Monthly Archives: September 2016

A day in Belarus

Hello everybody! I am here to show you the day of the Belarussian worker in the company called Brest regional committee of Natural Resources and Environmental protection, which is located in Brest, Belarus. I was working there during the summer 2016. Control over protection and use of water resources in Brest region, improving the hydrological state of rivers by establishing of protection zones and work on the survey of springs are the main activities of the sector where I was working in. Mine was water sector, however, there was also air, ground and also trash sectors as well. We were having the office just in the city center and that means if you want to get the space for parking next to the building, you need to come a bit earlier that everybody else.

The day is starting with the planning and giving the instructions from the bosses. After that is done the team (usually) is going somewhere as I had couple of projects going on during the 3 month I was working there. That could be trip to the lake to take the samples or some measurements or to the laboratory for the analysis. We also had some presentations. I remember the moment, when I had a trip to capital of Belarus, Minsk, where our team was giving the presentation about the situation in our region and we have been also listening the other regions as well.

Nobody says NO to lunch, so we had it from 12 till 1 during the day. We were usually having it in the nearest restaurant with my colleagues. And after that coming back to work. The most exiting part was usually during the first part of the day and the second was for making some notes and writing the feedbacks and felling some documents.

All in all, I could say that it was a good experience in the field of Environment and I am happy that I got such possibility to try that on my hands.

Grüße aus Göttingen!

I spent my exchange days in the post-card-like Göttingen. The city of 115,000 inhabitants is not called the university city for nothing. It is famous for its old university, Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, that was founded in 1737. There’s also two other universities, one private and one university of applied science.

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Gänseliesel statue in the inner city

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Because there’s so many students in Göttingen there’s a young vibe in the city. There’s a lot to do on your spear time, you can go to the movies, do a bar round, eat in one of the many restaurants or cafës, go to a concert or just relax in the Cheltenhampark. People are mostly friendly and helpful and many people on the streets and stores speak or at least understand English. That makes shopping or navigating through the city that much easier if your German skills are rusty like I had in the beginning. Still there were times when mimicking what you need was the way to go.

I had some hardship with the language in the beginning and that made studying also a bit hard. Still through time I German came back to me.  It was an amazing experience to get to know other cultures. I got to learn about German culture and habits through my friends on free time and I also learned a lot about Chinese culture and people in my German course. I had the opportunity also to tell them about Finland and the Finnish way of life.

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Cheltenhampark

All in all Göttingen is a lovely little city with a long history. I wish to return here as soon as possible. I grew to love this city where people are open, streets are like mazes and education is valued.

 

Mit herzlichen Grüßen

Liisa

Exchange in Zwolle, the Netherlands

 

Zwolle from above
Zwolle from above

 
A little bit more than half of a year has already passed since I’ve came back from my study exchange in Zwolle, but memories are still alive. Even though, frankly speaking, I did not like Windesheim University of Applied Sciences for certain reasons I’ve described in the exchange report, Zwolle itself still made a better impression on me.
The ones who are crazy about big and noisy European capitals would not probably like Zwolle that much, because the town is rather calm and small, to be more precise – just 200 thousands people living there and its small start-shaped city center can be crossed on foot just in 25 minutes. But because I happen to be creeped out by huge, stuffy, crowded, dirty and smoggy megapolises, Zwolle was just of a perfect size for me. Even though Zwolle is quite little, it is still that type of town where everything one might need can be found. It is a very cozy place: nice small streets, little cafes, every now and then street merchants and street entertainers, a couple of middle-aged churches – in a word, everything in the best traditions of little neat towns of Europe. But also Zwolle is “very Dutch”. When you come there you can’t really confuse what country you are in: canals, omnipresent bicycles, traditional Dutch fast food, and coffeeshops 😀 are surrounding you from the first moment you reach the place.
Legendary Dutch canals
City centre view
The location of the town is also convenient, it is just 100km away from Amsterdam, around 40km to the border of Germany, and also rather close to a few other well-known Dutch cities.

The tallest building in the city centre, Pepperbus
The tallest building in the city centre, Pepperbus

Do I miss it? Hard to say; even though I would not probably agree to spend another 5 months there, it would still be nice to visit it again and have some reminiscence moments at some point.

Home Away From Home – Life Back in The U.S.

After living and studying in Finland for 2 years I decided that I would do an internship back home so that I could see my family and friends at the same time! It was exciting to be able to take the knowledge and skills I have learned from studying at TAMK and apply them in real work environments and situations.downtown-madison-wi-arts-entertainment-and-politics-1

Unlike many people who are doing their exchange or practical training  I already knew the culture and exactly what to expect when I got there. This had both positive and negative aspects. For example, it was nice that I could focus on working without having to be nervous about making cultural mistakes or having language barriers, but I also understand that sometimes it is good to be put in difficult situations like that  because it forces us to solve problems and become more comfortable with being in uncomfortable situations. These situations make us grow and better understand ourselves.

Even though I was back in my home country for my internship as a marketing assistant I still had to get used to a different city from where I lived as well as a new work environment, but I quickly discovered how to avoid traffic on the way to work and behave in this new work place. I was working quite a lot so I did not have much free time but when I did I visited with my family, and friends from high school. It was nice to be able to go to my old gym to workout and play basketball with my friends.

Madison, Wisconsin at Sunset
Madison, Wisconsin at Sunset

Overall I enjoyed my practical training back home, but I think doing a practical training in a foreign country would be more exciting next time!

 

こんにちは!from Japan

Konnichiwa from the land of the rising sun!

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From the moment I arrived to this amazing country, I totally fell in love with this “craziness” and lovely, caring culture.  I have been living in a small city called Beppu, located in the Oita prefecture in the Kyushu island, southern part of Japan. This place is known for the city of hot springs, so called onsens. And yes, there are onsens everywhere and they are amazing.

Onsen

The uni, Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University, is located up in the mountains and we travel there by bus. The busride takes about 30 minutes and without a doubt, it is sometimes exhausting. But the views from the mountains are absolutely worth it. I’m living in a student house downtown by the seaside and my own room is placed on the top, 9th floor, with own balcony and sea view.

view from my balcony
our campus

Japanese people are very kind, welcoming and helpful. Even though there is a language barrier, since the locals don’t speak English well, I feel myself safe and welcomed here. I have got to know people from all around the world and we have been doing some travelling around Japan during the weekends and longer breaks from the uni. We have visited of course the huge Tokyo and Kyoto, that can be called the cultural capital of Japan, Hiroshima, Osaka and we’ve also done some travelling in the Kyushu island.

Kyoto
Kiyomizudera in Kyoto
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Kinkaku-ji, the golden temple in Kyoto
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Fushimi Inari-taisha in Kyoto
Tokio
The famous Shibuya Crossing in Tokyo
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Atomic-Bomb Dome in Hiroshima

Japan is delightful, the culture is incredible, and not to mention the food here! Oh, Japan is definitely treating me well.

ARIGATOU GOZAIMASU AND SAYONARA!

Livet mit i Norge – My life in Norway

Hei og venlig hilsen fra Stavanger, Norge! Many greetings from Stavanger, Norway! This is the most beautiful, colourful city I’ve ever visited. Even though it’s quite small, it’s sure is vibrant and has nearly a mediterranean spirit to it. The prettiest part on the city is the “colourful street”, which is full of lovely cafés and restaurants favoured by the students of the UIS (University of Stavanger). The Norwegians are kind, helpful, charming and laid back people and it makes me feel so cosy or “koselig” (as they say here). Like us Finns, the also love black liquorice and the nature.

I’ve already had the chance to do a lot of hiking here. I don’t think I’ve ever seen such beauty of nature. Your soul just rests when you get up there and see all the amazing fjords and the lines of mountains. Just breathtaking… A couple of days ago I also got to see Månafossen, an amazing waterfall near Stavanger. Did you know that the Norwegians go on a “söndagstur” (a hike) every Sunday?? It’s really true!

I love the university here! It’s so international and I’ve made a lot of friends. I’m really satisfied with my teacher and all the classes I’ve been taking. Finally I have all the time I need to focus on my main instrument. I’m very glad. Stavanger also has the most vibrant music life in Norway so I’ve been enjoying the most wonderful concerts here, which I love!

See you later! Now I must go and buy a wool shirt to look just a bit more like a local! 😉IMG_0597

Ciao bella! – Life in Italy

Buongiorno,

Greetings from the fascinating Dolomites  of Italy! The south tyrol is truly a place where the mind and soul rest. Yesterday me and the other piano students from Ambrosini´s class went hiking. It was truly a remarkable experience. We walked almost in 1800 meters and spent the whole day watching the most beautiful views and breathing the freshest air you can only imagine. It was wonderful!

Italy and Italians have treated me very well.
Our school is small but active, full of musicians who possess at least the desire to make music with full heart and will. I´d say this is the starting point for all high-quality submission. I am very proud to be part of the music community in Verona. 

The conservatory has become a special place for me. Due to the fact that I spend most of the time there, but also because I got to meet and play with some great people. I have noticed for Italians there is always a moment to catch up despite the situation and share parts of the day with one another. Also the fact how Italians keep in touch with their family members is something, which is little bit missing in the Northern parts of Europe. Perhaps the cultural collectivity has made a biggest impact on me after all.

Lots of greetings and see you very soon,

truly yours,

Juuli

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Be careful, Portugal may steal a piece from your heart!

Douro
Douro

It was amazing feeling to pack my bags and jump in to the airplane and in few hours I was in the middle of totally different culture, all alone and ready for new adventure!

My Erasmus experience in Porto included a lot of laughing, funny and confusing experiences, but there was also some frustrating moments.

New friends, great food, cheap restaurants and delicious Port Wine. Great parties, where you dance all night, while you are singing Spanish songs, without any idea what you are actually saying or singing. Traveling to different cities and seeing amazing places. These things gave  some unforgettable memories to me!


In Portugal people are more open, there is a lot of hugging and kissing to the cheeks and everything is “Que lindo!”. People love children and they won’t hide their feelings! But making plans and having schedules in Portugal (and Spain), is quite impossible.
You must be prepared, that plans can be changed in the last minutes and people will be late and things aren’t very well organized always.. Cultural differences are great, but I also learned that sometimes having those in everyday life can be a little bit tiring, so please be patient. :’)

I spent a lot of hours at hospital, sometimes doing quite long shifts.
I did my practical training in “Centro Hospitalar São João” which is the biggest hospital in northern Portugal. My expectations of Portuguese hospitals were not very high, so I wasn’t surprised that for example hygienic and aseptic things weren’t in so good level as in Finland.
New parts of the hospital were quite modern. I appreciate the Portuguese nurses’ dedication to their work.
Among the mentor nurses, in general, attitudes towards Erasmus students were quite good.

View from the hospital’s window
Dialysis room

It was quite a surprise that many people in Portugal really couldn’t speak English at all, especially the older persons. So, there you must use the power of non-verbal communication, just be creative! If you are polite people are always ready to help you. 🙂

At the hospital, language barrier caused very funny situations, but also some problems. I was very lucky that I worked with a Spanish exchange student, who spoke English. I got a very good friend from her.
All in all, I learned a lot of things and I have seen that things can be done in many different ways!

Praia de Matosinhos


Football – Of course!

Almost four months I was very into the real Portuguese culture, because I had an amazingly friendly and warm-hearted land lady. Living with the locals gave a very realistic perspective to Portuguese culture. Also having Spanish friends, just proved, that I really love these two cultures.

Vineyard next to the little village in Carrazeda de Ansiães

I was warned that Portugal may steal a piece from my heart. And yes, it stole..:) I can’t wait to go back there and explore the country even more!

– Emma

Greetings from Hungary!

 

I was in Budapest for four months. The streets in Budapest as you can see were not in a good shape. But I still loved that street. My home was there, it was near the city, I could walk anywhere or take a tram or a metro so easily. And the buildings! So beautiful and old.

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My home street in Budapest

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

School in Budapest was easy. Hardest part was  to understand and speak English, luckily all of my teachers spoke good English so I didn’t have too much troubles with that. And I also enjoyed the fact that every class I took, there was more than one exchange student.

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Statue of Liberty

Most people think about New York when you say statue of liberty. But not so many knows that there is statue of liberty in Budapest too. If you want to see it, you have to climb all the way up to Gellert hill. I must say it’s not easy if it’s +25 degrees.

What about my spare time which I actually more than I expected. I travelled a bit to Venice, Netherlands, Vienna, Krakow and Aarhus. It was more expensive than I thought but it was worth it.

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I fell in love with Venice where I spent 3 days in March. Do I need to say more?

But what I enjoyed the most was my lovable room mates. I lived with four boys, one from Germany, one from the Netherlands and two from Brazil. They made my day when I felt upset and when I was happy, they made me even happier. Also now I have place to stay if I want to go to Germany, the netherlands (again) or Brazil.

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The other Brazilian had already left when we took this photo

Regards,

Emma

Greetings from Leeds!

I’ve spent the last 10 months in England in a city called Leeds. It’s a lively and interesting place full of students due to to its many universities. Various music, art, food and vintage events are held regularly and there’s a lot to explore when it comes to the surrounding areas and suburbs.

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The exchange university’s Fine Art course provides nice studio spaces and a good range of materials, so studying here and making work has been going great. I’ve had the chance to learn to utilize different facilities, including the wood workshop and screen printing workshop. Also, the British Art Show 8 just happened to be in Leeds in September, so a lot of visiting artist gave lectures at the Leeds Art Gallery. Thanks to the high profile exhibition, there’s been even more art-related happenings than usually.

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In Leeds there’s something for everyone, whether you’re into hiking in the moors or discovering ware house parties held around the city’s sidelines. To my experience the people are generally easy-going  and fun-loving, and a lot of the students are enjoying their time in uni to the fullest.

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My time in Leeds has been a memorable experience and I wish to visit the city soon again!

Regards,

Sanni