Monthly Archives: April 2017

Greetings from the US

Hello, how is everyone doing?

My studies are going great. It is a lot different from Finland, but actually in a way that I like. What I have noticed about the US education system in the Universities at least is that in a lot of the courses you actually have to read books and write a lot of essays (not so common in project management studies in Finland). I actually enjoy it quite a bit since you are forced to know stuff or just be simply left behind. Even if there is a lot work, I still feel that I have more free time here than I have ever had in Finland.

Football is fun to watch on spare time, especially the home team's matches, Bemidji Beavers
Football is fun to watch on spare time, especially the home team’s matches, Bemidji Beavers

I have taken courses like Leadership studies, bowling, engineer problem solving and I have loved them all. The teachers are nice, the teachings and even the homework is quite interesting. Even studying feels like free time most of the time.

About the spare time, I’ve had it plenty. I have had the time to travel to Chicago and Miami (I am studying in Minnesota Bemidji, very up in the North). It was good taking a break from the snowy look of  Minnesota to the sunny beaches of Miami

Miami beach, one of my favorite places that I have been to
Miami beach, one of my favorite places that I have been to

But thats about my short update, I have had some very interesting experiences here and I can say that I do not regret any of my time spent here.

Greetings from Porto

I have been studying in Porto for almost three months and I have at least two months ahead of me and I can’t wait to get more and more experiences from Portugal. Why do I love Porto? It has a lot of universities and a huge group of Erasmus students are coming here every semester. Local people are friendly, living is cheap and the public transportation (metro) is awesome! The coastline is beautiful and the weather.. well, it’s mostly amazing!

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I am studying mechanical engineering at ISEP. My courses are from the Master Degree of Industrial Management / Process Engineering. I have been struggling sometimes with the classes but I still feel optimistic and I’m always up for new challenges. Our class size is fairly small – we have more or less ten students attending the classes and all of my teachers remembers my name and they are really interested to know more about Finland. I am studying mostly with Portuguese people, which has been really cool!IMG_20170310_181520

I am living with 8 people around the world from Italy, Mexico, Angola, Holland, Belgium, Luxembourg, France and Brazil and I love it! I am spending my spare time like any other Erasmus student (should) – meeting friends and new people, joining the ESN Events (parties) and travelling. I have been travelling around Portugal (Lisbon, Albufeira, Braga, Guimaraes, Esposende) and in Morocco. I am planning to keep on collecting experiences!

Below are some pictures from  Braga, Morocco and Albufeira.

BragaIMG_20170412_182429 Albufeira

 

 

 

 

 

In Portugal, dinner time is the most important time of the day. I have learned to eat a lot in the evening with friends and I am familiar with referring to meeting times such as “before the dinner” and “after the dinner”. Dinner is a social event with awesome food – every night!

It is okay to be late in Portugal and sometimes you need to wait a long time to see your local friends – obviously as a Finnish person I am arriving too early. I have learned to love the Portuguese lifestyle. People are laid back and they are not always in a rush and they don’t mind being late. I have learned how to live more stress-less life here in Portugal – sometimes you can be late and for the most times it is okay. I warmly recommend you to visit Porto and figure that out yourself…

Porto has been chosen to be the Best European Destination 2017 – and I do agree!

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Remembering Leeds

It’s starting to feel odd that I lived in Leeds for five months but it all seems already so distant. Maybe it’s the Spring Sun and the green fields receiving some saturation causing these Leeds flashbacks as the weather is now almost identical to how it was most of the time in Leeds.

Because of course you want to see how my bus trip to Leeds City Centre looks like. #leeds #leedsuk #hyperlapse

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This is how my bus trip looked like. I travelled from Beeston (Southern Leeds) to City Centre to get to the classes.

Speaking of Beeston, the place was an experience. The area has its dark past of crime and violence. For example, Beeston was the home of the men behind London bombings back in 2005. In October I couldn’t walk home as I was stopped a flock of policemen who closed a large part of the street for a murder investigation. Luckily it was a matter of family drama rather than random gang violence, but it was still shivering.

The area is totally non-gentrified: there’s litter on the streets (often paved with dog poo) and once there was a dead cat on the street for a day.

The area was indeed on the rougher side, but hey, low rents and fast bus connections to the city centre!

We practised lighting for interviews today. With glorious stairs for a background.

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I studied documentary filmmaking in Leeds Beckett University. We made and actual short documentary film during the first semester! For the first months we had courses where we learnt to use school equipment and how to record audio, light a scene and so on.

Studying in Leeds caused some serious cognitive dissonance. They had much more hands-on studies than what I have in TAMK, but it was still really vague. Learning was completely dependent on my own projects quality. Luckily, I had really motivated team to work on the short documentary which turned out to be good.

Enjoying the view in Windermere. #windermere #orresthead #autumn #lakedistrict #england #vsco #vscocam

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We did a lot of traveling during the exchange. It’s highly recommended to visit Northern England if possible, the scenery is really amazing.

As an ale enthusiast I felt like I was in heaven. The country is full of breweries from smaller to larger ones and the pints are always overflowing whether one paid 2 or 6 pounds. The British kitchen isn’t necessarily the most culinaristic one, but it had its moments – especially when served with fine local ale!

Dear UK, please have some sense with all that Brexit stuff. I really wish to come back some day soon.

Landing. #vsco #vscocam #flight #feelfinnair #travel #travelling @feelfinnair

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Halfway of Hanoi

Xin Chao!

Almost two months has passed now and I’m more than a halfway of my exchange here in Hanoi, Vietnam. In last post I mentioned that the beginning of this month I go to another hospital (which I hear, is the biggest in Vietnam). So almost one month has passed in the emergency department and it has been very interesting to see how acute nursing works in here.

I can’t say what are all the differencies between Finland and Vietnam but I feel there is many differencies between emergency departments with these two countries (I haven’t been practicing in Finland department like this).At least I know one big difference, which is the amount of people in the department. There is a bit less than 20 patient places but it isn’t rare that there is over 20 patients to be treated at the same time. Many doctors, nurses and of course students work at this department. Usually patients are being transfered to some other specific department during the same day but sometimes patient can stay few days.

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Advice poster for recognizing the similar looking medicine ampoules and packages.

I have seen in this department very multiple patients with different disorders. I have also taken ecg and blood samples from the patient, put iv-lines and many other practical things. I have also had a chance to see when doctor intubates the patient. The department is very busy and hectic; very different compared to the postoperative department.  First few weeks I just observed and didn’t have so many opportunities to do things and maybe that’s because of the hectic environment.

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Different kind of dead snakes in the hospital and a local ambulance.

I had four day holiday so I took a trip to Dalat, which was beautiful mountain area (1500m) and lots of nature and water. I think it was very relaxing to go there and have some peace and quiet; that you don’t find from Hanoi. I think my life has started to settle down in here but I still don’t know so much vietnamese, very hard  language:)

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Cable car ride in Dalat was a bit scary but beautiful sights.

I have one more week in emergency department and after that I change to the ICU, which is not so hectic and there is more basic care. I have visited there two times. About one week and I have again four days holiday so I travel to Phu Quoc, can’t wait the beach and sunbathing!

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Beautiful Dalat by day and beautiful Hanoi in sunset

Write you later,

Henna 🙂

Cultural Vienna

I have been doing my exchange in Vienna Austria. First of, the city is really clean, there’s lot’s of cafe’s and a lot of culture. The city is a nice blend of old tradionatiolism and rising alternative youth culture.

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Schönnbrun

 

Studying in Vienna is quite similar to studying in Finland, except there are no food breaks. There are breaks between classes but there is no food break, and people do not usually eat at the university. At first I ate at the cafeteria but quickly stopped, since the food there wasn’t that special. There are many restaurants so it is actually better to explore and eat elsewhere.

The classes are a bit bigger with more people attending and a bit longer. I’m studying Management in Vienna. I can say that I am pleased with the quality of the education, we have english speaking lecturers that are really good. Also the student office is really helpful and great in the university.

National Library
National Library

In my spare time in Austria I hang out with my ERASMUS friends and with my girlfriend. We tour the many museums of the city and visit restaurants and cafes. I used to go to the gym but I stopped since it takes too much time. Exchange is one of those “once in a lifetime” moments and you should make use of the time, there’s plenty of time to go to the gym when you get back home to Finland. From Vienna it’s really easy to go to other countries. I have gone to Prague and I plan to go to Slovakia, Bratislava.

It’s quite hard to make a comparison about studying in Austria vs studying in Finland since it’s so similar. We have equal amount of group work and independent work. It’s really the same. The Austrian way of doing things is quite similar as well, except Austrians want to be well ahead of deadlines, also they spend too much time setting this up so the whole group is present when tehy could just divide the work and do it independently.

But I can say that this exchange has been one of the best experiences in my life and that I recommend going to Vienna and Austria, it’s totally worth it.

Normal day in Linköping

The culture in Sweden is almost the same than in Finland, so there are not much surprises to tell. Linköping is very nice city and I think it reminds Tampere really much. The city centre is small but you can find everything you need in there. I spend the last 3 months there doing my clinical practise in the Linköping university’s hospital.

Spring came to Linköping little earlier and the early mornings didn’t feel so hard anymore. So, because of the practice I woke up 5 am. the last weeks and then cycled to the hospital at 6 am. and most of the mornings there was a beautiful sunrise, which was much nicer than the couple mornings when it was pouring rain, because it was 5km biking.

The days in the hospital went fast in the ward and of course with the Swedish fika and the day ended around 15.30. In the hospital and in the wards, they usually have a little bigger fika every Friday with cakes and sandwiches.

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This year the universitetssjukhus i Linköping was second best.

 

 

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Real mexican made torillas.

 

After the day at the hospital we usually just hang out with other exchange students or then just went home and made food for the next day and then went to bed early because of the early waking. My corridor wasn’t the cleanest one so, sometimes the cooking was a little difficult.

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I was so thankful that I don’t drink coffee. This is the coffee maker in my corridor and it was like this for two weeks before somebody washed it.

 

 

 

In the weekends when everybody had more time (and weren’t working in the hospital) we usually did something together with other exchange students or then travelled somewhere. We went for example to Göteborg, Copenhagen and Stockholm. We also visited couple times the beautiful Norrköping (small city near Linköping, where is also one university campus) with the free campus bus.

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They really know how to make a cinnamon bun in Göteborg.

 

 

 

20170119_184826     Fika at our swedish teacher’s home.

I’m really going to miss my exchange friends and Linköping, but I don’t think I’m going to miss the kitchen in my corridor. 😀

And in the end, here is the best swedish fika song!

Postcard from France

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Greetings from the sunny French Riviera! I have been living and studying now for three months in southern France, Nice. Saying it feels  strange because the time really has flown so fast and my arrival in January feels like a yesterday. Luckily, I still have more than a month left here, there is so much things to do and see. Nice is a cozy and beautiful city and it’s a perfect match of the French and the Mediterranean cultures. All in all I’m very pleased that I chose to do my exhange here.

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I’m studying at IPAG Business School. The campus is quite small and it’s located in the heart of the city, close to the downtown area and in just about 20 minutes walking distance from the beach. The university offers a broad variety of course options and there are something for everyone. I’m studying International marketing and Strategic HRM and in addition to those I have been studying French language and culture. All courses aimed at the exchange students are in English, so you don’t have to be worried about the language things. And generally speaking if I think daily life here, it is not a problem if you don’t speak French. Many people, even young people, don’t speak English at all here but still running daily errands is easy without using French.  So if you ponder doing your exchange in France and especially in Nice, don’t be scared to do it just because you might have some difficulties with the language. However, I recommend to study even the basics of French before arriving here and to choose the French course in IPAG. And I can assure you that living in France will be a effective “language immersion”. You will notice that seeing French every day, everywhere will be the best way to learn it.

IPAG is really different than TAMK in many ways but overall it is a good place to do the exhange. The teaching staff is for the most part professional and lectures are interesting. In almost every course we have lectures and tutorials. Lectures are, naturally, for learning new topics and in tutorials we’re doing some group projects etc. With my four courses I have school about three to four days per week and the schedule changes every week. Lectures and tutorials are one and a half hours longs. We have a lot of group projects etc. but still studying here is quite pleasant.

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I’m sharing my exchange experience with my friend from Finland, so I’m spending my spare time usually with her. Mostly we’re just chilling and seeing other exhange students. At the same time with us, three other Finns came for the Spring semester in Nice. So we have an amazing Finnish group here and also other exhange students have been really nice. There are students from all over the world and the diversity of cultures is really wide. I recommend to participate in many events and be active right from the start. That way it is easier to get to know with many people.

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Thanks to the location of Nice, it is very easy to travel to many places. Especially, I recommend to visit in cities and villages near to Nice (Antibes, Cannes, Villefranche-sur-Mer, Menton, Eze Village, Monaco…). You can take a bus or a train depenging where you’re going. The prices of the public transport are incredible low, the bus ticket for a 75 min journey costs only 1,50€! Also, it is really easy to take a train or a flight to other European countries or for example to Paris. We had two week-long holiday breaks, so there is time to travel around.

Last thing that I want to say is that if you are even a little bit interested in studying abroad, just do it. You will not regret it! Exhange studying is an unique opportunity to see the world, learn new languages and meet new people from new cultures. Also, being abroad will help you to see the good things of your home country and appreciate them more.

– Elisa

Exploring UK

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So it turns out, that three months in exchange can go by really fast. I am writing from England, Derby, where I h ave been an exchange student for this spring term of 2017.

Derby is a rather small city in the heart of England. There’s not too much to see within the city, which is also a good thing since 1) it is a really, really British city with a real British accent and habits 2) it’s a good city to live in, when you are living first time abroad, visiting the country and want to get the full experience what a life in UK is like 3) it’s easy to get anywhere within UK. The public transport in this country lacks behind and is really slow (I wouldn’t never have guessed, but these days I consider travelling within Finland is fast!), so the central location of Derby has come in handy.

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The University of Derby is also quite British. There’s plenty of foreigners as well, so it’s easy to get along and mix to other students without gaining too much attention. Regardless, many students or people in here have said that I’m the first Finn that they’ve ever met! Ohh the wonder. In here, students usually have three modules per term. Since I’m studying BBA, I don’t have any exams but instead I have essays and reports to do (1-2 per module) and an average length for a report is 2000-3000 words. Sounds easy? That’s what I thought, but it turns out that to say everything you want to, is rather hard with such a limited word count. Depending on the subject the instructions of the theories vary, but we have case studies as well as the old-school essays to do. In one module we do a presentation for every other lecture by researching and finding references only within one hour time.

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I have tried to adapt the daily life of a British young adult, but since there’s not too much school (on Mon 1pm-8pm and Thur 9am-1pm), I have no idea what do the students do in here in their spare time, especially if they don’t work along their studies! As a result, me and my peers have taken travelling as one of our hobbies. So, so far I’ve traveled to Paris, Birmingham, London, Manchester, Nottingham and Cambridge during my stay. This week’s for Berlin and next is to visit London for the third time during this spring, I’m excited and thrilled! I’ve also started to study Dutch with the help of my Erasmus-friends, just for the fun of it.

Anyways. All’s been good and lovely. The weather have felt like a Finnish spring for the past months and it haven’t rained as much as I thought. Foggy it is, but we can manage to live with that. 🙂

Cheers! xoxo

Three months of good craic in the green island


It was a grand exchange period in Ireland I had. I met some great people and enjoyed my time fully. I studied in UCD (University College Dublin) and the radiography program was very good there. We had two modules: Irish Culture and Cardiac Imaging. I really liked the lecturers and their English was really easy to understand which I wasn’t expecting. It is amazing how quickly one adapts to another language and culture. The three months felt such a short time and flew by so fast.

fullsizeoutput_9d0For seven weeks I did a clinical placement in St. Vincent’s University Hospital. The people there were extremely nice and welcoming there. I lived with 13 other girls and five of them were also studying radiography so I had loads of support. At the hospital we did one week in each modality: General radiography, CT, MRI, IR, Cath Lab, Theatre and a few days in mammography, nuclear medicine, ultrasound, fluoroscopy and emergency department. It was nice to see the whole range of radiographers work in SVUH. The hospital is moderately modern and has 4 general x-ray rooms, two CT and one MRI.

The health care system in Ireland isn’t as equal in Ireland as we have here in Finland and the poor state of the economy is still effecting the hospitals and the equipment there aren’t as modern as we have in Finland. You can still see handwritten referrals scanned in the computer and huge patient files with handwritten forms. Our Finnish paper-free hospitals seem very modern compared to the computer programs in SVUH. Hand disinfection isn’t used as much in Ireland and almost the entire population carry MRSA in some form. The role of the radiographer is also quite different, they are more like technicians rather than nurses in Ireland and for example in IR (Interventional Radiography) the radiographer is only responsible for the imaging and radiation safety and the radiographic nurses are there to assist the radiologist and take care of the patient.

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Cliff walk, Bray – Greystones

The scenery of Ireland is amazing. I love nature and Ireland definitely has a huge amount of beautiful places to visit and see the nature at it’s best. Although the Irish complain a lot about the Irish weather, I beg to disagree and after leaving the -20 degrees Finland in the beginning of January and arriving to the +14 Dublin, it was pretty great. I got to visit a lot of places in Ireland, because it’s a quite small country in size. Besides Dublin, I also visited Galway,  Doolin, Killarney, Belfast, Kilkenny, Wicklow mountains, Greystones, Bray, Howth and Tullamore.

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Ring of Kerry
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Connemara, Co. Galway

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m happy that I did the Erasmus exchange and I’m sure to be back to Ireland at least to visit. It has also made me appreciate Finland more and I’m proud to be a Finn. 🙂

– Heta

 

Bye Mzungu!

Greetings from Kampala, Uganda! So far everything is good. I have been living in Uganda as a mzungu (=white person) now for one and a half months. It has been relatively easy to live in here though the traffic is a mess, you have to bargain everywhere and it is very grouded here. English is spoken quite widely and because it is official language here, you can find all the information in English. Even every young child knows how to “greet” in English: bye mzungu and see you mzungu. Mzungu (pronounsed like musungu) has become like a second name.

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Kampala city centre.

For the first four weeks I was living in Mpigi village. In Mpigi my practical placement was in Mpigi Health Center IV. I’m studying midwifery so I have been training in Maternity ward that includes labours, antenatal and postnatal care and in Maternal and child health clinic (neuvola). Also I worked some days in HIV clinic and in outpatient clinic to learn more about working culture in here.

Time in Mpigi was very teaching. They are working very hard with very little resources and doing great work. But also there is things that could be done better. Working is disorganised, working tempo is very slow, a nurses are still always soo busy. Also they way of treating patients is disrespectful, for example nurses are often laughing to the patients, talking rudely and there is no kind of privacy.

Midwives have a lot of work, birth rate is very high in here. Also they have no machines and technology to help monitoring the pregnancy. When pregnant mothers come to maternal health clinic they have only few minutes time with midwife. It is mostly it, that midwife does the abdominal palpation to evaluate the gestation time and listenes foetal heart rate with foetal scope. For Finnish midwife to be here is many to learn you wouldn’t learn in modern Finland.

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Maternal and child health clinic in Mpigi health center.

Deliveries are also quite something in here. Mothers are rarely monitored during labour and they have to manage the first stage on their own, there is no other pain relief than to deliver. Women are bringing all the equipment, such as gloves, bed covers and sheets, theirselves and fir example c-section can be delayed because of they have first go and buy suturates and catheters… Luckily I have met very friendly and encouraging, often younger, midwives but also I have seen yelling, slapping and pulling the hair during the second stage. Women are still not really complaining. They are so strong and brave in here!

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Labour suite in Mpigi health center.

I have also had amazing holiday week exploring Western Uganda with some other students. We saw beautiful countryside of Uganda and learned a lot about life in here. We had safari in Queen Elizabeth National Park and saw lions, buffalos, elephants, hippos and pumbas among others. We were trekking chimpanzees is the Karinju rainforest. We were swimming in Lake Bunyonyi, the only lake to swim here without hippos, crocodiles and bilharzia. And last but definitely not least we met the mountain gorillas in the misty mountains of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.

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Currently I’m working in Naguru Hospital (China Uganda Friendship Hospital) in Kampala. I have just finished my first week there and still have five weeks ahead. So far I can say that there definitely is work for a midwife!

See you Mzungus!

-Fanny

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