Category Archives: Social Sciences, Business and Administration

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

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

Greetings from French Riviera!

I did my exchange in Nice, France, last spring 2018. I studied at IPAG Business School located in the heart of Nice. In the Shanghai Ranking, IPAG is listed as the 3rd best French business school, so I had high expectations when I started my studies there.

My school started on Thursday 25th January 2018. We had small orientation at first (approx. 1-2 hours) where we talked about the semester, exams and participation. In my opinion, the orientation should have been longer and more extensive. We had to find out most of the practical things ourselves, since the orientation was so limited.

In IPAG I studied Strategic Human Resources Management, Small Business Development, International Marketing and French. All of the courses (except French) were built around one big group work. The final evaluation was made according to the mid term exam, final course exam and group work. The scale was 1-20, and you needed at least 10 points to pass the course. I was hoping there would be more traditional lectures and less group works, but in IPAG we had the other way round. 

In my spare time in Nice we travelled along the Southern France: Cannes, Antibes, Monaco, Menton, Valberg… We also travelled to Barcelona in February and to Italy in April. Besides the travelling, my normal day included school, gym, groceries and Netflix – just like in Finland.

My studies in IPAG were quite similar than in TAMK. One of the differences was that it was usual in IPAG that the lectures might be cancelled in last minute. In TAMK we have never had that.

We had our final exams at the end of May 2018, and I flew back to Finland on Thursday 31st May 2018.

If you have your exchange in Nice and you have questions about the education, city or anything, don’t hesitate to contact me! 🙂

Yours Sincerely,

Julia

julia.taivaljarvi@biz.tamk.fi

Slovenia, you stole my heart

Zdravo!

Did you know that Slovenia has a coastline? Or where Slovenia is, for that matter? That’s okay, neither did I until it came across on the list of partner universities and that’s how it all got started…

I did my Erasmus exchange during autumn semester 2017 in the small but most beautiful town of Portoroz in Slovenia. I am an International Business Student, but I majored in tourism, so that’s why I chose to apply to the Tourism Faculty of University of Primorska. Main campus of this uni is located in nearby city of Koper and Tourism faculty is in Portoroz, which is the main tourist area of coastal Slovenia.

I took 4 courses to study (the list of available courses held in English was small, but after many students asked about it, they added more options): Entrepreneurship in Tourism, Sustainable Tourism, Tourism Product of Slovenia and Consumer Behavior in Tourism. I enjoyed all the courses, especially Tourism Product was very interesting and we made several excursions and studying was made fun. The quality of teaching varied quite much depending on the teacher, but all of them spoke English very well, which was also the case in all Slovenia, everybody spoke English so I never experienced any language barriers.

My hometown, Portoroz.

 

My jogging route by the sea.

 

My weekly schedule consisted of two or three lessons, so I had a lot of free time, which I appreciated very much and pretty much used it to traveling within Slovenia but also around Europe – during my exchange I visited Italy (multiple times given it was only 40 km from Portoroz), Austria, Hungary, Slovakia, Croatia, Montenegro and Bosnia. Pro tip: If you want to travel around, go to Slovenia either by your own car or rent one from there, because the public transportation doesn’t function that well.

 

 

Marketplace in Sarajevo, Bosnia.

 

The autumn semester, in hindsight, was not the best possible timing for exchange studies in a tourist attraction area, because there the season ended in September, and our studies only began by then. This meant that many restaurants and bars were closed for the season, so we didn’t have so many options what to do on our free time. Portoroz has only approximately 3000 inhabitants, so it was a quiet and calm place during my exchange. The locals told that during the high season, it’s hard to even find a parking spot because it is so crowded  everywhere and filled with tourists, but that seemed hard to believe when walking the quiet streets.

When we were not travelling, we were usually having dinner together with our Erasmus group and enjoying the subsidized student meal system called Boni, which allowed us to eat in restaurants for a student-friendly price of 2,50 €. We also went bowling, to the movies or shopping in Koper, which offered more activities.

 

Ice skating rink and Christmas market in the heart of old town in Titov Trg, Koper, Slovenia.

Overall, I would say that I really enjoyed my exchange. Studies were very laidback and did not require much time or effort, so there was a lot of time for everything else. Also, Slovenia has such a convenient location in Europe, so it is fast and affordable to travel around- there is even a ferry going from Piran (neighbouring town of Portoroz) to Venice during the high season.

Also, because only the tourism campus was located in Portoroz, our Erasmus group got to know each other really well and we were a tight group from the beginning and I am glad to say I gained many friends from this time.

 

Moon Bay in Strunjan, Slovenia where we did an excursion during Sustainable Tourism course. In the background you can see Trieste, Italy.

-Ella

¡Hola!

My Erasmus studies came to its end in Madrid a while ago. I studied for the duration of the spring semester, a little over 4 months in Madrid at the Universidad Rey Juan Carlos. The university is located outside of the centre of Madrid, in Vicálvaro. For me it took about 50 min to get to school with the metro. It is a lot of time to travel one-way but in my opinion it wasn’t too bad, especially since I didn’t have school every day. I also knew that I wanted to live closer to the city centre than the university. I lived in south from the centre of Madrid, close to the Madrid Río. I think the area where I lived in was peaceful and nice, 15-20 min metro ride or about 30 min walk away from the centre.

Madrid Río

The university campus was little old-fashioned in my opinion but it had all of the necessary features you needed. It had a quite large library, where you could go to study. The library even had some computers at the students’ disposal. I used the library a lot since I had a course that required doing a lot of homework with a computer. I had mostly business courses but I also had some studies in tourism and international relations. There was some variance in the level of teaching, which I wasn’t too happy with. Luckily there were a couple of good teachers on the courses that I chose.

In my opinion the teaching in Finland is at top level. It was interesting to hear that Erasmus students from other countries had also heard or read about the level of the education in my home country.

I travelled quite a lot in Spain while living in Madrid. My favourite trip was to Andalucía which was very beautiful. It was easy to travel from Madrid to other cities and that was actually one of the reasons I chose the capital of Spain for my Erasmus destination.

Me in Barcelona

I had not been to Madrid before my Erasmus, so it was a completely new experience for me to explore the city. It came as a surprise for me how large the city actually is. The population of the metropolitan area of Madrid is about 6,5 million. In comparison the total population of Finland is 5,5 million. My favourite areas in Madrid were the trendy neighbourhood of Malasaña and La Latina. I enjoyed the good restaurants and terraces in those areas. I also loved the area of Madrid Río a lot.

The rooftops in La Latina

Although Madrid did not live up to my initial expectations, I still feel that all in all my Erasmus experience was great! I met a lot of new people, and made new friends which when I think about it, makes Madrid actually very special for me.

The Bear and the Strawberry Tree – The Symbol of Madrid

I would encourage anyone who has the opportunity to go to Erasmus exchange. It will give you countless unforgettable experiences and friendships that hopefully lasts for a long time.

Dzień dobry ! Greetings from Gdańsk

I started my summer exchange from mid February until June at University of Gdansk, Poland. It has been a great journey here. In Poland, honestly, you can expect the unexpected things happened to you.

Me with a friendly Polish lady

When I just arrived in Gdansk, my impression was quite negative since not so many people speaks English here. It seems so hard to ask for help because I did not know any words in Polish back then. If anyone plan to visit Poland in future, my honest advice is to learn some basic Polish, it will make your life easier 🙂  However, my negative impression quickly faded away when I realized that Poles do not speak English but they are very friendly and helpful. One day, I got lost at the train station and I didn’t have 3G. I was so scared and about to have nerve-breakdown since I was alone but then a local stopped his car next to me and he gave me a free ride to my dorm. Another time, I was on my way to home, and I was really tired but then a friendly Poles passed by me and said ” Don’t worry, be happy” 🙂 and probably it is the only sentence in English that he knew. Later, I asked my Polish friends about Polish culture, they explained to me that Polish like to show affection or care towards other people.

Before I came to Gdansk, I was hoping that the weather here will be warmer than in Finland. But again, I was surprised with the weather condition here 🙂 Since Gdansk is close to the sea, the weather is unpredictable. It can be chilly and windy in the morning and then rainny in the afternoon. Fortunately, I was still able to enjoy Gdansk in sunny day. It is absolutely amazing.

Sunset in Gdansk

From Gdansk, you can travel to many interesting cities for example: Gdynia, Sopot, Malbork, etc with really fast and cheap train. Old buildings and castle are very beautiful here.

Castle in Malbork

If I have another chance, definitely I will go back to Poland. Poland at first, it would not offer as comfortable life as I have in Finland but good food, nice company, beautiful surroundings and interesting history are enough to capture my heart 🙂

Γειά σας! – Greetings from Greece!

I am doing my internship in Rhodes Island, Greece. Rhodes is such a beautiful island and I have fallen in love with it. There are so many historical places to see here and truly amazing beaches. Now in the middle of summer the weather is unbelievably hot. Almost +40 degrees in the shadow during the day. And everyone says it will be even hotter in August! It has been quite difficult for me to get used to this kind of weather but I am doing it somehow. Luckily, we have air conditioners in our office and our apartment, because without it, the weather would be unbearable.

I have enjoyed working here even though it hasn’t been quite what I expected. Although, I have already learned so much and will learn even more before this internship is complete. At first my work was mostly picking up students from the airport and taking them to their hotels where they started working. It really didn’t seem like my work had anything to do with marketing or human resources (that’s what I was supposed to be doing). However, I soon started to other things while I was taking the students to their hotels. For example, I met with the hotel managers and talked to them about co-operation with our company. I also created all the necessary documents for the students and went to different Government offices to get them approved. Now I find the work really interesting and versatile which is very good because I am learning something every day and now my work is actually related to my studies.

I have had a lot of spare time here. I thought I was going to work 6 days per week here but it turned out that I only work for five days per week. So, every week I have two whole days to visit different places. Mostly in my spare time I go to the nearest beach and just relax. Sometimes I visit other places like the city of Rhodes, Lindos or the other islands nearby. I live in such a small village and there really isn’t much to do here. Luckily, it’s easy to go around the island by bus or boats. I have been in some cruises here too and I truly enjoy them. But during this month I haven’t visited many places because it’s so hot here that even the idea of walking around the cities makes me sweat. So basically, I just spend my days off at the beach. Luckily, the water is still quite cold so it’s perfect for swimming and cooling down on a hot day.

It was a little bit of a shock for me when I started working here. I noticed that companies are not so organized here and they have serious communication issues. First it seemed like no one knew who was really in charge and people gave different orders and tasks for me. Some days in the office were really quiet and I had only a few tasks but then there were days when they gave me too many tasks to do and it was in no way possible for me to do all of them on time.

Also, Greeks have a really bad temper, it took time for me to get used to the fact that if things didn’t go how they wanted, they got angry and started yelling at each other. Here it’s normal to show emotions and express them however you like but in Finland people are shy and mostly keep their feelings to themselves. That’s why it was quite shocking at first that people are so open and emotional here but I have gotten used to it by now and started to be more open myself.