Monthly Archives: October 2016

Das ist gut – Deutschland

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Weimar is such an adorable city to live in! I managed to make a fool of myself by questioning its title “city”, since the size of this place reminds me more of a lovely village with slow life rhythm and lack of modern office buildings. My German roommate tried to explain that having a Haubtbahnhoff around makes Weimar a proper German city. Oh well, you live and learn.

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Life here is easygoing. The student flat I moved into is only five minute walk from the Matktplatz (and also from anywhere else), and it is consider to be in a quite remote area. Everywhere you need to go is close by, no matter how you may get lost in the small alleys. If you need to travel somewhere further, say Berlin, you can take a affortable bus and get there in less than four hours. Easy.

I started my studies here with an intensive German course. The first three weeks we were trying to handle der, die and das, having quite a lot problems learning the German grammar. It was quite messy, but now I feel great being able to handle all the basic stuff in German. Although I usually spend most of my time with other ERASMUS exchange students talking English I try hard practicing Deutsch as much as possible. Und das ist sehr gut.

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The media classes I am attending are quite the same that back in Finland, only difference being the amount of the lectures we are attending. I have only three school days per week, but loads of assignments and projects to handle, which suits me perfectly. The teachers are charismatic and amazing, and  what’s even more they speak very good English. I feel lucky to be able to take a part in their classes.

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All in all the life has settled here peacefully, and the Autumn has changed the whole city in bright red and yellow. It will be interesting to see how the winter goes, but at least it is very unlikely to have -30 celcius temperatures or piles or snow. Or is it?

Hallo und Grüß Gott aus Deutschland!

It has been lovely spring in this year while I have lived in here German. Spring and summer came quick and I have enjoyed it very much! Life here has been treating me well.

Studying in University is different compared to my studies in Finland. I would say in generally learning here is more based on academic facts. We have many lectures and studying is independent. Getting good marks needs many hours of learning. Professors says that they will teach us only basics but we have to be able to think independent way and form our own opinion. They want us to consider and make up our own conclusion.  I believe that thinking outside of the box and is true learning. I have mainly taken courses from business field in university.

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Our international student organization at school has arranged many trips for us. I have took a part many those occasions and the most memorable was Frühlingsfest, which has been hold on Stuttgart annually in spring time. I have also travelled in French and Switzerland and of course here in German. I have met many people from different backgrounds and cultures and it has been unforgettable. I have made German and international friends and I’m sure we will keep in touch also in the future. This time here has been ones in a lifetime experience without no doubt. I am happy and proud of myself that I had courage to do this and it turn out better than I have ever would imagine. So go to unknown, be brave and live your life full!

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Greetings from Mexico!

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I’m already half way done with my exchange semester here in Mexico City and I have absolutely loved every minute of it. I was first bit terrified coming to a city of 21 million people but this has turned out to be an amazing city with endless things to do. Besides Mexico City, Mexico has a lot to offer and see so I have been exploring the country as much as possible.

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My studies started already in early August and I’ve really liked the school so far. At my school there’s only 18 exchange students and everyone has been very welcoming to us. I have all my courses in Spanish and it has been bit tricky at times but Mexicans are always ready to help out. My favorite course must be Spanish course for us exchange students since besides just studying Spanish we learn about Mexican culture and traditions. We have had a salsa class, made guacamole and tacos and learned traditional Mexican games. All the other courses I have taken are also nice and interesting but it’s different from Finland. Sometimes it feels like you’re in high school because the students tend to be quite loud during the lectures and the classes are very interactive. We also have the same classes same time everyday and at times it gets bit boring but at least you get to know your classmates well.

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Most of my free time is spent with friends exploring the city since there is always something happening. Another favorite thing to do is to try out different foods since Mexico has a wide selection of delicious foods. I also try to see different parts of the country every time I get a chance since Mexico is very large and diverse country. So far I have been to a few beach trips, visited some pueblos magicos and seen some natural wonders of the country. There are still so much more to see and I’m planning more trips all the time.

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Greetings from chilly London!

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Victoria, the first big station in London on the day I arrived

Although it has been a record-breakingly warm end of summer here in London, the chilly Autumn has finally caught up with us. I have now been here for two and a half months and though it was time to write up my greetings.

My practical training placement here is the Finnish-British Chamber of Commerce. I know, sounds real fancy, right? Well it is, but not exactly how you might think. Contrary to the image of a great hall with pillars and such (that’s the image people seem to get, anyways) there’s only three of us (our General Manager and two interns) working in our small little office on Hammersmith Road. What we do, basically, is help Finnish companies interested or currently operating in the UK, or UK companies interested in Finland and the Nordics, by connecting them to our network of Finnish, British and International companies. Networking is such an important part of business here, that surviving and thriving depends on intelligent connections. We provide this by arranging social and business events where our members can network freely or get one-to-one introductions by us with relevant people, as well as offering them a platform to promote their business.

This one's from our monthly Nordic Drinks event at the end of August. Great place for casual networking!
This one’s from our monthly Nordic Drinks event at the end of August. Great place for casual networking!
Our biggest event of the year is the annual Crayfish Party with a three-course dinner, fundraising auttion and lots of crayfish and snaps!
Our biggest event of the year is the annual Crayfish Party with a three-course dinner, fundraising auction and lots of crayfish and snaps!

The work itself is 9 to 5 office work plus 2-3 evening events a month. My everyday tasks include lots of emails with members, event attendees and venues; design and content production for our website, email invitations/newsletters, social media and other printed marketing material; as well as accounting-related activities. It is also not uncommon during a work day to get to visit different venues that we’re considering for events, or attending a business event that we find interesting. It really is a great internship as it really lets you try out different things, and also makes possible to forge relationships that would be really difficult to come by otherwise.

About cultural differences, I came to expect experiencing some issues with small talk. What I found interesting is that it doesn’t come up just anywhere in forced situations, like sitting on the tube or bus (commuters are just as zombie-like here as they are in Finland). It’s more evident in business relations—meetings and phone calls: where for Finns it would be natural to proceed straight to the point (except maybe with long-time acquaintances), Brits expect a few more casual words before going on to business.

View from the London Eye
View from the London Eye

Living in London has been really great. Coming from a small town, I never thought I’d enjoy living in a big city as much as I like living in London. There’s endlessly things to see and experience. Sure it’s not cheap here, but that has gotten a bit easier with the pound going down over Brexit (I feel a bit guilty finding comfort it that…), and there’s actually lots to do for free, too. Weekends are great to explore London (and beyond, like Brighton and Oxford thus far). Moving around couldn’t be easier with the tubes, trains and busses, although there has been—and always will be—some disruptions somewhere on the tube grid. I’m lodging in the spare bedroom of a very friendly British-American family in Ealing, west London, and the 45-minute commute feels like a breeze (might sound a lot to some, but in London standards it’s basically nothing). As a free time activity I’ve taken up Boxfit and swimming at a nearby gym.

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August Bank Holiday trip to Brighton. I had never imagined there were beaches in the UK, how silly is that?
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Visiting Oxford’s Christ Church College and the Hall that inspired the look of the Great Hall of Hogwarts in the Harry Potter movies. Get your geek on!

Although I’m not purposefully planning on finding a career in London, I will definitely miss it when I leave, and will be tempted to look for opportunities here. My internship is over halfway done, but there’s still people to meet and connections to make, so who knows what may happen!

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London — too busy for an in-focus selfie.

Dobrý den from Czech Republic

I could not have been more satisfied with my choice to come to Prague. The city is so beautiful, there´s so much to do and the school´s excellent also.

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I´ve been pleasantly surprised with the courses here, all of them, even economics, are interesting for an architecture student. Education here has a lot of similarities to Finland, but you can definitely see that here our education has been going on for many many years, and the courses are stable if you could say so. Architecture faculty back home is so brand new that it´s still finding it´s way. This town is made for architecture history lessons, we never stay in lecture halls, we get up and actually see the places and buildings in question, it is so much more interesting this way!

Dorm life is something that needed a little getting used to, but now that I´ve settled in it´s good too. I can see the school from my window so it´s all about the location.

I´ve explored the city and gone to trips too, seen some art and a lot of sceneries. There´s always something going on in the city, we even had a film shoot in the lobby of our dormitory.

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We also hosted a Finnish party here and served karelian pasties, turkish pepper candies and of course, we made salty liquorice vodka. Pasties were a hit, vodka ran out mostly because there was vodka in it, and we had a lot of left over candy. Even the Mexicans complained about them being so spicy.

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All and all, adjustment has been easy for me, even thought that if I didn´t have a firm back home that needed attending I´d probably stay a full year.

P.S. Oh yeah, I´m also included here in a project in which we will be designing for Skoda and Mladá Boleslav (the city Skodas main factory is in) a lot of new buildings and areas, such as a new headquarters and a culture centre. How cool is that?

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Greetings from Belgium

I was just looking at my calender and I was little surprised. I have already been here for one month and two weeks.  I’m staying in small city called Bruges which is also the capital of Flemish region. You may know the film called ”In the Bruges” starring by Collin Farrel. It was filmed here. Time surely flies while eating BELGIAN fries and drinking local beers. Our school started in a rather pleasant way. We traveled around Flemish cities and our school covered all the costs. We saw Gent, Antwerpen, Kortrik and of course Brussels.p11108322

p1110858After the extraordinary warm holiday week it was time to start the work. Our school is catholic and you could say it has rather strict policies. In Finland I can call teachers by nickname but here it would cause bewilderment and not in the positive way. In the most cases you should say ”Sir” or ”Ma’am” but for exchange students they are not so rigorous about it. Being late isn’t tolerated either and major part of the classes are mandatory.

All the classes I have chosen are very nice! All the subjects are very different from each other and topics are interesting. We have courses only with Erasmus-students since there aren’t english programs for Belgian students. It’s nice to have a small group to work with. We are having lots of presentations and they are playing a big part in our assessment. In some classes we also have group projects. All most every class has an oral exam which is something completely new for me.p1120366

When I have some free time I have been travelling around. First we went to Netherlands. We visited Rotterdam, Delft and De Haag. On following weekend I went for a small bike trip to see small villages near Bruges. I went alone since everyone else was having a terrible hangover. Sometimes it’s good to stay away from Belgian beers since they are quite strong. Last weekend we did more extreme bike trip. We cycled from Bruges to France. To be more precise to Lille where we stayed a night in a tent. Next morning we woke up at dawn and cycled to see Yper. There is a very nice museum about the first world war which I recommend to visit. After that we headed to home. All together we made about 170 kilometer by our city bikes. We’re going to have a autumn holiday in few weeks and I’m still figuring out whether I should stay here or visit somewhere.p1120328p1120426

-Jussi

Salutations de Paris

Greetings all fellow students from the heart of Europa, France Paris! All is good in the land of pastries, baguettes, love and fashion.

I arrived to Paris almost exactly a month ago and have been loving in ever since. This is my second time in both Paris and France so there wasn’t much that I knew about the place to begin with. Luckily, this has turned out being as war welcoming, vibrant and inspiring city as I thought it would be. Paris was my number one choice when applying for exchange so in a sense this is a dream come true for me.

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While here I am studying at a local business school called PSB (=Paris School of Business). I had heard a little bit about it before coming here, since a friend of mine did her exchange there as well. Overall the school, courses and people there have met my expectations. There are all in all 125 exchange students in our school an only one Finn besides me (and even he officially came here trough a school in Sweden), but I don’t mind! This gives me the opportunity to develop my language skills and challenge myself since there is no-one to speak Finnish with.

I chose five courses to meet the amount of credits needed for a certificate you get from PSB that states all the courses and the study track you chose curing the stay here. There are many tracks to choose from and the one I chose was Luxury. It involves three courses handling different parts of the luxury industry varying from merchandising to the basic fundamentals of the industry. This to me is very interesting since I aim to work in the business side of the fashion industry in the future.

On my spare time I’ve been exploring the city with my exchange buddies from school as well friends back home that have been visiting me quite frequently. The city itself is so huge that there is always something going on and new to see, so it ain’t hard to find things to do after classes and on weekend. Here are some pics from my adventures…

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When comparing studying here in Paris to the way we do it in Finland, there are some differences. First of all when in comes to planning an punctuality, he French aren’t as on time and organized as we are. This is something you cannot change and just have to suck up and live with.

Group works are common which is something I am very much used to back in Finland so nothing new there and the quality of the teaching is good. But one thing I noticed from the start is that the teachers and lecturers here are a lot stricter here, especially when it comes to lap tops and phones. If they see you browsing Facebook and that you have you’re attention elsewhere you gonna hear it, and so it the rest of the class.

Thats all for now. Hope this gives some perspective to people concerning Paris or PSB as an exchange location. I wish you all a great day and enjoy the crisp Fall weather outside!

Bisouxx Milla