I have spent my spring as an exchange student in Univeristy of Portsmouth in the United Kingdom. I participated in three courses and those we had to choose from five possible course options. I was not that pleased in the end of the course options since if I were to have gone to Portsmouth in the fall period, I would have had over 20 course options. I found that the courses I chose had similarities to the courses I have had at TAMK even though the courses description didn’t sound similar to TAMK’s courses. Despite the similarities I can say that I learned new information that I can use in working life in the future. The biggest learning points has been adapting into diverse groups and studying how other students from all over the world study and what kind is their education culture.
During the exchange I had school weekly from Monday to Wednesday – so I had a lot of time to travel around the UK and Europe. The courses that I participated into had quite a lot of reports etc. to write so I couldn’t travel every single weekend – but almost every second weekend I spent in Brighton, London or somewhere in Europe. The train ride from Portsmouth to London took less than 2 hours so as London being my favorite city in the world – I travelled there quite often. Brighton is only 1 hour way from Portsmouth and I really loved that city too. We had a 1 month easter break in April where I interrailed for 2 and a half weeks. The interrail trip started from London, then a bullet train to Paris, then a flight to Nice (French railway system was on a strike), then a 40 min train to Monte Carlo, then an overnight train to Rome (and of course I also visited the Vatican City), then a train to Venice, then Bern in Switzerland and then a 12 hour train to the last destination in Amsterdam from where I flew to Finland for the last part of my easter break before returning to Portsmouth. The ultimate best part of the interrail trip was that when I went to the Vatican City and the Pope was there to greet people and I saw him from just a few meters distance.
As for the differences in the ways of teaching and studying at TAMK versus University of Portsmouth i didn’t find that many. The Portsmouth courses were a bit more theoretical but on the other hand I feel like that the course tasks and exams at TAMK have been more difficult than the ones I had at University of Portsmouth. Also the fact that they had over a month of easter break in the middle of the semester was quite strange to me.
- Reetta Pienimäki