Monthly Archives: June 2020

Groetjes uit Nederland

My exchange period is almost over and I think now is good time to tell you something about my studies and the Netherlands. My studies here have been quite intensive and I was well prepared for that. I am studying in The Hague University of Applied Sciences and I participated in course called ‘Smart Manufacturing and Robotics’. The basic idea of this course is to design automation systems for companies, and I would totally recommend this course for somebody who is studying automation or mechanics and is ready to study from 9am to 5pm every day. The course may be a little bit different than what we are used to in Finland and in TAMK. There is more freedom but also a lot of self-studying and hard work. I have really liked this course but because of corona it wasn’t quite same experience what it would be normally.

But for those people who want to have more free time I would say that choose another course. Because free time in the Netherlands goes really quickly. The thing what I liked the most in the Netherlands is the possibility to travel another countries really quickly and easily. Even despite of the Covid-19 I managed to make one week trip to Frankfurt, Zürich and Luxembourg. If you want to stay inside of the borders you will still have plenty to do. The Netherlands is a beautiful country, especially in the springtime. If you want to see beautiful landscapes you should go to watch tulip fields and for those who are more into sports go to watch football, hockey and F1. There is also many museums and historical places.

 

Living in the Netherlands is quite similar to Finland but there is one thing what you must have and that’s a bike. The bike is the king of the transportation although the public transport works also well. Price of the food is quite similar as in Finland and grocery store selections are good. But there is one product which is much cheaper than in Finland and that’s alcohol. For a poor student who likes to taste different beer brands I would say that go to the Netherlands.

 

Trying to go Far, ending up Near

I have less than one month left in my exchange studies to Bielefeld University of Applied Sciences in Germany. What has made this exchange very unique is of course the corona situation which for me meant, that I have been doing my exchange studies online from Finland to Germany. As the summer semester in Germany starts quite late in the spring the corona virus affected to the whole semester from the start. At first, they only postponed the start to April and hoped that things would return to normal, but it wasn’t long that they realized they had to implement the whole semester online.

I was lucky to be able to move to Germany in 8th of March to do my exchange. Unfortunately, I only got to live there for 9 days and decided to come home to follow the ongoing situation.

View of Bielefeld.

Bielefeld is a small city in a scale of German cities but compared to Tampere the population is almost the same. We were about 100 exchange students, but I was the only one from anywhere in the Nordic countries. FH Bielefeld has 3 campuses which include 5 faculties.  They have yearly about 11 000 students studying in those campuses.

 

In my time there I was able to get to know the city a bit and study German for a week. We managed to start our German intensive course but even that was cut short. So, in my spare time I did a lot of walking as the weather was great and warm, but not much more can be done in a week. FH Bielefeld offers a lot of choices to do sports and the semester contribution also includes a semester ticket to the public transport for the whole NRW (North-Rhine Westphalia) which would’ve been great for exploring Germany.

 

School lunch experience

My student housing was amazing. For the price of 320€/month I got a studio apartment which was build in 2019 and had everything you needed. The school offers everyone a spot in student housing, so I didn’t need to stress about my living.

 

FH Bielefeld

All my studies this semester have been implemented online. This situation has been very new to our German professors as well, so the teaching quality has varied a lot between different subjects. Some offer weekly zoom meeting which has been great in my opinion. Some offer lectures that are recorded beforehand and then zoom meetings are just for questions and related info’s. And then there is one who has only given us some pdfs to read and has only contacted us couple times by e-mail. I do prefer the zoom lectures as they keep me motivated and give my weeks a bit of structure. Now they have made the decisions about how to implement exams online as that was a difficult to adapt for Germans as they are very used to the traditional ways of having a paper and pen kind of exams. I will be having exams on most of my courses and they will be subject to 60 minutes written online exam. This will be an interesting experience as even the teachers have never held these kinds of exams, so we have no idea what kind of exams to expect.

Studying to FH Bielefeld, Germany like this has seemed very easy compared to Finland as we have not had any projects, group work or tasks really in any of the courses. I don’t know if that is the norm or is it just because of the online semester. The downside in this is although, that the upcoming exam is going to define the whole grade, which is a bit unnerving. But I hope I will do okay and will accomplish my studies and be credited with a certificate of International Business Manager.

Have a great summer peeps!

Salutations de Lyon!

I went on a study exchange to Lyon with my friend from the same class. On our course (sustainable development in food industries) we have quite similar classes and assignments (lots of teamwork) as in TAMK. Also we get to take part in a case that is given by a real company in France. Course consisted of a class trip in nothern Italy in the end of September. We visited companies such as Parmigiano Reggiano, Lavazza, Granarolo, Parma Ham and Alpina Savoie. We got to spend the nights in a hostel that used to be monastery, which was cool and different.

There are different choices to move from A to B, you can use public transport (bus, trams, metro + even one funicular) and electric scooters or city bikes. Every now and then there’s some manifestations (mostly calm), so some public transport lines might be cut off because of them. In the beginning of December started a strike which affected a lot on public transport.

Lyon is the food capital of France and you can sense those nice vibes especially in old town. Praline pastries are the specialty and you can find all different kinds of versions of it all around the city. One of the big attractions of Lyon is definitely Parc de la Tête d’Or, which is a very big park that includes a lot of different things: open zoo, normal park area, botanical greenhouses, rose garden, several kiosks etc. On Saturdays there were nice outside markets, where you could buy vegetables, fruits, meat, cheese, fried chicken, clothes, flowers.. and mostly cheaper than in stores. Our place (rented apartment from a private landlord) was located right next to Rhône river, which was very splendid and convenient at the same time.

One weekend in November we visited Nice, Cannes and Monaco. We used cheap Flix buses and trains to travel. Nice was my favourite, with the turquise sea water it was breathtakingly beautiful. It also wasn’t really the turist season, so it wasn’t so packed with people.

Studying methods were mostly familiar, as we use a lot of same ones in TAMK. Teachers and students have a different kind of relationship, feels like it’s a little bit more distant in France. Communication between teachers and students is also not as good as I’m used to, but I think the language barrier is the biggest issue in this case. Eating breaks are longer in France, they could be 1,5-2 hours, so with many other exchange students we asked for small possible change in that (after that we started evening classes about 0,5h earlier if it was possible for the teacher).

Au revoir!

Dodgin ‘Rona in Rotterdam

What’s happening, peeps? I hope you’re doing well!

Man oh man if this spring has not been the weirdest, right? 2020 is doing a great job at being a pissy POS that just ruins the fun for everybody. Like seriously, start off with Australia looking like the end of Apocalypse Now, follow up with a global pandemic like it’s nothing, whip up a couple of earthquakes and other natural disasters, and finish it off with a little spice with the whole Kobe incident. Right now the USA is on fire because of the horribly sad and gut-wrenching case of George Floyd, and I’m just here, being 23, and for the first time in my life feeling so overwhelmed by all of this that I feel like like I am, in fact, stuck on a space rock zooming through the universe a million miles an hour without being in any control over of whatever the F will happen next to me, and to all of us.  So here’s to that – ain’t life just the darndest sometimes? But for real, if there is a god I hope they realize to hit the breaks soon enough.

Anyway, we’ve been dodging ‘Rona in Rotterdam for a few months now and I have to say it ain’t half that bad! I’ve had a decent time! I spend most of my days either studying my courses in the international logistics management program I’m involved in, or working out. Seriously, my days are a random combination of trying to be active, studying, eating and being social. But let’s talk about the studies, shall we?

The level of education I get here is intense. Like I have to admit, I was not quite expecting this, even if I had my expectations high. I had heard prior to applying that in the Netherlands you get to actually study and I heard it’s going to be tough and time-consuming. I just thought it can’t be that bad and that it’s probably worth it. And yes it is, both of those things.

The quality of teaching in Hogeschool Rotterdam is crazy good. I feel like I’ve learned the most when I’ve been here. The teachers are very professional and know their fields throughout, and they all seem to have an understanding of pedagogy as well, because their lectures, materials and methods are very effective. Before coming here, I think I wouldn’t have called myself even a SCM familiar, but I have to say that after studying here, the idea of being a specialist in Supply Chain Management seems quite close actually. These people know what they’re doing, especially when it comes to logistics and SCM.

Other than that I mean, I still got a month or so to go and returning to Finland is acute again and uhh…. yeah, I should graduate by the end of the year as well. I got my thesis topic down and I get to start working on that which is nice. So the courses I have here are my final actual studies before graduating and thus closing this chapter of my life. And I am glad that I get to say with pure honesty that I’m happy I chose Rotterdam. I feel confident starting my thesis and taking the next steps on my career. I know I got this in the bag, and I have to say it’s mostly because of my time here. Wish me luck tho!

But that’s about it. I’m sorry don’t have any pictures for you, so here’s one of me and one of my POV while writing this thing:

Be happy!
– Kalle Lahtinen