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You alright, mate?


I spent three months in the surprisingly warm and sunny Portsmouth in the south coast of England. Who knew there are palm trees in the English seaside? Portsmouth is a coastal city, slightly smaller than Tampere, and the main part of the city is actually located on an island, although I only realised this about halfway through my stay there. People always say that the English weather is horrible but I was actually surprised by how warm it was. Even though Portsmouth is on the south coast, I didn’t expect to have 14 degree temperatures in November. Maybe the weather is horrible in everyone else’s mind, but for a Finn it actually feels very nice?

I study International Business and I specialise in marketing. Unfortunately, there weren’t many marketing courses, or units, as the English call them, on offer at Portsmouth. Since most of the units last a full year there were only a few options for those spending only half a year. Most of the units offered to exchange students are actually shortened versions of the whole year units, so almost all of the other students are exchange students as well, which was nice in a way, because at the beginning of the year everyone was in the same situation. Still, it would have been nice to get to know some of the local students as well. Despite that, I enjoyed most of my studies, and found them in someway relevant or interesting. I also enjoyed working with the other exchange students, and since everyone was foreign, the classes were quite diverse.

In England, or at least in Portsmouth, there are only a few classes every week. I had 5 units, and most of them only had two hours of class every week. One hour lecture for everyone in the unit, and then one hour seminar in smaller groups. I found this to be a quite good way of learning, although it meant that my timetable was quite scattered. Attendance was mandatory for all classes, although no one checked for attendance in the lectures. In the seminars, however, if you miss 3 consecutive lessons, you’d essentially fail the class.

In my free time, I’d hang out in the city. There are three main “city” areas to Portsmouth. There’s Commercial Street, which is right by the University and is the actual city centre, with all the shops and things like that. Then there’s Gunwharf Quays, which is a more fancy, touristy, high end shopping and restaurant area, right by the sea and the harbor. The third one, which I liked best, is Southsea, which is where all the good bars and restaurants are. It’s on the southern side of the city, although almost everything in is within walking distance. Southsea is, in my opinion, the most beautiful area of Portsmouth, and it is the area of Portsmouth that looks the most like a stereotypical English coast city.

Southsea might be my favorite area in the city, but what I really loved doing in Portsmouth, was walking on the seaside. Being a Finn, I’m used to there being water around me all the time, and I’m not going to lie, the sea was a big reason for me when choosing Portsmouth as my exchange destination.

Since Portsmouth isn’t a very big city, I also visited the bigger cities around it, like Brighton, Southampton, and Bornmouth, as well as the absolutely beautiful Isle of Wight. Portsmouth is also only a 90 minute train drive away from London, when the trains are running that is, so I visited London quite a few times. On the last week of my stay, my boyfriend and I flew to Scotland, which was absolutely amazing and quite possibly my favorite part of my stay. We rented a car and drove around the Scottish highlands for a day, and I’m not lying when I say I’ve never seen anything so beautiful. Coming back to Portsmouth was almost a disappointment, since it was so close to Christmas and there was no snow in England, unlike in Scotland.

Compared to Finland, studying in England was quite different. There were fewer classes every week, but that meant you were expected to do more reading at home. Based on some of the teachers’ comments, I was slightly intimidated of the workload, but after receiving my grades, I can happily say that I managed just as well as at TAMK, with pretty much the same amount of work.

The grading of the units was based on an essay, a presentation, or an exam. The exchange students, however, didn’t have any exams, since those take place in January, and the autumn semester ended on the 15th of December. Most of my units were graded based on an essay, which I had never written in TAMK, only reports, so I found this quite challenging, and had to spend a lot of time in the library. This was another difference to TAMK. Students actually hang out in the library a lot, and the library is open 24/7. I liked it though. When doing groupworks, or writing essays, the library was a good place to gather in, since most of the exchange students lived in student housing, so there wasn’t enough room in anyone’s apartment to hang out it. All in all, student life is much more inclusive compared to Finland. There are different clubs for students, for different sports, different ethnicities, different diets, different political orientations etc. There’s even a Quidditch club, which is quite possibly the awesomest and most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard of. Every week is a student night in the city, with different events in different venues. Basically, if you’re a student, your whole life revolves around the university.

Portsmouth to me was quite an ideal destination. I love the city, I had great flatmates and I met amazing people from all around the world. I love the seaside, and the short distance to London. I don’t just miss the people I met there, I also miss the city itself and I’m very happy I chose to go there. It’s one of my favorite places in the world, like a home away from home, and I’m definitely going back there.

Bienvenue à Nice!

I spent my student exchange in the beautiful city of Nice, France. 4 months on the Riviera coast makes you truly understand why so many choose to invest into an apartment there; the surroundings are stunningly beautiful, the sun is shining for 305 days around the year and Nice has the French culture & cuisine. What is there not to love? On a longer stay one can realize that Nice is so much more than just a city with palm trees and beaches.


I was studying in IPAG business school and took the 3rd year courses. The school is a private business school and a rather small one, located in the city center. I took 5 courses, which results in 30 ECT’s, but yet I had a lot of free time. Especially in the very start of the semester I had many day offs, which was great as we had time to go to explore the city or just relax on the beach. However the schedules kept on changing a lot so if you noticed a free day in 3 weeks, it was very possible that something might appear. This affected mostly long term planning for longer trips.

Otherwise I felt that the school was easy. Some of the courses had similar content as we had already studied in TAMK during our 1st year. We had quite a lot of group work and home assignments, but the subjects were easy and there was not a lot of effort required to pass them. Our studies were divided into lectures and tutorials, which basically meant that lectures were about classic lessons where the teacher taught us and the tutorials were for our own learning. During the tutorials there were group projects, assignments, discussions and otherwise more modern methods used for teaching and learning. The teachers had very different styles of teaching, which I found refreshing but some of the students complained about this fact.

I had the opportunity to take courses not so related to business, such as French language and French culture & civilization. The French lessons were held in French, which may seem extreme but it was great for improving your understanding of spoken French. The culture & civilization course I recommend for everyone, the teacher loved to talk about France and the weird customs they had and was also very interested in our cultures.

During my free time I traveled a lot in Nice and on the coast. In Nice I concentrated on the many restaurants, cafes, parks and the old town. The local buses are very cheap so it was easy to see all the smaller “towns” nearby. My absolute favorite was Saint Jean Cap Ferrat, which had the most beautiful walking path by the sea. I also hiked to the old village of Eze, where we found a lot of small boutiques and restaurants. The hike is a bit of challenge but I strongly recommend it! In addition to Cannes, Antibes etc. other French cities, I had the chance to visit the national park (Mercantour), the countryside of Bordeaux (wine, wine, wine), Madrid, Milan, San Remo, Ventimiglia and of course Monaco (many times). Nice is located wisely and travelling is easy.

Du bist meine kleine schwarze Katze

I spent my 5 months in a beautiful, small town called Krems an der Donau, in Austria. At first, I was a bit nervous to go abroad all by myself, because I had never travelled alone. The other fact that made me a bit nervous was, that I wasn’t sure how good English people speak in Austria. All I knew about German was “Du bist meine kleine schwarze Katze”, and that wasn’t really helpful in my daily life. And yes, there were times when people didn’t speak (or just didn’t want to speak) English, but still I somehow managed to survive.I studied in IMC Krems, which had two different campus areas in the city. All my classes where in the international campus, which was in the old town. The building was an old monastery, so some of the classrooms were really beautiful. The professors spoke quite good English, and the international relations office was always happy to help you with your issues.My classes were with the regular students who studied Export Oriented Business in English. There were many nationalities in the group, as only about a half of them were from Austria. I felt like most of the professors gave good grades way too easily, but otherwise most of my courses were pretty good. Some of the courses I took were HR, Export marketing and German for beginners. I have never learned a language as fast I did with German. It really helps when you hear and see it everywhere. And also the fact, that you must learn it to survive in your daily life, or a t least make it more comfortable.Maybe the best course I chose was “Austria Business, Politics and Culture”, not just because I learnt about the country I was studying at the moment, but because the teacher was so nice. At the end of the course she invited our group to her home for an Austrian dinner. We spent the evening with her and her family, eating, drinking a local white wine and sharing stories about our lives at our home countries. At that point I was so happy that I was prepared for moments like these, as I brought a “Finnish gift bag” with me from Finland, containing a small Moomin towel in a Marimekko cosmetic bag. It was a perfect gift for a moment like that.My spare time I spent traveling across the country. I got to see amazing views, hike in a sunny autumn weather and snowboard in the Alps. I loved the nature and the historical buildings and old towns. Austria was a good choice, and I’m sure I will go back there someday.






Annyeong From Korea

I am going to Kyonggi University, in Suwon, South Korea. It is a good university, though it was built in literally a HILL, so you would have to climb the hill to go to class. Not that I’m complaining though, it’s like working out, which is good for your health and body~.

I took some courses in English, related to International Business and the East Asian region. Actually, the selection of courses wasn’t that great, but enough. The classes in Korea are quite different from Finland, more about listening to the lecture of the teacher than discussing among students. It is not hard, I don’t have to put a lot of effort to get a good grade. But I believe that because my courses are left easier for they are in English. I’ve been witnessing Korean students study so so hard for their exams: no one playing sports, no one hanging out, just eating ramen and studying.

I also took an intensive Korean Language course for 10 weeks, from Monday to Friday every week, which is really “intense” and so I could be confident to say that I can speak Korean now. So if you are interested in Korean language, I highly recommend this kind of intensive course since you can really take something out if it (of course with a lot more effort) compared to the normal language course once a week.


I had quite a lot free time during the semester, considering taking only 4 courses. I usually hang out with other exchange students, most of which are from France or Germany, some from Mexico, and I am the only one from Finland. Everyone is nice and friendly. Together we try Korean food (most of which is SUPER spicy) and travel around. Suwon is less than 1 hour away from Seoul by subway so we go there quite a lot.

There are so many places to visit and many things to try so you have to be selective. My favorites are the palaces, museums, Korean sauna (called Jimjilbang), or just wandering around shopping areas like Kangnam or Myungdong.




Korean people are really friendly, you can get a lot of free services in restaurants and shops when you are foreigner. Some of them also love to ask about you and your country, in Korean most of the time of course. But Korean students can be very shy, if you are foreigner and speak English. I guess they are afraid of making mistakes in English. But when you got to be friends with them, they are really nice and fun. Korean students are good at drinking and having fun in clubs and bars, or so I’ve heard since I don’t really go there.

Oh and one thing, there’s literally so personal space in Korea, which I miss the most about Finland. People love to squeeze together over here. And sometimes, in the subway or elevator, they just come straight to you, pushing you out of your place so that they can stand there, which still puzzles me until now.

We went to the DMZ (Korean Demilitarized Zone) and that railway is supposed to be going to North Korea~


All in all, I’ve been having a great time in Korea. It is a nice blend between tradition and modernity. I found the country so young and lively and buzzling but also deep in rich culture and history and tradition. So I’ve got to experience a lot, all of which is precious to me, as well as to make so many great friends, not only Koreans but all over the world, each of whom is dear to be now.



Exchange in Oita, Japan

Studying and living in a new environment has been very exotic and interesting with many fun things, loads of social experiences and with some challenges as well. The courses are varied, and each teacher has their own style: that fact is similar to Finland and probably true no matter where in the world one might travel to. Even inside a country and a culture the people are not all the same.

On the way to Oita University campus

Free-time in Japan can be spent in myriad of ways. Living in a dorm has the upside that there are people around for just hanging out. The city of Oita is much bigger than Tampere, even though the locals consider this city be “small and rural”. When compared to Tokyo, with a population of more than 13 million people, I can see their viewpoint, but from a Finnish perspective Oita is large. Movie theaters, game centers, stores, concerts, onsen, restaurants, karaoke and culture can all be easily found in the city, just a 15-minute train ride away from the campus of Oita University. Sometimes it is also nice to relax by just reading some manga, which can be bought with 100 yen (0,75 €) from a nearby second-hand bookstore.

Studying culture here in Japan differs from Finland in many ways. When it comes to teaching a language, there is a quiz at the start of every single lesson. For me this means a quiz four times a week. It seems like a lot of extra work for the teacher, since they need to make and grade the quizzes. Japanese teaching also values exams more than the Finnish style; at the half way point of the courses, after 2,5 months of teaching we had mid-term exams and in a month, we will have the final exams. Our grade will be based on these exams. And one needs to study a lot for them, for the concept of re-taking an exam does not exist here. TAMK often gives the opportunity for a retake twice, which feels nice and fair to me.

Life in the Soo

Now that I’m done with my exchange, I can tell a bit of my experiences in Canada.

I was studying in Algoma University which is located in a city called Sault Ste. Marie. It’s a small border city of 75,000 people in Northern Ontario. The university itself is very multicultural and also really small but I liked the fact that you get to know people so easily and make a lot of new friends as well.

Shingwauk Hall

I took four courses during my semester there. Comparing studying in Canada to Finland, I would say that the workload is significantly more than back home – all the assignments, quizzes, midterms, final papers and final exams. However, I didn’t find it harder, it’s just more.

Waterfront Boardwalk
International Bridge to USA

Everyday life is happening mainly at the campus since there is not that much to do in the city. But I think there is pretty much everything you need – gym, friends you can hang out with and different kind of activities to participate, everything from different sports to karaoke nights. I also lived at the campus, in townhouses, where I had four roommates. We all had our own rooms and shared kitchen & bathroom. It was a great experience and I would recommend it if you’re going for an exchange to Algoma U!

Even though the city is quite small, there is something to do, for example going for a Soo Greyhounds hockey game or for a hike to beautiful places nearby. And you can always travel! I did trips to Vancouver, Toronto and New York.

Soo Greyhounds & Hiawatha Highlands

Melwel Lodge & Lake Superior Provincial Park

I met such an amazing people during my exchange semester and I already miss that place! My exchange in the Soo was unforgettable.

Prettige Kerstdagen en een Gelukkig Nieuwjaar!

Greetings from sunny Ghent!

I’ve been studying international business management here for the fall semester, in a university called Artevelde HS. The courses I opted in have varied all the way from E-marketing and European business to the introduction of digital design. The way of studying is quite similar to Finland, except there are even more group works in addition to the exams. The quality of teaching is pretty much on the same level too, but some of the topics are bit more modern than the ones taught in TAMK.

Campus Kantienberg, the main campus


During my spare time I’ve mostly been doing same sort of things as I would back home, like  hanging out with friends, working out at the gym and writing essays. The one thing I’ve gotten a chance to do more, is travelling more frequently. Belgium is not too far away from anywhere in Central Europe, and I’ve been blessed with trips to Berlin, Namur and Amsterdam for couple of times. My foreign friends have been travelling even more, but as an European I’ve been visited most of the places for various times before.

Lovely and captivating city center of Ghent

The best thing about the exchange has been the city of Ghent and i would recommend everyone to spend a day or two here. Only half an hour away from the hectic EU capital Brussels, is this treasure filled with stunning old building and sceneries around water. With approximately 300,000 habitants it’s not much bigger than Tampere, but it’s never-ending heaven of gorgeous architecture accessible by bike. Local selection of beers is excellent and students should be happy to know, that they’re not ruined with high prices either.

Anyhow, now it’s time to get through the last lectures before christmas break and to get some of that fine Belgian chocolate to bring home for the holidays.

Wishing everyone merry christmas and happy holidays,


Grüß Gott & Tschüss Papa!


My name is Ilona, and I’m currently spending my exchange semester of my studies in International Business in Vienna, Austria and more in detail in FHWien der WKW. I chose tourism as my majoring path, but since this University of Applied Sciences is mainly focused on management and communications I took this opportunity to broaden my knowledge and studies towards marketing and other business courses such as Social-Media Marketing and Marketing Strategies & Decision-Making.

During my studies here, I have enjoyed getting to learn from different kinds of teachers. Vienna is a very multi-cultural city, and our partner university has chosen teachers from all over the world such as Canada, Australia and Germany. Especially in the degree of International Business, this aspect is a very interesting and important part of this degree.

The university also offers German language courses for different levels. Surrounded by your Erasmus family, English is pretty much the only language you’ll hear and because of that I personally think it’s good to know at least something also in the language of your destination country. So, I recommend taking advantage of the language courses. Needless to say, I have definitely learned and continue learning lots during all of my seven courses that I have chosen.

The school system is a bit different, and that is why I might have had time to travel so much during one period of time, but the next on the other hand might be a bit busier with group and individual assignments and exams. Luckily, I have found a good balance in this kind of schedule. One difference hasn’t stopped making me laugh a little throughout the semester, and that is how the classes end in Vienna (and also in other sides of the world I hear as well). Once the teacher has said the final words of the class, the students (and sometimes teachers too) knock on their tables instead of clapping or like in Finland, just leaving. I think this is a funny thing to do, and every time a class ends, I’m excited getting to knock, knock, knock on the table haha.

Overall the lifestyle in Austria is a lot like Finland. People like their personal space (except on the metros, they are used to the big crowds) but unlike Finnish people, if they caught you from doing something wrong they will let you know, such as talking on your phone too loud. Austrians might at first seem rude, but once you realize it’s just another different culture and actually get to know them and their ways, you’ll realize they have a great sense of humor and they are very helpful whatever it may concern.

Since back in Finland, I had been doing two things for quite a long time: working and studying at the same time, I feel like I have had plenty of spear time during my semester here (even with 29 ECTS). Vienna is a big and vibrant city full of various activities and interesting places to see and choose from. It is full of beautiful culture and architecture, that I personally can’t seem to get enough even after over three months.

If you find yourself in Middle-Europe, don’t miss the chance of visiting the cities and countries nearby! I have learned that Vienna has the greatest location to travel from in a very affordable way. I myself have visited Bratislava, Budapest and Brno, which are all maximum couple hours away. Not to forget Austria’s own gems such as Salzburg, Graz and last but not least Zell am See, where I got to experience skiing in the Alps (Bucket List!).

Coffee and café culture are a big thing in Vienna. There are numerous cafes and restaurants that me and my friends have explored throughout the semester on our free-time. I have also made sure that in a historical place like Vienna, I needed to catch up with the cultural side. There are many different kinds of museums, theaters and operas to choose from, whether you like it historic, drama or musical kind of way. I would say, anything is possible in Vienna, and there will not be a dull or boring moment in a city like this. I can highly recommend Vienna as a destination and going for an exchange in general, it will give you more than you could even imagine!


Wine, cheese and miroir d’eau

Salut from the wine capital of France, Bordeaux! I’ve spent the past fall here in the city of wine and I’ve completely fallen in love with it. I study Business Administration with a major in marketing and the exchange school here, Kedge Business School, offered all kinds of specialized marketing courses like Wine Marketing (actually drinking wine in class!) and Luxury Marketing. I’ve definitely enjoyed it here a lot. The school is very new with lots of different facilities and possibilities of student life. I joined a student association as well as a sports team to meet more French people and I definitely recommend it, it’s proved to be an amazing experience and an opportunity to befriend the locals. Courses don’t run all week, every week, which left me a lot of time to travel around other cities in France and also to go discover Spain and Portugal.

Miroir d’eau in Place de la Bourse

The French say that Bordeaux is like a little Paris because it’s smaller, cheaper and very, very pretty. It’s 45 minutes from the ocean by a local train and Bordeaux itself also has a lake beach where I spent many afternoons until late autumn. Great wine is very affordable; you have the possibility of visiting many wine châteaux all around Bordeaux and doing wine tastings.

San Sebastian, Spain
San Sebastian, Spain

France is definitely very, very different culturally and a big part of it is the bureaucracy. Things here definitely take more effort and a lot more paperwork to accomplish. The French also really pride themselves in their gastronomy, so I’ve learned that a lot of business is conducted over long dinners. The French truly enjoy many different courses at every single meal and they savor the time they’re spending eating with other people.

Carcassonne medieval city

Gros bisous !

Greetings from Seoul!


I am currently doing my 4 month exchange at Soongsil University in Seoul. My major is business administration, but since I had already completed most of the business courses offered in english, I decided to take other courses like, “east asian culture” and “history of Korea”. These courses are aimed at exchange students and I found them to be very interesting. Generally the level of english my teachers speak is much better than I expected, and many of them have in fact lived or studied in the United States. Workload-wise Soongsil and Tamk are quite the same, perhaps at Soongsil we have a bit more presentations. One of the most important courses I have taken is basics of the Korean language. I learned to read korean which is a big help especially on the subway. If you are considering going to Korea, I warmly recommend you take a beginners course prior to your exchange!

I only have school monday-thursday, making it possible to travel for the rest of the week. I decided not to go abroad this semester, but did a lot of travelling in Korea. For example, I visited Jeju-island, Busan and multiple cities on the south coast of Korea. The best time for longer travelling is during Chuseok, which is a ten day holiday beginning at the end of September.



  Changdeokgung Palace, Seoul


I have really enjoyed my time here. Living in Seoul is quite affordable, for example lunch or dinner around the Soongsil University is about 3000-7000 won (3-5-€). People are very kind and helpful even though there is a bit of a language barrier sometimes since many Koreans can’t really speak English. Overall, I have found this a very eye-opening experience and I hope to come back soon!