Monthly Archives: August 2016

Life upon Thames

Greetings from Staines-Upon-Thames in Borough of Spelthorne in Surrey, England!

It’s been four months since I arrived to this beautiful small city near to London called Staines-Upon-Thames. I call it city even though a village might be more accurate way to call it.  The best part of city is the river Thames next to my work place. I have really enjoyed long walks along the river side.

My current home village Staines-Upon-Thames
My current home village Staines-Upon-Thames

I got my internship place with three weeks’ notice so I was really in a hurry to find accommodation and arrange everything. In the end I found a nice house to stay in with a live in landlady and her son. The house is located very close to the office where I work, only 10 minutes’ walk.

 

 

 

I came here to do my internship in a small fundraising company as Business Administrator. The work has been interesting, I’ve been participating in all the different aspects of a fundraising business starting from face-to-face fundraising till collecting and entering donor data and preparing weekly reports for the client companies. After the first month I’ve been basically taken care of all the daily administration work and communication with our clients. Before leaving the company I will also teach the new employee how to do the work, so I would say I have been involved in all the aspects of running a small start-up company.

London Waterloo, the station where I always arrive from Staines
London Waterloo, the station where I always arrive from Staines
London Eye, it is prettier in night I think
London Eye, it is prettier in night, I think

Before coming here I didn’t really know anything about England. I have been on an exchange before in the Netherlands, so I was really surprised when I experienced quite strong culture shock during first few weeks. This whole country seems to be very different from the other European countries I’ve visited. All the small things like new currency, different units of measurement (I will never get used to miles), cars driving on the wrong side of the road and children wearing school uniforms have been very new to me. Not to mention the small talk and people addressing me as “lady” “love” or “dear”

Even though first months were quite challenging for me and I missed home a lot, it’s starting to be better now. I’m getting used to the way things are done here and I have met nice people here both foreigners and British. I’ve visited London a lot and after the first shock of too many people, I’ve really learnt to love the city. I’ve seen Big Ben, London Eye and Buckingham so I have been a tourist as well. Mostly I’ve enjoyed just walking around in London, getting used to the underground/tube (which is horrible and too hot here) and meeting new people. I’m not really that great at being a tourist.

London from sky
London <3
For a girl from a city with one bus connection in an hour, this was a big mystery at first :D
For a girl from a city with one bus connection in an hour, this was a big mystery at first 😀

Also, I don’t own camera, so all the photos are from internet. But everyone knows how London looks like anyway, right?

Big Ben

Hallo from Rotterdam

First of all I am safe and everything is pretty much fine except some disgusting problems with our apartment.20160822_203418

These first days here in Rotterdam have been extremely busy but now I have finally time to sit down and tell some experience from my first week of my exchange.

The reason why I moved to Rotterdam is that I came to study a logistics and economics to Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences. My exchange studies last approximately 5 months, after which I have intended to complete a three month internship in Rotterdam as well.

I arrived Rotterdam on Sunday morning at 10:30 (here a local time is one hour behind of Finland). Our plane landed to Amsterdam at 9:35 from where me and a couple of my classmates from Tampere University of Applied Science continued our trip by train to Rotterdam. All in all, the trip went well even I had my huge ice hockey bag with me, which usually always cause some problems, but not this time..

In Rotterdam I live in one of the student dormitory, Erasmus International House, and I am sharing my  flat with Aleksandr who is also from Tampere but here he studies in the different program. When we finally arrived our dorm, there was waiting a very friendly guy who told us the rules of Erasmus International House and took us to our rooms. First sight was not pleasant. I opened my room door and it looked like someone has got shot in my room. The floors are extremely dirty and the walls have full of smudges plus everything is broken. Literally speaking; this is not bad this is horrible. We have already sent a complaint about the condition of the flat and the complaint is under the process by SSH (the organization which provided this “lovely” apartment to us.

Winger crossed that we can get a new apartment!!!

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However, Rotterdam is a very cool city with its lively cultural life and riverside setting but especially the architecture of Rotterdam is outstanding. During these few days we have explored the city and  I can surely say that this is one of the coolest cities where I have ever been. If I need to describe Rotterdam by using two words, the words would be a modern and fresh.

In addition to studying , I also play ice hockey here in the Netherlands. The team where I play is called Zoetermeer Panters, which is playing in BeNe league. This is the highest league in the Netherlands and Belgium.

More about my upcoming season in my next post!

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Doie!

-Villehart

 

Vi havde det hyggligt

 

Hey! Greetings from Næstved!

Well actually I am already home in Finland but let me tell you about my stay in Denmark anyway.

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patsastelua

First of all, something about the city I called home for some months. Næstved’s history stretches back to the early Iron Age. There are shopping streets with cute little stores and a square in the centre where the market is held, and where you can buy flowers and fresh ingredients. Nearby there is a small fishing town of Karrebæksminde that is a seaside holiday location with a camp site, restaurants and cafés. If I had to describe Næstved in one word, that would be cozy. For a countryside girl like me the city was just perfect place to live in.

 

satamaranta

Karrebæksminde

 

What was I doing in Denmark? I’m studying Biomedical Laboratory Science. It is still rather under-recognized, “hidden” health profession.  Biomedical Laboratory Scientist can work in primary or special health care, private laboratories or medical and biomedical research institutions and animal laboratories for example. Professional duties may include the identification of normal and abnormal cells (chemistry & hematology) and tissues (pathology), the assurance of safe transfusion of blood products (immunology) and cultivation and identification of bacteria and viruses (microbiology). The important part of the work is the validation of equipment and methods.

I went to Denmark to deepen my knowledge in some special fields. The fields chosen for me were clinical chemistry, clinical immunology and pathology. The studies I had in there were a combination of practical training in clinical laboratories, lecturing and independent learning. Finding the subject for my advanced studies was a little bit problematic. My training days were all quite different but the advanced studies should be performed in a same workstation and the theory should also be concentrated on some specific field of study. Luckily my supervisors were willing to make compromises as much as possible. With their help and with my own willpower I was able to get a subject that pleases me and is very fascinating.

patologiaa

At the clinical chemistry I took blood samples and electrocardiograms and learned to use different kinds of blood analyzers. Some of the equipment was already familiar to me because I had been in a clinical chemistry laboratory before. However there can be never too much repeating when you are still a student. At the immunology I got to see the whole blood donation process, participate in fractioning of blood and do some blood grouping and virus analysis of blood. At the pathology laboratory I did several different things and I was able to visit every workstation. I couldn’t find any major differences between Danish and Finnish laboratory practice. Working hours are the same and the importance of preanalytical factors and the quality system is just as it is in Finland. There are always some things that are not the same, even in the same country or inside a region. I did notice that the working environment was friendlier and somehow lighter than in Finland but that is a behavioral trait, not just a feature in a laboratory. The relationship between co-workers and supervisors seemed to be good so it felt nice to go to “work” every day and the environment’s working spirit motivated me to learn more and to challenge myself.

 

sygehusimmunologialla jälkeen

Ready for the weekend

 

What did I do during my spare time?

I was living together with another Finnish biomedical laboratory science student. Our apartment was quite small and we didn’t have a television or a radio in there. So we did something else. We were maintaining rather healthy life. Making healthy dishes and exercising nearly every day. There was a beautiful forest just around the corner so it was easy and pleasant to go out to get some fresh air. We got rental bikes from school and explored the city we were living in and also the landscape outside the city. Biking is an excellent way to get to know your surroundings but maintaining your favourite activity also helps you to bring balance and routine to your daily life. To me, biking made new spaces feel a little more familiar and welcoming.

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homecooking

 

We did a lot of travelling across the country. We did some research and got a bucket list of places that we absolutely had to explore. Copenhagen was special to us. It felt like we were there nearly every weekend. There we did some very tourist things like conquering some towers, seeing The Little Mermaid, visiting freetown Christiania and going to very beautiful parks and cemeteries. Historical landmarks and nature places were our thing. Also visiting cafes was a must thing to do wherever we went. We got to enjoy the food and also observe local people around us.

 

herkuttelua 2

kirsikankukkia

polkuherkuttelua

rantaystäväniköpiksessä jälleenhyppelyä

 

vanhassa sairaalassaCommunication with the Danes contains humor and goodwill or at least it felt like that. The laboratory staff was interested in what we are doing in our spare time and some of them invited us to their home or to a café or to see movies with them. That is why it felt safe and natural to live in Næstved.

My time in Denmark was a fascinating experience. I went to abroad to get international experience and that I got. I also made some good friends and saw amazing places.

 

Thank you

hiller

Work hard, play hard

Bongu everyone! ( Bongu means good morning in Maltese )

It has been really crazy 3 months here at Malta and I still have a little bit less than month left!

So I’m doing my internship in language school named Sprachcaffe. This schools exact location is in area named Pembroke. Basically we have student of almost every age from all around the world here so I had many different kind of adventures with many different kind of people.


For the first I’m going to tell you about my practical training and later about my activities here in party paradise Malta.

When I arrived here 3 months ago I thought that I’ll be working in the bistro, BUT! I found myself sitting behind a counter of reception. I had to learn everything from the first steps to further and actually one thing surprised me so badly.. I had no idea about vocabulary of reception and office-working, because so far I never needed these words on my life.

From my first day till now, my working has been sitting behind the reception, serving incoming and out going students, making bookings and being as a “being” who knows information about everything. The latest one is actually something what students thinks. They come to reception to ask about all kind of things and when I say all, I really mean ALL. At the beginning it was really restraining when I had to try to learn everything fast and also remember where to find correct information, but nowadays I can actually remember many kind of things that usually students are asking and I also know where to find what I’m looking for.

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The working culture of Malta and Finland is totally different or that’s how I think so.

Here at Sprachcaffe almost everyone is working as individual, but not as a group. When your shift starts and you put your money inside the cash box, you’re the ruler of the shift and everyone has to do things on your way. In Finland if I’m working with someone, we have always tried to find a way to deal with every situation together and make the working pleasurable for all of us.

Then also when your shift ends it really ends. No one cares about anything when their shift ends. Few times when I tried to ask something from my colleagues, usually they answered that “I don’t care, because I’m not working“. Sometimes it is really good thing to be able to separate your personal life and working, but for me that way to act is foolish. How much energy do you need to use to answer on a simple question just to help your colleague with the situation?

In the end this experience has been really nice and these hardships haven’t been affecting at all. It was just something which was really difficult to deal with at the very beginning.


I think that is all about my working so lets move into more interesting part! My free time!

I’ve done much so far that it’s really difficult to think that in which order I should explain about everything. Maybe the most common way to spent your time here at Malta is to spend your day time at the pool or beach or go for sightseeing and at the evening start drinking and partying.

As I told at the day time people likes to spend their time at the pool or swimming so basically I have done the same. Here at Malta there is many different kind of beaches and places to go to swim and one of my favorite is just next to me. Pembroke Rocky beach. It’s just normal rocky seashore with few ladders, but those few places to swim are so nice! I took my snorkels with me to use them there and the view was so awesome! Many different kind of fishes and sea animals. After that I have been carrying my snorkels with me on every beach to see the bottom of the sea. So far the most impressive place has been cave in the Blue Lagoon.

This one is from Rocky Beach of Pembroke

Blue Lagoon in Comino ( also you can see that cave in this picture )

On my free time I also went to see different kind places for example: Capital city of Malta; Valletta, Old City of Mdina; where some scenes of Games of Thrones has been recorded, Catacombs in Rabbat and Gozo which is an island next to Malta.

Mdina

Azure Window Gozo

Azure Window in Gozo

If you guys ever come to Malta you should go to visit Paceville and Cafe Del Mar, because they are really good party places! I have much to tell about them, but maybe it’s not wise to write about them here.

I chose the title, because that is the way of living  here. You work a lot and after that you party a lot!


I enjoyed my adventure at Malta really much, only because I met so awesome characters! I made the the line art of my story, but they gave me the colors to make it alive.

Nakar iktar tard ( See you later ) and I hope that you enjoyed reading this one!

Tjenare från Stockholm!

Greetings from Stockholm,

I have had a great times here in Stockholm. It wasn’t that big culture shock to come here because the culture is quite the same as in Finland.

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I have met many new friendly persons in school and in dormitory.  Yes I live in dormitory,  I have room, toilet and shower but we all share kitchen.

I was in school two weeks and after that I did placement. I did my first placement in Byle gård and second placement in Sophiahemmet. In Byle gård we have patients who have cancer and in Sophiahemmet is health center.

I like this city too much and after exchange I stayed here for the summer to work.

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“bump” on the road.

24.9

Projects, Projects, Projects…

For the past three weeks, I have been sitting behind my computer and writing assignments, projects reports and bunch of other tasks. The amount of work you have to do during 4 courses feels unbelievable. It would be fine, if we didn’t do a lot of extra and unnecessary work. I have realised here how big difference there is between finnish way of doing things and the dutch way of doing things. The bureaucracy here is hardcore. During the first week of school, 3 lessons were cancelled and we got no message about it, neither was the timetable updated.

In Rotterdam there is no such thing as direct approach to a problem and there is also no direct answer to a question. Everything must be described theoretically and as complicated as it is possible. When you start a project you need to do bunch of stuff and documents with the group before you actually get to a problem – and that is frustrating, because you waste a lot of time and energy on those things that are either common sense in Finland or just self-evident. Because of this, you lose the efficiency and the work you do could be done much faster with less effort and a same result in the end.

Absolutely no flexibility. This is another thing I have noticed and discussed with those rare friends I got here (due to the fact that local people are extremely distant, arrogant, boring and just sad), that teachers here do not understand that a student could sometimes think for himself with his own little head. Some of the students are already doing their 4th year of studies and yet still before every single task they are explained how they should do an assignment of max. 500 words, using the assignment criteria chart. There’s are also no middle ground with most of the teachers – its my way or no way. That is a sad fact, because a huge potential is being killed by following the 1.2.3. steps with no permission of using own thinking or evaluating a problem.

The “applied sciences” part is forgotten totally here. Books are priority #1 and theoretical approach is the only way. We have to read 80-120 pages before every single class and the actual class is then lectured in the way where a teacher asks questions and we have to sit and answer, 60% of the class never read anything so you can imagine how much sense this makes. There are no personal experience examples, there are no examples from real life/world, there are no stories, no newspaper or a book written by a famous person used to elaborate anything. It is boring, it is lacking of quality and it is way behind the 2016 education system, which is funny because we are talking about Netherlands here and not Africa.

The educational system that our school is using is also a huge mess. Everybody knows that its from the era of Dinosauruses, but nobody does anything since there are a cooperation between the software provider and the money was paid and now there is no other options but to use this buggy and broken system. Intranet is like 999 times better and more sufficient – I can’t even use the local system in english. Email is used to send the assignments to teachers and visa versa, which is a joke to be honest and not a professional way of doing things.

Half of the materials provided are in dutch, so imagine the easiness of starting the projects.

90% of the people I met here are distant, fake, arrogant, boring, full of themselves and I have no idea who told dutch people that they are direct and straight forward in their actions, because they can’t even handle the directness. A total respect and love back to Finland, because compared to what I have seen for the past 5 weeks now, Finland is awesome.

I can not recommend the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences to any finnish student, because it sure feels like a huge step back and the quality difference is amazing between TAMK and RUAS.


The first day in Rotterdam and especially in my room was not a very pleasant experience. Even the hard rain which was pouring on the city did not depress us, but arriving at the Erasmus International House and seeing my room did the job. The room was in such a bad condition that still up to this moment I do not understand how can an organization rent such a room after seeing that it is clearly not in a shape for renting or do not stand up to a basic standard and what I have paid for. My flat mate is having the same problem and currently we are trying to do everything to get out of here, because paying a rent for this sh**hole is something we are not going to do.

The fact that it was Sunday did not help our case, since it’s a day off for the offices and their staff. We had a discussion about the flat with a helpful guy who is taking care of the office inside the Erasmus House, but he can’t make any decisions and still needs to connect those who can. This will obviously take some time and every extra minute spent in this apartment is a minute too much. This morning I woke up with a smell of a public toilet and in a couple of days that smell will stay in my clothes and belongings no matter where I go. Not a pleasant experience so far.

There is a difference between bad quality and a disgusting sight – hopefully SSH will fix this during the next 1-2 days, because this is not what I paid for and will not continue to pay.

Thank you for this awesome start Erasmus International Housing and SSH!

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 Other than that, things are fine. Rotterdam is a cool city.

Te quiero Barcelona

rannalla ruoka beach casa batllo el barrio gotico kauppahalli

I’m studying as an exchange student in Barcelona, in Universitat Pompeu Fabra and I’m studying audiovisual communication. The university is huge and there are many campuses all over the city. I have courses on different campuses. When I first arrived here took some courses on the local, Catalonian, culture and I think it was very useful. Also I chose language courses and courses of my own field. I think language is a good way to learn about the culture. When I came here I didn’t speak the language but it’s getting easier. My audiovisual narrative course is in Catalan, which I didn´t speak at first so that is a challenge for me! But I believe, I will be able to pass the course. I´m a bit scared though.

 

On my free time I’ve been exploring Barcelona. I’ve been hanging out with friends, had some good food and really good mojitos in Rosa Negra. I’ve seen the beautiful architecture of Gaudi and the sunny beach. The atmosphere of the city is very laid back. There are so many beautiful things to see in Barcelona. Sagrada Familia is very beautiful I loved the Montserrat mountain and not very far away from Barcelona there is the museum of Salvador Dali which is very interesting.

 

I’ve met very good friends in here and I just love how international everything is. I have met people from all over the world. It’s nice to have classes with people from the other side of the planet, you learn so much!

 

I love Barcelona!

Viele Grüße aus Hamburg!

Hello from Hamburg, Germany! 🙂

During the last four months I did my internship in a marketing agency here in Hamburg. I was part of the brand and CRM team which is designing new concepts and strategies for all kind of different brands. Time is flying – as usual – and last Friday I was celebrating my farewell already. I am very sad to leave the agency since I had a really great time there.

During my internship I worked on many different projects for national and international brands like Lindt, McDonald’s or Henkel. The tasks I did were mainly research related and in the end, I also helped to creat new strategies and concepts and I presented them to the team. I learned a lot about branding and CRM and developed my professional skills. At the beginning it was quite challenging to work for all the different companies and to get to know and gain the knowledge of different markets, but my team was very supportive and helped me a lot.

However, although the internship is over, I am glad my time in Hamburg is not over, yet. I got another job and I am starting to write my thesis here. Before I moved to Hamburg for my practical training, I have never been to Hamburg before, but I have to say that I really fell in love with this city. No matter where you go, Hamburg is just beautiful. I like especially the water and the nice buildings. Unfortunately my phone broke just a few days ago and I could only save a few pictures from Hamburg:

 

Stadtpark
Stadtpark
Hamburg Port Anniversary
Hamburg Port Anniversary

 

One of the highlights this summer was definitely the anniversary of the Port of Hamburg. It was a huge event with loads of boats. Whenever the weather is great (it is rarely good here) we go to the Stadtpark (city park) to grill and meet friends. This city just never sleeps and there are a lot of events and concerts, which are worth going to. Of Cours, Reeperbahn is worth a visit, too.

Whenever you have the chance, come and visit Hamburg. I have had the time of my life here!

 

 

 

 

 

尾道へようこそ! Welcome to Onomichi!

Konnichiwa! I am currently living and doing my practical training in Onomichi, a small seaside port city in the Hiroshima prefecture, in Japan. I am almost done with my training period of three months, and with heavy heart I will soon have to go back home. Onomichi has become a second home for me, and I feel like I know it like the back of my hand by now.

I am working at a small, japanese styled guesthouse called Anago No Nedoko, with a cafe located on the side. The guesthouse has two dormitories and two private rooms, with space for 25-30 guests. The cafe has seats for 16 guests, and the guesthouse’s breakfast is served there. My work consists of cleaning the guesthouse rooms as well as preparing the breakfast. The workdays here are usually about 6 hours long, starting from preparing the breakfast and then cleaning the guesthouse. There is another helper working here with me, so I don’t need to work alone. Thursdays and Fridays are free from work, and I have made many trips around Japan.

I’ve made trips to the nearby islands, as well as bigger cities such as Hiroshima, Kyoto and Tokyo. I love the different atmospheres these places have: Onomichi is a very peaceful, small city, compared to the hectic and never-ending Tokyo! Though I do love both cities very much. The people in Japan are very friendly and helpful, and I can always rely on them in a time of need.

The weather in Onomichi can be brutal, with 30-35°C with very high humidity. You really have to watch out for a heatsroke, and remember to drink enough. When I arrived, there was a rainy season that lasted for about a week, during which it rained almost nonstop. After that the “real” japanese summer began. The summer is very different from the summer in Finland.

Unfortunately, my training period is soon over and I will have to make my way back to Finland. These three months have been absolutely amazing, and I can’t wait to visit Japan again!