Monthly Archives: February 2016

Exploring Ireland

Dia dhuit!

That means “hi” in Irish, a celtic language spoken in Ireland. It’s been two weeks since I arrived in Ireland. At first I stayed in Dublin for few days and I already felt like being at home. The atmosphere in general is very friendly and relaxed, people are so helpful and warmly welcoming you to Ireland. The pubs are great, there’s always live music and of course Guinness. The landscape is as beautiful and green as I thought it would be and almost every building is colourfully painted.

So I’m doing my placement in University Hospital Kerry which is located in the west coast in Ireland in a quite small town called Tralee. I’m there as a midwife student. It’s a bit different comparing to Finland. Maybe the most significat difference is that they don’t use computers and all the patient information and data is on a paper. And there’s lots and lots of paperwork because of that. Of course pregnancy, childbirth and the care in general are the same everywhere. My working hours are 9-12hrs a day which at first was tiring but I think it’s much nicer to work longer hours and then have at least 3 days off. I also have to mention that students in here don’t get to do much in their placements; they mostly observe and assist. So it’s sometimes a bit frustrating not to do “anything” whereas in Finland students work independently.

All in all it’s been lovely so far and I think it’s going to be even lovelier as the time goes. I’ve got so many travel plans for example visiting Connemara and Killarney national parks, Cork, Cliffs of Moher, Dingle peninsula, Galway, the Ring of Kerry, Glendalough, Kylemore Abbey, Blarney castle and Northern Ireland.

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Servus from München!

My exchange has been great and is sadly coming to its end tomorrow. I’ve made unforgettable memories and friends and experienced the German culture.

The most unforgettable memories were made during the first months after arriving. I visited the famous Oktoberfest many times and I had a great time. Nearly everyone bought the Oktoberfest clothes, lederhosen for men and Drindl for women and I must say we fit in perfectly! I enjoyed especially the German food culture and I was surprised how friendly the Germans really are.

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Oktoberfest tent
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Amusement park in Oktoberfest

Studying here was different and challenging, but I learned a lot and I’m grateful for the professor who let me in to the master programme of my own studies. I studied in English and in my opinion my language skills have improved during this exchange as I expected.

Winter semester passed quickly and I survived the exam period passing all the courses. I had a vacation in february and I travelled and relaxed before my departure. Wintertime has been soft for a person used to Finnish winters and that was truly a nice experience. Now it’s time to say Goodbye!

München Marienplatz
München Marienplatz

p.s. Servus is a Bavarian way of saying “Hello”!

My adventure in Ireland

Hi! I have been two weeks now here in Ireland, Tralee and I love it; people are so friendly, nature is wonderful and so green, and of course, Guinness is cheap and good.

I stayed two days in Dublin. The pubs are wonderful and the live music is lovely. St. Stephens park was worth seeing even though it’s going to be even lovelier in the summer, I think.

My placement is in University hospital Kerry. I’m there as a midwife student. I am not allowed to do so much but by observing you also learn. The difference to Finland  is that they don’t really use computers when they document the patient files. The care is the same though. I work 9-12hours shifts which is also different compared to Finland.

I have 12 weeks left in the hospital. I’m going to be working but also travelling. Today I was at Bannastrand beach and it is the most loveliest place!! I will go and see also Cliffs of Moher, Galway, Cork, Killarney national park, Dingle peninsula, Glendalough lake etc.

Here are some photos:

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Dublin

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Bannastrand

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Bannastrand

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Tralee, city centre

 

Ola from Portugal!

Hi everyone,

I’m doing my practical training in Lisbon, Portugal. To begin with, I would like to say that I just came to Portugal for a holidays and suddenly found an amazing internship. So, it started like a great adventure: to go to travel for a month and didn’t come back. I’m totally amazed by the country and people. Ok, let’s speak about my Portuguese life in some order.

First, practical training. I’m really happy with a company I got in. They do post production and animation. During my time here I got a possibility to participate in great projects and see how professionals work. Mostly, I’m practicing digital compositing but sometimes I also do some motion graphics. I guess I’ve already gained a lot of experience here.

Next, Portugal. What can I say? It is really beautiful country and, of course, it is a great pleasure for a North person to livesome amount of time in so warm climate. For now I didn’t travel much around but what I’ve saw was amazing. Ocean is really fascinating, there is no words to describe power of it. We went to visit city named Nazare where you can see one of the biggest waves all over the world.

Lisbon and all other cities I’ve been to are also really beautiful. City centre of Lisbon is located on hills therefore city is full of stairs (some streets are just stairs), hidden paths, old buildings which sometimes seems like don’t follow any architectural rules, and pavements which are so narrow that sometimes people need to cuddle to walls to let trams path. All these things create special amazing atmosphere.

To conclude, it is a must to mention few things about my accommodation. When I was arriving to Portugal, my friends warned me that I need to be careful with renting apartment and check if a room has windows. Therefore before coming I double checked with my landlord that my room has windows, and it did. However, when I arrived my room didn’t have a door because it was an attic. Now I’m still living in this apartment but moved to room which has four doors. Third room in the apartment doesn’t have window, and an entrance to our bathroom is through balcony what’s really terrible when it is raining. Despite on all these strange things, I really like apartment because it is arty, full of writings on walls form people who were lived there before, full of old furniture and rented with two cats included. Of course, I know that apartments in Portugal are not like this but it is not hard to find apartment with some “special” things. So, my accommodation also brings some special atmosphere to my stay in Portugal.

And here is some more photos:

 

Beijinhos!

Iran: So Close no Matter how Far!

Hi everybody!

I started my internship on January 31 in Iran, Mashhad in a CNC company. The company is located about 25 kilometers from Mashhad.  Mashhad is the second populous city in Iran with about three million inhabitants. It is located between two mountain ranges of Binalood and Hezar Masjed Mountains. Mashhad is a familiar place to me since before moving to Finland I had lived there for about twenty years. three million tourists visit Mashhad in a year and enjoy its historical places and its mild summer.

Also my training workplace is a familiar environment since I was working at a car factory  in the same holding company. I have the opportunity to meet my old colleagues and chat about memories from the car factory. My training period is going on fine and everyday I learn something new about real business in a real environment which are not too far from theories in my studies.

I have chosen Mashhad to spend my training as my son lives in Mashhad and by choosing Mashhad I can spend my internship and seeing my son at the same time. I had heard about lathe machines frequently since it is an substantial industry in Iran but I had not the opportunity to see them closely before I come to the Tarash Rayaneh Toos company. When I started my work in the car factory I found it interesting. Also from my perspective lathe machines also are interesting since they are used to produce for example candlesticks, gun barrels, table legs, bowls, and cue sticks.

I enjoy from my placement since at the same time I can achieve new experiences besides having my son close to me. in 27 days it is Iranian new year, Nourouz, and we are going to celebrate it together after six years. I appreciate the time for learning and enjoing from being with my son, relatives and friends.

Thank You,

Poupak

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Mashhad Mellat Park
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Mashhad city
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Persian cuisines
saffron field
saffron field
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Persian carpet

Única en España

Hola everyone!

Saludos from Spain! I’m currently studying in Castellón de la Plana, a smaller town that locates in Mediterranean coast in Spain. It has been almost three weeks since I arrived here and I’m really enjoying my stay here! Everything is new and exciting and there’s always things to do even though it’s quite small city. I have met tons of lovely new people from different counties, such as from USA, Denmark, France, Germany, China etc. So there is pretty much people from all over the world. 🙂

Castellon

At first when I arrived, I’m not going to lie, I felt sad and little bit homesick and that was partly because I’m the only Finn here in Castellón. And I think I’m probably not the only one who was feeling this way. At the beginning it would have been nice to have someone to talk to in my mother language. But now I’m just enjoying the fact that there are no Finnish people here and I can only communicate in English or in Spanish. What’s the better way to learn languages than that!

It’s funny to notice that I’m so exotic and interesting to foreign and local people because I come from Finland, also maybe the blonde hair and blue eyes have something to with it, (that’s why the title is Unique in Spain). Everybody is always asking about the snow and reindeers because they don’t know anything else about Finland. And it’s commonly believed in here that Finland is the place where Santa Claus lives! So entertaining!

 

UsIn this city, I love the fact that everything is so close and you can just meet up with people by running into them in the street. Biking is the only worthwhile way to move around here, I that’s just right for my taste because I love biking in Finland too. The Erasmus students are one tight community here, everyone knows everyone and we’re like a one big family. I love it!

 

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As you can probably see from the pictures, the Castellón beach has become one of absolute favorite spots in here. I just love the sea and palm trees and that is something we don’t have in Finland. The beach is also the place to be when it’s sunny weather and it’s so nice to hang out with friends there. Maybe in a month we can actually sunbathe there. I’m enjoying the beach so much!

One thing I love about Castellón is that it’s so easy to move around Spain. Or around the Europe! There is big airports just around to corner if you want to travel in Europe and trains don’t cost that much if you want to travel in Spain. I want to see as many places as possible during my stay in Spain. Luckily we already have plans to almost every weekend to travel somewhere and see new cities! I’m also planning to travel in Europe later this spring.

My studies are going super well here, I have already noticed that education is not that organized or strict as in Finland. Which is totally fine by me! 😀 I’m just kidding, few of my courses are pretty hard and intensive, especially when I’m studying partly in Spanish. I’m still rocking my studies and I’m so happy that everything worked out because I was a little concerned before my arrival because I had chosen Spanish courses. It is also amazing that people are not that punctual and tied to time as in Finland. I’m kind of loving it, of course I like to be punctual myself but it’s nice to notice that people are not in such a hurry all the time.

So that’s pretty much what’s up at the moment. There’s some pictures from my journey below. I already feel that it was the best decision ever to leave Finland to study in another country! Thanks for reading and I wish everyone a great spring semester abroad!

 

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Barceloneta

Having fun in Malmö

My exchange has started very well. Malmö Academy of Music is as good school as what I heard it would be before coming here. Althought information doesn’t move between school and students any better than anywhere else. 😉 The school has made practising very easy for students and that’s why most of my days are pretty long. My teacher is awesome and very inspiring, and I have progressed a lot in my playing thanks to him. The school has five other french horn students and it’s really nice to work with them.

12647105_10153995016879662_7336307590606391351_nLast week we had our first symphony orchestra project. Our school had first time a concert in the Malmö Live which is Malmö’s brand new concert hall. That was one of the best experiences that I have ever had. The concert hall was as good as every musicians has here said.I have already got lots of new friends from the school. Here is people from many countries and I have friends from Sweden, Finland, German, Estonia, Spain and Latvia.

 

12541039_10153954472979662_2830295893536506699_nAlongside the school is important to do relaxing things and with friends from school we go to listen Malmö Symphony orchestra’s concerts that are ones a week because all the student’s of our school can get a free ticket if the concert is not full. I have been in every concert that they have had this year. A friend gave me also a free ticket to Malmö Opera’s Billy Elliot -musical. That was awesome! Tomorrow I’m going to explore Copenhagen and the Royal Danish Teather. I go there to see Verdi’s Falstaff with my German friend.

Malmö is not very beatiful city but it has lots of nice places. Especially the central is really nice at the evening time when it is already dark.

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Malmö has history of factories and just next to my school is one factory. First I thought it is really ugly but I have learned to appreciate its high chimneys while I’m some how got lost with my bike.

12643029_10153991303804662_3205363831491082699_nHere everyone has bike, and the cycle paths are really good. Many times I get much faster to where ever I’m going with the bike than with a buss. For example from home to school takes 15 minutes with the bike but with the buss (with all the walking included) it takes about 25 or 30 minutes.

In the winter time the darkness comes really fast so it is very important to have all basic cycling equipments in order. Have to be very shiny for safety reasons!

 

 

12651178_10153998174704662_6267118038860533478_nThis week we had a semla dag. Semla is a bun that has lots of cream and almond paste (or jam) in it. they are really big thing here. My landlady had baked them on monday and one was waiting me in the fridge when I got home. Next sunday is Valentine’s Day and me and my friends are going to bake some more semlas. ^^

 

 

12688234_10153997227219662_4037261403369475766_nSome times is good to work somewhere else. For example in the fast food restaurant that has tablerunnes, a candle and a rose in the table. I still have 3,5 months time to find lots of more lovely places in Malmö. <3

Emerald Isle calling!

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Here I am, in Dublin, Ireland! I’m Katja, a third year radiography student and I’ve spent the last month figuring out how to be as irish as possible and experiencing all that Dublin has to offer. Time has been flying, as anyone on an exchange would say! Good thing there is still plenty of time to see Ireland outside of Dublin aswell. The picture above is from the Sugarloaf Mountain in County Wicklow. We went there before continuing on to Glendalough, and boy was it windy….only a 500 m climb, but it felt like something much, much more because of the not so gentle breeze we got to enjoy;) But we ended up on top!

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So far I’ve been doing my study modules at University College Dublin, we had a few weeks of lectures before we started our clinical placement. I’m doing three modules here; cardiac interventional radiography, advanced CT and forensic radiography (which sounds like something out of CSI, which it kind of is but kind of isn’t:D). I’ve enjoyed the lectures a lot, they’ve been a bit different than what I’m used to back in TAMK. Definitely more interactive, probably because of the small group size.

I just finished my first 3 weeks at the hospital where I’m doing MRI, CT, general x-ray, fluoroscopy, interventional radiography, mammography and cardiac catheterisation lab. So, quite a lot of things to see and do, I like it! The hospital I’m in is a very modern one and many of the equipment I’ve already seen in Finland during placements, so on that part there hasn’t been too much of a culture shock to be seen. Hand hygiene is a different thing, I’m still finding it hard to get used to the lack of hand gels at the hospital. They exist, but once emptied, it can take weeks for them to get filled again, because of the lack of use:D Other than that, I’ve found the experience great in so many ways, you can’t really compare placement in Finland to one abroad. There’s the use of a foreign language, handling the sometimes impossibly broad scale of Irish accents that patients come in with and just the every day things you take for granted back at home, like washing your hands quickly. Yes, I’ve had my battles with the double taps, but I think we’re fine now.

I’ve learned a lot about my future job as a radiographer, I’ve gained an even bigger passion for what I do and I’ve also learned that there are things I still have to learn. And that’s pretty much what this entire Erasmus thing is for, right? Oh and Guinness. In Ireland, there is always time for a pint and a good craic with your friends. Especially the awesome new international ones!

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Floating in Friesland.

In middle of August 2015 I arrived to the country of windmills, bikes and the home of Heineken. During the very first train ride from Amsterdam Schiphol to Leeuwarden I saw more sheep and cows than possible to imagine, as well as bikes and bikeways. Now afterwards thinking of the whole exchange period, it went by extremely fast and was definitely an experience worth having.

Leeuwarden skyline.
Leeuwarden skyline.

In TAMK I study film and television and in the Netherlands I went to an internationally orientated school called Stenden University of Applied Sciences, taking courses from business school, and media and entertainment management. About Stenden I have very mixed feelings. I learned so much about branding, marketing and management, and developed my own professional identity. In the same time, however, I never got quite used to their educational system, which was highly focused on group discussions and group assignments. During my stay there I learned that sometimes instead of studying and knowledge you have, it is more important to be social and talkative, and choose your group assignment members carefully. Nevertheless, going on exchange and selecting Stenden and these particular courses has been one of the best decisions I have ever made career wise.

An ICT company KESH, for which we designed a marketing communications plan.
An ICT company KESH, for which we designed a marketing communications plan.

What comes to Leeuwarden and the Netherlands, I immediately fell in love with them. Settling down in the Netherlands was not hard. Quite opposite, it was actually very easy. Everything was organized rather well, even though there were some difficulties, such as being unable to pay with any of my bankcards (even MasterCard) in stores. Therefore, opening a local bank account was more or less a necessity in the beginning.

Leeuwarden.
Leeuwarden.
The city center in August.
The city center in August.
Leeuwarden in August.
Canals in August.
Leeuwarden.
Leeuwarden.
Canals in Leeuwarden.
Beautiful canals.
Getting to know Leeuwarden in a boat tour.
Getting to know the city in a boat tour.
Canals in Leeuwarden.
View in the canals.
De Oldehove.
De Oldehove.
Autumn in Leeuwarden.
Autumn in Leeuwarden.
Canal in January.
In January.

Comparing the Netherlands and Finland, they are actually very much the same. They are both very egalitarian in nature, strive for consensus in decision-making and do not show off too much to mention some similar characteristics. On the other hand, some things are very different in Netherlands. Most notably people, oh my gosh, they were so tall compared to everybody I know back in Finland. Even the exchange coordinator in Stenden was nearly two meters tall. Obviously, as time went by I got to know many Dutch who were not that tall. Even though most of them were.

Oldehove during Leip! Festival.
Oldehove during Leip! Festival.
Halloween Night.
Halloween Night.
Gym building with Stenden and NHL in the background.
Gym building with Stenden and NHL in the background.
Student dorms next to Stenden.
Student dorms next to Stenden.
My room in a shared flat.
My room in a shared flat.
The view from my room.
The view from my room.

About Heineken… I knew it was Dutch, but I had no clue how big it was over there! Heineken Experience in Amsterdam was definitely worth visiting and it blew my mind. I have never been into beer, but I have to admit Heineken got into me eventually. Of course, amongst students it was considered rather ‘posh beer’, since it costs almost one euro a bottle…

Heineken Experience.
Heineken Experience.
The best sushi in the world.
The best sushi in the world.

The best part of the whole experience was, however, travelling and all the people I met. I could not be more happy and grateful for making friends with such amazing people from all over the world, as well as meeting and catching up with dear, old friends who I had not seen in years. I travelled inside the Netherlands, enjoying Amsterdam and Maastricht the most. In addition I got to spend an amazing weekend full of sports in Hamburg, Germany with athletics junior athletes of Tampereen Pyrintö that I used to coach; I travelled to Glasgow in Scotland to visit my friends and (ex) fellow students from University of Glasgow; and we took part in an exchange student trip taking a night bus to Prague in Czech Republic and drank cheap beer till the dawn.

In Amsterdam with exchange students.
In Amsterdam with exchange students.
Found another Finnish.
Found another Finn.
Sports weekend in Hamburg.
Sports weekend in Hamburg.
Prague trip.
Prague trip.

What more can I say? Take a leap of faith and go on foreign exchange!

It won’t let you down!

Dobrý den from Czech Republic

Greetings from Czech Republic and it’s beautiful capital city Prague

Before coming here I didn’t know pretty much anything about this country, other than cheap beer and some sights. But now that I’ve already been here quite a long time, I absolutely love this place. Beer is indeed cheap, and really good aswell! Also there is so much to see here so Prague is definitely one of the capitals of Europe.

I’m studying in the Czech Technical University of Prague, which is the best and most valued Technical University in CR. Even though it’s an University, my bachelor studies have been very similar compared to my studies in TAMK. Teaching methods are very similar. Teachers give lectures and there are some final seminar works and tasks you need to complete.  Most of the teachers speak good and understandable English. English language in general among Czechs isn’t that great, which is one of the few things I dislike here. The weather has been nice and sunny here during autumn, so I’m not missing Finnish autumn sleet rain and darkness at all!

I live in a dormitory very close to the campus. It’s called Masarykova Kolej, which is amongst best dormitories. Although the quality of living is low compared to Finnish standards, it’s still a funny experience, rather cheap and you definitely won’t be lonely! It’s very easy for you to get new friends and to meet people around the world.

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Jedna pivo prosím

Czech food is rather good and cheap. I usually go out with my friends to have a lunch or  dinner in restaurant. Average meal costs around 5- 7 euros with beer as drink. Beer costs usually around 1- 2 euros, so it’s basicly costs as much as ordered water. Cost of living in general is about half compared to Finland

Also travelling is very cheap, easy and comfortable in CR. The location is great, so it’s more than easy to visit other great European cities close by, such as Budapest, Vienna, Berlin, Krakow and so on. For example, bus to Budapest costs 17 euros. I plan to travel here as much as possible.

Here’s some pictures:

Svíčková with dumplings
Svíčková
with bread dumblings

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St. Vitus Cathredal in Prague Castle

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Old Town Square

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View of Budapest

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Auschwitz

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Nature in CR

Thank you for reading and na shledanou!