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Business Administration, Business Information Systems, Entrepreneurship and Team Leadership, Business Competence, Legal Expertise, Service Business and Project Management, Entrepreneurship, Wellbeing Technology, Information System Competence, International Selling and Sales Management

你好,来自上海! Hello from Shanghai!

Two months have flown by so quickly and my exchange is nearing its end in the grand metropolitan city of Shanghai. In Shanghai there are roughly around 24 million people, which shows in everyday life. There is not a moment where you are alone and the lines in TAMKs cafeteria look very short after living in Shanghai. I had never been in China before coming here and boy oh boy has it been an experience.

I am studying in Shanghai University or SHU or ShangDa as the locals like to call it. Shanghai University is the most popular university among young people in Shanghai because of the good teaching and high-quality research. I have five courses, Chinese language, introduction to the Chinese economy and society, social changes is contemporary China, Chinese culture and foreign trade of China. University life to local students is hard, but not for us foreigners. Mostly our courses have only very long lectures (around 3 and half hours), group presentation and final essay, only in Chinese language we have an actual final exam. When compared to TAMK, the lectures are pretty similar. Communication within school is done mostly in WeChat since the school’s tabula-like environment is only in Chinese, which is a bit of a bummer. All in all, the school is pretty nice, except for the classrooms. They have benches attached to tables and are not built for anyone taller than 165cm.

To me, China and Shanghai have shown its beauty in a very spectacular way, the old and the new. I have admired the city’s old architecture in Yu garden while distancing myself from the never sleeping megacity. I also have admired the futuristic area of Pudong, named to be the “Wall street of Asia”, during nighttime and been to the worlds’ second tallest building. I have enjoyed my coffee in the biggest Starbucks in the world and also sipped my tea in the oldest teahouse in Shanghai.  During my spare time I like to visit different districts of Shanghai and get to know the local life. Unlike many think, Shanghai and China is very western and not that cheap, except for food. Food is cheap, it’s delicious and there’s a lot of it. You can find any type of cuisine from around the world in Shanghai, because of its history of being a port city. Sadly, the true Shanghainese food is a bit too sweet for my taste and I have to admit that I still prefer Cantonese cuisine over Shanghainese.

In general, if you are up for an experience and willing to step far away from your comfort zone, I can recommend Shanghai and China. Just last week we experienced one of the biggest “unrestricted internet” blockades on the year, which was hilarious and annoying at the same time. Luckily, it only lasted a week and now everyone is back at finding good academic sources from google for their final essays. It has been nice to experience a completely different culture and get to understand China, but I am still more than fond of Finnish culture. I appreciate the quietness I have not experienced here in the past two months and the Finnish cuisine of not adding sugar and fat to every dish imaginable.

  • Emmi Haapasalo

안녕하세요! Greetings from Seoul!

I am now halfway of my exchange, so I thought to give you my thoughts and experiences so far. I am studying in Seoul in Sungkyunkwan University, which is the oldest university in Korea, founded in 1398. Here I am doing mostly studies related to Korean culture, such as Korean language, political and economic development and contemporary society of Korea. As I am very interested in the local culture, I have enjoyed my studies here a lot, and I have done pretty well so far. Studying in a very prestigious university is different than studying in TAMK which is a university of applied sciences. Lectures are longer, and a lot of studying is required on our own time. And of course we have had exams. I was a little afraid on how my midterms would go, as I have not done essay exams in a long time and also a lot more is required. Week before exam week all the Korean students spent all their time in the library or cafes getting ready for the exams, and me and my friends decided to do the same.

On my free time I often go visit stores in Myeongdong, a shopping district that is only few metro stops away from my dorm. Another place I often go to is Hongdae. They also have restaurants and cafes me and my friends like to visit pretty often. One of the most exciting things for me here is the food. I love going out eat and drink with friends, Korean BBQ is one of the best things I know and I can’t understand why we still don’t have KBBQ restaurants in Finland. We also visit many historical places on weekends, there are many very beautiful palaces in Seoul.

Gyeongbokgung palace

I really have enjoyed my time, and even after spending two months here already, there is still so much to do each day. Seoul is my favorite city in the world.

Olá do Porto!

Porto is a “capital of northern Portugal”, sized about the same as Helsinki metropolitan area, it is not too large nor small! I arrived a while ago for my International Business exchange and oh boy things are different in here! I’ve always been keen to know foreign cultures, and this time I wanted really to know southern Europe, hence the location: Portugal.

Let’s start with the Uni. All institution have their flaws, and before leaving TAMK I thought that things in Finland were far away from perfect, now I think that TAMK is a perfect school! 😀 Communication with the school has been more than troubling, the first day of school they cut credits from courses and shortened the exchange time! What a pleasant surprise. The facilities are, well, let’s just say that from the last century without renovation so you get the idea. But as in yin-yang, there is always something positive in bad, and it is not all bad! The teaching is good, in my Business English course and the Marketing Communication especially have been pleasant surprises all-in-all, and the tests have been way easier than in Finland so far, can’t complain about that!

Finding an apartment hasn’t been a problem for any friends that I have made, just prepare to pay around the same as in Finland and you are good to go! This brings the blog nicely to the prices, it is cheap here. With the grant provided, you will survive just fine. I had my expectations a bit higher just in case but the reality is that everything is cheaper. I cannot recommend enough to come to Portugal if you wish to travel during the exchange, Marocco, Malta and Madeira are all just 20 euros away, and by plane! I have already been to Spain and have trips booked to Malta and Madeira for the near future, and that is something!

To make it short, it is nice to experience a new culture in day-to-day life but I can now say that the culture in Finland is unbeatable. Here people are always late and almost nothing works at a general level, thank goodness people are super friendly! After the exchange, and already, I appreciate Finland more than ever!

Now I am just going to sit back, relax and try my best to adapt to the culture for rest of the time in here!

Atte Hurme

Welcome to Portsmouth

Portsmouth is a lively seaside city with beautiful views and surprisingly good weather. I came here for my exchange studies in International Business and have already spent about two months getting used to the way things work around here.


I’ve always been interested in the UK and its culture. It has certainly been interesting to see how different everything is compared to the rest of Europe!

The studies are quite easy compared to Finland and it’s quite amusing to hear the locals talk about “a full day of school” when it has only been 4 hours. I must say that while things are certainly not perfect in Finland, and in TAMK especially, there are a lot of things I wish they had here. Everything is so old-fashioned and it sometimes feels like they don’t even want to bring their systems to the 21st century. Trying to find information online is hopeless as it either doesn’t exist or can’t be trusted. I’ve also had a lot of trouble getting any papers or documents from the uni – they didn’t even send me my acceptance letter and I had to call them several times to get that sorted out. The same theme has definitely continued with everything else after that.
Still, I enjoy the lectures.  The teachers come from all around the world and it’s interesting to hear examples from different cultures!

Finding accommodation proved to be a challenge. Due to the uni’s mistake with my acceptance letter, I couldn’t apply for the school halls in time. Not that that would have mattered much, as they prioritise degree-students over exchange students. The private sector was difficult as well, since most landlords refuse to make contracts for less than 9-10 months. Finally, I found a house that was specifically meant for exchange students and still had a room available.
While most things are cheaper here than they are in Finland, housing is very expensive and the houses are usually in bad condition. I share a house with 3 other exchange students and I  pay more for my room than I did for my studio apartment in Tampere. The house is also in bad condition: there’s mold and moisture everywhere and the rooms and cabinets start to smell if you keep the doors closed.

 

I found a nice group of friends during the orientation week and we’ve been doing all sorts of things together. The first big event I went to was Portsmouth Pride, which was a very nice experience!

It’s a little hard to define the working culture here because, like in Finland, the study environment is very international. However, I can say that the school assignments here are clearly only meant for school and are not done the way they would be done in work life. This is not the best approach as it doesn’t exactly teach you what you need to know later on. What I have liked is the more independent style of studying. Constant group work is really not meant for me and I find it extremely stressful in TAMK, this is why I’ve enjoyed the independent essays and lectures.

As a conclusion, it’s nice to be able to experience all this but I think I can safely say that the culture is not for me. I will miss some things when I go back to Finland, but I have definitely started to appreciate Finland more!

– Krista Tolonen

Life in Nice

Bonjour!

I have been living in Nice for one month now and I really enjoy life here. It’s still really warm, even  +30 degrees. The sun shines every day and the city is very beautiful. French people are kind and I have settled here well. I study  in IPAG Business School and there are many exchange students here. I have school almost every weekday, Mondays are always free. The classes are quite different compared to TAMK. We have lectures and tutorials. During the tutorials the group is smaller and students make group work, projects and the teaching is more individual than during the lectures. The teachers speak English very well and they are passionate about their subjects. We are going to have midterm exams before the holiday in October and then final exam before Christmas. The classes are mixed with exchange students and French students, which is nice.

During my free-time I go to the gym almost every day, hang out at the beach or go to cafes with my friends. On the weekends we sometimes go to restaurants to eat and spend time. I have also visited other cities near Nice, such as Cannes, Monaco and Antibes. It’s very easy to go from town to town with train or car. I have also went to many other beaches in the area.

I like the French way of living. The sunshine, warm weather and all the great food are making this exchange period amazing and I’ll definitely enjoy my stay in here!

안녕하세요 여러분! (Hello people!)

As you can see, I’ve learned some Korean while studying my exchange in South Korea. My actual studies were Business Information Systems (Computer Science might be easier to understand). I tried to be as open as possible to the new environment and people. In a nut shell, I got new friends, visited cool places, developed my ICT skills and also learned Korean alphabet and some common phrases during my four months stay in Korea.

My exchange started with first moving myself and my luggage to the SeoulTech campus and dormitory. To my surprise, I was soon greeted by a Finnish room mate. Actually there were quite many Finnish exchange students in SeoulTech. I also made friends with foreign exchange students and Koreans who I met especially in the numerous school clubs: music clubs, English conversation club, bowling club, running club etc.

Compared to TAMK the studies in SeoulTech were more reading than trial and error oriented. There seem to be more stress on the details than on understanding the big picture. The reason might be the nature of my studies, which was mostly software engineering (programming) so I can only speak of my own degree programme. There were also more lessons and less independent studying than in TAMK. I was mostly satisfied with the courses I had. I learned new programming languages, improved my Unix skills and learned to use Korean in some every day situations.

One of my favorite things in Korea was the beautiful nature. I visited several smaller or bigger hills, mountains and forests during the summer. The nearest small hill was my most frequently visited place where I went to refresh my mind alone or with a friend. Even the campus area itself was decorated with cherry, pine and other trees and a stream that crossed the whole campus and was surrounded with flowerbeds. There was a pond which surroundings appeard as a common living room to students. It’s hard to name which place was the best or most memorable. The longest trip outside the school was to Jeju and Udo islands. Speaking of nature, this time we went also under the rock to Manjanggul cave in Jeju island. Being 13422 meters long, it’s one of the longest lava tunnels in the world. We could see interesting volcanic rock formations along the 1 km tour and even touch them and feel the moisture.

South Korea can provide a lot more than I had time to experience. I’m happy that I chose SeoulTech as my exchange destination and can recommend it to you!

SeoulTech campus
Rainbow bridge in Seoul
Jeju island
Jeju island
Gamcheon culture village in Jeju island
Udo island
Haeundae beach in Busan

Rally English ambassador in Switzerland

When I got chosen to go exchange to Lucerne University of Applied Sciences for the spring semester 2018, I got super scared at first, and actually was pretty 50/50 to cancel the whole thing. Biggest doubts I had, was about my capabilities on studying in English, which you might be able to believe if you keep reading this blog…Sorry but not sorry! However, after pushing all the negativity aside for awhile, February arrived and it was time for a departure. I packed my snowboard with me and hopped on white&blue-wings at Helsinki-Vantaa airport and hoped to come back one day mentally and physically more or less healthy. Possible credits would be just a big plus!

I took the train to Lucerne from the Zurich airport and the journey took approximately 45 minutes. Just to mention, Swiss railway network is amazing. The network is super comprehensive and Swiss people has built tracks even on the mountains and these trains are always on time, unlike in some other countries! Have to admit, that the arrival in Lucerne was some sort of an shock. The city had just started an four day festival and 90% of the people were wearing an festival costume in a very crowded station. I had no idea of the festival before my arrival, and the sight really wasn’t corresponding on my thoughts I had about Swiss people. At this point I decided to forget everything I thought I knew about Switzerland and all the expectations I had on my exchange semester.

After surviving first two weeks in Switzerland, and when I started to be settled down in Lucerne, and speaking only in English wasn’t that big deal anymore, I really enjoyed every second during my stay. The best part of Switzerland, in my point of view, was of course the Alps. The first day on Swiss slopes felt unreal.

 

 

 

Academic level is relatively high in Switzerland, however, if I was able to pull it trough by compensating bad English with hard work, I’d say anyone can. Switzerland is very expensive country, but in the end, places I saw and things I did, justifies the fact that I successfully burned my student loan! Accommodation was arranged very well by the host University, and I don’t have a bad thing to say about my apartment. I was sharing the apartment with 4 other students. We were sharing the kitchen and the shower, but we had own rooms. The best part of the accommodation was, that it was in a building which consisted of 50 rooms in total, and all the rooms are reserved exclusively for exchange students. 50 exchange students in one building = great parties every week and new friends from all over the world for life.

 

I really suggest everyone who’s thinking about going exchange to give Lucerne at least a thought, since I can’t imagine better exchange semester than I had!

Lively Seoul in my eyes

My exchange destination was in South Korea. It had been in a great 4-month of a journey not only about studying but also about culture experiencing. The partner school for my exchange term was Sungkyungkwan University which is the Korean university with the longest history of foundation and development dated back from the Joseon Dynasty and locates in the heart of central Seoul.

Being one of the premier universities in the country, SKKU has been consistently maintaining its reputation internationally as well. During the time there, I had an incomparable experience in so many aspects besides studying. Despite located in the city center of crowded Seoul, SKKU’s campus is however huge. There are many old traditional Korean buildings inside the Seoul campus of SKKU. These include Munmyo (Confucian Shrine) and Myeongnyundang (the main lecture hall).

I chose various courses from not only my main major which is Supply Chain Management but also about Korean cultural and political history and language. I learned so much about the traditions and cultures of Korea and a basic Korean communication as well which helped a lot in daily life in Seoul such as reading to distinguish landmarks, location and inside the restaurant too. The Korean language does tell a lot about its culture which reflects a distinctively hierarchical society. I also had difficulties at certain times when there was a language barrier involved and in certain cultural differences. As I learned more about the culture and interacted with more locals, I quickly began to realize that as a foreigner adjusting to Korean traditions would take some time.

Food, shopping and vibrant city nightlife is my favorite part about travel. I really loved the Korean cuisine and the different types of spices that Koreans used in their traditional dishes.

Apart from the exam period, the rest of the time is quite enough for my exploring adventure in Seoul. I took part in several local volunteer activities and event for foreigners and it was an extraordinary experience and pleasure during my stay in Korea

In my opinion, South Korea is truly a lively, dynamic and lively country. There were so many activities held by Korean non-profit organizations for the foreigner. On one hand, it creates a plenty of unique and meaningful opportunities for the international student like me to socialize and get on with such exotic lifestyle here, while on the other hand it also acts as an extraordinary marketing tool and tourism promotion for South Korea.

One of the most unforgettable and meaningful activities that I had the opportunity to participate in was the Lotus Lantern Festival which was is one of the largest cultural events held annually in public to honor Buddhism, one of the most dominant religion in Korea. I have made many new friends including Koreans and other countries around the world. My university’s travel club in Seoul also offered me many chances to travel Korea not alone but with good companies and memorable experience which would be unable to obtain while traveling by on one’s own.

 

The academic experience I had in Korea was also distinctive comparing to what I have experiences in Finland and my home country. The higher studying program here is very professional and intensive despite the fact that there was a lot to do with online procedure and registration which sometimes made it appear lengthy and complicated to me. It was very interesting getting to see how Korean students studied and how the classrooms and courses were set-up. There are so many places in the school, which are set up as small studying cabinet, serving for self-studying with up to a large number of seats and can be used overnight.

The examination here in SKKU is also different from my home university Tamk. In my case, there is a great amount of lesson which required to be learned by heart in order to proceed with the exam paper and get passed. I think this might be one of the reasons that causes the very stressful and intensive pre-exam studying period here in Korea. In this part, I personally prefer the studying style in Finland which is more about logic thinking, teamwork and project operation

Atypical Antwerp

Oh Antwerp, you son of a gun. What can I say, I loved my time there.

Antwerp is a city in northern Belgium. A local proverb states “Antwerp is the city and the rest is parking”. Apparently the rest of Belgium isn’t too happy about that, but as a fresh citizen of Antwerp that sounded promising. It’s a city of diamonds, fashion and is home to one of the biggest ports in the world. You could definitely see this walking down the street or next to the river, but as the most usual destination was a terrace of some bar, me and some of my exchange buddies missed a few cultural aspects due to tunnel vision.

I chose Antwerp since they offered a comprehensive marketing-central course load, and while I was optimistic about my studies, the courses in digital-, content-, and data-driven marketing exceeded my expectations. I felt that I achieved a comprehensive understanding of marketing in the modern digital space, although I had already completed all my marketing studies in TAMK. Big up for the marketing studies offered at the Artesis Plantijn University College of Antwerp.

Apart from the studies there’s a lot to do. The city is booming every weekend and there’s a lot of events during the week held by student organisations or other entities. There’s a lot of culture to see if you happen to be a fan of the arts; and if you’re not, there’s a lot of beer to drink, since Belgium has one of the most prominent beer cultures in the world. Belgium itself is a relatively small country so you can see most of what it has to offer by buying a train pass for around 55€, with which you get ten domestic train rides.

There wasn’t a significant difference as to how studying / working is in Belgium in relation to Finland. The Flemish people are pretty similar to Finnish people in a lot of ways.

If you go to Antwerp on exchange, here’s a list of tips:

The ESN Membership is probably not that worthwhile to get.

Do NOT take the European Project option (EPS). People who had it were pulling their hair out for 5 months.

If you want to travel in Belgium, do it rathersooner than later. I only really saw three cities during my time there. Oops.

Bolleke & Triple D’Anvers (made by De Koninck) are local beers specific to Antwerp. At least try them.

The beer is stronger in Belgium and you usually can’t tell that by taste. It will get you by surprise.

Stay clear of a bar called “De Prof”. Or don’t if you’re curious, but you’ll agree eventually.

Most exchange students I got to know during that five months really came to like Antwerp and its atmosphere. Go out, go to events and activities even though you might not feel like going, it’ll all be worth it at the end of the day. Five months is a short time, but I’m happy to have spent it in Antwerp.

 

My friend sporting a Triple D’Anvers on a chill street in Antwerp

 

-Petteri

Austria, the amazing place to be

Greetings from Austria! A truly beautiful and amazing place to be.
Its a great retreat if you like Nature, you can go to the Alps, or if you like cities and architecture, you can go to Vienna. Absolutely astonishing buildings make you feel like you are living in the 1700s.

The International Business field in FH Wiener Neustadt is very in depth and you can select to study whatever you really want and really deepen in that field. There are a lot of courses which offer a great opportunities. The school facility is amazing and the atmosphere is great too, which motivates you to study well.

During my exchange in FH Wiener Neustadt i have learned the key differences between Finnish and Austrian schooling system. It is somewhat more strict in here and there is a stronger discipline. For example, from some courses you have to have more than half % to even get the worst possible grade. You really need to put hard work to it in order to get a good grade. The good news is that the courses are distributed so, that there are only few per day, and some days you will have “free day” so you can study from home and not show up to school. This is always great because you get to sleep longer and not wake up early.

Our school

One of the biggest problems however is the fact that in the library there are not enough course books for all, which means you will have to find a partner from which you could borrow the books.

Free time!
Of course its not only about studying all the time. You get to hang out with people and learn to know them. Luckily in our dormitory we had the most amazing people living in our student housing. Party? No problem. Breakfast? No problem, Dinner? You say it, Chief.
This is a truly great place to socialize and be with people after hard studying -> Our dorms. We had parties every weekend and there were always people that left somewhere to explore Austria during the holidays and you could come with them.  Luckily Vienna is just 20km away so that is like 13minute train ride to the big city. And there is always something you could do there. Meet people, go to restaurant, clubs, and such. Its cheap and its fun!

Our amazing dorms

The amazing Wiener Neustadt