Monthly Archives: March 2016

China the Giant

My exchange studies here in Jinan, China is almost coming to it’s end. Even though I’m really happy to return back to my oh-so-dear home country Finland, there are some things I’m going to miss when I leave.

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Library of Qilu University of Technology

The nature and weather here is definitely very different from Finland’s. Parks are full of most bizzare looking plants and flowers and the temperatures are much higher than in Finland. That still doesn’t mean there can not be cold. In the winter we had snow couple of times!

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Food is amazing and there is always lots of it. Chinese food is different from what you can get from the restaurants back in home. Here the food is more spiced and more simple. One of the things I need to try when I get back home is cook some real kung po chicken.

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During this academic year we had many holidays and great chances to do some traveling. I have seen the Great Wall of China in Beijing, big skyscrapers of Shanghai and shores of Qingdao. In the winter holiday, which is almost 2 months here, I even went to out of the country to Philippines and South Korea and also visited Hong Kong.

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The thing I will definitely miss most are my new friends.

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Greetings from China!

Hello from Jinan, China!

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I have now lived 6 months in Jinan and this experience has been totally one of its own kind. At first when I arrived here it was a culture shock for me. I knew that I have to prepare myself for this, but this city where I live is totally opposite from Finland. Things go on its own speed like people who live here, slowly. So that is why I have been stressed out about my studies here. At first everything seems to go like it should be, but after a one month there started to came some problems. Sometimes they didn’t find teacher who can teach courses in English for us, so they delecate other students to help us to understand teacher.. So those classes I didn’t learn anything. Also they suddenly informs me that this course cannot be arranged for you, because there is no teacher or the fact that the course has already started one month ago. The information goes very slowly here and you have to ask and ask things you want to know, several times. Even then, you cannot be sure that things are happening as promised.

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When I got used to local lifestyle, it was ok to live and study here. I had some time to travel around China, places such as Beijing, Shanghai and Qingdao. Travelling inside China is little difficult, mostly because it is very hard to find common language here.. So sometimes our classmates came to travel with us exchange students. Also when here in China is winter holiday, it lasts almost 2 months. At that time, I went to travel a longer time. I spend 3 days in Hong Kong, one month in Philippines and 2 weeks in South Korea. I went to South Korea meet my roommate and his friends, who showed us some good places to go in Korea. I would say that winter holiday here in China is the best thing! I had so much time to travel, and meet new people from different countries end experience some amazing stuff, for example swimming with whale sharks and big sea turtles in Philippines.

Because of winter holiday I came back to school in March, and I have now one semester left. The spring semester here ends in July, but I have to get back to Finland in May, they told me that it is possible, but you may never know…

Kas sa räägid eesti keelt?

Jah, ma räägin natuke eesti keelt!

Hello from Tallinn!

Everything on this side of the sea is okay! Coming here was one of the best decisions I have made so far. And when I say that, I don’t exactly mean studies abroad, but the country that I chose to be my destination – Estonia!

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I have learned a lot of new things about our almost neighboring country – its history and culture for example. For us Finns Tallinn and Estonia mainly means cheap alcohol and pirate copies of expensive brands, but it is so, so much more than that. Can you actually believe that not further than about 25 years ago, this country was occupied by Soviet union? Of course everyone knows that, but does many people even realize what it meant for Estonians to be free again?

Studying here has been interesting, the courses that I took are thatched by the best people on their field. Even though the system in here is a little inconvenient, it is really flexible – which is kinda new to me.

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I live here in a shared flat with three Italian and one French girl – and I can say it has been an adventure. Even though the noise in the flat is often pretty loud (for me at least), everyone takes care of each other even more than themselves. So the atmosphere is really nice and warm.

I have traveled to different cities here in Estonia and visited Latvia and Lithuania as well. For me living here feels actually really natural, but I would prefer having my boyfriend here also. Visiting Finland from here is really easy, so maybe that’s why I haven’t done that once. Every day I try to learn more and more Estonian language, since it is not that hard. Still it amuses me when my Estonian language teacher always says to me that  – “Ooh but Heidi you must know the answer already, this is so easy for you!” But it’s not the same language!!!

There are a lot of Finnish people studying here, but I have managed to stay away from them, so if you feel like you will not get the “authentic Erasmus experience” so close to your home country – I am a living proof to tell you otherwise.

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Bonjour ! A blog-postcard from Paris.

Hello from Paris.

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The view over Paris

I’m already in the middle of my study exchange and I can’t believe how fast it has gone. Even though at the same time I feel like I have already settled to Paris and living here feels like being at home. Wouldn’t mind staying longer…

With the final presentations and exams approaching, it feels funny that not so long ago (a little over two months) I was just getting used to the French teaching style, the new courses and to a different way of studying. Which is actually quite a lot different than in Finland. Here people actually talk a lot during class and the biggest difference I noticed, is the theoretical approach towards learning. In Finland we focus more on the practical side of things and because of that, it was interesting to notice how different it is to study here in France.

There is exchange students from many countries also doing an Erasmus study exchange here in Paris and it was nice to get new friends from all over the world: Germany, Norway, Taiwan, Canada… The school I’m in is called Paris School of Business (PSB) and it’s located 13th district.

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First day at school

 

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Musee d’Orsay

As I have visited Paris before my exchange studies, the city was kind of familiar and it didn’t take a long time to learn my way in my new home city.

Still it took some time to get to know this city, but the best part of my stay has
been the everyday adventures you can have in a city like this. Weather you go on a walk to Jardin des Tuileries, explore the little streets, boutiques and coffee shops in Le Marais or wander in the museums (where under 25-year old EU-residents get in for free!!), everyday in Paris is an adventure. And you easily end up walking 10-20km a day..

 

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One of my favorite coffee shops Ob-La-Di

A few things I’ve been very happy about during my stay: my new friends (mostly other exchange students but luckily also a few locals), learning a little bit more French and having time to travel and explore Europe. So far I’ve been to Milan and Amsterdam…

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Weekend trip to Milan

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I would definitely recommend coming to Paris wether just for a holiday or even for a study exchange. It’s been lovely to be here and luckily I have some time left still!

Bisous !

Maria Dejanova

 

(c) Maria Dejanova, do not copy the pictures without permission.

Budapest – where the ruins forever live

Sziasztok!

This means both hello and good bye (to many people) in Hungarian. It has been 2 months since i came to this wonderful country for my study exchange. It has been indeed a fun yet challenging journey here in Budapest, the capital of Hungary.

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View to my apartment in district VIII

The city is divided into two parts by the Danube river: Buda – Pest (pronounced Pesht). Some people might say there are two different cities inside Budapest as they have their own distinctive characteristics. I live on the Pest side of the city, where it is known to be poorer than the other side. Geographically, Pest is flat and is where the Neo-Gothic styled Parliament stands along with the St Stephen’s Basilica. In contrast, Buda is hilly with the famous Gellert hill that offers amazing panoramic views of the city. The city has a good blend of old and modern touch, thus, it offers visitors with a guaranteed satisfying view of many different architecture styles:   Renaissance and Neo-Renaissance, Gothic and Neo-Gothic, Roman and Turkish style, Baroque and Neo-Baroque.

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One side of Keleti train station
My study takes place in Óbuda Egyetem – Óbuda University. The university recently came to a big merge so now they have 3 different campuses: one on Buda side, two on Pest side. This caused great confusion for me during the beginning, as well as their way of letting exchange students choose their own courses.

Panoramic view from Margit island
Panoramic view from Margit island

I have had plenty of culture shock experiences ever since my arrival, and I am still expecting some more along the way. The place is so different from Finland, yet so similar to my home in Hanoi, Vietnam. Budapest is so crowded, busy in the day time; and it becomes so lively during the evening/night when people start to head out onto the street for a walk or to ruin pubs for a few beers after a hard working day. The ruin pubs are the true gems of the city where you get to enjoy the mysterious and historical atmosphere of the old ruined buildings dated back in the 19th century.

We escaped the Matrix !!

The city is lovely, people are friendly and please do not find it strange, because you might encounter a stranger smiling to you on the street. It is also a pet-friendly city. The weather is pretty rainy during February to March, but summer comes early in late March which I find extremely fortunate for me. It is time to bring the picnic set out for a sun bath in one of the loveliest parks they have!

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Sun bathing with my foster dog

 

 

The next experience I am eagerly looking forward to trying would be the famous bath houses.  In addition to that, I would love to try out all the famous traditional dishes of Hungary as I have not the chance to.

-Nhung Duong-

 

 

 

Greetings from Budapest!

 

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Szimpla

 

Two months behind in this beautiful city of Budapest! Time has gone fast and my time here has been fantastic. I have met really nice people and learned a lot about different cultures. All of my friends are Erasmus students so my only local people experiences are from hospital which I have worked. I live in shared apartment with two other girls next to river Danube. Public transport here is so good that it has actually no matter which part of city you live. Here we use bus, metro, tram, train and trolleybus. And you can use all the public transports with one monthly pass which will cost about 10e. This is one thing I’m definitely going to miss in Finland!

 

Hospital

Last week I finished my first nursing practice here in local hospital. It was seven week medical surgical practice. I got to explore Hungarian health care very close and I can tell you that it is little different than in Finland. Patients and nurses are not happy about the government situation, money limited and it will shows peoples well-being. But experience has been good so far. Our tutor nurse in hospital was amazing and other nurses were so friendly! Even if I didn’t learn that much as I would learn in Finland I’m still so happy for seeing lot of things. It makes me appreciate Finnish health care once again. This week I will start 4 weeks perioperative nursing practice in other hospital. I’m really exited for it!

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Life in Budapest has been nice and I haven’t felt any big culture shocks. Daily things are going well and most of the people I have met spoke really good English. In Budapest I have seen lot of sights, been in good restaurants, explored Hungarian traditional foods, Erasmus parties, ruinpubs, museums, cruised to danube, started crossfitting, visit the zoo and not forgetting all fabulous spas! I have traveled to Italy, Slovenia and next month I will go to Croatia trip organized by university. There is so much things to do!

Scotland adventures

Greetings from Scotland! I have now lived here for a bit more than two months and already feel at home. At the moment i’m enjoying a two week Easter holiday, which is actually not much needed, since i only have school three days a week. So can’t say that life is stressful around here! I live in a city called Inverness, which is the biggest city in the northern part of Scotland. It’s still a rather small city, approximately 80 000 people in it, but it’s got everything one needs and the atmosphere is really nice due to the very kind and chatty people here.

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I’m studying forestry here in a brand new forestry campus. My studies have gone fairly well here, although there is one course that i have troubles with due to the difficulty of the subject. But no worries, because apparently it’s normal if not advisable to have one course where you feel clueless. Just part of the exchange experience! Otherwise i have enjoyed my classes a lot. We do a lot of field trips here and it has been a great way to explore the surroundings and nature around here. The weather here is usually pretty unpredictable, but i feel that i have had quite good luck with it.

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I have a lot of free time here and i have used that time for exploring outdoors, doing sports and having coffee with my new international friends. Scotland is amazing place for outdoors related activities. There’s a lot of mountains, beautiful nature, and you don’t have to travel far to explore it. For a nature enthusiast like me, this place is perfect! Here’s some pictures from our trips.

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I’m really glad i decided to come here and I’m planning to enjoy the rest of my stay here and keep exploring the outdoors with these great people I’ve met here!

Greetings from the Warm Heart of Africa

This practical training in Malawi is my first experience on the south side of the equator. So after the hot and humid summer season we are now going towards dry winter with warm days but cool nights. I bet this is the most beautiful time of the year as the nature is green and flourishing. Now we are very thankful for the rains Father has given lately.

Malawi is called the Warm Heart of Africa, not only because of the warm climate but also because of the warm hearted people. In this country people still have polite and respectful manners in general, even though sometimes the shop cashiers don’t seem no know about such a thing as customer service.

As a construction engineering trainee I’ve got to do monitoring, inspecting, reporting and assisting the project manager with paper work. I’ve learnt a lot from him about delegating and empowering the workers. There have been several building projects going on during this time. Unfortunately most of the workers don’t speak much English, and that makes communication quite difficult sometimes.

Brick layers at work
Brick layers at work

On my free time I have got to make two longer trips by now. Once we went to swim at the waterfall beside the Mt. Mulanje, and once I got to see the south point of the Lake Malawi. That is the lake which covers 20 % of the total area of Malawi. Also this place where I work and stay is very beautiful, surrounded by mountains right next to a nature reserve area. This is quite close to Blantyre, the commercial capital of Malawi.

A view on the way to Mt. Mulanje
A view on the way to Mt. Mulanje

Greetings from Ireland!

Hello from the green Ireland!

It has been about three months since I´ve arrived to Ireland. It wasn´t  that big culture shock to come here because the culture is quite same comparing to Finland. Time has gone by so fast and soon it is time to go back to home.

I had some concerns about the lectures here. I was afraid that the teachers would speak too fast and with a strong accent so that I wouldn´t   understand anything, but luckily that wasn´t the case. Lessons are easy to follow and there hasn´t been any problems with the school for me.

I have traveled a bit around Ireland. I have visited Dublin few times already, Killkenny (we went to see horse race), Galway, Ennis, Clifs of Mohar and some other places. There is still much left to see and me and my friends are planning to go visit at least  some places in the Northern Ireland (most likely Belfast is one of them). There is also a surfing trip to the South of Ireland.

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Greeting from the city of four towers

IMAG0515 IMAG0517Hello everyone! Here in Ghent everything is pretty much in order. Days go by quickly. For my first three weeks, I have been working in the university hospital with brain lesion patients. Physical therapy here is arranged a bit differently than in Finland. All patients and therapists (at least in my department) are in the same big room. Hospitals facilities and equipment are more than I can imagine.
My free time is mostly spent working with my thesis and other school work. I´ve still had some time to go out with other erasmus students here. I have to say, the beer is pretty good here. A week ago we made a weekend trip to Paris and I´ve made plans to travel to Netherlands in a couple of weeks. I don´t think I have much more to say. I hope everyone is doing ok. See you in June!

Best regards,

Taneli Rimpiläinen