Monthly Archives: January 2018

The Uruguayan Bubble

South America, Uruguay, Montevideo. Very little country which seem to have it own “bubble”, so unlike it’s often said – also by the humble Uruguayans – the country is nothing like Brazil or Argentina. My university here is private: Universidad ORT Uruguay. There is just one public university and the rest are private. That changes things for sure. The other students are either spoiled or those ones who are working along side of their studies really hard! The studing is kind of relaxed, but when it comes to middle of the semester exams and the finals, they are really strict and the minimum points to pass the exam are suprisingly high. For my career, Audiovisual – Cinema & Television, there aren’t practically an exams, just creative work or essays to do. Of course this depends how academic courses one wants to take. Still, studying in a private university makes automatically a gap between the social class distinctions, which I mean that many people starts to threat you very differently (and not in the good way) when they heard where I study.  So in very early phase I learned always to add up that the exchange is free for me.

Like mentioned, the social-economical classes varies a lot here and has huge differences, not the biggest ones in SA, but still huge compared to European countries. This makes kind of problem of where to fit, of course it’s allways a problem in a new culture and country, but here it kind of means that you have to “take sides”. It’s horrible, but for example I accomplished to be disrespectful between the classes, trying to fit them but ending up being two-faced. Not my purpose, but to be fair and understanding, it’s very difficult, but in the end I succesfully was accepted in many different kind of social groups, which was very satisfying for me and supposly for them also.

The spare time is mostly hanging, relaxing on a siesta time. Uruguayans don’t worry too much, they aren’t very ambisious unlike Argentinians could be. The being, just hanging around could sound boring or waste of time, but unwise they get most from the moment, they are very life like people who doesn’t do or stress nothing that they doesn’t have to.

 

In life and with studies Finland is much more counciouss about goals in life and the studies. That makes automatically a pressure that one needs to become something. In Uruguay it’s kind of confussing, their way of teaching isn’t very professional or coherent, but instead of becoming they subjectively just decide to be what they want to be. That doesn’t lead in very great actions or accomplishments generally, but one’s life doesn’t have to be anything huge or especial, it matters what you are for yourself. So if someones wants to come really study hard and a learn a lot of new things in that sense, Uruguay can be frustrating, but if one wants to come more far from that occidental accomplishing and making an own signifigance meaning by success or others opinions, this is a right place. This country is a small bubble where the people are the heroes of their own lives. Along all the relaxing atmosphere I still have to remind that this is South America, which means need to be caucious and sometimes things are restless, not violent or corrupted, but restless. It doesn’t take a lot of time to figure out where you can go, at what time, who to trust etc. Still one should be open minded here, because the most typical Uruguayan characteristics and people I met in the streets. Good hearted, eccentric, but not maybe the most trustable with an indegious Uruguayan accent which I still don’t understand practically nothing..

Getting educated i Sverige

Hejsan alla

Exchange period is coming to an end and snowy Christmas is not here either! First when I heard I got to the exchange studies in Halmstad, I was happy and excited because everything is going to be little different than back in Finland. All the thoughts and stereotypes about Swedish people being so much different than us Finnish.  But during exchange all of that was taken down piece by piece.

Halmstad Högskolan with the landmark of Trade Center in the background.

I was staying in Halmstad, southwest part of Sweden. Nice smallish place of about 70.000 people between Göteborg (140km) and Malmö (137km). The weather has been really rainy but for people living here it is the normal weather I hear. When I first arrived here I didn’t think it would snow at all, but I was wrong, there has been a couple of days of snow, just like in Finland!

Picture taken during a hike along Prins Bertils stig, which is a route from city center to Tylösand and back

City center has its shops and a canal splitting the city in half. City center has a big open square area in the middle and streets going to each direction, providing easy Access to all services needed. I would still recommend buying a bike on your trip to Halmstad as it is not necessary but it will let you experience so much more. There was good bus connections around the town, so you wouldn’t have any excuses for not going somewhere.
Also connections to other cities like Copenhagen, Malmö, Stockholm and Oslo most of which are accessible by train within couple of hours. And for people who have not seen Lapland local student organization arranged a trip to Kiruna with snowmobile and husky rides!

Down below iconic views from Stockholm, Copenhagen and main square in Halmstad.

What comes to studying in Sweden or Halmstad, it was delightfully similar to studies at TAMK. Most of studying had to be done on your free time having only a few lectures every week. With this in mind you have to have motivation and preferably a few friends to help you with the studies.

PCB milling during Electronical design and implementation-course

Teachers help whenever they can, but of course are booked most of the day. I had Electronic course which was project based as we designed and manufactured a PCB and assembled a working gadged of our choosing. On Working environment and leadership course we had many visiting lecturers from whom I learned how similar Finnish and Swedish working environments are. As a third course I had Computer Networks which was a certified CCNA course by Cisco academy. It was the basics of Computer networking, security, administration and maintenance. In whole my free time consisted mostly of studying and on weekends I tried to make trips around and connect with other exchange students. What was connecting factor with each course was that each of them had a theoretical and practical part in it, which I feel greatly improves learning experience and makes it more interesting.


Field visits to building site and EMC lab in Halmstad

As a closure: I had a good time in a lovely country with nice people. And as an advice to others going: get a bike and secondly remember that Swedish people are like us, we don’t go talking to people but usually like helping and talking if someone comes to talk to us!

Sziasztok! Greetings from Budapest!

Budapest is a very beautiful city, and you can see interesting historical buildings everywhere. The river Danube splits the city in half. The other side, called Buda, is full of hills while the other, Pest, is totally flat. My apartment is situated on the Pest side, which is also the busier side of the city, full of bars, shops and restaurants. Most of the Erasmus people live on this side, as it’s a little cheaper and more active than the Buda side.
I study at the Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design (MOME). The actual university building is being renovated during my stay, so basically the whole school has been temporarily moved to another building, which is located on the Buda side, close to the Danube.My studies have been very independent. Most of the courses have no actual classes, but we are expected to work on our own. Once a week we have a meeting where everyone shows their progress, and the teacher gives some advice and feedback.Compared to my studies in TAMK, this level of independence is quite different, and it requires a lot of responsibility to be productive. I have managed to do it though, and I like the fact that in many of the assignments the teachers actually encourage us students to explore the city in our works as well. Another difference is that in MOME the official language is Hungarian, as opposed to English which is used in my department (Media & Arts) in TAMK. It meant us exchange students are mostly on different courses than the locals, but luckily there are some exceptions as well.One thing I really like about MOME is that they have a huge selection of theoretical courses, which are really interesting.On my spare time I have really taken advantage of the fact that eating out is pretty cheap here compared to Finland. Even on a student budget it is possible to try out some exotic dishes from Lebanese to Japanese, not to forget the local foods which are delicious as well.

Another thing I have really enjoyed are the thermal baths. They are located mostly on the Buda-side. Most of them have been built during the time when Hungary was ruled by the Ottoman Empire (1541-1699), so they are very old and not much has been changed. I really like the sense of history in them, and of course the baths as well. Some of them even feature a Finnish sauna!Other than that I have done some traveling, and been to all the famous sights and museums. For anyone visiting Budapest I recommend hiring a bike to move around more quickly, as the distances can get quite long here.