Monthly Archives: January 2018

Toronto, Ocad and I

Hi everyone!

Streets of Toronto

I just spent 4 month in Toronto, at Ocad university which is the largest art, design and media university in Canada.

Ocad  had a really wide selection of an interesting courses,  so I got a bit greedy by taking 5 instead of the 4, which was the recommendation.

Now I know better. I recommend taking just the 4 courses, because they all are very time consuming and the teachers expect you to work a lot, all the time.

Choose wisely, you don’t want to spent your whole exchange doing nothing but school work!

Streets of Toronto
Classroom from Ocad

I would also recommend taking the figure drawing and painting classes,(If you are interested in painting and drawing, of course.) those two were my favourites and I learned the most from them.

But regardless the busy schedule with the school, I did managed to travel a bit! I went to see Niagara falls, it’s only two and half hours away with a bus from Toronto.

Totally worth it, even though it can feel like a tourist trap during the summer seasons, at least you can do it in one day!

Niagara falls

During my study break I went to Montreal, Ottawa and Quebec, which was a great experience, especially in Montreal and Quebec you could feel the difference, people spoke mostly French and it was a bit smaller city and the nature felt a lot closer.

Ottawa, Parliament Hill
The Montmorency Falls, Quebec
Mont-Tremblant National Park

I felt that in Ocad, or in Toronto in general people were pretty busy. The public transportation wasn’t great, and it was really expensive so if you can, try to find place close to the school. But then again, also finding the apartment can be tricky and expensive for sure.

I had a lot of fun during my exchange, and I hope I can visit Canada someday again!

Toronto skyline

 

 

Welkom in België

I am going to be studying here in Belgium for 10 months all together! 5 months behind, 5 are now ahead.

First town that I got to live in was called Kortrijk (literally nobody knows of this city, nobody) and it is a small town that has about 70 000 inhabitants. The area is quite big, but the city center itself is quite small. Some restaurants and shops can be found, but if you would want to do something, smarter to just go to visit for example Gent, Antwerpen or maybe Brugge. Best part about Belgium is the fact that it is such a small country, you can travel to any city with the train at it takes max. one and a half hours!

At home I am studying Hospitality Management, but in Kortrijk my studies mostly contained from business. Nice little change and it is connected in some ways to my own studies.

Course selection was not so big and many courses were cancelled for some reason in the beginning, which was a big disappointment for me, because all the courses I wanted to take and were connected the most to my field were the ones that got cancelled. But anyway I feel like I have learned some new things.

The study part is quite the same here as it is Finland! A lot of team works, quite many presentations and some exams. Big difference is that in Finland in one semester I might have maybe 3-4 courses but here I had about 10-11. Also something new for me was doing an oral exam, never have had those in Finland.

I think that quite sums up my semester! Now getting ready for my next semester which I will be doing in Brugge.

The Southampton Times

My studies in Southampton have been constructed by different units from different courses. I am studying Music Production in TAMK, but wanted to add a little bit of visual media studies while I was over at Solent University. In the end my studies in Solent included Studio recording and mixing, music video production and practicing a live set with a university band. It turned out to be a nice and balanced combo of units. A big percentage of the studies was working with groups, but we also had some little individual assignments to go with it.

Southampton is not exactly the place one would like to go visit on the holidays. Though it is a coastal town it does´t really have the coastal feeling that most would maybe hope for. Most of the shoreline is covered with ports with big ships importing and exporting goods, and the beach is no where to be seen because there isn´t one. Though it´s not the most idyllic coastal city, it has a certain rough romantic touch to it. If it so happens that you´ll get bored with Southampton, there´s a lot of great places to visit by just spending a little of your time on a public transportation system. Bournemouth and Brighton for example; do have the idyllic beaches and would be the kind of place to visit for a summer holiday.

There is a good music scene in Southampton, with cool venues and open mics all day. I have got to know some of the locals involved in music, and through them I have found myself in some house parties/music events that I would have otherwise missed completely. There is a lot of activities to choose from, if you want to activate yourself and get involved in stuff. There is even surfing and scuba diving if you want to go all in. I myself settled to start a little climbing hobby which included a weekly climb at The Boulder Shack , social nights of drinking and chatter, and an occasional trip to a climbing destination. All in all my stay in the UK has been a blast and there will be a lot of friendly faces missed, though I think I will not be settling down in Southampton for longer. Been there, done that, got the hat.

¡Hola, estoy en España!

Valladolid is known of beautiful religious buildings. For example the cathedral of Valladolid or the church of San Pablo and many others. Valladolid is not much bigger than Tampere. It is a city of 300 000 people and is located 200km north from the capital of Spain, Madrid. I think the size of Valladolid is perfect for Erasmus. It`s not too small but small enough to know, where you can find other Erasmus students when you want to spend your evening outside. The size of the city made it very easy to adopt the Spanish life.

   

 

I study building services engineering and all courses I chose in university of Valladolid were in English. When I arrived at university of Valladolid, I had a problem with my courses. Due the lack of information all courses I had chosen were available only in the spring semester. I met my responsible professor to help me with the courses. Even though the responsible professor didn`t expect any students from Finland, she helped me to find the right courses for me. I had to take courses from the field of study of chemical engineering and industrial engineering. It was easy to understand a big difference between Spain and Finland: The things did not work as smoothly as they do in Finland. Every appointment and process were always delayed and took a lot of time to happen. First it was really frustrating, but I got used to it and I just had to accept the way it is. Although the people had difficulty with time, all teachers and persons I met at university were really helpful and kind.

I came to Valladolid with my Classmate and being in Erasmus with a good friend is great. We have been living and traveling together, which have made everything simpler. The best way of spending your weekends in Erasmus is traveling. We have been all over Spain and Portugal visiting many beautiful places. One of the best part has been the atmosphere in the football stadiums around Spain.

Greetings from Ireland!

I have been living in Ireland for four months now and I got to say that I love it! Beautiful evergreen Ireland stole my heart. (Actually now even more, but my blog never loaded here…)

My Erasmus experience didn’t start as well as I hoped but at least it wasn’t boring at all! The second day after my arrival I fell down the stairs in Dublin and sprained my ankle.  First three weeks I walked with crutches and a boot on my leg.  Through that accident, I got to see how helpful and kind Irish people are. I met so many nice people during those weeks who helped me in different kind of situations.

I’ve been studying in Tralee which is a cosy little town with little under 24 000 people living there. It has everything you need and pubs actually more than you need… but that’s Irish…

Institute of Technology Tralee is quite a big college and also a really nice one. It has two campuses (North and South) and I’ve been studying at both. North campus is bigger and a new one and basically all social service classes are there. It is about three kilometres from the centre and south campus is about one kilometre away from the city centre.

In the beginning, it was hard to catch up with the Irish accent, but surprisingly I got used to it really fast. The way of studying is different comparing to TAMK. There a teacher usually speaks the whole hour and your job is to make notes. Usually studying is not practical, but sometimes we had the possibility to talk in groups about a topic set by the teacher. We got a lot of assignments, actually I’ve never done that much assignments in one semester in Finland. But in the end, it wasn’t as bad as I thought. The most important thing there is to listen and make notes during the classes. 

I lived in Tralee Town Centre Apartments. The rent wasn’t expensive at all but the electricity bill was really high during winter time. The owners are super nice people and the most of Erasmus students lived there and I would say that it was definitely the best part of it!

During these months I’ve been travelling a lot around Ireland. I’ve been spending time with my new friends, enjoying pub culture and Irish music. I was also a member of college music society where I met a lot of talented local people too. I also got to see Northern Ireland through Irish Experience Tours which I highly recommend because of their student prises. Ireland is amazing country and I love the atmosphere there. The most beautiful place was definitely Giant Causeway! Unbelievable. 

For me, Ireland feels like home. This country is so outgoing and relaxed! I don’t feel like going back to Finland at all, but unfortunately, I have to come back to do my thesis. This time here has really opened my eyes, I’ve learned so much about myself and about life itself that I’m forever grateful for this experience. 

Saludos de España

Hola! I’m studying building services engineering in Spain, city called Valladolid. Valladolid might be unknown place for most of you, but it’s a beautiful old city located 200 km up north from Madrid. The city has a lot of old architecture, narrow streets and small river flowing through. Along the river is a small beach where was nice to play beach volley and take a sunbath in a beginning of exchange when the weather allowed it. Although the city doesn’t have many specialities, so it’s pretty unknown and tourist free. Moving around the city is easy with a good bus network and citybikes. Citybikes are cheap and useful way to go around the city and you can reach all the places in an half hour. I think Valladolid was perfect place for me to do my exchange. Good parts in a smaller city is that you will get to know the city and the people more easily. Valladolid gave also good opportunity to learn the new language because they speak clean Spanish here (in Spain they have lot of different dialects and languages) and the lack of English speaking people force you to learn Spanish.

First thing what I noticed in Valladolid was that no one speaks English at all. It was quite interesting for me who didn’t know a word of Spanish before reading travel guide for Spain in an airplane on way to here. After two Spanish courses, help from the other exchange students and a tons of Google Translate the Spanish language starts running pretty smoothly.

 

I came to Valladolid to study building services engineering on the University of Valladolid. Due to my bad Spanish language, all courses I took was in English and matching with my own field of study. However after wrong informations and misunderstandings all the courses I had chosen in Finland, wasn’t available on autumn semester. To replace these I got courses that were taught in English from different field of study. On top of that my responsible professor in Valladolid didn’t even expect student from Finland. These kind of lacks on organising made me realize the biggest differences between Finland and Spain. After all the teachers tried to do their best to find the most suitables courses and helped me with every problem I had.

I was lucky that I could do my exchange with my classmate from Finland. We have lived, studied and done almost all together. Traveling with your good friend has been also awesome and easy. We made a lot of trips together or with other exchange students. In this five months I have visited places like Bilbao, Madrid, Salamanca, Porto, Sevilla, Valencia, Alicante, Barcelona, Zaragoza, Málaga, Gibraltar and maybe something more before I come back to Finland.

Viszontlátására Magyarország és szia Finnország!

Goodbye Hungary and hello Finland! My exchange is about to end and it has definitely been an experience that I wouldn’t change. I am studying in Metropolitan University for five months for Tourism and Catering services. I had a bit of fuss around my learning agreement and I had to redo it quite a few times and I ended up taking classes from Business as well in Tourism. I also studied Hungarian language and Middle European history to increase my knowledge. So many of my friends questioned my decision to study Hungarian, but to say I didn’t regret it. It was interesting and it is nice to understand at least a bit of the surrounding country.

Heroes’ Square

The teaching in general is very theoretic compared to Finnish teaching. Mostly the studying was sitting at the lectures and taking notes. I had few courses where I had to return an essay or make a presentation. One thing that was considerably different to Finnish school was the exam period. Here we had roughly three months of teaching and then two months of exams when there is no teaching and you can only focus for the exams. Or you could plan your exam period to have all of the exams in the first few weeks and then chill. However you wanted to plan it.

Being a tourist at Margaret bridge

For free time Budapest offers a wide range of different kinds of bars and clubs and you can choose whether you want to just sit down and talk with your friends, or dance and have fun. Here is also a lot of cafés from really fancy and expensive to really cosy and warm places. Maybe you don’t want to spend money, so then you can go see awesome views from Gellert Hill or just walk the riverside of the Danube.

I live with four other Erasmus-students in a shared flat and I can say it’s rarely quiet here. My Spanish, Cypriot and Italian flatmates are always planning trips, parties or just inviting people over. And if not, we are having mental breakdowns over exams and deadlines together.

Me and my flatmates

The great thing in Erasmus is, that you can always find a person who would like to go for a beer, watch a movie, have a party or even go to Vienna with you. (Or maybe just have a brunch all together.)

Exchange in Oita, Japan

Studying and living in a new environment has been very exotic and interesting with many fun things, loads of social experiences and with some challenges as well. The courses are varied, and each teacher has their own style: that fact is similar to Finland and probably true no matter where in the world one might travel to. Even inside a country and a culture the people are not all the same.

On the way to Oita University campus

Free-time in Japan can be spent in myriad of ways. Living in a dorm has the upside that there are people around for just hanging out. The city of Oita is much bigger than Tampere, even though the locals consider this city be “small and rural”. When compared to Tokyo, with a population of more than 13 million people, I can see their viewpoint, but from a Finnish perspective Oita is large. Movie theaters, game centers, stores, concerts, onsen, restaurants, karaoke and culture can all be easily found in the city, just a 15-minute train ride away from the campus of Oita University. Sometimes it is also nice to relax by just reading some manga, which can be bought with 100 yen (0,75 €) from a nearby second-hand bookstore.

Studying culture here in Japan differs from Finland in many ways. When it comes to teaching a language, there is a quiz at the start of every single lesson. For me this means a quiz four times a week. It seems like a lot of extra work for the teacher, since they need to make and grade the quizzes. Japanese teaching also values exams more than the Finnish style; at the half way point of the courses, after 2,5 months of teaching we had mid-term exams and in a month, we will have the final exams. Our grade will be based on these exams. And one needs to study a lot for them, for the concept of re-taking an exam does not exist here. TAMK often gives the opportunity for a retake twice, which feels nice and fair to me.

日本から From Japan

Here in the city of Kofu my daily life is full of studying at iCLA, Yamanashi Gakuin University of Liberal Arts. I spend my days watching films and discussing about them and their impact to Japan’s culture, or studying acting guided by a professional actor from States. I also read many novels and poems for the literature class where we talk about them and how they give a shape to their writer’s thoughts and how they reflect society. Of course, I also study nihongo, which means Japanese in Japanese language.

Most of my time goes for doing my homework and reading for exams, but when I have time I try to visit new places, or I hang out with my international friends. We love to go to eat sushi, or to go to drink coffee in different coffee shops. iCLA is half an hour away from Kofu’s city center, but you can get there really fast by local train. We like to go there sometimes to sing in a karaoke and spend time. You can also get to Tokyo by a bus and it takes only two hours to get there. I have visited Tokyo two times and it is very popular place to go among students. Tokyo is huge compared to any city in Finland, there is so much to see and so many people walking on streets, so much life! I have visited many old temples and admired Japanese architecture here in Kofu, and I went to see Mount Fuji up close, Kofu is located so near to Fuji that it only took me one hour to get there by a local bus.

Differences between studying in Japan and in Finland is that you really must study in Japan. There are so many school assignments to do! You really must do your homework and read for those exams, so it is common that you are still working for school during late hours. Or that you don’t get to sleep much during nights.

Film studies are different, we mostly watch films and talk about their plots and how they have been affecting society, and why such films are made. Back in TAMK we study film making, which is totally different. We don’t really talk about meanings of those films (or maybe they do in script writing studies, I don’t know because my major is light & camera and sound design ), but we go to and make them from script to screen.