All posts by Essi Sirén

Greetings from South America

I am doing my exchange semester in Montevideo, Uruguay. The partner University here is a private University ORT. The campus Pocitos is quite small and compact where they have all the business-related studies. The classes are always either in the morning or in the evening, since most of the local students are working during the day. Last classes can last until 10.30pm which was first a bit of a shock for me but now it’s obvious. The exchange students have some courses which can also be in the afternoon. The work load really depends of the professor how much do they require from you. Some of them are quite relaxed and really support us with travelling once we are here. The exchange students are not required to for example do an obligatory work, but only the final exam. In some of the courses I have had to do a presentation or parcial, midterm exam. Otherwise the studying is based mostly on lectures which differ a lot from the teaching style in TAMK where we have had a lot of group works. First, I was unsure about studying in Spanish, but it became easier after a month I would say. I encourage everyone just doing it if you are at all unsure! It will all become easier after a while when you are forced to hear and use it in daily basis.

This was my first time travelling to South America. I did not have that much of expectations on Uruguay but it is not what I thought about South America, thinking of for example Peru or Chile. Montevideo is more European and advanced in that sense. I first lived with a local lady but quite fast moved to an apartment with three other exchange students. What surprised me really, was that how expensive the living expenses food were. For this, it’s good to buy all fruits and vegetables in the ferias organized in various barrios every week.

During my free time, I did some sports at the rambla, sort of a beach boulevard going through all the cost of Montevideo and mainly hanged out with friends. There is a student organization called MIS which is organizing all different happenings, parties and even trips to the neighbor countries. I travelled with them to Buenos Aires and Iguazu waterfalls where the bus trip lasted for 24 hours but totally worth it! Then I also travelled to Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, did a jeep safari in Bolivia and continued to Chile. We did a couple of road trips with my friends to see more of Uruguay as well. The flights inside South America are not that cheap, so be prepared to pay a bit more for your travels here.

The lifestyle is super tranquil. Having an asado, sorth of bbq, with friends or just chilling at the rambla sharing mate. Even if the lifestyle is chilled, though you must respect the deadlines given by the Uni, those are still strict. For accommodation, I would recommend looking for a residence or do as I, move in with your friends. Also, it is always windy in Montevideo and the weather took me by surprise. Indeed it was always unpredictable and more cold as I imagined and rained quite frequently for the two first months as well.