All posts by Sanna-Mari Saarimäki

Vienna – Life Around Palaces

Liebe Grüsse aus Wien!

Vienna is a beautiful city full of history and nice sceneries, and the exchange has been a great experience. The city is divided into 22 districts, which all have their own distinct air. My Praktikums (= internships) have taken place in Wilhelminenspital, a big, old hospital in the 16th district. The atmosphere at work has been great, all the physiotherapists are friendly and I have been able to take part in many different things: Laufband-training with neurological patients, Heilgymnastik for traumatology patients recovering from surgeries or accidents, pool therapy groups, mobilizing patients at hospital wards etc. In the beginning my German was quite rusty, but everyone has been very understanding and helpful with the language.

I have met people from many places, Vienna is quite multicultural. My first flatmates were from Ukraine and Hongkong, and there has been encounters with people from the USA, Latin America and all over Europe both at work and elsewhere. Cafés are an essential part of Viennese culture, people sit in them for hours working, socializing or just relaxing with the daily newspaper. There are all types of cafés, and the prices are quite affordable for a Finn. A must to try is a coffee speciality called Mélange, which basically is coffee with milk and sugar prepared in the Viennese way. The cake variety is endless, Sacher Tarte naturally being the most famous, but there are so many other great options that it is always hard to choose.

Austrian culture does not differ too much from our own Finnish one. The city is tidy and feels fairly safe. The public transport system works amazingly well: metros, trams and buses run often and most often on time. However, Austria is a very traditional, conservative country. People quite generally fast before Easter, and shops close usually by 6 pm. After Saturday 6 pm the grocery stores open their doors only on Monday Morning – which was a bit problematic  for a foreigner arriving in the city on Saturday evening. In addition to doing the internship I had a chance to spend a week at the FH Campus observing the local physiotherapy teaching. Practical classes and lectures were very similar to the ones at our campus back in Finland, only the topics differed slightly, so I learned some new techniques.

All in all, I can sincerelly recommend choosing Vienna as an exchange destination! 🙂

Schloss Schönbrunn

Salut de Brussels!

Greetings from the heart of European Union!

Now the three months in Brussels are over, and I had such a great time here!

I  worked at three “stages de kiné” (internships of physiotherapy). The first two stages were in the biggest hospital of Brussels, in the department of orthopedics to start with,  then in the intensive care unit. The last one I did on the other side of the city in a trauma rehabilitation centre. All were interesting experiences and I got lots of knowledge from many different fields of physiotherapy.

As a city I just love Brussels! It is a very lively and vibrant, international metropol with an air of a smaller town. What surprised me was the beauty: very pretty old buildings and nice parks all around. There is always something interesting going on, such as festivals, dancing, concerts, museums etc. In addition I have met many new people from all corners of the world.

At work everything is very social, usually the “kinés” all work in the same big room with their clients and a client might have more than one person responsible for them. The schedules are busy and the workdays long, so it has been fairly tiring with the French language. However, it’s been worth it, I have learnt so many new things. I can thoroughly recommend coming to Brussels for an Exchange period. 🙂