All posts by Vendi Haapaniemi

Osijek, Croatia – a small big city

Osijek – A small big city

When I started to plan my training abroad, Croatia wasn’t my first choice. Deciding to come here for a traineeship was quite a gamble because I didn’t know a lot of things about Croatia or Osijek in general. Now it is the last week of my stay, and it has been an experience that I’ll never forget. I’m happy and thankful that I’ve had a chance to work and live in this place and learn about it’s culture and way of living.

I’m staying in a small city called Osijek. It has been a big industrial city in the past and you can still see it. The river Drava flows through the city, making it a perfect place for fishermen. And  not only the river, but the numerous of parks here really warm a nature lovers heart. Osijek has a long history and you can still see and feel it when you walk along the streets. One of my favorite places here is Tvrda. It’s an old part of the town that has been kept and partly renovated to look as it was originally built. There you can find a lot of cafes and bars and a few interesting museums.

What I love most about Osijek, is that even though it is a quite small town, they have everything they need here. You can walk or cycle anywhere and while doing that see beautiful places and buildings around you.

My Traineeship

So, I study emergency care in TAMK and I came to do my surgical and community nursing training here. I didn’t know much about the hospital or what my training will include beforehand, so I didn’t have much expectations.

The hospital of Osijek is a medium sized central hospital of this area in Croatia. I spent there six weeks, every week in a different surgical department. Because of my interest in emergency care, my favorite departments were trauma ward and trauma control. I also really enjoyed seeing the operating rooms and to follow the operations they proceeded. I had very good mentors on every department and I had a lot of good conversations about health care with the local nurses and doctors. All in all, people were very welcoming to me and I could always ask questions and discuss things that I found interesting. All the workers didn’t speak English, but they tried their best. With a bit of body language and creative ways of explaining things you can come a long way.

The last 4 weeks I had in community nursing, it included two weeks in home nursing, one week in pediatrics reception and one week in cardiology. In home nursing, I was doing some regular check-ups with another nurse, it was interesting to see people’s homes, but I couldn’t really do much because most of the visits were about interviewing the patients and most of the patients didn’t speak English. In the pediatrics reception, I had a very learnfull time. I learnt a lot about how to check children’s normal development and about the common sicknesses. The doctor there was super helpful and nice.

The training itself was different than I’m used to. I have some previous work experience in nursing, so I don’t think that my clinical skills were improved so much, but I got some new perspectives in nursing and got to see many things I’ve never seen before.

My freetime

The good thing about Osijek is that it is surrounded by other interesting cities. You can rent a car and travel around Croatia and its neighbor countries. I’ve been on weekend visits to Zagreb, Pecs and Budapest and I still have some places I’d like to see and experience! If you are willing and able to drive here, renting a car is a good option. It’s not very expensive especially if there is a bigger group going. Of course there are also buses for weekend trips.

These pictures are from Pecs Hungary. A small city 80 km away from Osijek. I hadn’t heard from this city before but I strongly recommend visiting it. Lovely architecture, a stunning cathedral and much more. It isn’t a tourist city but worth visiting.

The capital city of Croatia. In Zagreb, you can find different museums, a lot of restaurants and bars, gift shops etc. I recommend you visit the Zagreb 360. Up there you get a view of the whole city. Also, Maksim park was beautiful.

If you want to stay in Osijek, you can find a bunch of lovely cafes and bars and if you are interested in history, here are some very good museums. And if you get sick of eating and drinking at cafes and restaurants, all the parks and the river that I told you about earlier makes Osijek also a nice place to exercise.

FINLAND vs CROATIA

I think it is quite hard to start comparing Croatian work life to Finnish. We have a lot of similarities but also our differences. Croatia may not be as developed as Finland but its heading to the same direction. The biggest difference I’ve experienced here is that the whole atmosphere, not only at work, but in general is more relaxed. I had really big problems at the beginning to adjust to the laid-back attitude. After all I think my exchange here has helped me to loosen up a little bit with everything.  It has been a positive experience for me to see how health care system and practical work are done here. I think I can appreciate the medical schools, our nursing education and our state of health care, and its techniques and technology much more than before.

-Vendi