Monthly Archives: November 2015

Saluti da Parma, Italia!

Buongiorno a tutti!

I arrived in Parma, Italy in mid-September when summer was still at its best and temperature around +30’C. Parma is a beautiful city of 187 000 inhabitants, which is small for Italy. The location is perfect for exploring places, for example by train you can reach Milano in 1.5h, Bologna in 1h and Modena in 0.5h.

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Cattedrale e Battistero di Parma
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Piazza Garibaldi

I’ve gotten to know the local culinary culture by visiting a cheese factory where they make the world famous Parmesan cheese, Parmigiano Reggiano. My favourite! Goes well with the local spakling red wine Lambrusco. Lots of pasta and pizza also, though pizza comes from the south of Italy and isn’t typical for the north.

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A wheel of Parmesan cheese weighs 40kg.
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The wheels are soaked in salt water

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Very soon after arriving in Italia you also realize, that Italians generally don’t speak English. Even at the university, the welcome lectures for international students were held in Italian and everyone expects you to know and speak Italian. The con is that you easily feel an outsider if you don’t speak the language. The pro is that you learn it REALLY fast because you have to 😀 Luckily they provide language courses at the university.

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A park next to my apartment

I’ve managed some travelling also, most memorable being Cinque Terre at the Italian Riviera. There are five small villages at the coast with unimaginably scenic views and small alleys to wander along.

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Cinque Terre

My exchange is now a little over half-way. I’m looking forward to more unforgettable experiences in this country of culture, art and good food. Arrivederci!

Discovering THE SOO

Hello from Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada! I have been doing my study exchange at Algoma University for almost three months now, and this semester has been so different from anything I have ever done. I arrived in “The Soo” at the end of August, when the weather was almost +30C and no one was even thinking about school yet. I chose to live on campus, because it was a very easy option for me as I didn’t want to live in a host family. The campus is very small, and a major advantage is that it only takes you 2 minutes to get from your room to class. I live in the Lou Lukenda Res, which is an okay option, but coming from my own apartment in Finland it was a bit of a shock not having a kitchen, or even a fridge in your room. But, I have adjusted, and it has been (mostly) a fun experience living in a dorm.

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Shingwauk Hall

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School is very different here at Algoma than at TAMK, especially when it comes to reading, writing, and group work. The studying is much more theory based, and the work load is much more with all the assignments, quizzes, mid terms, final papers, final exams and homework on top of that. I don’t think it is harder, it’s just more. In TAMK we do a lot of group work and assignments are based on real cases or companies, whereas here we do individual assignments rather than group work and the assignments are basically describing theories. I have done courses in HRM, business ethics and Canadian business, and I think they are have given me something that I probably wouldn’t have learned back home. It is very interesting to talk about these issues here, because the university is very diverse, and in every class there are people from many different countries.

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Bridge to USA
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Soo Greyhounds game

Sault Ste. Marie is a nice, small town. There is everything you need here, but not much extra, but I have been traveling around Canada, and doing a few road trips in Michigan, USA. The people in Sault Ste. Marie are so nice, and at the university you really get to know people, starting from the staff in the cafeteria and your professors. The class sizes are about the same as in TAMK, but there are so much more activities arranged for students to get to know each other. The school has also made it possible for us to see so much culture and history around the city, which has been great because those events have been something you wouldn’t experience as a tourist!

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Agawa Bay

Anyway it has been a great experience that I will never forget!

Hilsen fra Oslo!

I have been living in Oslo almost 4 months now and it has been a fun experience! There is a lot to see in Norway and I feel I have only scraped the surface during this time. Oslo is a city that is an interesting mix of different times and styles. It is also the biggest city in Norway. There is a lot of modern construction going on through out the city area, but there is still room for older buildings and historical monuments like Akershus Festning.

Oslo Sentrum and Akershus Festning scenery.Good example of the modern Oslo are the “Barcode” buildings which are situated right beside The Oslo Opera House. Some say those are going to be the pride of Oslo and they are due to finish construction in the near future.

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The Barcode buildings under construction.

Oslo is also home of the famous Vigelands Parken which display’s the lifework of sculptor Gustav Vigeland. The park is impressive and worth seeing just by the sheer size of it.

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“The Human Obelisk” Center piece of Vigelands Parken.

I also got to visit the city of Bergen and see what life is like outside Oslo area. The train ride alone was pretty amazing and the highest point we reached via train was around 1222m above sea level.

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Scenery seen from the train.

I can really recommend Bergen, although it is notoriously the most rainy city in Norway. There is actually a saying “As rare as a sunny day in Bergen.” We must have been lucky since we actually had two sunny days.

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Bergen Brygge in the middle is one of Unesco’s Word Heritage Sites.

One cannot visit Norway without seeing the Fjords! The only Fjord cruise still running outside of summer season was to one of the smaller Fjords called Osterfjorden. I still intend to visit the biggest one of them all, The Sognefjord, when I get the chance.

FjordcruiseAfter all this and more, I know that even though I am going to return to Finland, I will be coming back in the future. Norway is a beautiful country with friendly people who are very similar to us Finns in more ways than one. : )

Ha det bra!

Nice life in Nice

Bonjour à tous! I have been living in South of France in French Riviera in Nice now three months so there’s a lot of experiences I have gained and things I have done. What I want to say first of all is that I love this place! At first being here felt like vacation – sunbathing, swimming, exploring cute little towns nearby. Now, after this time, it is not only vacation but living here and I like this place as a country and I like the French culture.

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I have spent a lot of time exploring the places around Nice and also little more far away like Paris and Milano (in Italy).

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Monaco is only 20 minutes By train so of course I have been there too and I’m looking forward going to Christmas market there.

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Oh, and I study here too! Courses have been interesting, especially the course International management where I have learnt a lot about cultural differences and difficulties they may cause at work. Most useful has been studying French. I studied it three ears in high school and here I have improved my French a lot and got more courage to speak it in everyday situations. Always when I handle some situation without any English I feel so good!

I really, really have loved this place and would like to spend also next semester here but it also nice to go back home. But one thing is for sure, I will return this beautiful city! 🙂

 

Greetings from Seoul!

I have been here three months now and it has been awesome! The campus area is beautiful and it’s starts to be colder already. It was actually snowing yesterday! The first week went fast when I was getting to know to the city and the school. What surprised me that there were not actually that much people what I first expected. The city is so big and I have still so much to explore.

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South Korea has its own thanksgiving celebration called chuseok. We visited Busan in that holiday. It is a seaside city in the south and we went there by bus which took five hours. At the holiday we just relaxed and visited the aquarium which was really nice.

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I have also been in couple of events such as Korean pop concert. I also did an ancient Korean exam which included for example fan painting and archery.  I attended to an event where we saw traditional Korean music and dance performance. This was really nice since there were only 25 of us in the whole palace area.

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My courses have been really interesting but rather easy. One thing which was surprising was the amount of group works. I had an image that here the individual work would be more emphasized than group works. We study specific courses throughout the semester (no period system like in Finland) so we had midterm exams and final exams. In my opinion those exams have been really easy.

-Riina

Daily life in Seoul

Greetings from South Korea,

It’s been around three months since I first arrived to Seoul and during this time I’ve settled in well. As a developed nation South Korea seems to be very similar to Finland: Public transportation system is well organized, food is good and Koreans are very polite. Also the lectures in Kyung Hee University are quite similar to TAMK’s, the amount of people is rarely an issue and overall everything has gone very smoothly.

The main reason I wanted to go to Asia was to learn about different cultures. Korea has a traditional confucian culture, which is visible everyday. Elders are respected, confusian temples are all around Seoul and there are plenty of traditions which originate from confucianism. I’ve really enjoyed this aspect of Seoul, and it might be one of the biggest differences between Souh Korea and Finland.

Here are a few pictures:

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Left: Kyung Hee University      –  Right: Busan

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Left: Temple/ traditional martial arts    –   Right: Mountain view from my apartment

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Traditional music vs. K-pop

– Joonas Mansikka

 

안녕하세요? Greetings from Seoul, South Korea!

안녕하세요! Annyeonghaseyo! Which means hello in Korean language.

Hi, I’m Leopold Ringbom from Finland and I’m studying Electrical engineering in Finland and also here in Soongsil University, Seoul, South Korea where I run my Student Exchange. I made really big mistake because I choose to be here just one semester. I been now here already 3 moths and last month just started. It seems that I would not have had time to do anything yet although I have traveled and go around South Korea a lot. If you have possible to be here at South Korea more than one semester, be more than one semester!

Here at Seoul the local culture is very nice and best thing here is FOOD! You have to go and taste everything. For me the best one was Korean barbecue (picture is below). And if you are coming here to South Korea take one Korean Language course because local people like very much when you speak or at least try to speak Korean language.

Here are some pictures. Enjoy!

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Changing of the guard ceremony at Gyeongbokgung Palace

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Gyeongbokgung Palace and local pose
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Korean Barbecue
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Korean one of the largest water theme parks
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Korean nightlife is one of the best in the world. Seoul never sleeps!
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Picture from Seoul firework festival.
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Our car and apartment at Jeju island.
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View from volcano at Jeju island
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We were looking to North Korea from DMZ which is demilitarized zone between South and North Korea
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T express at Everland which is Korean biggest amusement park. Top speed 104km/h.
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Seoul tower at night.
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One of the gardens inside the Gyeongbokgung Palace
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View to Seoul from really old Bukchon Hanok Village
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Here you can see Seoul old and new part together
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Old military uniforms from Korean war

Liebe Grüße aus Hannover, Deutschland!

I have been now almost three months here in Germany at it has been amazing! I’ve met so many great persons and experienced tons of new things. There hasn’t been any signs of a culture shock since German culture is very similar to Finnish.

The population of Hannover is about 500 000 and for me it’s just the right size. Nothing is really far away from the city and the public transportation works very well.

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Hannover New Town Hall

I study electrical engineering here in Hochschule Hannover, which is slightly smaller University than TAMK. Studies in Hochschule Hannover have been alright but I still prefer TAMK. Electrical engineering is internationally very wide concept and therefore the subjects vary a lot. Many of the courses I have are not exactly my field of studies. But we’re doing our best here!

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Fireworks in Herrenhäuser Garten

We have made so many trips while our stay. So far I have visited for example Berlin, Munich, Dresden, Hamburg and Prague. I’ve also done skydiving, watched my first live soccer game and visited the legendary Oktoberfests.

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Berliner Dom

Germans are very warm people and I know that they will help me with any problems that may occur. Also, the other exchange students are awesome and we have had so much fun together! Getting to know other people and their cultures is probably the best thing in my exchange.

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Championsleague: Wolfsburg – CSKA Moscow

I studied German language for five years in comprehensive school, but there was not much left when I arrived Hannover. Now it’s getting more and more fluent everyday, which is really useful since Germans are not always so fluent in English. Fun fact: our German teacher is Finnish and it sometimes makes things a little bit easier for us Finnish students, since she refuses to use English in our class but sometimes slips something in Finnish.

 

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Volkswagen’s factory in Wolfsburg

This exchange has been one of the best experiences in my life so far. When I started to study in TAMK, I was sure that I don’t want to do an exchange period and now I’m feeling incredibly happy that something made me change my mind.

I wish everyone would use the opportunity to study abroad (even though it is a bit scary at first), it will be worth it.

Tschüß!

Jessica

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Life in Vic, Spain

Hello everyone!

My name is Paavo Pengermä. Back in Finland I’m studying in Tampere University of Applied sciences in degree programme of Film and Television. This fall semester 2015 I’m doing my exchange studies in Vic, Spain.

In this post I want to show you guys more or less all that I’ve been doing here during this awesome experience. I’ve been staying Spain now for almost 4 months and time has gone so fast. We have done all kinds of awesome things here such ass partying with other erasmus students, skateboarding in Barcelona, exploring other cities in Spain, travelling to Africa and France & surfing there, hiking in Pyrenees, playing basketball in the university team, and of course also studying a little bit. 😀
All my course choices has been good and I’ve enjoyed more or less every course. They aren’t too demanding eighter which leaves time for travelling & other fun stuff.

A picture tells more than a thousand words so here I have a whole gallery of pictures that should sum up quite nicely my experiences here.

To sum all this together. The experience has been really awesome like I said already. I hadn’t been travelling too much before coming here but now I’ve changed that. 🙂 I’ve seen and experienced a lot of cool stuff and learned a lot of new cultures. I definitely recommend everyone to do exchange studies. It’s a once in a life time thing that teaches you a lot, gives you new friends from all around the world and makes you one huge experience richer.
Even though Spain is great and I have always loved it, I’ve noticed after 4 months of living here that Finland is actually a really great country to live in. That’s what I’ve used to and the culture is more like me in general. Also everything seems to work faster and better in Finland. So for me travel is great but my home is always home.

Best regards
Paavo Pengermä

 

Discovering Frankfurt

Hallo! Greetings from Germany!

I moved to Frankfurt for my exchange almost three months ago, time has gone by so quickly! The first one and a half months here were an orientation period, they really like to do it thoroughly here. For two weeks we were allowed time to settle in and the school organized a lot of events to socialize and see some places in and around the city. Then it was time to start studying, in the form of an intensive German course. Of course everyone here needs to know some German, Germans really love their language and are not always so willing to speak English. But Frankfurt is actually a very international city, being such an important financial center, and it’s also possible to get by here with just English. In mid-October the semester started and so did my business studies. The courses offered for international students don’t seem to be very hard, but studying is quite independent. It doesn’t seem to be too different from Tamk though. Only thing that might cause some more stress is the exam period that will be in the end of February, but no time to fret about that yet!

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Heart of Frankfurt’s old town, Römerberg
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Evening view of Main river in Frankfurt

The beginning of school was slow, which gave me time to get to know some new people, Germany has some great cheap beer which was also helpful! I did also try the local delicacy, Apfelwine, but it wasn’t quite for me. Then I started going to the gym, which means not so much beer for me anymore, but it’s really nice to be active here like that. I haven’t been able to travel very much yet, but I have been to Cologne to see their massive cathedral and the chocolate museum. I did also have a nice proper vacation in Madeira (it was my second time there) which was awesome. It’s rather rainy here in Frankfurt and the sunshine sure was a nice change. Now I’m hoping to have some snow here too, but might have to go up to the little mountain close by to see it.

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Views in Strasbourg
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Cologne cathedral
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Dolphins by the coast of Madeira island

I’m also looking forward to the Christmas market here which is starting in a few days. I’m sure all the little booths filled with Christmas lights, warm Glühwein and little sweets will help me get into the holiday spirit, even if there’s no snow. Also my family is coming here to see the market, so it’ll be great going there together and showing them around. I still have a lot to look forward to during my exchange and I’m really happy to have this whole new experience in my life.

Viele Grüße, Päivi

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Sunset by vineyards in Frankfurt