Monthly Archives: October 2015

In Amsterdam

Greetings from Amsterdam!

I have lived here little bit over two months now and I couldn’t be happier I ended up in this amazing city. Amsterdam is everything I imagined and even more – it’s beautiful, there’s a lot to see and experience and it’s also very easy to travel to other cities or near by countries. In addition, the school has been better that I thought it would be. I’m studying marketing and I’ve been pretty satisfied with all of my courses. Teachers speak good english (at least usually) and you get a lot of experience in teamwork and presenting. Teachers are a bit more strict here than in Finland, but at least you learn how to handle criticism and it also motivates you to study your subjects.

Even though it’s autumn now, it’s been really warm, about 15 degrees which I’m very happy about. I live in Bijlmer, which is a bit far from the city center, but as a real Amsterdammer I have a bike so it’s no problem. Also, there’s a metro and a train right next to my place. The best part is that my building is right next to my school.
P8180561P9171199P8190635P9171159P8280726I highly recommend Amsterdam as an exchange location. There’s always something to do here and I guarantee a good time. When I started here, there were approx. 950 new exchange students starting, so you wont end up having no friends either. 😀 I think Amsterdam has something for everyone.

Sziasztok! Greetings from Budapest!

After few weeks of autumn rain the sun is shining again over the beautiful Budapest.WP_20150912_018

I have been here for one and a half month now and it’s been great, I wouldn’t change it for anything.

The people here are friendly and polite and very proud of their country, and they should be. The buildings, castles and churches are so beautiful that they still amaze me.

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Szent IstvĂĄn Bazilika
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Szent IstvĂĄn Bazilika

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Vajdahunyad Castle
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Buda Castle

 

 

 

 

 

The Liberty Statue on the Gellért Hill commemorates those who sacrificed their lives for the independence, freedom, and prosperity of Hungary. The hill was definitely worth the climb. The view over the Danube and the city was breathtaking.

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The Liberty Statue and the view from Gellért Hill

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This city is so alive, there is always something happening, Chocolate Festival, Street Food Festival, Vine Festival etc. I can’t wait for the Budapest Christmas Market!

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Budapest Eye

 

 

Vineyards, heurigers and monasteries – Servus aus Österreich!

 

 

 

 

I’ve been here already 5 weeks, but it feels like I’ve just arrived, as every week is full of new adventures.
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The school is actually only about to begin properly, so I have not so much to tell about the studies. We’re having mostly lectures and it turned out to be a lot easier to follow the lessons than I assumed beforehand. Our school has two locations: a newer campus with brand new buildings and modern equipment (picture above) and the other campus, that I’m studying in, is an old monastery with totally different environment and atmosphere.

20150930_14113320150930_140549On my spare time I’ve explored some bigger cities, but also plenty of smaller towns in the nearby area by bicycle. I visited Bratislava in Slovakia, but I’m also planning to travel elsewhere abroad. ask women I love this region, where the river Danube flows through the valleys full of tiny towns and hundreds of vineyards.20151003_163638IMG_4071Austria and especially the Wachau area with the wide range of cheap local and imported wines turned out to be the promised land of a wine lover like myself. For anyone travelling nearby I would recommend to pay a visit to a Heuriger, wine tavern, and enjoy a glass of heuriger, recent year’s young wine, with a plate of meats and cheeses for an affordable price.20151002_212734  20151003_170957

Greetings from Bangkok!

All things considered Thailand has treated me pretty well these almost three whole months that I have now spent here. Somehow time has been really flying, but after this midpoint of my stay I’m still lucky to have another three months in the heat of Asia before packing my bags and coming back home into the middle of the coldest time in winter.

Studying at Assumption University’s beautiful Bangna Campus takes place three days a week and then there’s always a long weekend to discover other nice places, too. So long the best trips have been to Ayutthaya, Krabi and Koh Samui in Thailand, yet adventures in Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Bali, Cambodia and Vietnam are still waiting for me!

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Outside my comfort zone in Scotland

It was about time to pack my bags and start a new adventure! One year and three months was enough in Finland after more than seven years abroad. Practical training exchange programme through TAMK was my flight ticket to the world again!

I was all smiling and full of excitement packing my backpack and flying to Scotland: WORLD I AM HOME AGAIN!

My life is packed once again into a few bags. Let the journey begin!
My life is packed once again into a few bags. Let the journey begin!

Scotland from the air.
Scotland from the air.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I rented a room from a private house just outside the Dumfries town center about 30 minutes walk away and 15 minutes by bike from the Dumfries Campus (University) and Dumfries & Galloway Royal Infirmary Hospital (DGRI) where I am working as well. The bike was a great plus, very convenient way to move around the town and also to explore the lovely Scottish nature!

The bike will be my good friend during the three months!
The bike will be my good friend during the three months!

Cycling to work to the Dumfries & Galloway Royal Infirmary hospital!
Cycling to work to the Dumfries & Galloway Royal Infirmary hospital!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Dumfries Campus area is beautiful with its old buildings and gardens. So are the surrounding parks & villages.

University of West of Scotland - Dumfries Campus with its beautiful, old buildings!
University of West of Scotland – Dumfries Campus with its beautiful, old buildings!

Dumfries Campus Stone Garden.
Dumfries Campus Stone Garden.

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It is a lovely place to enjoy your lunch between lectures!
It is a lovely place to enjoy your lunch between lectures!

Nearby village just a cycle path away - Kingholm Quay.
Nearby village just a cycle path away – Kingholm Quay.

Whitesands, Dumfries.
Whitesands, Dumfries.

I started my practical training in A&E (Accidents & Emergencies). So I have learned that the best and the fastest way to learn (though probably not the easiest way) is to “jump into the river and start swimming”. A lot of questions, repetition and hands-on attitude got me through the three exciting weeks in the A&E of DGRI. Time flew and I would have liked to stay there few more weeks, if not the whole three months! I got also an opportunity to have two days with the Scottish Ambulance Service (SAS) which was extremely instructive. The first three weeks really showed me that I am in the right field of study!

Second placement is for four weeks in Ward 15 – Paediatric Ward. Again it feels like I have to start from zero – the routines are quite different from ward to ward. With children and especially with babies all the procedures and medical nursing are quite different compared to adults. But I am enjoying my time so far and I have a lot to learn. Just to keep my eyes and mind open and ask a few more questions!

My third placement will be in the Birthing Suite for two weeks and the last three weeks (4th placement) will be in the Mental Health Care Ward. I have truly intriguing times ahead!

The best way to learn is outside my comfort zone!

Dumfries & Galloway Royal Infirmary Hospital from the distance.
Dumfries & Galloway Royal Infirmary Hospital from the distance.

View from the DGRI Hospital over the town of Dumfries and the mountain of Criffel.
View from the DGRI Hospital over the town of Dumfries and the mountain of Criffel.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Since the working shifts have been more or less 12 hour shifts at a time, I have had quite many full days off from work. When I am not working in the hospital I walk, run and cycle a lot. I have participated in the Scottish Classical Dance lessons, which was quite fun and believe me or not required quite a bit of concentration to remember all the steps!

I also enjoy a coffee with my new friends or just go to Starbucks by myself for a cup of black filter coffee, piece of lemon cake and with a great book! Visiting the nearby castles and ruins of old buildings, climbing the mountain Criffel (506 meters high), day off in Edinburgh and the chilly and colourfull Autumn are all a part of the fantastic cultural and educational experience during my three months here in Dumfries, Scotland!

Here are some pictures along the way:

Part of the cultural experience is to try local food, so Haggis (a savoury pudding containing sheep’s pluck – heart, liver and lungs-  minced with onion, oatmeal, suet, spices, and salt, mixed with stock, traditionally encased in the animal’s stomach) is on my bucket list!

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Enjoy your experience abroad!

Greetings from Scotland,

Virpi

Culture and gorillas in Leipzig

Hello, fellow exchange students!

The first weeks of my study exchange in Leipzig have been absolutely amazing! I have totally fell in love with the beautiful city with its to-some-extent-visible characteristics reflecting the history of DDR. My studies in the University of Music and Theater have started off well as well and I have had the honor to get to know many talented fellow students and, of course, staff members, too. Because Leipzig is the city of J. S. Bach (among other significant musical characters) and the university is the oldest University of Music in Germany, the historical atmosphere is truly inspiring and the importance of culture can be sensed everywhere.

Gewandhaus zu Leipzig
Gewandhaus zu Leipzig

The concert hall in Leipzig is called Gewandhaus zu Leipzig and a couple of weeks ago I visited it for the first time. It actually reminds me of Musiikkitalo in Helsinki quite a lot! The concert itself was fantastic, with Radu Lupu as piano soloist. The tickets for students are very affordable for all the concerts here, so I really have to enjoy this chance and make the best of it!

View over the city
View over the city

Leipzig is flat, but rather green, with the White Elster, Pleisse, and Parthe rivers in the south-western side of the city. Even though the city is almost as big as Helsinki, the city centre is very compact and almost every destination can be reached by bike or on foot in a couple of minutes. There are a lot of parks located around the city too, where one can easily spend a couple of hours just wandering around.

Gorillas im Zoo!
Gorillas im Zoo!

During the autumn break in Finland, my boyfriend visited me and with him we spent some time as tourists, as my regular daily schedule consists mostly of practicing piano and some lectures. I am not usually a big fan of zoos, but this one was actually really cool and the animals seemed pretty happy! My favourites above and below.

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Völkerschlachtdenkmal (Monument of the Battle of Leipzig)
Völkerschlachtdenkmal (Monument of the Battle of Leipzig)

The view above was taken on top of this monument, which was built in remembrance of the Battle of Leipzig in the 1800s. Of that I am not going to tell more, so feel free to google it yourselves 🙂

All in all, my experiences of my studies and the city have been great so far. However, knowing the language (that is, German) is absolutely necessary for getting the best out of everything and dealing with different offices and older people. Luckily my German skills are rather good, but still, there is so much to learn!

Liebe GrĂŒsse,

Outi

Hoi! How to survive in the dutch part of Belgium!

I arrive in Brussels more or less a month ago ready to start my erasmus exchange in Genk. I visited Brussels two years ago for the first time and got enchanted by the beautiful architecture, the food and the friendly Belgians!

The Grote Markt in Brussels
The Grote Markt Grand Plaza in Brussels

My exchange program is based on Media and Communication subjects including as well studies in Game interfaces and Play mobile. Last week we had a game day in Brussels, we got to play what they called a social interactive urban game in the city center.

The game is based on the story of Freddy, who is a happy gnome that lives in Brussels. He will bring you to the most exciting places around the city where you have to complete quests and challenges in order to get points. So as a newcomer you get a cellphone with a gps and a map, you have to find the locations within the time limit and shoot your opponents!

Our team photo!
Our team photo!
Our gift to the Gnome. (tiny shoes)
Our gift to the Gnome. (tiny shoes)
Play Mobile group from Luca school of arts
Play Mobile group from Luca school of arts

 

Location in Belgium
Location in Belgium

Genk is the city where my school is located.  It is an hour away from Brussels but really close to the border with Netherlands, which makes it accesible for travelling between the countries.

 

 

 

Leeuwarden, The Netherlands
Leeuwarden, The Netherlands

 

 

 

 

 

Train ride view
Train ride view

Genk was known for it’s mines 40 years ago, but then they closed and the city had to changed their most known landmark. My campus is located in one of the mine areas, and to this day you can still see the enormous mine towers that use to be active during the mining work.

C-mine Campus
C-mine Campus
View from the inside of C-mine.
View from the inside of C-mine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Belgium is known also because of the good beers, waffles and fries! And there’s no lie in the rumours, that is all truth! Here is the proof!

Just another waffle
Just another waffle

Sex, Drugs and Dance Music!

Well, at least the last one. 😀

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I’m in Amsterdam and it has been quite shock to someone who use to hang around rock music (pubs and gigs) to getting used to this city of EDM. It’s dance dance dance all the way. Especially because I’m also studying Event Management that basically is either dance events or sport. But I can’t really complain, I’ve been planning events for Wimbledon, formatting reality TV and writing blogs to market my minor.

Apart that there’s party everyday if you wish so. I don’t even know how many student societies there are but if none of them is organizing party at least one is happening in your own building. Or you can travel. It’s cheap to go anywhere. Take a plane, train or bus and go somewhere, there are thousands or opportunities. If you don’t know who to go with, there’s always trips by one of the student societies’ to Berlin, Prague or MĂŒnchen’s Octoberfest, if you wish.  Or take a study trip to London like our minor. Nothing to complain. It was awesome!

@Wembley
@Wembley

I could write forever as there is so much to do but I’m just gonna let photos speak for me.

Dank je wel!

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Hola, amigos! Greetings from Mexico!

IMG_20150806_125139View close to my apartment

It’s been two months since I arrived here. My trip from home to here was easy, I just flied to San Diego, USA and then school transport pick up all the exchange students from the airport and drove us to Ensenada. Ensenada is quite a small but comfortable city in north of Mexico, close to Tijuana.
IMG_20150815_161106IMG_20150817_152733Surfing with friends and city of Ensenada

Weather here is awesome, +25 to 30 degrees Celsius so for us it feels like a long summer. City locates close to Pacific Ocean and that’s why here is lot of surf spots and swimming places. I live in a host family and it has been a good choice, there’s much help that they can give to your everyday life.

IMG_20150907_141317IMG_20150808_190412Street food: Tacos and vegetables; food plate from mexican restaurant

School is a private University called CETYS and everything has gone well, teachers are cool and schoolmates are always ready to help. We have also done some trips, we went to Sierra de Juares which was interesting adventure in the middle of nowhere and then I’ve also been in San Diego and San Fransisco.

IMG_20150913_112339Sierra de Juares

Still here is plenty of places where I should visit so lets hope that the second half is as unforgettable than the first one!

Hello Malta!

I have settled here super well and started my training in a 5 star spa resort hotel. The work seems quite challenging since in this complex we not only have 2 hotels, 3 spa sections, dentist, hairdresser, physiotherapist but also 8 restaurants and what I need to do on a daily basis is to take bookings for each of these restaurants. I’ve learned a lot and the pace here is pretty slow. The orientation is not probably as great as it could be but I learn a lot by just monitoring what other people do. Most of the residents of the hotel are retired, so they fortunately have no hurry and everyone’s patient with me.

The island itself is breath-takingly beautiful! My summer here seems to last forever since it’s still almost 30  degrees here during the daytime. I live in the hotel itself in a staff accommodation and the location couldn’t be any better. I live in the tip of Sliema facing the Valletta harbour. The view from the hotel is beautiful and I love to take evening walks here in the neighbourhood. The night life is very lively and all the pubs and restaurants are full in the evenings. You can hear a lot of Scandinavian languages been spoken in public, it seems to be a very popular destination for Finns as well.

So far so good! Let’s just hope the good vibes will continue all through my practical training period! Good luck to everyone and see you back home if anyone of us will even want to return!

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With love, Ida