Greetings from Portsmouth!
I did my exchange in Portsmouth, England, which is located on the south coast of England, and as you can see from the picture it wasn’t all cloudy and rainy all the time. At the moment I’am already back in not so sunny Tampere, but my exchange went well. The studies were nice and interesting and Portsmouth really is a student town as the population there is around 200 000 with about 20 000 of them students. I had two supply chain courses and one finance and accounting course. The courses where structured nicely as all of the lesson involved a theoretical part which was then followed by a practical part. It made the learning easier. The only minus was that the courses I had chosen happened to have all of their assignments in January, so I had a pretty busy couple of weeks.
I did, of course, still have a good amount of spare time. Portsmouth is a very small town, so there isn’t much to see there after the first few weeks. Luckily, there is a lot to see around the UK and for example London is only about an hour away by train. By the way, if you want get cheap train tickets in the UK, you should book them well in advance. I also visited London for a couple of days and I have to say, It never lets you down! I also went to Southampton, which is also about an hour away and has way better shopping opportunities than Portsmouth. I also took a bus to Manchester, which was a bit of a mistake, but as the train tickets get massive expensive when you travel a longer distance, I had no choice. And now I have experienced the standstill traffic on M6. It was a nice 9-hour trip on the buses. A place you must visit when in Portsmouth, is the Isle of Wight. It is an hour ferry ride away from Portsmouth and the landscape there is just breathtaking. We also went to Pompey FC’s football match, which was quite something. And yes, Portsmouth is called Pompey for some reason.
The studies were quite different from Finland or at least from Tamk. Because it is an actual university, the focus was on the academic side all the time. I have now become a master at referencing as that seemed to be the main focus. In your essays you can’t even say that the earth is round without having an appropriate reference for it. The rules were also stricter and attendance was always compulsory and it was monitored with your student card that you had to scan always before a lecture. If you were sick, you had to get a note from a doctor, otherwise it was a forbidden absence. Reports and essays also have s strict word limit and if you go above that just by 1 word, you get 10% taken off from your mark. How crazy is that! But all in all, the exchange was a nice experience and it also made me appreciate Finland more. The student accommodation there was absolutely awful with mold, small rooms and sky-high rents so it is really nice to have Toas and cheap and comfortable apartments. School is also nicer in Finland as you don’t have to worry about all these different kind of penalties if you go above a word limit or return the assignment a minute late.