovery. My final placement here is in community care which I have enjoyed very much so far! Most challenging thing here has been getting all the paperwork done because mentoring isn’t taken very seriously. I have seen and learned a lot anyway and I feel very privileged.

I have 5 incredibly lovely British girls as my roomates who have been so welcoming and I’m going to miss them so much! I hope I can persuade them to come to Finland to visit me.

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See ya later!

Greetings from the heart of Mother Russia

It has been long 2.5 months in Moscow for me already. So, how do I feel about it?

Staying here made me see my own country from a slightly different prospective. City of contrasts. Wealth and poverty. High Culture and common discourtesy. Great talents and pretentious mediocrity. In this city you can see the whole spectrum of society, probably not as much as any other Russian city. The trip also made me appreciate my hometown – St. Petersburg – even more, which now feels like a small cozy European town in comparison.

At first the place was not very welcoming:

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The main church of Russia. To general public outside Russia it’s probably best known for the Pussy Riot story.2

 

Peter the Great, the founder of St. Petersburg. You see little logic in having the statue here in Moscow? Me neither..

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The carrier of the Best Mustache of Russia. A Noble man.4

 

And how could I not include the famous Red Square. It’s simply magical during the nighttime. Honestly.5

 

Even the most patient reader (if there is any) would now be shouting: С’mon, we could see it all from Google, show us some Moscow nightlife, girls, alcohol and crazy party-hard!

Sorry, my patient reader, but I ain’t got any. With the grant I could afford only modest living in a hostel 🙁 This is Moscow.

Now a few words about the actual practical training. As probably any other PT it has its pros and cons, but I’ve learned quite a lot so far. Best part was visiting the actual hydropower station outside Moscow (right, I had PT in hydropower company). Here are some photos, the rest KGB didn’t allow me to post under the threat of ябцждйфючБъ.

 

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Instead of a conclusion: Moscow is a great place during summer, but unfortunately I am leaving it right soon. So if you, my reader, have some spare time, spare money and spare place in your passport to make the visa, come and discover this vivid city, repellent and charming at the same time, but the one which will not leave you indifferent. (But if you have to choose, go to St. Petersburg instead)