Monthly Archives: December 2016

Grüße aus Esslingen

Okay I lied, I’m not in Esslingen anymore. But I spent there three wonderful months from September to December. I was supposed to tell you something about my time there while I actually was still there but the time flew past so fast. There were something to do all the time so the actual work got forgotten all the time. Or maybe I’m just lazy.

I studied in Esslingen Hochschule in the Stadtmitte. All of my courses were in English but I could’ve chosen also courses in German. I think that the courses were very similar as the ones in TAMK. The professor talked in front of the class and students took notes if they were awake enough. At the end of the semester were the written exams.

As a city Esslingen was amazing, I really liked the architecture and the small-town feeling. The accommodation was a bit so-so especially the internet connection was awful.  There were few other things that got me questioning the whole” German engineering is the best” but all in all everything went smoothly. The people were nice and open, at least in Finns point of view and all the staff at the school tried to make our stay as comfortable and easy as possible. As Esslingen is in the south other European countries were relatively close and the travel expenses were cheap. It is a great opportunity to see more of Europe than just the city you’re studying in. There is also a lot to see in Germany. It felt like every city has its own castle or something other to see. Hmmm what else. Oh the food of course. The Schwabian food is incredibly salty. And not even that good. Sorry to disappoint. But on the bright side there is a lot of kebab and pizza restaurants in the city and they are quite cheap, at least for a Finn.

I think that is the most of it. Below is a picture taken from Esslingen Burg. Personally I think all the smaller cities in southern German look the same.

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Hola a todos! Hello everyone!

I have been on my exchange in Madrid since the late August. Madrid is definitely a busy, lively city where the tapas culture is shining and people like going out. No matter what is the weather or day of the week, the main street Gran Vía is always packed and shops and pubs open until late.

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My studies here have been both business and tourism courses. The tourism courses were completely independent studying and doing research, and we didn’t have any lessons.  The business courses were more traditional, theoretical learning and going to classes.

Studying in Madrid compared to my home university TAMK is different. First of all, no teacher has an attendance list and they say it is up to us if we want to attend the lessons or not. It has no effect on the final grade, the only thing that matters is to study the theory and pass the exam. Teaching was very theoretical and mainly the teacher was talking and students listening. We rarely had any discussions in the class.

Anyway, there still was something that reminded me of TAMK very much, group works. For example on Commercial Management course we had to create our own product and make a sales plan for it. The other students had to vote for the best presentation but still one month later we don’t know who won. But it’s usual here that things happen on a great delay.

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Especially in September and October, when school was not busy at all, I had a lot of time to travel around Spain. One of the best memories is when we hired a car with some other exchange students and drove down to Costa del Sol which is a 150 km long coast in the south of Spain. We visited several beautiful beaches and amazing cities on the way. I have also visited a couple of other countries as well, like the Netherlands and Switzerland. It is so nice that many of my friends are on their exchange as well and it’s easy to go to visit them!

Under the sun

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I spent three months on the island, situated in the middle of Mediterranean Sea. This small rock is called Malta. I have to say that it surprised me how small it really was. The length of the island is 27 kilometers and the width is 14.5 kilometers. During three months you are able to really see the whole country and even more.

It was perfect timing to leave Finland in September, in the beginning of autumn and enjoy the Maltese summer. When I arrived in 18th of September it was 30 degrees outside and still on my last day in 21st of December it was 17 degrees. So I can’t complain!

The Malta University organized practical training for me. The first seven weeks I worked in Mater Dei, Malta’s biggest public hospital. My workplace was at the neuro-surgical ward. The patient cases were very interesting (like brain tumors, severe accidents etc.) and it made appreciate life even more. My other workplace was in a health center. It was very different from the hospital and I learned many important nursing skills.

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Working as a nurse in Malta means that you have to do lots of working hours. Workdays in Mater Dei were 12 hours long and in the health center up to 13 hours. So you basically work the whole day. And we also kept the siesta in the middle of working days. There was a room in the neuro-surgical ward with beds and sofas and after the lunch we took a nap. Way of working is also quite different from Finland. Maltese culture is not too busy and things take time. In my opinion working was not as efficient as in Finland. You could arrive to work half an hour late and it was totally okay. Gradually I started to like that kind of relaxing life style.

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In my free time I visited so many great places with my new friends. At the beginning we discovered lots of beaches around the island. And of course we swam in the crystal clear sea. The beaches in Malta are also ideal for snorkeling and diving. On one Sunday we took a bus to the place called “St. Peters Pool” where you can do cliff jumping to a natural swimming pool. Those kind of days I will always remember!

Malta consists of three islands: Malta, Comino and Gozo. Malta is the main island where I lived and where almost everything happens. Comino is only 3.5 square meters and its main attraction is Blue Lagoon. We took a boat there and spent the whole day enjoying the sun and the clear water. The third island is called Gozo. Gozo is much quieter than Malta and people go there to enjoy the silence. And there is not as much traffic as in Malta. I joined exchange students’ “party weekend to Gozo”. We stayed in farmhouses and they took us all around the island. And yes, we partied as well.

During my last weeks we took a plane (only 30 minutes flight time!) and travelled to Sicily, Catania. The weekend in Sicily was amazing! We rented a house and explored Taormina and Etna, one of the world’s most active volcano.

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All in all my time in Malta was really good and I felt lucky to be able to see so many places and meet so many great people from all around world. It was totally well spent time.

Yodeling in Switzerland

Ho! Ho! Ho!

The yuletide is finally upon us and for me that means a short vacation in Finland to see my girlfriend, family and friends. I am currently in my room and waiting to catch the proper train from Lucerne to Zürich Airport for my evening flight to Finland. After the vacation, or as my local fellow students referred as “study holiday”, I will come back to Switzerland to do the final exams for several courses in January.

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Nikolas and Pascal offering me and Oskari a Swiss evening including the Swiss delicacy raclette

Switzerland has been a splendid place to study hard and enjoy life! Weeks have passed by faster than ever in life. Working days I’ve spent studying and writing many several papers, but most of the weekends I’ve just laid back and enjoyed what Switzerland has had to offer me: I have travelled in all of the neighbouring countries (excluding Italy) and exploited the world’s second biggest railway network here in Switzerland to see and experience different cities and mountains.

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I hiked to the summit of Mt. Rigi with a couple of local buddies. Nothing beats the fresh mountain water afterwards!

Studying is taken here very seriously. The grade scale is from 0 to 6, where one would imagine zero to be a fail and six an excellent. Well, actually the grade 3 is already a fail. You need to get a 4 to pass the course (3,5 can be rounded up). In most of the cases, if you fail a course you are very welcomed to come and redo the exam next year. By keeping this in the back of your mind, it pushes you to do more than better. I have learnt a lot of academic publications, how to reference correctly according to APA and rehearsed for multiple different presentations. But hey, that’s why I am here: I wanted to have quality education also from my exchange studies.

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The beautiful and breathtaking view from Mt. Titlis

I have met a lot of different people from so many countries (at least 25 different nationalities!). Local people are hard-working, but also pulling my leg on an everyday basis, haha. Fantastic people I must say.

As a watch maniac I've ran out of drool during my study exchange
As a watch maniac I’ve ran out of drool during my study exchange

I’ve had many visitors from Finland, including my girlfriend Milla, my parents and a couple of friends. With my parents we also drove to Paris to see Milla! What a fantastic weekend we had!

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Milla visited me and I took her to eat fondue and drink glühwein. We had a splendid evening!

Now it’s time to shut my laptop and focus on my upcoming leisure time in Finland.

See you all soon!

Hoi zäme! HI! (to more than one person)

Greetings from Switzerland!

My exchange semester in Luzern, in the northern part of Switzerland, has been a great experience. I have studied here International Management & Economics at Lucerne School of Business. The workload at school has been much bigger than what we have in Finland. The high amount of returnable assignments together with theoretical contents of courses have kept me busy during my exchange. Some tasks even regarded something I had never heard about, like our project “Decentralized Autonomous Organisations on a Blockchain: Is this the end of trade?“ However, I had enough spare time to travel and see places as well.

 

Here in the left picture below you can see me on top of the Pilatus mountain. My parents came to visit me in November and we went together up to the mountain (2128 m) with world’s steepest cogwheel train. In the right picture below you can see the red cogwheel train.

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While walking around in the center of Luzern, these sights in the pictures below where usually along the route.  The picture on the left is from the top of the wall of Luzern and in the other picture you can see the most famous sight of Luzern: Kapellbrücke, which is the oldest wooden covered bridge in Europe (built in 1333).

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During our introductory weeks, which our school arranged for us exchange students, we experienced some amazing views. During our bus trip to the locations we were going to visit we, for example, admired these two sceneries: the left one is from the bus trip to Aareschlucht canyon and the canyon is partly in the picture on the right.

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As you can see from the left picture below, I was watching ice hockey in Zug, which is quite close to Luzern. The game was a part of the Swiss National League and in the home team, EV Zug, played actually Finnish player Jarkko Immonen.

During my exchange I had the possibility to visit even six countries and Italy was one of them. In the picture on the right you can see one of the most famous football stadiums, San Siro, which I visited when I travelled to Milano.

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I have had a memorable time here but anyway, travelling soon back to Finland is something I am looking forward to.

Cheers

Oskari

Hallo from Esslingen!

 

I went on an exchange to Esslingen UAS which has three different campuses located in two small cities called Esslingen and Göppingen. The first three months I lived in Göppingen and I had to travel by train between Esslingen and Göppingen almost every day because I had classes in both campuses and because all the Erasmus meetings took place in Esslingen.

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This was my view from the balcony while I lived in Göppingen.

 

Göppingen was a nice city but a very small one and there wasn’t a lot to see. I think that the most beautiful thing about this city was the landscape and that you could see the small mountains if you looked a little further.

Sometimes there were different kinds of nice markets but other days it was pretty boring and not a lot of things happened.

After living three months in Göppingen I moved to a dormitory located in Esslingen, because Göppingen didn’t have a lot to offer, only some of my lectures were held there.

This was my view from the balcony while I lived in Göppingen.     View from the city of Esslingen.

 

Esslingen is a city that is more than 1200 years old and there are a lot of old houses with a timber frame like in the picture above. There are a lot of grapevines and Germany’s oldest sparkling wine producer Kessler is located there. Esslingen is one of the most beautiful cities I’ve seen.

 

The gate of Stuttgart’s Christmas market    The gate of Stuttgart’s Christmas market.

 

In December there were very nice Christmas markets everywhere in Germany. I visited the markets of Stuttgart, Esslingen and Göppingen. The atmosphere was wonderful in all of these places.

Pictures from Stuttgart’s Christmas market Pictures from Stuttgart’s Christmas market

Pictures from Stuttgart’s Christmas market.

 

All these markets were decorated beautifully and they had a nice little details. The only thing that was missing was real snow.

Finnish Christmas market in Stuttgart.   Finnish Christmas market in Stuttgart.

 

Stuttgart’s Christmas market was a really big one and it even had a Finnish Christmas market where they sold typical Finnish products.

Gates of Esslingen’s Medieval Christmas market

Gates of Esslingen’s Medieval Christmas market

 

I think that Esslingen had the best Christmas market. It was a Medieval one and it was built to look like in the old days and everyone there was dressed in the spirit of the time.

You could play different kinds of Medieval games like archery there.

You could play different kinds of Medieval games like archery there.

Göppingen campus

Göppingen campus

 

Studying was a little bit different than in Finland. The classes I chose were more theoretical and had just a few labs if you compare to classes in Finland.

In my opinion it was a bit weird that all my classes were supposed to be in English but many teachers spoke German a lot during the classes and one teacher even spoke only German during the lectures. This made it difficult for me to study and I had to study harder at home and learn some things by myself.

Bom Dia from Porto!

I have spent three months now here in Porto. The place has shown to be even better than I expected. Porto is located at Northern Portugal and the name refers to harbor. There goes a river, called Douro, between Porto and Vila Nova De Gaia. The riverside, Ribeira, is really beautiful with different colored houses. The city is really lively and I think there is always something going on in here. The streets are filled with street artists and University students with their Hogwarts uniforms.

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I have done two practical trainings in here, the first one was at the biggest hospital in Porto, Hospital São João. I stayed at an Orthopedics ward for ten weeks. The hospital was really old and big, I managed to get lost in there several times during my stay. My next training took place in a recently renewed hospital, CMIN. I stayed for four weeks at an Obstrectical ward. I really enjoyed this training because I like to work with mothers and babys.

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Our school also arranged us a short Portuguese language course, which was really nice. I had been studied Portuguese a little already and during my stay I’ve noticed that I’ve learned a lot. The language is really difficult so I am proud if I am able to visit a supermarket or a coffee house with using only Portuguese language.

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The mentality of taking care of things is a little bit different than what I was used to in Finland. People can sometimes be a little slow and things can delay. But I have learned that you shouldn’t stress about it because it’s worth nothing. It’s better just to adapt to this “amanhã” style. In the hospitals the treatment can be a bit different but especially in my last training I think the basic care is the same than in Finland. Some things can vary because of cultural differences and I think that’s the biggest different. Sometimes I was suprised about the level of for example hygiene, but all in all I would say that the treatment is not so different.

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In my spare time I have tried to enjoy Porto as much as I can. I went to see two FC Porto football games which I really liked, visited the Port wine cellars, Matosinhos beach, parks and local markets. You can easily spend the day just walking around the city center and visiting the city of Vila Nova de Gaia and look at the breathtaking views from the bridge. Also, I would like to point out the amount of hills in Porto. You can’t avoid them, so good shoes are necessary.

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I have also travelled around Portugal, Lagos in Algarve, the capital Lisbon and the beautiful islands Azores. Now my exchange is soon coming to an end and even tho I am really exited to go back to Finland I am going to miss this place.

 

Feasgar math! Good Afternoon!

Hello from Scotland!

Scotland is a place filled with history and breathtaking landscapes. Especially, the highlands are very beautiful. At first it felt weird that we studied landscape design in forestry. Forests in the hills must look natural. In Finland we don’t study landscape design that much because Finland is a rather flat country apart from Lapland. Tourism is very important in Scotland and that’s one reason why it’s important that the landscapes are easy on the eye.

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Isle of Lewis and Harris

At the University of Highlands and Island I have to write several big reports and essays. In Finland we have many smaller tasks instead of long essays. I am studying recreational use of forests, urban woodlands, climate change, forest design and forest protection. It has been cool to see some of the tallest trees in Europe. Douglas fir in Reelig Glen Forest is 66.4 metres tall, for example.

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Culloden Battlefield

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The Callanish Stones

The culture in Scotland is rich and visiting the historical sites has been an amazing way to spend my spare time. I have travelled to islands like Skye and Isle of Lewis and Harris. These islands are very curious places because it feels like they form their own little world. The wildlife is fantastic in Scotland. I have seen eagles, shags, deer and seals, for example.

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A roe deer in the Culloden Forest

I have met many brilliant people and experienced a lot during my stay in Inverness. It’s been a great fun!

 

Cheers,

Vera

Uganda

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Life here has been good as far. At the beginning I was few weeks in countryside in Mpigi improving my somathic skills and after that I came to see how psychiatric nursing is working in Ugandas only psychiatric hospital – called by national referral mental health hospital Butapika.

In Mpigi I got to familiar with immunization and outreach work. I spent also some days in general ward and hiv clinic as in theater and outpatient department. Time in Mpigi teach me a lot of local daily living. Culture got lightly familiar as also nursing in health center too. Time in Mpigi showed me what kind of is nursing without a lot of machine and equipments. ’Third worlds’ problems was able to see clearly especially in hiv clinic.

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Outreach work what I did in Mpigi was happening at evening time after morning shift. We were travelling to more rural areas head to different schools and communities. There we made a lot of immunization as also local nurses tried to do some small prevention against STDs. Days in here might be long and full of work – or not 🙂

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My background as a student in Finland is practical nurse and I’ve been working in psychiatric hospital in Finland. In here I made some small compearing between finnish and african way to do psychiatric nursing and also tried to understand how psychiatric and mental health care is running in here. The difference is huge compearing to Finland. Example in psychiatric hospital in here are 500 beds but typically 800- 1000 patients at the same time. In admission ward can be over 100 patients and 2-4 nurses. Psychiatric diseases are same than in Finland instead of epilepsy which is treated in psychiatric hospital also. Working culture is bit different than in Finland and there are just one reason for that.

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In my free time I have visited in african seremony, in forrests, laid down on the pool, made a safari in queen Elizabeth national park and had a holiday in Zanzibar. Card games, books and music as a walking has been also a good ways to spend time. Life in here is quite simple and weather is enjoyable.

Now I am looking forward to coming back to Finland. Still I am sure I will visit in this country again and I am gonna miss some things from here. Nature is amazing and somehow I am gonna miss african time which means you are always late a little bit… is it good or not is absolutely other question 🙂

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Pozdrav iz Hrvatske

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Three months have passed here in Croatia and unfortunately in few days it’s my time to go back to Finland. I’ve been doing my exchange in Croatian’s fourth biggest city called Osijek. People here are really warm-hearted and friendly, they are always ready to help.

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Croatian guys teaching me croatian dance     \     With my first roommates

Osijek has the biggest public hospital in eastern Croatia where I did my traineeship. My exchange included four weeks training in Pediatrics and 7 weeks training in Surgery. I changed department almost every week to see as much as possible.
I’m positively surprised their level of care. Hygiene is better looked after than I expected and collaboration between doctors and nurses is good. But health care is not so well organized: waiting times are extremely long and public health care is so cheap for the citizens that it doesn’t cover all the costs.

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Patients medical records in the corridor \  Pediatric depatment

I worked in hospital from Monday to Friday, doing only morning shifts so I had a lot of free time and time to travel in the weekends. Mostly we have been travelling together with other exchange students which has been great! During these three months I’ve visited many places in Croatia and I’ve also been in Hungary, Serbia, Austria and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Traveler’s dream! I have ever had boring day here. There is always some events, movie nights, parties or someone asking you to go for a coffee or an ice-cream or do some sports.

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Split, Croatia                                                                  \     Plitvice lakes, Croatia
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Krk, Croatia                                                                    \     Zadar, Croatia

I have really enjoyed my time here. I have met amazing people from all over the world and learned to understand different cultures.
Even though this Erasmus+ exchange requires too much paperwork, it was all worth it!

– Jonna