Monthly Archives: September 2015

Greetings from Vilnius, LITHUANIA

Hello everybody!

I am writing this post card from beautiful city Vilnius where I am doing my practical training.

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I am Lithuanian myself but the thing is that I have not been living in there for the last five years. Probably that is the reason why I wanted to do my practice in here and to live in  the capital city at least for a while. Another reasons is that Lithuania is beautuiful and cheap country to be live in. I am happy with my choice because I had more time to spend with my family and to do things like fly with hot air ballon and cycle the bicycle.11986538_10205013273233411_2279945108529353563_n  11990684_10205013272793400_8095603700378406967_n

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Lithuania is also not taht far away from Finland so hope you all can come and visit here one day!

#Lithuania

 

Magical Moravian Moments

Ahoj!

…No I have not turned into a sailor, in case you wondered, it is just the Czech way of saying hi. Remember that cute little cartoon character, the Mole? Well he says it quite a lot and it used to be one of my favorite shows as a kid so… I guess I started learning Czech at a pretty young age!

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I  decided to go to Brno, Czech Republic for my Erasmus exchange but I still don’t quite know why or how I ended up choosing this place. Nevertheless, I couldn’t be happier.

I didn’t know much about the country itself beforehand, and what I did know was pretty much limited to the beer and hockey culture of Czechs. In fact, Czech Republic happened to be THE place to be for the Ice Hockey World Championship 2015!

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Yeah… That game didn’t go too well for us…
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…but at least the beer and the atmosphere were great!

 

 

It feels exciting and thrilling to get to explore all the places here and around and to get to know a lot of great new people. I am having so much fun travelling, socializing, spending time with new friends and going to such great events. We even had a tram party with comics theme!

It isn’t all about the fun and games though. I’ve got 30 credits worth of courses at Masaryk University (a little bit ambitious goal, as it turns out). The studies are very much based on theory and most of my courses are focusing on Czech history and  Czech economy. The workload is huge but at least I have learned a lot more about Czech business life than I thought I would.

Czech Republic is a surprisingly similar country to Finland. The people act quite the same way; a wide smile is rare sight and people stare quietly out of the windows at the public transportation. However, czechs are pretty laid back even though they seem hard from the outside! They love to spice up the conversations with sarcastic jokes and are very polite. During the time I’ve spent in Brno… I haven’t even seen a single barfight! Everyone is just having a good time.

Brno is a beautiful, warmhearted, tourist-free city that I would recommend everyone to visit. Prague is fantastic too but there is truly something about this place that makes it feel more welcoming. I know I will be back someday.

Brno from Spilberk castle

I am definitely in love with Brno.

How did you end up here?

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Alright I’ve heard this a couple of times. I’m doing my exchange period in Wolverhampton, West Midlands and I got to tell you it’s not your everyday tourist location. I’m not saying it’s bad but people here a bit surprised by you popping in, kind of like Finns to be fair.

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The town

I’ve been to England a couple of times before and really liked it. I still do and London is absolutely my favourite city. Wolverhampton is an old industrial city with a population of 253 000 people. The university is nice and modern and the uni buildings really step out amongst all of the old churches and other buildings. The university has quite a lot of international students actually and I’m living in the halls with some spanish, german and taiwanese people.

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Wolves home arena

Studying has been really interesting and I like to see different ways of teaching and new aspects on my own field of study which is construction management. In my spare time I’m doing my old hobbies that include gym and running but I have also joined the university’s Ultimate frisbee team Airwolf. Playing in the uni team with the locals has made me loads of new friends in socials and on the field.

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Canterbury

I arrived to England three weeks before uni started and spent the time with my girlfriend who studies in Canterbury which is in southern part of England. There is a clear contrast between the north and the south. Everything above London is ”the north” and most of the money is in the southern parts. Canterbury is a really beautiful small city where I like spending my time.

Overall I like studying in England and plan to see some more sides of the country!

Kind regards,

Jere Nurmi

Czechin’ out Brno

The eagle has landed. We are finally here in Czech Republic the country of beer! Should be a nice place for a beer loving Finn to call home.

Cash is king: First culture shock I experienced was to see that my debit card wasn’t going to be used as much as I was used to. Even the rent was paid by cash. It’s really weird how this country which is so fond of regulations is run by cash – although I guess that’s where the accusations of corruption arise from.

The city: Even though Brno is the second largest city in Czech Republic it’s not ridden with tourists which makes it a nice change from Prague. It is also a lot more cheaper than the capitol. The public transport works perfectly and the people seem to be relaxed. Brno has their own historical figures and monuments such as the disliked clock in the center of the city and the Brno dragon.

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Brno dragon

School: Our Business Faculty is right next to the dorms so going to classes is easy. The teaching methods don’t seem to differ much from the Finnish way even though this time I’m in a university. The school building is modern and clean so it is a nice place study at. The rules for computer labs are crazy strict so I had to order a laptop for myself.

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Computer lab with strict rules. Cellphones were to be turned off. No jackets, no bags, no food or drinks.

Food & Drinks: Wow do I love the beer and food culture here! Almost every restaurant has a 2-3 course lunch menu ranging from 3 to 4 euros. Beer is an everyday beverage and you can see Czech students having a beer in the morning before their classes. There are local breweries and some restaurants brew their own beer.  Also Brno being in Southern-Moravia we are in wine country so locally made white wine can be bought at any kiosk. Czech cuisine is really salty by default and the portion sizes are laaaaaarge. Also food can be ordered in every pub which makes eating out easy as breeze.

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Pig’s knee. By far the biggest portion I’ve ever received in a restaurant
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Green beer brewed just for Easter celebrations

 

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Wine tasting in Znojmo. Close to Austrian border.

Travel: Brno has an amazing location and its bus connections are among the best. It’s really easy to travel to almost anywhere in Europe. To Vienna it takes around 2h!

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Cesky Krumlov
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Vienna
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Znojmo

 

 

Finding Seoul…

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안냥하세요!!
Seoul is a wonderful city, with streets filled with music and people. The old and the new are mixed interestingly throughout the city and the culture. People are really friendly although some are a bit shy to speak English.

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It’s nothing like home, but I feel really welcomed here. Konkuk University has a lovely campus and just like Seoul it is big and you can feel overwhelmed by it all. Luckily I’ve met a lot of nice people who have been showing me around and introduced me to delicious meals.

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I managed to get into most of the courses I wanted with the help of the international coordinator. He was really a wonderful and helpful person. The courses were marked as English courses, but there were a lot of times when the teacher was teaching in Korean. I didn’t mind, because the assignments and most important things were always explained in English as well.

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There is so much to see and experience in Korea. The school arranged a few field trips, which were amazing. We also went traveling around Seoul and Korea with friends. I’ve learned so much about different cultures and myself. Being an exchange student gives you a unique opportunity to get to know a different culture as well as meet people from all over the world. It will open your eyes in a new way, I would recommend it for everyone.

On the Lake Geneva shoreline

Bonjour, Geneva here!

I’ve been doing my practical training here since the end of March in a recruitment agency, so I have been here for a few months by now. To sum everything up quickly, Geneva seems so much more than a city the size of Tampere (by population)!

Lake Geneva and the Geneva landmark Jet d'Eau in downtown Geneva
Lake Geneva and the Geneva landmark Jet d’Eau in downtown Geneva

The summer here has been extremely beautiful (nothing like Finland, eh?), but of course there’s more to that than the eye can see. Working in a office, where the temperature is +40 degrees celsius, with no air conditioning is not the most pleasant experience. Furthermore, try doing that for three weeks straight.

I’ve been working long hours at the office, but the more I think of it, the more I realize, that most Swiss people do that their entire lives. The Finnish system with regular 9-to-5 days does not prevail here, and it is almost expected from you to work at least nine hours a day, often ten, eleven, or twelve. Then again, you do learn much more about what you are doing.

The work itself has been interesting, yet extremely challenging. I’m still trying to get used to a completely different pace of work and several recruitment processes I was completely new to, but I feel, that I’m getting more and more into the job day by day. Most of my days go by interviewing candidates on the phone and searching for potential ones online.

Thankfully I also have some spare time, and the other weekend me and my girlfriend visited a beautiful mountain range not far from Geneva. In fact, only an hour and a half drive away.

Mont Blanc and the Alps in France.
Mont Blanc and the Alps in France.

The trip was wonderful, and the hike took approximately five hours circling around the mountainside. We also went to Lac Blanc, a beautiful mountain lake at approximately at 2400 meters.

Life here can be complicated at times (people on the French side just do not speak English!!!) due to my non-existent French skills and the lack of interest in serving me from the customer service’s side, but overall the pros overcome the cons. Besides, I have never lived so close to an airport, so it is good fun to watch planes from around the world take off and land. 🙂

The workload does not seem to decrease, nor does the temperature seem to go down much, but life in Geneva is all ways good!

The Heart of Europe

It was a dark and rainy night when I arrived in Brussels. Journey from the airport to my to-be apartment was somewhat an adventure itself since navigation in an unfamiliar city was rather challenging. Also I didn’t know that my apartment would be in the middle of Turkish/Moroccan neighbourhood which btw. offered some great ethnic food stores!

At first, Brussels might seem a bit grey all business type of a city, but when you roam around and take a few alleyways (or just simply get lost), you can really feel the diversity and strong subcultures of the city! Personally I happen to love going to “underground” places and seeing life beyond the facade.

Graffiti in the centre of Brussels

The School and especially schoolmates have been awesome too! I found out that I’m not going to attend a lot of lectures and “basic school”, but instead I’m going to do a lot of projects! I was super excited, because I love film making and I think that’s the best way of learning about culture and Belgian way of film making. Even though I’m the only exchange student in the whole building (the film and television unit is separated from the main campus) I haven’t felt lonely. I’ve made a lot of friends and hope that they will last even after my exchange 🙂

 

 

 

JAPAN THE BEAUTFUL

Japan is a wonderful and beautiful country to visit, stay and to do the studies. I arrived in Sapporo, Japan on April 4, 2015 at Chitose International Airport and I was picked up by Dr. Ilto to my apartment which was located North 12, East 2. During the time I arrived, Japanese people were celebrating cherry blossom the symbol of love, family unit and friends coming together to enjoy good moments of the year. Cherry blossom is characterized by trees flowering with different colors thus giving the environment a sense of beauty and attractiveness. And during this period the weather was very good.

During a four days national holiday in Japan, I was privileged to travel with my friends to various places in Hokkaido Island starting from Sapporo to as far as matsumae. I had a good moment with friends and enjoyed the trip. During our journey we kept on stopping and viewing some volcanic eruptions residues, Cherry blossoms, eating, listening to the history of Japan and having wind bath along sea coast. The journey took us two days to go round, on the map the red line shows the route we took, I must say that it was a wonderful moment to see the beauty of nature unrevealing itself in such a manner.

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The map of Hokkaido Island, Japan

Some of the moment we cherished so much was togetherness, laughing, eating and posing for pictures, as shown below.

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The beautiful moments of the two days tour in Hokkaido Island, Japan.

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In the pictures you can see the happy faces, cherry blossom, the Japanese temple, sulfur on the volcanic eruption site and the mountains

Another moment which captured my attention was the initiative of African student studying at Hokkaido University hosting an African day event. The event was spectacular and wonderful, I was pleased to part of it. Hokkaido University consist of different international student from all walks of life and having event like African day or other events hosted by international student are very productive and enhances team work, peace,support and eliminate all kinds of discrimination within the campus. Below are the pictures of the event.

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The moment at African day event with lovely people

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Some event was to wonderful to forget, like this one shown below. The wearing of Japanese traditional dress known as Kimono. During this event we were served green tea which is characterized by bitter test prepared in front of us. Kimono is a traditional dress which is highly valued by Japanese people.

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Wearing Kimono, Japanese traditional dress.

Despite my engagement in all this mentioned activities, I had time to spend with my fellow laboratory student. I enjoyed each moment we spend together both leisure and academic time. Academically I learnt a lot via observation, discussions, practicing and instruction, and during leisure time we cherished each other and we had good moments.

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fellow labs Environmental engineers in the division of Sanitation enjoying themselves.

Overall the internship period was remarkable and nothing to regret. Japan is a beautiful country, you must visit. My journey began from Tampere all the way to Japan, Sapporo and back to Tampere, Finland. Throughout this journey I saw the beauty of nature, the breathing of seas and was surrounded by good friends who cared and helped me a lot thus the journey of leisure and academic fulfillment was achieved with excellence.

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Copenhagen calling!

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I’ve been living in Copenhagen, the capital city of Denmark for over a month now. My internship will last three months in total and I’m doing it in a small hotel near to the city center. During the first month I have learned so much and have been in my uncomfortable zone almost every day: not only trying to survive with my very, very bad Danish but also trying to speak Swedish with my colleagues. However, it has been a very instructive journey so far.

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Islands Brygge, Copenhagen

Luckily not every day is a work day. I have had time to meet friends and live Copenhagen life. I have got to know smørrebrød and bikes quite well. Copenhagen is a very beautiful, Scandinavian city and people are very helpful. It is a very international city and the lifestyle is  very easy-going. It still is summer in Copenhagen but the evenings are getting darker and colder all the time. Luckily there is always something going on in Copenhagen so it is easy to find different happenings around the city even if the summer is almost over.

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Tivoli, Copenhagen

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Smørrebrød

All in all it has been a very good experience and the weeks are just flying by. I will miss Copenhagen so much when this ends, but to be honest I can’t wait to get back home.

South Korea- A convergence between tradition and modernity

I came to South Korea during a day of Autumn. I was stunning at the beautiful scenery on the way from airport to the university dormitory. The leaf turned yellow and red, the weather was a bit chilly.

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My first impression towards South Korea was that it was indeed a convergence between the tradition and modernity. Firstly, the modern skyscrapers were everywhere in the capital, people were wearing business costume with a hurry pace.  In contrast, in the middle of the city, there were many old palaces existing for thousands of years with a long historical stories. Besides, there were also traditional villages which brought priceless value. There was a very calm and slow pace in these places, people were wearing traditional clothes to maintain the historical traditions as much as they can.

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The food here was very diverse and extremely tasty. I also came from an Asian country which is famous of eating spicy food. Therefore, i hardy have any difficulty in tasting spiciness which is the commonly used flavour in South Korea.

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My university was pretty cool. Since it was the oldest university in South Korea which has the image in the Korean money paper, i could clearly see the differences in the traditional and modern architecture.

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My campus was in Seoul and it was obviously a modern building with a lot of advanced technologies used for teaching. Professors were good at English and their way of teaching method was quite theoretical- based compare the practical approach used at Tamk. The exam was quite intense and serious. As far as i know from what Korean students told me, students need to study hard to get compete others for scholarship and a good transcript of record, it will ensure to get them a better job in the future.

It was a great feeling to spend the autumn semester here in South Korea. Many things to experience and great memory!