Monthly Archives: April 2016

Postcard from Oostende

Hello from windy Oostende!

When I first came to Oostende, I liked because its small and next to the coast. There are not so many students so its just you and local peoples. Studying is really independent in here which is actually refreshing. I have finnish roommate and we are only finnish students here. Next city is Brugge, where is couple finnish students. The historic city centre is a prominent World Heritage Site of UNESCO. Belgium location is very good for traveling. Sometimes traveling is cheap, sometimes not. We are in flanders area (Dutch-speaking northern portion of Belgium) so locals don’t usually speak good english.

Couple things what is must to see in Belgium; Tyne Cot commonwealth war graves cemetery, Atlantic wall museum, Brugge and Brussels europarlament.

Tyne cot 1atlantic wall

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Szia! Greetings from Budapest!

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I’m doing a practical training in Budapest for three moths. First I did a clinical practise at the Semmelweis University hospital for 7 weeks and after that a community care practise for 4 weeks at another insitution, that is specialized on tax and customs services.

I was positively surprised how much responsibility they give to Erasmus students in the hospitals; for example we got to take blood samples, cannulate, catheterize, set and join infusions and take ECGs. The conditions in the hospitals in Budapest are a bit poor, the working hours are long and the work can be very challenging sometimes ’cause of the lack of equipments. Still the nurses and the doctors are taking good care of the patients and they’ve been very nice to all students also. They’ve always been very supporting and willing to answer our questions and show us interesting examinations. I think I’ve become more confident in many nursing tasks during my trainings here. Not so many workers or patients can speak English but they always try and so far we’ve always found a way to communicate.

Budapest is a very beautiful and big city with lots of old decorative buildings. There you can always find new interesting places. I’ve found some very nice restaurants, cafés and bars and lots of places where there’s live music even during the week. The spring here started early and already in the end of March there were some very hot days here so it’s nice to walk around the city and in the parks. Few of my favorite places to visit in Budapest are the Margitsziget (an island in the middle of Danube), the City Park and The Gellert Hill. In Buda there are lots of hills from where you can see almost the whole city. I live in Pest in the city centre where there are lots of nice streets full of nice shops, restaurants, cafés, bars and famous ruin pubs.

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There are lots of nice other cities and villages in Hungary too, for example Pécs and Vács, where you can for nice one day visits by train or car. From Hungary it’s easy to travel to other European countries too and in March we spent a long weekend in Prague.

Hungarian people are very nice and they remind me a little of Finnish people. The language is similar to Finnish also. Budapest is definitely one of my favorite European cities and I can’t wait to come here again many times in the future.

 

Greetings from Nicosia

I have been in Cyprus for almost three months now and I still have more than one before heading back home. I can honestly say that life is treating me well in here. Luckily I have better part of my exchange still left. The weather is getting better and warmer day by day and now it has been +30 degrees almost every day. Today started three weeks Easter holiday and after that I have only Final Exams before homecoming.

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I live in Nicosia, which is the capital of Cyprus. Nicosia is a bit bigger city than Tampere and really pleasant city. For a Finn it is really weird that there are not rivers or lakes near and ocean is 50km away. Public transportation is really undeveloped here, buses go only once in an hour and sometimes they just don’t appear even though you are waiting for it.

Nicosia is quite cheap place to live. I pay under 300€ rent monthly and eating in restaurants is cheap. Travelling by bus or taxi is affordable too; bus ticket is only 75 cents for student. However, food at grocery stores is even more expensive than in Finland. Especially yoghourt, cheese and cold cuts cost a lot.

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My school, University of Nicosia is the biggest university in Cyprus and overall it is really nice. Lectures weren’t as difficult as I expected after I got used to professors’ accents. There are over 100 exchange students in our school  and I didn’t have any course where wasn’t other exchange students.

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I will travel to Crete for nine days during spring break. My other plans for the rest of my time in Cyprus is lay in the beach, tan as much as I can and enjoy the heat and the weather. Time has flied here so I suppose that this last month is over before I even notice…

Almost at the top, of Alps

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Lenzerheide-Alps

Greetings from Switzerland! The time has gone here very quickly and I have been here for two months. I’m living in Winterthur and studying at ZHAW School of Engineering.

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Winterthur-Hometown

In our University there is only six exchange student in this semester but here is also some other exchange students studying Business or Management & Law from USA, France, Slovenia, Korea, China etc.. I really enjoyed being here, I have met lot of new peoples around the world and saw very spectacular views.

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Schaffhausen-Rheinfalls

I have travelled only in Switzerland in St.Gallen, Bern and Zürich. Later this exchange we are going to Italy, France, Austria and Germany. I live with four local people and I like it because I can see Swiss culture very close. They are very similar than Finns so it’s not that big culture shock for me. I hope that the last two months will go more slowly 😉

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Zürich-Zürich Lake
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Zürich

 

Tervist Tartust!

20160321_09042320160323_154145Raekoja plats when I arrived and some Easter eggs at the shelter

Greetings from Tartu, the second biggest city in Estonia with approximately 100 000 inhabitants! A little bit over a month has passed since I arrived here to conduct my practical training. At first three months sounded like a long time, but time has really flown and I feel like every weekend is already booked with some activity.

13054711_10209281164895746_63066479_o13064053_10209281162895696_1947585030_o20160321_124552Went rollerskating with the kids, not sure who needed help the most…

During weekdays I am doing my practical training in Tartu Laste Turvakodu, which is a local Children’s Shelter. The workers have made me feel very welcome and the kids are really sweet. My workdays consist of drawing, playing games and spending time outside, so definitely not complaining! This is probably the most efficient (and craziest) way to learn a new language, since English or Finnish don’t have any effect on the smaller kids. Luckily, they are also very excited teachers, and no mistakes go unnoticed!

20160316_16324120160403_160136Views from Tartu and Riga

Outside the training, I have been studying my surroundings and also visited Riga and Tallinn. I had been to Estonia several times before the training, but it has been great to get to know the country also outside the Tallinn harbour. I have gone to the movies and the theatre and even seen an Estonian ballet show. Also, the Estonian food culture has been a pleasant surprise. I have always thought I am not a soup person, but apparently I was only missing sour cream (or hapukoor like the locals say). I believe it makes every food taste fantastic! And don’t even get me started on these different coffee shops, where an average price for a piece of cake is one or two euros…

13062786_10209281166735792_1053036448_o13035434_10209281170615889_387698854_oJust a few examples of the oh-so-many desserts I have had here

If you are a student, there is a lot to do in Tartu. I started acting classes and have also been visiting other events meant for exchange students, for example a board game night. It is great that thanks to these events and my training place, I get to know both Estonian people and other exchange students. I am already looking forward to the student week starting on Monday!

13054953_10209281160295631_1467838009_oThe Estonian take on Fear Factory

Nägemist!

Vilma (or Milva like everyone accidentally keeps calling me :D)

 

Paris? Oui!

Greetings from Paris,

It’s been two and a half months since I arrived in the city of love. I’ve already fell in love with it as well as got really frustrated. Although life in Paris is hectic and people tend to be in a hurry wherever they are going, I, as an exchange student, have had a real pleasure to follow the Parisian lifestyle grabbing a baguette for lunch and staying up late.13062168_10209151010789208_1274756071008973594_n

I’ve got seven courses at my school ESCE. It is a business school and studying there is quite similar to Finnish universities of applied sciences. In addition to lectures, there’s a lot of teamwork included in my courses. Working with international students has been instructive: I’ve learned a whole lot of different cultures.

As I already knew, dealing with stuff in France is much harder than in Finland. The electronic devices only work from time to time. If you have to print something, you’d better be prepared a few days earlier because there’s a high chance that the printers don’t work when you’re supposed to use them.13055383_10209150994028789_4007648237741871333_n

Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays I always spend at school studying but the rest of the week is left for walking around, discovering all the arrondissements of Paris, visiting cultural attractions and having dinner or a couple of cocktails with friends.13062492_10209151008669155_4731905398757168092_n

It’s very expensive to live in Paris. Luckily I can afford to attend to activities after the rent and grocery shopping. Fortunately many activities, like museums and cultural sites, are free for students.

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By far, the most pleasant thing during the exchange has been all the new people I’ve met. Together we have picnics and soirées and explore Paris, as it is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for each of us.

Love, Lotta

Greetings from Akureyri!

I have been staying in Akureyri, North Iceland now three and a half months and there is still little bit less than one month to go. Akureyri is a sweet little city with a population of about 18 500 people and still it is a second largest city in Iceland. Time has been flying here and at the same time that I am waiting to go back home it also feels already like second home here so it is going to be weird to leave this place behind soon.

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Downtown Akureyri.

My studies here have been very variable and I have had courses from Icelandic history and culture, Icelandic language, Circumpolar World and only one course from my own field of studies. When the school is as small as University of Akureyri, there is not that much to choose from. Still I have been pretty happy with my courses because I have been able to learn lot from Iceland.

In the Icelandic language course I have noticed that the language is really hard! First it seemed pretty okay because there is some similar words than in Swedish but after I got familiar with grammar I noticed that it is not going to be easy to learn. People in Iceland speak also so good English that it is usually easier just use that than try to speak Icelandic and that is why I have not felt big necessity to learn the language.

I have been living here in a guesthouse with eight other students. Besides me here is living Swedish, Latvian, German, Finnish, Polish, English and two Slovakian girls so we are quite nice mixture of nationalities. We get along really well and the house is also really nice, close to downtown and not too far from university.

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Lake Mývatn.

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Reynisfjara black beach.

Nature is definitely the best thing in Iceland and we have been doing lot of trips all over the island. For example Mývatn area which is pretty close to Akureyri has become familiar such as Reykjavík. Most amazing trips have been trips to Snæfellsnes peninsula and the trip to southern parts of Iceland. There is also still going to be one trip to Vatnajökull glacier in the end of April which I am looking forward to. Of course we have also been spotting northern lights many times and visited in a ranch where we rode Icelandic horses.

I am happy that I decided to spent my exchange semester in Iceland. It has been one of my best decisions to come here and I would not change anything! Hopefully I can come and visit here soon again.

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Snæfellsnes peninsula.

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Skógafoss waterfall.

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Riding with Icelandic horses was amazing experience. 

Bruges – The Venice of the North

Greetings from Belgium! I have already spend two months in this beautiful city called Bruges. Bruges is located in West-Flanders in Belgium and it is approximately same size as Tampere. The city is known for its medieval architecture and canals, that pass through the city. Who wouldn’t enjoy spending time in this kind of scenery?SAM_4124IMG_20160227_131337IMG_20160130_174038Everything has gone well in school as well. In Bruges I study International business management in Howest University of applied sciences. I have taken four different modules that all consist two courses, but the courses that I have found most interesting have been innovation management and courses related to social media marketing. Like in TAMK, we also have a lot of group assignment in the lessons here. What I like about the lessons is that there is also local students attending the same lessons, so we are not all the time with only international students.

Another good thing about school here is that we have a lot of free time. We just had two weeks long Easter holiday, so I had time to do what I enjoy most; Travel. I have been traveling inside the Belgium. I have visited in Oostende, Ghent, Brussel and Antwerp. In addition, I have had time to travel some other countries in Europe. Cities I have visited so far are Frankfurt, Strasbourg, Luxembourg, Paris, Madrid and Zürich. I still hope I have time to travel few other places before coming back to Finland.

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All in all, I have enjoyed my exchange period so far. I have got so many friends all over the world and learn so much about different cultures!

Jump start to spring

IMG_3538Cardiff Bay, Wales
I came to Cardiff, the capital city of Wales, about 7 weeks ago. It was nice to see that the spring was here already. When I left Finland, it was still winder and we had loads of snow. But in Cardiff, flowers were blooming and trees had just started to get leaves. The hospitals haven’t gotten to the 21st century meaning that they still use paper copies of patient records which was quite funny for me. Most seem to know where Finland is and even more people have heard that our education system is one of the top in the whole world.
As a funny coincidence was to meet a Finnish nurse who has been working here for 12 years already. She was kind enough to take me and my Finnish collague out for a city tour. University seems to be having a lot of troubles trying to organise placements for students. I told the placement office how in Finland students book their own placements and she fell in love with the system and wanted to have it straight away 🙂

All good. Take care.
Pauliina (Or as they call me “P”)

Sláinte mhaith!

Calton Hill
Greetings from Edinburgh, the beautiful capital of Scotland! This city is so inspiring and full of history that no words can describe it. I fell in love on the first day I came here, because people are really nice and there is always something new to discover.

Scottish people are quite similar to Finnish people: pretty hard to get close, but when you do they are very loyal to you. Also Scottish accent is like ‘savo’, hard to understand at first, but after a while I wanted to be able to speak it myself as well 😀

Unfortunately food here is quite unhealthy, especially at school cantine almost everything is deep fried or mixed with mayo. But haggis is the best ever! Never thought that entrails can taste so good…

I’m living in 5-people flat and luckily I have the best flatmates ever. We are from all around the world and this is the very first time to visit Scotland for all of us. We have also tradition of making dinner for each other every Sunday 🙂

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Edinburgh is very expensive city to live. I pay 600€/month for my flat and restaurant mains start from 13€. Still here is many free things to do and see, such as Scottish National Museum, Arthur’s Seat (260m high ancient volcano) and Botanic Garden and many, many more..

To be honest, I had quite big expectations about Edinburgh Napier University’s music department, and many of them were true! Napier University has very modern recording studios and practice faculties, which is brilliant for music technology student! I think that music education standard is a bit higher in Finland than here in Scotland, but it’s about early childhood music education, not about universities.

I really enjoy my studies here, because there is always a new project to get myself into. For example I got involved into two composer students’ projects, and we were playing a great concert in St Giles Cathedral. First cathedral concert of my life, yay!

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Of course there’s countless amount of castles, distilleries and stunning landscapes in Scotland, which I got chance to explore! I spend my two weeks Easter holiday in Highlands just travelling around by bus and seeing Isle of Skye, Fort William, Inverness and much more. Btw, what movie has the lake at the bottom left photo? 😉

Time has gone really fast, almost flying! It’s been already three months here, but it feels like one month, honestly! Still four more weeks to enjoy here, and find out which whisky bottles to carry back home and which not…

Cheers!