Monthly Archives: April 2020

Filming Sea Turtles in Guatemala

I spent 3 months in Guatemala (Oct-Dec) filming the research and conservation activities for sea turtles. It was part of a fine art studies internship, and I spent most of it in a rural area by the Pacific Coast, about 20 metres from the water. I also helped the researchers there quite a bit, as help was needed. Work there was hard and time-consuming, but purposeful. I had complete freedom to do things my own way, but I always had to consider that I wasn’t there for my own gain, but for helping others. I liked that very much.

During November not many turtles hatched, so I had more free time to travel within the country. I got to hike a volcano and spend the night camping and watching a neighboring volcano erupting every 5-15 minutes. I got to kayak in a large lake among volcanoes. I got to hike in the jungles and on warm, month-old lava, visit Mayan ruins, experience the Day of the Dead and eat all the avocado and pineapple I ever wanted (and get all the mosquitoes bites I never wanted).

 

People here are very chill when it comes to work. Sometimes too chill, as scheduling tends to be overly flexible most of the time. With that said, people do get the job done, just without much stress. Most of my work with others was helping them, as my work was something only I could do.

Overall, it was a great time and I am glad I got to experience it!

Des moments inoubliables à Bordeaux!

I spent my exchange studies in France, in Bordeaux for this spring. It is a typical French city, the wine capital city of the world and it is like a small Paris. I loved it! All the people are so friendly, buildings are beautiful and Garonne river flows through the city. It is located in the Southwest of France, near to Spain and Atlantic Ocean. The city is perfect size, you can walk almost everywhere or jump into the tram so easily. It is a perfect city for the students.

I studied in a private business school, BBA INSEEC, and I chose the IBM 1 program which consists of three-week modules and it is in English. Studying was pretty much the same kind of as we have at TAMK, including group work and oral presentations. I studied personal development, cross cultural understanding, marketing and leadership modules as well as French for foreigners. The group size was small and it consisted mainly of exchange students. I liked that a lot because when we all were in the same new situation, I got a lot of new friends! The school helped me to find an accommodation too. They had a website in collaboration with “Studapart” and I rent a room from the comfort, renovated flat with roommates.

The weather felt so warm already and Bordeaux really showed its best sides on warm sunny days. I spent my free time with my new friends. We often went to drink coffee, sightseeing, shopping to the Rue Sainte-Catherine shopping street, do a picnic to the garden or for example bowling. I loved the French food: macarons, baguettes, croissants, crêpes and cheese, they were so delicious! We made the trips to Toulouse and near to the Pyrenees, to the city of Lourdes.

I really enjoyed the time I spent over there even thought it was a shorter period because of the coronavirus pandemic. The best things about the exchange studies are that you meet a lot of new people, you can strength your language skills and get courage, as well as see a lot of new beautiful and interesting places alongside studies. It was an unforgettable experience!

Memorable but unhappy spring semester in Porto

I started my journey in Porto in the beginning of February. I loved city of Porto at the first sight. City was super pretty, and the size was just perfect to walk around. All the people I met were super kind and helpful.

I did my studies in ISCAP, which ended up being really nice school for foreign students, as there were a lot of exchange students and also a lot of organized events for us.

I study business administration and ISCAP was good school for business students. The whole master’s degree was in English, which is nice for the international students. Even though we do bachelor’s degrees, ISCAP offers the master courses for the exchange students also. Some of them are quite hard, but some of them can be compared to lectures in TAMK.

Lectures were similar than in TAMK. Some of them were really difficult as the teaching was also in English of course, and in Finland we have been used to study in Finnish and the vocabulary is new. Some of the courses were really practical and had a lot of group works. One thing I found out that was really different there, was that students were not allowed to question the teacher. While in Finland the teachers want students to question them.

I spent my spare time with my new friends I got to know there. I really loved the city of Porto. We loved to go to see the sunset and enjoy picnics with some wine and baguette.

 

We travelled together to Lisbon and one smaller city called Aveiro. One of the best things in exchange is to get to travel around. That was one of the reasons I selected Porto, because I wanted to be able to travel around and also enjoy the ocean. Actually, I just had time to go to Madrid also right before corona exploded. Coronavirus certainly interrupted my Erasmus exchange which was stupid and sad. That means that I needed to quit my exchange period in Porto after 1,5 months. 🙁 But I will go back for sure 🙂

Unforgettable Scotland

I began the first half of my 3rd study year in Scotland, at Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU). Getting settled there was easy as I was able to receive a room in Caledonian Court, right across the street from the university itself. The location was great, right next to GCU and the city center which meant I was walking distance from everything I needed. I had a little over one week to get my bearings before the modules (courses) began, during which we had the Welcome Week and many fun activities.

The biggest surprise for me, nature wise, was the lack of parks and green areas near the city. To get to a park you had to walk for at least half an hour, and they were very well maintained compared to the raggedy forests I’m accustomed to in Finland. I’m used to having a forest only a few minutes’ walk away from home in Finland. It took some time to get used to the lack of forests or parks nearby, as I like to go for walks in the forest to de-stress and spend time.

About my studies in GCU

Compared with Finland the study culture is very different in Scotland. In TAMK I am used to mainly group work but in Scotland the emphasis was on independent work, meaning a lot of studying at home and doing all assignments individually. The focus was on theoretical learning without much practical application of knowledge.

In TAMK I am used to having smaller assignments due every now and then, but at GCU the way the assignments were spread out through the semester was very different; there were typically only one or two really big assignments for each module, and many were due at the end of the semester. Two of my modules had exams in January but I was (luckily) able to do both of them in Finland.

In total I did three modules during my stay in Glasgow, each worth 10 ECTS. I had lessons 3 days a week which left me with a lot of spare time to cook, go to the gym (located on the university campus), visit museums and landmarks in Glasgow and go on trips to see the country.

Spare time

Scotland is, without a doubt, one of the most beautiful countries I have ever visited. The mountains were enormous, and in the autumn they were covered in dead ferns that coloured the mountain sides in a deep hazel. The most beautiful place I visited was Isle of Skye where small white houses dotted the countryside. It was probably the windiest place I have ever been to! Overall, the weather wasn’t as poor as I thought it would be, so I wasn’t as bothered by it when it was windy or rainy.

I spent a lot of my spare time with my 7 flatmates who were all exchange students like myself. We went on many day trips together; some were guided tours and others we organised ourselves. Those trips were what made my exchange in Scotland truly memorable. Some trips we organised with my flatmates were visiting Pollock Country Park to see the highland cows, visiting Edinburgh (only an hour bus ride away from Glasgow) and going to the Enchanted Forest. We also climbed Goat Fell Mountain which was one of the best days of my life!

I loved my exchange in Scotland, the friends I made, the unforgettable memories and I can’t wait to go back to there!

Hamburg, meine perle!

I have now spent 6 months in the beautiful city of Hamburg in the north of Germany. And i would not give any single one of them away. My studies are going amazingly even though first half of them were completely in German (which I wasn’t prepared for). but luckily professors and other students are able and willing to cooperate with me! Most fun so far in a class I’ve had with Fahrzeug design course where we got to design our own car. There are some pictures below!

My free time i have been spending with friends and sports. There is so much to do in Hamburg that even if you tried you could not get everything done in a year! I also joined a local ice hockey club which has now taken a lot of my time. We are playing on the third highest level in Germany and the atmosphere is unbelievable in the games!

The working culture here in Germany is a bit more demanding than the one I’m used to in Finland. So it took a bit time to get used to it, but now I’m fully integrated and enjoying myself!