Monthly Archives: February 2018

Leeds, UK

I can’t say I had heard of Leeds before my studies there. Kind of weird, since it is the third biggest city in England, with a whopping 2,4 million residents in its metropolitan area. The truth is that I never even applied there; I got to find out during my application process that in order for me to study in the UK, I need to take a spot in Leeds. And so I did.

Leeds city centre

What I really applaud Leeds for, is that as a small town girl who thinks even Tampere is big, Leeds never felt overwhelming. The city centre is big compared to Tampere, for sure, but it’s also oddly compact. If you leave the central area you will quickly find yourself in the suburbs and more sparsely populated areas. Our campus was not in the centre either, but in an area called Headingley, which I really liked despite having to travel a bit more to get there.

Kirkstall Abbey, monastery ruins and park in Leeds

I felt like the studies in Leeds more or less matched with what they are in Finland. I had three modules (that’s what the Brits call their courses), and I think it was just the right amount for an exchange student, since you really don’t want to spend your whole time just studying. Even though my schedule felt quite empty, the modules did require a lot of time and effort, so it was a good balance. I really enjoyed the lectures and the assignments we got, so could have not been better in my opinion.

Headingley campus library

I think the biggest difference to Finland is just the sheer size of the campuses. They are absolutely massive! Headingley campus alone had over ten buildings you might have your lecture in, there’s a huge library that’s literally open 24/7 (I mean how cool is that?), the campus cafeteria had three restaurants to choose from, and each campus has its own bar. Yeah, a real bar you can get a drink at. Oh, and campus shops. Reasonably priced campus shops. Definitely miss that.

On my free time I did quite a bit of travelling around UK with my flatmate and classmate Tiia. We visited York, Whitby, Alnwick, Durham, Edinburh (twice!), Bath, Stonehenge, Lake District and London. I also visited Glasgow and Manchester. Dublin is definitely something I would have liked to see as well, but we only had so much time and resources. I have so many memories from this entire journey, so many pictures, so many people I met, I wouldn’t change it for the world.

 

Du bist meine kleine schwarze Katze

I spent my 5 months in a beautiful, small town called Krems an der Donau, in Austria. At first, I was a bit nervous to go abroad all by myself, because I had never travelled alone. The other fact that made me a bit nervous was, that I wasn’t sure how good English people speak in Austria. All I knew about German was “Du bist meine kleine schwarze Katze”, and that wasn’t really helpful in my daily life. And yes, there were times when people didn’t speak (or just didn’t want to speak) English, but still I somehow managed to survive.I studied in IMC Krems, which had two different campus areas in the city. All my classes where in the international campus, which was in the old town. The building was an old monastery, so some of the classrooms were really beautiful. The professors spoke quite good English, and the international relations office was always happy to help you with your issues.My classes were with the regular students who studied Export Oriented Business in English. There were many nationalities in the group, as only about a half of them were from Austria. I felt like most of the professors gave good grades way too easily, but otherwise most of my courses were pretty good. Some of the courses I took were HR, Export marketing and German for beginners. I have never learned a language as fast I did with German. It really helps when you hear and see it everywhere. And also the fact, that you must learn it to survive in your daily life, or a t least make it more comfortable.Maybe the best course I chose was “Austria Business, Politics and Culture”, not just because I learnt about the country I was studying at the moment, but because the teacher was so nice. At the end of the course she invited our group to her home for an Austrian dinner. We spent the evening with her and her family, eating, drinking a local white wine and sharing stories about our lives at our home countries. At that point I was so happy that I was prepared for moments like these, as I brought a “Finnish gift bag” with me from Finland, containing a small Moomin towel in a Marimekko cosmetic bag. It was a perfect gift for a moment like that.My spare time I spent traveling across the country. I got to see amazing views, hike in a sunny autumn weather and snowboard in the Alps. I loved the nature and the historical buildings and old towns. Austria was a good choice, and I’m sure I will go back there someday.

 

 

 

 

 

Annyeong From Korea

I am going to Kyonggi University, in Suwon, South Korea. It is a good university, though it was built in literally a HILL, so you would have to climb the hill to go to class. Not that I’m complaining though, it’s like working out, which is good for your health and body~.


I took some courses in English, related to International Business and the East Asian region. Actually, the selection of courses wasn’t that great, but enough. The classes in Korea are quite different from Finland, more about listening to the lecture of the teacher than discussing among students. It is not hard, I don’t have to put a lot of effort to get a good grade. But I believe that because my courses are left easier for they are in English. I’ve been witnessing Korean students study so so hard for their exams: no one playing sports, no one hanging out, just eating ramen and studying.

I also took an intensive Korean Language course for 10 weeks, from Monday to Friday every week, which is really “intense” and so I could be confident to say that I can speak Korean now. So if you are interested in Korean language, I highly recommend this kind of intensive course since you can really take something out if it (of course with a lot more effort) compared to the normal language course once a week.

 

I had quite a lot free time during the semester, considering taking only 4 courses. I usually hang out with other exchange students, most of which are from France or Germany, some from Mexico, and I am the only one from Finland. Everyone is nice and friendly. Together we try Korean food (most of which is SUPER spicy) and travel around. Suwon is less than 1 hour away from Seoul by subway so we go there quite a lot.

There are so many places to visit and many things to try so you have to be selective. My favorites are the palaces, museums, Korean sauna (called Jimjilbang), or just wandering around shopping areas like Kangnam or Myungdong.

 

 

 

Korean people are really friendly, you can get a lot of free services in restaurants and shops when you are foreigner. Some of them also love to ask about you and your country, in Korean most of the time of course. But Korean students can be very shy, if you are foreigner and speak English. I guess they are afraid of making mistakes in English. But when you got to be friends with them, they are really nice and fun. Korean students are good at drinking and having fun in clubs and bars, or so I’ve heard since I don’t really go there.

Oh and one thing, there’s literally so personal space in Korea, which I miss the most about Finland. People love to squeeze together over here. And sometimes, in the subway or elevator, they just come straight to you, pushing you out of your place so that they can stand there, which still puzzles me until now.

We went to the DMZ (Korean Demilitarized Zone) and that railway is supposed to be going to North Korea~

 

All in all, I’ve been having a great time in Korea. It is a nice blend between tradition and modernity. I found the country so young and lively and buzzling but also deep in rich culture and history and tradition. So I’ve got to experience a lot, all of which is precious to me, as well as to make so many great friends, not only Koreans but all over the world, each of whom is dear to be now.

 

 

Life in the city of beer

Now that my exchange is about to end here in Munich, I could tell you something about my experience here. My semester in Munich University of Applied Sciences started in early September with two weeks of intensive German language course which was a fun start for the semester. After that we had a gap of two weeks before the actual semester started. This offered a great chance to enjoy the Oktoberfest – which was awesome by the way – and to travel as well.

Oktoberfest.

During the first weeks we had to choose our courses which was a bit of a mess in the beginning. We had to apply to the courses and it wasn’t always sure that you would get to the course. Well, if you chose engineering subjects it was sure, but other than engineering not. There were not that many people taking engineering classes. In the classes I had there were approximately 5-10 students attending the course. Even if planning the courses was hard there was a good side in it too. I managed to have Fridays off, which was awesome!

What comes to Munich, it is a beautiful city and I find the atmosphere really similar to Helsinki but the beer is better. Adapting here was easy. On the spare time I met friends and we did different kind of activities such as drinking beer in a beer hall or beer garden. One thing which was a surprise for me was that you can surf in Munich as you can see in the picture down below. Unfortunately, I don’t know how to surf even though I tried it on my trip to Portugal.

You actually can surf in Munich.
Sölden ski trip.

Munich’s central location in the Europe is a good benefit. Traveling from here to all over the Europe is really easy. Easiest and fairly cheap ways to travel were by a bus or a train. But the best way was to rent a car with a bunch of friends and go wherever we wanted. And you know what you can do once you get to the Autobahn. For example, we did couple of road trips to the surrounding countries and a ski trip to the Austrian Alps.

Road tripping and completely lost somewhere in Croatia.

 

 

 

Studying in Germany seemed different than in Finland. At least studying engineering subjects. The teacher usually just kept a lecture and the students took notes, that’s it. Sometimes it was quite boring and hard to focus. On the other hand, there was no mandatory attendance neither homework which was a good excuse to travel more.

From Munich With Love

I spent five months in Munich University of Applied Sciences, Germany, studying in the winter semester 2017/2018. The semester started on the beginning of September with a two-week voluntary German intensive course.

Marienplaz

Munich is Bavarias biggest city and locates in the southern Germany near the Alps so it offers a beatiful landscape for exhange studies. The highlights of my time in Munich were definitely the Oktoberfest and our ski trip to Austrian Alps.

Munich University of Applied Sciences “MUAS” offers a great variety of courses in many different departments. My courses were from tourism and general studies departments. I choose ten courses in total including the German intensive course before the actual courses. My general studies were business English courses which were quite useful and at the end of the semester I had an opportunity to do UNIcert -certificate in English.

Oktoberfest

In MUAS there is two types of courses: regular once every week classes and so called block courses which can take place for one weekend or two days or for more ETCS’s a week. This makes the course planning and scheduling quite challenging because usually the teachers don’t approve if you miss classes. But I fortunately managed to take all of the courses I needed.

Germany and Munich offers a lot of freetime activities inside the city but also in the near by areas. One of my favourite place in Munich is the English Garden where you can also surf in artificial waves! In the summertime there’s many beergartens everywhere. Before our brake in December we rented a van and drove to the Alps to ski with other exhange students!

English Garden

Compared to Finland, studying in MUAS is a bit more intensive since most of the teachers and professors are very strict with attendance. Ofcourse every course is different and it’s understandable that you cant miss a day from a two-day course. I experienced that I had enough freetime during my studies even some courses were more demanding.  Most of my courses were very dynamic and the teaching style was conversational which was nice.

Austrian Alps