I’ studying technical architecture in the Polytechnic University of Valencia for the Spring Semester of 2018.
I have four courses in total; two are taught in Spanish, one in English and the fourth is a Spanish language course. I was in the building engineering faculty, but I also took one project course from the architecture faculty. In the beginning I was a little bit nervous taking the two courses in Spanish, as it was a little bit difficult for me to follow the lessons, but as time went by I gradually started understanding the teachers more and more and by now I have very little problems understanding the lessons. Studying in Spanish has definately helped me with my Spanish comprehension!
I wanted to come to Spain to improve my Spanish skills; I have studied Spanish on and off for about 5 years now and my goal was to become fluent in Spanish. I haven’t become fluent – I think half a year is not enough to become fluent, for that, I think one year study exchange would have done the trick!
Studying in UPV has been a good experience overall. In the beginning I was surprised at how some things are organised (for example there are printing shops, where you give an employee your usb stick and they print it for you, instead of you being able to print things yourself – when we had to hand in a final project I had to wait two hours in line so that they could print four A1s!) but in order not to stress yourself you just have to accept how things are done differently in different countries. Also, a lot of the teachers wanted us to draw things by hand and also show the methodology we used in taking measurements, particularly in the restoration course.
During my free time I spend it mostly with my friends, at the beach, in cafes in the centre or doing Erasmus activities; there are a lot of Erasmus organisations that organize activities such as trips to different cities (I’ve been to Toledo and Xativa – amazing little towns!) and different events, like hiking or colour festivals.
I also organised my own trips to Barcelona in February, and to Andalucia and the Basque country during Easter break (one of the perks of studying in Spain is that you have a nearly two week Easter holiday!)
But most definately the best part of my exchange studies was meeting lovely people and making so many new friends, who I will hopefully remain friends with forever!
So if you are a technical architecture student, would I recommend UPV for you? Yes! You should definately go, but be prepared to learn a little bit of Spanish beforehand and be open minded! There are courses in English, but you would definately get more out of the experience if you also took the Spanish ones. However, even if you do not speak Spanish, you will still be alright and you will have an amazing time!
I was in Mwanza, Tanzania for six months and what an amazing six months it was!
I worked in the Tampere-Mwanza project where I helped primary and secondary schools build and maintain compost pits to make fertilizers to fertilize the crops and trees in the school grounds. As well as giving me more knowledge about composting, the internship allowed me to get familiar with the working and living environment in Tanzania (I’m Tanzanian but grew up in Finland, so I jumped at the opportunity to be in the country for more than a holiday!), as well as meet great new people and make lifelong friends.
Tanzania is a pretty comfortable country to visit in Africa; it’s safe, it’s affordable and most people speak English. It’s also a great place to visit if you like warm weather, good food, nature and beaches!
The experience opened my eyes to all the business opportunities in waste management in Tanzania, and I look forward for more work experience as an environmental engineer there in the future!