Monthly Archives: September 2017

Greetings from the Netherlands

I never thought I’d truly fall in love with a country such as Netherlands, but it happened. The people here remind me of Finnish people, but more open minded and accepting.

I’m studying at the Hague University of Applied Sciences, and I’m attending a project called European Project Semester. This year’s project is to create a smartphone application that helps art students and young artists to promote and sell their art. We’ve decided to create an application that lets the user talk to pieces of art, such as statues and paintings. When the user gets close to a piece of art he gets a message from it and can start having a conversation. Each art piece has artificial intelligence, meaning they can learn from the conversations they have.

In my spare time I mostly hang out with my newly found friends, making food, going to parks and to the beach or with our school project. It is very easy to get around the Hague because of the bike lanes that are everywhere, and if there isn’t one you can just cycle among the cars without the fear of road rage. The public transportation is also very functional.

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Me and a couple of buddies also did some traveling around Europe. First we went to Belgium, and spent time in Brussels and also Bruges, a medieval trading post on northern Belgium. Then after that we went to see Vienna, Prague and Krakow. It is very easy to get around central Europe with either a bus or a train. We usually use the bus, as it is way cheaper compared to train or airplane, with some exceptions.

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Studying in the Netherlands feels, for the most part, the same as Finland. Dutch people kept telling me that apparently the education system in Finland is perfect and their system is trying to replicate what’s happening in Finland . Although I did not get to see the whole picture, I don’t think it differs that much from Finland’s education system.

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I also bought two bikes, both of which I fixed. One of them (the one on the photo) i brought with me to Finland.

Greetings from Korea University

Well, it’s time to say goodbye to South Korea. It was an amazing experience to study in a city that is four times as big as Finland. Gaining new friends and having new experiences made sure that this journey was worth it.

My studies consisted of human resource management, operations management and information systems management. I was a little surprised that all of the classes were only 1h 15 min long and we got a lot done during that time. The teachers were nice and they had a sense of humor. But, in addition, they were very strict about their subjects.

One of the main buildings in KU

Most of my spare time I spent with my friends, traveling around Seoul and in Korea. Usually we went to a new place in Seoul and spend the day there. One of the best experiences was the Lantern Festival in Daegu. We went there with 10 other persons and we saw a beautiful show made by the locals.

Lantern Festival in Daegu

Studies in KU was not as different from TAMK as I expected. We had to read more but the exams were not that hard. The biggest difference was that we had to do a lot of group projects. Each course had one or two projects and they were bigger than what we’ve had in TAMK. But, it was a fun way to meet Koreans like that.

VAK

Mail from the United Kingdom

Greetings!

A full year exchange in Southampton Solent University, UK, has been an amazing journey. I major game art in TAMK and I was looking for some more in-depth teaching in that area, so I found out Solent offers great courses taught by game art professionals, I truly recommend it!

As I took courses from both first year and second year to get as much practical experience as possible I had to work harder than I had used to in TAMK. I got lots of honest feedback and support from classmates who all were friendly and great to hang around, so even as practically the only exchange student in the class I didn’t feel out of place and it was great to work in such an inspiring environment. I gained new skills and leveled up in so many areas!

Marathon watching in the town center.

The town was invaded by 100 art zebras last summer!

Southampton itself is not much larger than Tampere, so I felt pretty comfortable living there. Most of my weekends I would work on school projects, but there was plenty of time to do fun stuff as well. We explored the town with my exchange friends and classmates after school and weekends; it has no beach but an active harbour, two large shopping centres, many pretty parks, Sprinkles (the best waffle & ice cream place!), and all kinds of events during weekends, like marathons, concerts, art exhibitions, street music and so on. If you wish to go shopping, go before midday, because places get pretty crowded after school/work, as if the whole town is out there! They also have four movie theaters there like Odeon IMAX or the school’s own Sonar theater which has an amazing quality of sound.

Southampton in full bloom in May.

Sprinkles, mmmm…

I also visited London once or twice a month as my close relative lives in Northern London. For that reason I had already familiarised myself with the metropolis, and I find coaches, trains and the underground easy to use. There I attended a Halloween party held by their neighbours, visited the Winter Wonderland, National History museum and Science museum (with a robot exhibition), and attended London Comic Con and EGX Rezzed (game convention). Good times! This exchange adventure has given me courage, wisdom and power more than I could have imagined!

Have an awesome exchange!

Julia

Greeting from the UK!

Hello everyone!

I was doing my exchange in Southampton Solent University, United Kingdom, the last semester (2016-2017). I took courses from both game art and graphic design, but mainly focusing in graphic design. The studies were a lot different when compared to the ones I had done in TAMK; I felt that the level of teaching was excellent in Solent University, both in game art and graphic design units. The tasks were more challenging yet I felt that I learned so much more although I was there only for a year. There were a lot of feedback sessions in small groups, which helped everyone to progress in the right direction with their tasks.

During my exchange most of my time was taken by school because of the amount of tasks and how much research you had to do for them, but on weekends I usually had a day or two to hang out with my new friends. I was also able to do couple trips while staying in the UK, for example in Oxford, Warwick Castle, Brighton and of course many many times in London. It only takes one and a half hour by train to London, and if you booked your tickets in advance you could get them pretty cheap!

Warwick castle

There were peacocks in the Warwick castle, just wandering around among the visitors.

Brighton had beautiful beaches and of course Mr. Whippies!

Southampton was a nice place to study and it reminded me a lot of Tampere, where I’m currently studying in Finland. There were a lot of coffee shops and restaurants where to hang out with your friends, and my university had clubs for almost every hobby there is. The city wasn’t too big or small, and it had lots of beautiful parks which I wish we had here in Finland!

Cheers, Inka

Saudações de Porto!

Porto is a very old beautiful city in the northern Portugal. It’s the second largest city of the country right after Lisbon.  Porto is known for it’s gorgeous bridges along with the medieval riverside district (Ribeira) with it’s narrow cobblestone streets. It is also famous for it’s Port wine production.

Porto

https://www.visitportugal.com/en/destinos/porto-e-norte

I spent my time trying to experience everything Portugal had to offer. I did trips to different cities around the country, went watching champions league games, tried experiencing different foods and drinks, but the most memorable trip was the trip we took to Azores islands. They are volcanic islands in the middle of Atlantic Ocean. They have very beautiful waterfalls where you can take trips to do canoying. They also have hot springs for relaxing and even volcanic hot beaches in the ocean!

Universities are quite different from what I’m used to in Finland. The teaching is “old school”, as in you have to respect and call your professors by their title. What I found extremely interesting was how the university students in Portugal dressed in these “Harry Potter” like school uniforms. It is known that the author of Harry Potter got the idea from these exact uniforms! The freshmen of universities go through embarrassing looking rituals every day during their first year. Also they have to wear the same white t-shirt and a paper “crown” every day for the whole semester without washing them even once. I talked with the freshmen about it and they all did it with pride because it was their traditions and I really respected that.

교복입는 대학교.jpg | 인스티즈

http://www.instiz.net/pt/4067175

Maribor je odlično

For anyone who’s looking to find an exchange destination where 5 months is enough to make it feel like home, look no further than Maribor.

The city has beautiful hill and mountain views with various wine yards covering them. Drava river runs through the city and from the bridge you can overlook the view of orange-ish rooftops of the buildings.

For me the Balkan area was unknown so I was also eager to visit Slovenia’s neighbouring countries. The likes of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Albania, Montenegro, Croatia etc. are within striking distance and I’m happy to say to have been able to visit them.

Whether you’re looking at magnificent views on the coast (Croatia, Montenegro) or visiting busy but relaxed streets in Sarajevo, you’re in for a treat.

You must be careful about the topics since it hasn’t been that long from the wars (some areas still remain tense), so it’s still fresh in many locals’ memory.

Pay a visit to Slovenia, have a shot of borovnicke, try some amazing Balkan food (meat based mainly) and walk around the hills and enjoy the views. I’m sure you’ll like it a lot just like I do.