All posts by Vilma Korhonen

Greetings from Kuala Lumpur

Time has just flied past really quickly here in Kuala Lumpur. We only have a few weeks of classes left, and after that we will have our exams. Even though this autumn has been pretty amazing, I’m actually looking forward on getting back home to Finland.Taylor’s University

The school system here is quite different than in Finland. In TAMK you will get a lot of credits from one course, but here the courses are divided to smaller units which means more exams. The local students are younger than in Finland, and you can see this for example in their behaviour, but also in the responsibility for their studies. It feels like the students are not responsible for their learning and the teachers and parents are the ones who are in charge of everything. For me this has been a challenge, because I’m used to being independent and being the only one who has the responsibility for my studies.

In Finland it feels easy to reach a teacher. They seem to be on the same “level” as you, but here In Taylor’s University you can really feel the ascendancy between students and teachers. You never call the teachers by their first name. Using Mrs. or Mr. when talking to them is almost always mandatory. It has not been once, twice or even three times during this semester when the teacher never showed up for the class, and without any notice for the students. The local students are used to this, but for me it felt kind of rude. If the teacher don’t show up in 30 minutes, the students usually give up and leave the class.

On the first orientation day we had a health check and we weren’t informed about it at all. They took blood samples, x-rays etc. but no one knew why and what they are would do with all the information of us. In total the health check with all the waiting took more than nine hours. This tells something about Malaysians way of handle things: nothing is done the easiest way. For example, I wanted to drop out from a course, and in total the process took over a month. I had to fill up several papers, run around the school and get signatures and also get an official confirmation from TAMK.

Luckily, we have a lot of free time, so we don’t have to be annoyed at school more than a few hours a week. We had to submit our passports on the first week because of the visa process, and during the five first weeks we only travelled within Malaysia: we saw the cool art street city Penang, “Asia’s little Venice” Melaka, Langkawi island and the paradise island Perhentian.The Perhentian Islands

Our campus is located around 15km from the city center, and since we are living on the campus there are not much to do on the free time. Some people spend time at a huge mall which is located close to the university and there they might do groceries or have dinner. You can’t walk ANYWHERE since there are no sideways (expect from our apartment to uni) and you have to take a Grab (Asia’s Uber.) Luckily, it’s really cheap, but sometimes this campus area feels like a prison because you just can’t walk anywhere. Of course, sometimes we take a Grab to the city center, and there you can spend a lot of time. Walking around the countless skyscrapers and trying different dishes from all over the world is really nice.

When we finally got our passports back, all the travelling started. The first destination was a weekend trip to Krabi in Thailand. After that I was travelling for almost three weeks nonstop. We didn’t really have any weeks of from school, but we made a “Leave of Absence” application for one week. There were also several public holidays which made this possible. We went to Cambodia, Malaysian Borneo, Brunei and Bali. I hope I will have time to spend a weekend in Singapore before we have to submit our passports to school again.

As said, this time in Asia has been great and I’m really happy I’ve had the possibility to travel and experience different Asian cultures. I’m glad that we still have some time left here in Kuala Lumpur, but at the same time I can’t wait to get back to Finland for Christmas.

Hallo aus Wien!

Two months has now passed since I arrived to the beautiful capital city of Austria, Vienna. I’ve enjoyed my stay here and even though I still have two months left, I’m getting anxious when I’m thinking that I need to come back to Finland. There is so much to see, discover and do in this old historical city, the weather has (most of the time) been amazing, the people I’ve got to know are awesome and life in general is just really nice.

 Ice skating at Rathausplatz.

The studies are not the first thing to come up to my mind when thinking how I’ve been spending my time here. I’m only doing 22 credits in Vienna, and this means I need to go to school only once or twice a week. I study at FHWien der WKW and the school is mainly focused on management and communication. At TAMK I’m studying hospitality management, but here I’m having courses in international marketing, social media, eMarketing etc. All of my courses are only with other Erasmus students, so I haven’t had the chance to get to know local people. The lectures and study methods are quite the same as in Finland: the teacher lectures about a subject and we do group work and have presentations (which I don’t like.) A few times we’ve had quizzes of the subject that we studied in the last class, and the winner usually gets something sweet to eat as a price. Sometimes the classes are at a weird time, for example one course took place in the evening and ended after 10 PM. Another thing that differs from TAMK is that the schedule changes almost every week.

In my spare time I usually travel, because it’s really cheap and easy here. We’ve travelled to Hallstatt (picture with the church), Bratislava, Cracow, Prague and Budapest and I still have trips to Italy (Rome, Pisa, Florence and Venice), Salzburg, Graz, Munich and maybe some other country in Southern Europe. We also like to go and spend time in some of the cozy cafes in Vienna. When it’s warm we usually hang out in a park or around the Danube river.

     

I never got a culture shock, but there’s few things that I’m still not used to in Vienna and Austria. First of all the public transport works perfectly here. The public transport ticket for the whole semester was only 75 euros and the trains, subways, buses and trams are ALWAYS on time. Another thing that is quite annoying is that grocery stores closes at 8 PM and they are not open on Sundays.

Can’t wait to see what the next two months will look like!