Monthly Archives: February 2019

Sawadee khrap!

Greetings from Thailand!

What a journey this has been! Before I left to Thailand I was pretty nervous because I didn’t know much about how my exchange is going to be but now I have to be honest and say that I was very lucky to get here! Even thought all of the planned courses was not available the courses which I took turned out to be excellent for me. Studying here is more intensive than in Finland. Local students start in the morning at the uni and after school they might continue studying at the library. This is usual before exams when many students sleep at the library! Never seen this before.  But after all level of education is great and professors are professional!

During spare time we have traveled a lot with my roommate. It is very easy and cheap in south-east Asia so we have visited in almost all neighbour countries and after our midterm exams we went to Korea and Japan. In Korea we met other exchange students from TAMK and we had group of almost 10 Finns there! We had a ball during that time. We also had field trip to Kanchanaburi with my classmates and it was very nice. We planted trees to the jungle and we built a little dam there. In the evening we had party. I would like to see this kind of charity trips in Finland too

As I said the studying culture in Ton for that. It is not usual to re-take exams so you have to pass with first attempt. You really don’t want to waste your tuition fees for F grades. It is a good motivator but sometimes studying takes big part of your day.

-Kim

Buenos días!

Greetings from Costa del Sol!

 

 

 

 

 

I was doing my internship for my studies in Business Information Systems in Benalmadena, around 10 kilometers south from Malaga. The weather was nice – raining twice or so during my stay. It was warm although cold of the night caught me by surprise. Not because of the temperature but because the apartment I had rent had no proper heating for the season. Something I was mistakenly expecting due to our Finnish heating  system.

Okay, that’s enough of the weather. Let’s move on to my work. To put it simply, I was working at a organization consisting of voluntary workers. The organization and the members of it are all Finnish old people who have retired and either live permanently in Spain or are just visiting for few months.

So, my basic work day usually consists of helping the members of the organization and updating social media with current events. There are two days when the office is open and at those times people come to me asking for help with their devices. The open hours are very tight so I made reservations for home visits. I liked the fact that I got to travel around the city while on the job and talk to colorful personalities and see how they lived there.

On my free time I walked around the city. On the weekends I would plan ahead a destination and make a longer trip there. There are tons of places to see like Castillo Monumento Colomares and bull arenas and parks. My highlight was definitely climbing the nearby mountain,  Calamorro. I did it exceptionally after my work. I did some calculations and came into conclusion that I can get up there and back before it gets dark. Oh how ignorant I was…

I also visited Málaga on my last week with my buddy. There was a castle up the hill so of course I had to climb that too.

 

I didn’t get to experience all the things in Málaga area but overall I am satisfied. There is still room for another eventful visit.

Till then… Adiós!

 

Lauri

Baile Átha Cliath

I arrived in Dublin to start my Erasmus journey in january. Dublin is Ireland’s capital city, located in the east coast with population over half million and over a million in the area of Greater Dublin. City is full of history, culture, pubs, shops and restaurants. You can enjoy street music when you’re shopping or go to pub in the evening to enjoy live music and food. You can take a bus, LUAS or Dart to move around Dublin. Irish people are kind and friendly. There are lots of historical buildings, museums and activities to see and do.

I’m in clinical placement for most of my erasmus time. Morning shift starts later and breaks are half longer than in Finland. I spend every week in a different modality so I got to see lots of things and ways of working. I think Irish people are more laidback what comes to working life. Finnish healthcare system, structure and equipments are more advanced than Irish. There are many things Ireland should learn from Finnish ways of doing things. In Ireland, studying radiography takes 4 years and radiotherapy is 4 years too. Irish radiographers seem to study more image reading but I wouldn’t say they’re superior to finnish radiographers. Finnish way of doing things, especially in healthcare is more strict. In Ireland, radiographers wear jewelleries and use strong perfumes, image quality is not as good and phone usage during shift is not a weird thing to do. Radiographers role has some differences between these two countries in some modalities but basic principles are the same.

I spend my spare time exploring the city and Ireland. Dublin has so many things to see and do! Museums, cafes, pubs, restaurants, parks, shops, historical sights, monuments… Ireland is a small island which makes seeing places around Ireland easy. Buses and trains are not that expensive. Tourist bus tours are convenient for a day trip to see places that are hard to get via public transportation. During my time in Ireland, I got to know Dublin and Ireland’s history as much as I could. I also visited Northern-Ireland (Belfast, Giant’s Causeway and Carrick-a-Rede-rope bridge). I visited west coast (Galway, Wild Atlantic Way, Cliffs of Moher) and other places like Kilkenny, Cork, Wicklow mountains. I have gone hiking for some really beautiful places, visited fishing towns, experienced Irish music and dancing and cheered for local sport teams in a hurling match.

Mind the keyframes

I did my practical training with Squeezed Media in London, UK. They are an animation and video production company in central London, with a diverse client base featuring several well-known international brands, some of which I also got to work with.

An illustration of mine in the office kitchen

The five months went incredibly fast and the experience was more than valuable. I helped animating 2D explainers, created some animation assets for use in projects, made small animations for the company’s social media, carved a pumpkin, and studied new softwares in the spare time. With a solid knowledge of animation already, I dived deeper into the world of motion design and learned to apply animation principles in motion graphics work. To sum up the time with Squeezed Media it was only fitting to make a small animation:

Moreover, I got to see how a well functioning creative company works in the UK and noticed some cultural differences too. “Friday beers” is a very common thing on the island which feels a bit strange to a Finn. I learned some new English phrases too. For example, the correct answer to ‘thank you’ is “that’s all right”. Very rarely does one hear ‘you’re welcome’ like they taught in school.

A strange concept to a Finn, having to travel for an hour to see a forest. Picture from Epping Forest.

The UK has some other interesting features too from a foreigner’s perspective, and especially London is overwhelming to someone coming from a small town. As the center of the world – at least historically – it’s incredibly diverse. British cuisine may not be the most famous aside from their fish and chips and I believe they might not even realize it themselves but avocado has totally taken over the island as a work of mine demonstrates:

Traffic in the UK is very smooth and easy. One only has to know from which platform the train departs (it’s usually not announced in advance), some buses have a special smart card to pay for the journey, in some one can pay by debit/credit card, some take cash only, some have change and some only accept exact fares – simple. Of course they drive on the wrong side, but to make that easier there are signs on the road telling pedestrians which way to look.

All in all, Squeezed Media gave me a strong professional skillset and experience for the UK market, and as a result I will keep minding the gap and exploring the island further.

Above a small animation I made for World Kindness Day.

Saluti da Roma!

Greetings from ancient city! This metropolitan is a must see and probably that’s why it´s also one of the most important tourist centers. Among the most famous monuments are the Colosseum, Pantheon, Forum Romanum and the fountain of Trevi. Here you can also find the tiny Vatican state that has amazing museums. Living here is an every-day cultural experience. You can find here nearly 3,000 years of globally influential art, architecture and culture in almost every corner of the street. 2.8 million residents added to all the visiting tourists around the world makes this city very lively and pulsating.

 

First Sundays of the month are the best! It’s great that in this big, touristic city you have the opportunity to visit museums once a month for free. It´s a big deal for a student living on a student budget. This city is one of the world’s most culturally rich sight. For me, Rome is one of the most beautiful cities in the world and is due to historical sites. These sights are a source of inspiration for me. Besides my studies, this was the most important thing when deciding to apply to Rome for studies.

  

I study here composing at Conservatorio di musica Santa Cecilia. More accurately my major is film scoring. In Finland, there is no possibility to study film scoring so that was mostly the reason why I applied to this school.

The range of courses offered by the school is wide, which gives for exchange students plenty of opportunities. But the problem with this school and, to say the least, the Italian schools is the logistics in organizing the courses. Here, many courses might overlap, so you should have many B-plans for different courses. But you also might find some interesting courses that are not in the studying plans. Course lectures last almost every time four hours (at least in composing), so prepare your butt muscles ready for sitting long periods!

   

I like the thing that every composing student no matter which department he/she is in, can make various studies and expand their knowledge in music.

   

I spend a lot of time composing but in my spare time I enjoy walking around the city. Every time you can find new areas and streets full of wonderful things and enjoyable meals. Traveling around Italy is also very easy and quite cheap. There are plenty of bus companies that take you to new cities even with less than 10 euros. Visit Pisa, Firenze, Venezia, Napoli, Bologna…. it´s easy and very affordable. You could get an airplane round-trip ticket to Palermo for under 40euros! Mamma mia!

Go and explore! Have fun and eat a good pizza! Ci vediamo!!!

      

Life in Porto & Portugal

Want to do your exchange in an affordable, warm and idyllic location? Porto, Portugal might be the right choice for you! Even though the winter months might be quite rainy and a bit chilly, there is plenty of sunshine and warm weather well until November.  Budget won’t be an issue either as a nice lunch will cost you only 5 euros in the center and 3€ if you use the services of ISCAP, the university.

I was surprised about the level of English, it is rather good in Portugal and the classes at ISCAP were actually held in English. The classes were quite similar to the ones in TAMK: there’s group work, some lectures and tests. There were two major differences: some classes were held even in the evening and students could choose between final or continuous assessment. In final assessment participation was not mandatory and there would be one final exam in January per course. Continuous assessment meant that 75% of the classes should be attended and there would be lighter tasks such as a group project and mini tests delivered throughout the course until Christmas. Like most, I chose the latter option.

I lived in a shared apartment with 11 other exchange students. I think for exchange, it is a good option as it forces you to make friendships, learn about different cultures and get involved more easily to free time activities.

Going with flatmates to Miramar, a beautiful beach nearby Porto.

Portugal is a more collectivist country compared to an Individualistic one of Finland. Yes, TAMK and Tampere has plenty of student activities to offer but I felt in Portugal people see them more as “we” rather than “I”. A great way to get involved in the local culture is by joining a sports group in the university. It was a nice experience to be part of the university team. In addition to practices and games, the collectivism can be noticed by for example pre-game lunches where all teammates are expected to participate before the battle.

 ISCAP’s futsal team

If you really want to learn Portuguese, you should get involved in activities with the locals. As my studies were in English, I really needed to have some other places where I could maintain my Portuguese skills I’ve acquired from my high school exchange to Brazil. Not only did I play games with the ISCAP team but I also was welcome to be a part of a private futsal club, Sporting Clube de Silvalde. There I had to deal with the European Portuguese, learn new types of practices and some habits from the locals. It was a nice custom entering the locker room as teammates greeted every single person by handshakes. This is once again a difference between the Portuguese and Finns. Nothing wrong with the Finnish ways but it was nice to experience a more open and collectivist culture also.

 Sporting Clube de Silvalde, futsal team.

In conclusion, exchange is mainly what you make of it. There are many possibilities to join student activities, make friendships with locals and even focus on studies if that is what you want. I had a nice experience on exchange, I hope you as well reading this blog post.

Petri

 

Servus!

Wels, such a tiny and traditional city in northern Austria where I decided to spend my exchange semester. The city with its all train connections wasn’t a bad idea at all!

I am studying in Engineering Wels campus of University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria. Studying here is not so different and teachers use the same methods. The campus itself is very nice and there has been spent many late hours especially in January. Campus food is more expensive (4-6 euros) so eating in dorm or making own food are more common options among exchange students.

                                                                                     Wels

Concerning to organized things any problems didn’t occur, and all things went like they were planned! Courses I chose were interesting but very quickly I noticed they were challenging for me. Let’s see later how I did!

It’s fun to think about differences afterwards so here I have a list with things I noticed to be a little different comparing to studies in TAMK:

  • Students are almost always in class before the scheduled time and some teachers close the door before classes are planned to start. Going to class after that is more eye-catching.
  • Sometimes during lectures students really throw the comments and answer if teacher is asking something
  • You schedule will be different every week
  • One thing you get also familiar with: very late lectures
  • Lot of questions and little time!

Now when we come to the more interesting part I can say travelling is very easy from Wels to everywhere and during the first month I came familiar with many beautiful places. Views here are something amazing! Also, exploring in Wels during the sunny days was so nice. My exchange wasn’t only travelling from place A to place B or studying. Good restaurants and cafes are locating in Wels for spending spare time with other exchange students. I can name at least three places that I am going to miss: Urbann Café, restaurants Lili Asia (very cheap and delicious) and Indiya, and Bar Stadtbeisl Wels (one place for karaoke nights).

                                                                           Eisriesenwelt

                                                                                 Hallstatt

Mit freundlichen Grüßen,

Riina

From Narnia with Love

Now, the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about Slovenia is usually Slovakia. Unfortunately they have nothing else common than almost the same name and almost the same flag. The similarities usually end there, and diversity begins. And Slovenia should be your next destination for a short vacation!

Think of a country which has old culture starting from roman era, beautiful small towns, huge mighty mountains and beautiful mediterranean coast with old towns. Picture caves deep enough to ride a train inside and a ice cold blue mountain river that stays freezing cold during the hottest months of the year. Now picture everything I said, and put it to a size of a country that you can drive through in 3 hours. That is Slovenia, and it is much more than that. And it’s fairytale looks have been captured in the Narnia movie series.

 

I chose Slovenian coast as my destination, since it was a chance to enjoy a mediterranean lifestyle, with the possibilities to go to mountains and bigger cities with little commute. The possibilities to experience all of this was relatively easy since travel times were short, and prices affordable.

My destination town, Portoroz, is a small resort tourist town in the 44km long coast of Slovenia. Located just 5 kilometers from Croatian border, and 15km from Italian border. It is buzzing with tourists during the summer, but silent during the winter. My exchange period is the whole academic year that started from late October, and ends in the hottest month of the year, July.

TAMK hospitality management only could offer Restaurant management, so my interests to study tourism had to come from a another school, and the best place to study was a tourist town with school for this specific study line. I packed my bags, and joined the Erasmus flow and moved to the sunny coast of Slovenia.

Now studying compared to Finland is different. Much less group work, more writing, academic essays and a test season that requires a lot of reading. Methods are more university style than applied sciences, so people who are afraid of writing 15 page essays regularly, should try to research their places of study if this is too hard. I actually welcomed the change and challenge since I needed training for my upcoming thesis work. In the end, it was an rewarding experience.

People here are hardworking, precise, but have a relaxed Balkan attitude towards rules of society. Bureaucracy is a a nightmare, and just a opening of a bank account may require you to visit multiple times to the bank and dealing with clerks that do not speak english at all. But do not let these facts let you down, since your tutors will help you with everything!

Schedules are quite relaxed, and there is plenty of time to plan your life around studies. Travels, excursions and trips are possible. Venice, alps, Croatia and even Hungary are so nearby that you could experience all of these in short time.

I have skied in alps, hiking in the mountains, swam the in the ocean, seen Vienna, and been to Italy and explored olive gardens and vineyards. Tasted the local wine and olives, and explored the coastal towns with great food and cheap alcohol.

Portoroz

The coastal area and Ljubljana, capital of Slovenia, are especially expensive to accommodate, so prices can get up to Finnish prices in terms of rent, but life is relatively cheaper otherwise. Student services offer discounts to certain restaurants with student menus, and you can enjoy a nice dinner with less expenses. Eating out is quite the norm and worth trying out!

The mediterranen coast is a weird place in Slovenia, since it really feels like another country than rest of the Slovenia. There is so much variety in just 200km drive from the alps to the coast. Your journey may start from snow and blizzard of Julian Alps, and end up in the sunny palm tree filled Slovenian coast with plus 10 degrees. It is crazy!

The view from my balcony

So, if you want to see the hidden gem of Europe, come to Slovenia and experience it yourself, you will find out that jumping into the unknown can be very rewarding and you will meet people that are friendly and in love with their country’s beautiful scenery.

Ciao!

 

My Porto

I chose to apply for exchange in Portugal mainly for two reasons. First, I wanted to do the exchange together with my boyfriend and we needed to find a destination where they accepted more than one student from TAMK. Second, we wanted to live in somewhere a bit warmer and relaxed than Finland and escape from the grey and dark autumn months of Finland. So, when we found out about the city of Porto in Portugal we were sold.

Studies at ISCAP the accounting and business school of Politecnico do Porto

My exchange experience at ISCAP didn’t begin quite as well as I had hoped for. Already on the first orientation day we were told that the exchange would be one and a half months shorter than we were told before arriving. This was a disappointment for many and also messed up a many exchange students Erasmus grants. Later, during the orientation week we were informed that some of the ECT’s of the courses were actually lower than what had been written on ISCAP’s websites. So again, many of us exchange students were in trouble, because suddenly we didn’t have enough credits. But as the exchange went on I came to learn that this was very normal in Portugal. Anything was never clear and straight forward and as the Portuguese say you should just relax and take it easy.

Otherwise studies at ISCAP were ok and I would say that the level of teaching and tasks were pretty much the same as in TAMK. However, what did disappoint me was that most of the courses I had were like basic level courses even though the when I was making the course decisions the descriptions had suggested the courses were more advanced.

At ISCAP students have the possibility to choose either continuous assessment method or final assessment method for the courses. In continuous assessment students have obligatory participation on the lectures and essays and group works that they have to do during the course. In final assessment students don’t have to participate on the lectures at all and they only have one big final exam at the end of the period.  I had courses with both methods and this way only had to go two times a week to the campus.

Free time at Porto and Portugal

I started my Portugal experience with a road trip together with my boyfriend. We flew to the southern end of Portugal to Faro and rented a car from there. We spent two weeks driving along the coast up to Porto. In my opinion there couldn’t have been any better way to start the exchange.

During the exchange we also made quite many trips both in Portugal and abroad. Quite early on we made another road trip with a group of friends to the north of Spain to Vigo. A bit later we went on a one-day-trip with a company called Student Travels to see the Douro valley and its vineyards. In November we flew to Malta (with super cheap flights) and spent four days there. Just before Christmas we visited the town of Guimaraes which is said to be the birth place of Portugal. And the last four days in Portugal we spent in Madeira (highly recommended).

In Porto there is also a lot to do as long as you love partying. If you don’t (as I don’t), then you might feel a bit left out from the exchange groups and it might be hard to find other activities. Luckily there are a lot of great restaurants in Porto offering food form all over the world. Downside to this is that most of my money went to the restaurants even though they are a lot cheaper than in Finland.

Summary

When choosing Portugal as your exchange destination be aware that things don’t usually go as planned and that the culture is actually very different from Finland. For me since I guess I am a bit of control freak living in Portugal was very hard from time to time. However, travelling around Portugal and the destinations near it is amazing.