Category Archives: Natural Resources and the Environment

Forestry

Working life of Moscow

At this point I’ve been working in Moscow for over two months and it gets slightly tiring. First of all, I should say that I was born and grew up in this city, so I was already familiar with how it works and I knew what to expect.

(a crane operating on our construction site) 

I would like to know what the situation is like in other major cities, but here everything is quite far away, no matter where you go (though communications and public transport of Moscow are fairly convenient). Currently I spend about two hours to travel each way every day. That, plus a normal working day of nine hours gives us 13 hours daily spent for working purposes. Thus, I don’t have much time to spare, but I have already visited most interesting places of Moscow in my life. This is vastly different from my usual Finnish life-style, but humans adapt.

But enough of that. My practical training itself is very useful for me and rather interesting. In my opinion, for the first practical training ever – this one is ridiculously good. I have enhanced my professional skills – environmental management, became noticeably more responsible and somewhat improved my MS Office and AutoCAD skills.

My job responsibilities include creating environmental procedures for a company that carries out construction supervision, monitoring the site and some other ways of enhancing encironmental performance.

(our object – “Park Huaming”)

Additionally, I spend some of my time on a construction site, supervising occupational health and safety and environmental aspects of the works, while learning about how construction is generally carried out, which is actually pretty insightful.

(a serious ocupational health and safety issue in one of the buildings – this shaft is not closed properly)

Russia just held a world championship 2018 in Moscow and other cities, so naturally the infrastructure of the capital has seen some improvements. It was nice to see so much joy and celebration with all the nations that came to my home city. Unfortunately, I was unable to join any of that due to a rather tight schedule (I’m not a fan of football anyway), but I heard some positive feedback from my friends.

(football fans)

Can’t wait to get back to cozy Finland and sleep it off.

If you ever come to Moscow and see plenty of grumpy people – that’s because they are tired. But don’t hesitate to greet or ask us something, as communicating with a foreigner is quite refreshing.

The Netherlands, why not?

Last Autumn semester, I had a chance to go to the Netherlands as an exchange student. I lived and studied in Breda, a city in the southern part of the Netherlands for five months. As a big part of the study program that I chose at Avans University of Applied Sciences was designed for distance learning and  the schedule is quite loose, I had a lot of free time for exploring the city and traveling.

Grote Kerk Breda

Breda is a peaceful city surrounded by river, yet it is always social due to students from two universities. In the weekend, I enjoyed walking on the main street, did some shopping then had lunch at either a cosy lunch place or a snack bar.  One distinctive feature that I love in Breda was that it was very easy to find a lovely coffee shop where you can have a drink or a light meal.

Sandwich at JanenAlleman

Fries with meat fritesaus and bitterballen at a snack bar

Because Breda was located near the Netherlands – Belgium border, it was convenient to travel to Belgium. From Breda, you can make a day trip to Baarle-Nassau and Baarle-Hertog,  where the border is just a single line run through houses. Antwerp, Belgium is only  a half hour away by train and by the same direct intercity train you will arrive at Brussels after one more hour. There are also other cities such as Ghent and Bruges that are the most famous destinations in Belgium. I visited them all when I had a few days off and it was worth it. Regarding to destination in the Netherlands, Amsterdam – the capital – the canal city is a must. There are also many attractions in this lively city such as the canals, Rijk Museum, Anne Frank House.

View from Museum aan de Stroom, Antwerp

Back to study topic, because all of the subjects were designed for distance learning so I did not have to go to school everyday. I could attend classes from home through an online platform. This was a new learning method that I have not experienced in TAMK. I felt more comfortable by attending class this way. However, as an exchange student, this caused a communication problem for me. Because I did not have to go to school, I did not usually meet people so it was hard to socialize with other students. Although the class schedule were quite comfortable, I still needed to devote a lot of time for studying. There were assignments every week and a project that sometimes had several reports due in the same day. The grading system were quite different from Finland’s. It was very hard to get 9 or 10  out of 10. There were some subjects that was impossible to get a 10. However, it might depend on the subject or the teacher, so just tried your best.

A meeting with client of a project

During my exchange semester, I learnt a lot about Dutch culture and also environmental related subjects. I really missed the days and the food after leaving this city. It is always nice to experience something new. So go on an exchange program in the Netherlands, why not?

 

 

 

Greetings from Japan!

I am working as an internship student at Hokkaido University in Sapporo. So far my journey has been amazing. Luckily I still have some time to have adventures and experience wonderful things. When I arrived I didn’t have much knowledge about Japan. I just knew sushi and Studio Ghibli. But now I know so much more. I know more about the culture and the people and their weird habits.

I am working in a laboratory doing some research about forestry in Japan. I also attended two courses just for fun. Sounds probably weird that I took two courses when I don’t get any credit for them but I wanted the full experience of university life in Japan. Now I know what kind of education system they have here. It differs from the Finnish education system a lot. Here they do a lot more research independently in the lab than in Finland.

I have been doing other things also, not just sat in the lab and lectures. I’ve eaten amazing food and also not so amazing food. My favorites are salmon sushi, okonomiyaki, yakitori, and ramen. The not so great food for me is the seafood. Especially raw seafood. I tasted some sushi with octopus and squid and they were not so good. We barbecued some scallops on a field trip. Definitely not for me. I missed sausage at that moment very much.

 

Okonomiyaki                                                                   Ramen at University café

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sushi

 

Yakitori

Barbequing scallops

 

At first, it was very difficult to get along since I don’t speak Japanese. But luckily there are translators on smartphones. And when shopping I know that the cashiers always ask for some bonus cards and if I pay with cash. So actually it is quite easy to get along. I just smile to people when I don’t understand them. The grocery shopping is quite difficult though. But I just buy what looks good even though I don’t always know what it is.

So far my best experiences have been meeting new people and as Disney fan the lion king musical and a trip to Tokyo Disneyland. I was so happy that I could just cry. The musical was amazing. I had glasses with subtitles so I could understand the dialogs. But like I said the best part is the people. I have met students, scouts (I am a scout myself) and people who work (yes I mean the guys in their suits). It is nice to meet all kinds of people in all ages and see that they all treat me the same way. They are so friendly and excited to meet a foreign person. I met one older lady scout who was an exchange student in Helsinki 40 years ago, she still knew some Finnish. I also met an older man who asked me where I am from and after I told him I am from Finland he started to hum Finlandia. I made friends with a Japanese woman the same age as me in a pub. It is such an amazing thing abroad that you can make new friends anywhere. And I feel that I can tell her everything even though we have known for a very short time. The worst part of making new friends abroad is that I know that my time is limited with them. It is sad to make new friends knowing that I won’t probably see them ever again. I know this because I have already experience from it from my earlier exchange period. Luckily I have made friends with one girl who I can again see back in Finland.

Disneyland

 

This experience has taught me so much about myself. Sounds a bit corny maybe. But I think I have really changed here. I hope that I will keep my new features when I go back to Finland. I have been braver and got more self-confidence. I have had adventures here that I would have probably refused before. So I would definitely recommend everybody to go for exchange or internship abroad, you can’t get these experiences at home.

 

Here are some photos from my journey

Kisses from a walrus and greetings from Japan!

-Miia

日本へようこそ! Welcome to Japan!

First of all, I have to tell this one: not many people in Japan can speak English, preparing some basic Japanese phases is definitely must-do.

I go to Hokkaido University at an intern student. I work in Solid Waste Disposal Laboratory, and basically my work is about researching and supporting master and doctor students in the same laboratory.

After spending two months in Japan, there are many differences between Finnish style and Japanese style in working. The most obvious is Japanese people always are overworking, they always stay in the office although the working time is already over. In large cities such as Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya, it is common to see many people wearing vest and leaving workplaces at 10-11pm. On the other hand, in studying, the study-load is much more lighter. For graduate students, they have only 2 or 3 courses per semester. Most of the time they do researches and experiments in their assigned laboratory.  However, when talking with my lab-mates, for master and doctor students, if they want to graduate, they have to have at least 3 academic papers on scientific papers or newspapers, which means that they have to do at least 3 experiments and researches during their study. Doing researching is common for doctoral level, but it is the first time I have heard about doing research for master level.

As an intern student, my schedule is not to tight, I can decide what I want to do, when I want to work, and my professor always tries his best to support me in my research and study. However, there are some differences between Japan and Finland obviously:

  • In Japan, they won’t use card. Every place accepts cash, only some very big shopping mall accepts credit card. However, withdrawing money in Japan is easy because you can withdraw money in convenience stores, which are available everywhere. However, remember to contact your card issuer before departing because my friend can’t withdraw money although she use the same card as mine.
  • Not many Japanese people know English, then it would be better if you know some basic Japanese phases.
  • There are not many trash bins in public. One time I had to carry my plastic bottle for 3km for finding a trash bins.
  • Vending machines everywhere. You can find vending machine for each 3-4meters away.
  • When you stand on an elevator, standing on the left side. However, in only Osaka, when using elevator, you have to stand on the right side.

For me, going to Japan for my practical training is one of the best decisions in my life because Japan is always my dream country. Luckily, I have a long vacation after arriving in Japan which are called “Golden week”. I spent my time to travel to a tradition area in Japan – Kansai, including Osaka, Kyoto, Himeji, Kobe.

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Sakura road

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Fushimi-inari in Kyoto

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Children’s day decoration

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Whale shark in Osaka aquarium

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of the most famous castles in Japan – Himeji Castle

Greetings from my second home

Hello Finland,

I know your summer is not very hot and sunny this year, so let me give you some of the heat from South West Germany. With around 30°C for 3 weeks I don’t need to be stingy.

My internship is going great! I did not expect that it will become that interesting. Have you heard about Umicore? That’s the place to do your internship. Seriously, my working mates are so super friendly and support me with all their possibilities so I can get the most out of my it. The last 3 weeks I spent in Umicore´s laboratory in the area of sample preparation. Umicore is producing catalysts for cars and working in the sample preparation means to prepare catalysts for cars in a way that further quality tests can be done to them. Next week I will move on to a different area. There I will have a look into such a quality test. I am already looking forward.
My workmates are pretty interested about you, my dear friend Finland. I tell them a lot about your awesome student culture and the beauty of your nature. I even recommended them to spend holidays in a finish Mökki. When I showed pictures about my friends swimming in a lake at midnight in a bright sunset  I did not mention that it is much colder than it seems. Sneaky me 😉

After I am done with my work I am usually hanging out with my friends. We often go swimming in the river Rhein, but that’s nothing compared with your plenty of lakes. But I am not complaining, therefor I can enjoy reasonable priced food and drinks in restaurants. Oh and guess what? Finally I can eat my daily portion of ice cream without getting poor! In deed a portion of ice cream does often not cost more than 1€. Unbelievable! How can your ice cream be so expensive?

Well I have to leave, it is time for BBQ with my family. What a wonderful luxury to have them close by me. But dear Finland do not worry, I will come back to you, soon.

 

My goodbye gift to working mates

Discovering Germany apart from its famous beverages.

I guess that many stereotypes had stuck to Germany. Chosing it as a destination country I wanted to prove that cliches cannot express the full depth of culture and mentality.

My studies took place in Hannover University of Applied Science. Originally, my major is Energy and Environmentall Engineering, but there was no courses available in English from the same sphere. Thus, in these circumstances I slightly moved to Mechanical Engineering Faculty, which was pretty funny. Anyway the experience was worthy since I studied something completely new and participated in interesting projects.

The education approach is dissimilar to Finnish. In Hannover the teachers were more strict and the lectures were very formal (professor was explaining material without much communication with the audience).

Conserning my free time, I believe I would need hundreds of papers to express everything. It was a lot about communication and making new acqauantances, taking part in festivals and traditional holidays. But the best part was travelling inside and outside Germany, the connection is cheap and very convenient.

I explorated many interested places, tried tasty dishes and actually tried many beers!

Pictures are taken by me 🙂

Hallo from Frankfurt am Main.

My exchange semester in Germany was one of the best experiences in my life. Frankfurt is a nice city with dynamic day and night life, with beautiful historic buildings and modern skyscrapers in the center.

Usual sunset in Frankfurt

The Frankfurt University of Applied Sciences, where I was studying during this time, had a bit different system in comparison with TAMK. The enrollment system was quite challenging, as you had  to register for the course, for the first exam, for the second one, for the small other exam before the final one, so it was quite coplicated for me to find these things out. And studies in general were a bit more diff icult than in Finland, had to study a lot to pass some exams. 

But apart from studying I enjoyed every minute I was there. I’ve met so many amazing people from different countries, we were spending all the time together: traveling, partyying, studying, complaining about the exams, hoping to just pass them, rejoicing that we have passed, chilling by the river, singing, dancing , living the life! It was extermely difficult for me to say bye to some of them, because I know, that I most likely will not meet them again.

Rheinfall in Switzerland

During my xchange I was traveling a lot, I had a goal to visit at least 5 different counties, and I did it, it is not expensive to travel from Germany, especially from Frankfurt, there is one of the largest airports in Europe . I have visited France, Switzerland, Belgium, Luxenburg and Netherlands.

Heidelberg.

I also visited a lot of cities in Germay, my favorite one is Berlin, I fall in love with this city! It’s one of the most beautiful plases I’ve ever seen. I will defenitely go there again, because I did not have time to see everything.

Berliner Dom.

My best friends stayed there for another semester and I’m going to visit them soon so I’ll see all of my favorite places in Frankfurt again!

 

 

Merhaba from Istanbul <3

Cheers from Istanbul it is January but sky is blue and white even though temperature is around +3. This is an amazing city and after all these months I have still so much to see. I am so happy to tell you about my life in Istanbul and to give a sneak peek to the travels that can be easily done from Istanbul.

 

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Istanbul

Hagia Sophia, Sultanahmet, Phosphorus…. And the list goes on and on. If you are going to see everything here you will not have enough time for school! I thought that when you live six months you have time to study and explore a massive city thoroughly but I am afraid that I was wrong! In everyday life I love our neighbourhoods Friday Bazaar. Fresh fruits and vegetables with very cheap price and salesmen shouting something that I can barely understand.

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And of course the night life. There is something for everyone on both sides (European and Asian) of Phosphorus. I have preferred bars of Kadiköy on the peaceful Asian side. The clubs of city centre Taksim are not that much my piece of cake but Ritim roof is exception in this. A small cosy piece of rooftop and the few stars you can see above you when the club music plays. I am still a bit bitter that I did not manage to see when they light the bar desk on fire while staff is dancing on it.

 

Travels

Cappadocia, Ephesus and Pamukkale trips organised by ESN Marmara and scuba diving trips to Marmaris and Kas together with scuba diving club Müsas. Also a small weekend trip to Athens. Looking at the pictures feels unreal and I will caress these memories for my whole life.

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School

Istanbul is the city of cats and this is also very visible in our school. Looking at cats chasing each other while having a cup of coffee in one of the many cafés inside the relatively green school area is something that I will miss while having coffee at Campusravita. Environmental engineering studies are here highly focused on water treatment, water transportation etc., it is hard work if you take all the same courses as locals but by choosing some technical elective and elective course you will also have some time to ”live Istanbul”.

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I hope that my diary has given you a bit brighter picture of Turkey than what you read from media. Despite of the terrible things that have happened life in here goes on. Living here in general might be a bit out of Finnish peoples comfort zone but the amazing city and lovely people make it absolutely worth it.

Feasgar math! Good Afternoon!

Hello from Scotland!

Scotland is a place filled with history and breathtaking landscapes. Especially, the highlands are very beautiful. At first it felt weird that we studied landscape design in forestry. Forests in the hills must look natural. In Finland we don’t study landscape design that much because Finland is a rather flat country apart from Lapland. Tourism is very important in Scotland and that’s one reason why it’s important that the landscapes are easy on the eye.

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Isle of Lewis and Harris

At the University of Highlands and Island I have to write several big reports and essays. In Finland we have many smaller tasks instead of long essays. I am studying recreational use of forests, urban woodlands, climate change, forest design and forest protection. It has been cool to see some of the tallest trees in Europe. Douglas fir in Reelig Glen Forest is 66.4 metres tall, for example.

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Culloden Battlefield

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The Callanish Stones

The culture in Scotland is rich and visiting the historical sites has been an amazing way to spend my spare time. I have travelled to islands like Skye and Isle of Lewis and Harris. These islands are very curious places because it feels like they form their own little world. The wildlife is fantastic in Scotland. I have seen eagles, shags, deer and seals, for example.

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A roe deer in the Culloden Forest

I have met many brilliant people and experienced a lot during my stay in Inverness. It’s been a great fun!

 

Cheers,

Vera

Finland.Studies.

Hello here. I am going to tell you some of my experiences in studying in Finland. I starting my degree in 2014 in Tampere University of Applied Sciences. That was a nice start of my education as I went straight forward from the high school. I was only 17, when I came here. To my country, I came from Belarus, It was a bit unusual to go to Finland. Usually people are going to Poland, Russian or UK or just stay at home.

The start of studying was nice, I did not have any culture shock, which was really good. That was might be due to the fact that  we had a good introduction at the beginning and the tutors made their work excellent.



During the studying itself there were a lot of projects already, which were good organized and we were forming the teams and everything was pretty nice to work in a team.

Below, you can see some of the pictures, from the labs that we are having, yes, there are a lot of labs have been organized.

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The classes are usually in a good way organized I like the timetable. There are not usually some kind of long spaces in between the lessons. Students do no usually need to wait for 3 hours for the next class.

The organization of the brakes is also good. Students can easily decide with the teacher about having a coffee and lunch brakes. And usually the compromise can be found without any problems.

The food is one of the nice topics here as well. The prices are very cheap and if I got it right, the government are paying around 80 percent of the food price for students. The opportunity to take different food. There are some times, when it is a bit crowded, but in a wile, you can start managing your time and found out the perfect time to go there and do not wait long for the food.



Additionally to the studies we do have a brakes in between. As an example, during the last brake I was going with my friends to Lapland. That was a good experience I can say. I got a lot of fun and exercise during that trip. Below, there are some pictures from the trip.

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All in all, we had a lot of nice moments there. That is one of the good examples that Finland is not only good at studying, but as well a good opportunity for traveling.