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Greetings from South America

I am doing my exchange semester in Montevideo, Uruguay. The partner University here is a private University ORT. The campus Pocitos is quite small and compact where they have all the business-related studies. The classes are always either in the morning or in the evening, since most of the local students are working during the day. Last classes can last until 10.30pm which was first a bit of a shock for me but now it’s obvious. The exchange students have some courses which can also be in the afternoon. The work load really depends of the professor how much do they require from you. Some of them are quite relaxed and really support us with travelling once we are here. The exchange students are not required to for example do an obligatory work, but only the final exam. In some of the courses I have had to do a presentation or parcial, midterm exam. Otherwise the studying is based mostly on lectures which differ a lot from the teaching style in TAMK where we have had a lot of group works. First, I was unsure about studying in Spanish, but it became easier after a month I would say. I encourage everyone just doing it if you are at all unsure! It will all become easier after a while when you are forced to hear and use it in daily basis.

This was my first time travelling to South America. I did not have that much of expectations on Uruguay but it is not what I thought about South America, thinking of for example Peru or Chile. Montevideo is more European and advanced in that sense. I first lived with a local lady but quite fast moved to an apartment with three other exchange students. What surprised me really, was that how expensive the living expenses food were. For this, it’s good to buy all fruits and vegetables in the ferias organized in various barrios every week.

During my free time, I did some sports at the rambla, sort of a beach boulevard going through all the cost of Montevideo and mainly hanged out with friends. There is a student organization called MIS which is organizing all different happenings, parties and even trips to the neighbor countries. I travelled with them to Buenos Aires and Iguazu waterfalls where the bus trip lasted for 24 hours but totally worth it! Then I also travelled to Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, did a jeep safari in Bolivia and continued to Chile. We did a couple of road trips with my friends to see more of Uruguay as well. The flights inside South America are not that cheap, so be prepared to pay a bit more for your travels here.

The lifestyle is super tranquil. Having an asado, sorth of bbq, with friends or just chilling at the rambla sharing mate. Even if the lifestyle is chilled, though you must respect the deadlines given by the Uni, those are still strict. For accommodation, I would recommend looking for a residence or do as I, move in with your friends. Also, it is always windy in Montevideo and the weather took me by surprise. Indeed it was always unpredictable and more cold as I imagined and rained quite frequently for the two first months as well.

 

Greetings from Ireland!

Hello!

I’m currently doing my exchange study period in Cork, Ireland. I study Business Administration and was happy to hear I was accepted to CIT. I live in a student accommodation at Edenhall with my three roommates. I’ve been here since September and have only three and a have weeks left. I can’t believe how fast the time has gone by!

Cork City
Galway

Cork Institute of Technology

Here at Cork Institute of Technology I’m mainly studying marketing. I had some problems with the courses at the start of the semester but I got everything sorted out. I have four courses including: Emerging Markets, Digital Marketing Management, IT skills for Marketing and Digital Advertising. I’ve been very pleased with liked my course choices and learned so much about marketing. I have for example set up a digital marketing blog, learned and did AdWords campaigns, set up a professional Twitter and Facebook account.

The first semester here lasts for 13 weeks and after that are the final examinations. Studying here hasn’t seemed too hard. The lecturers were easy to understand even if they had strong Irish accents. All of them were really friendly and helpful. It was nice to notice that some of the lecturers were really interested in Finland and asked us a lot of questions for example about Finnish companies and their ways of marketing. This made the lessons even more interesting.

Cork Institute of Technology

 Free Time

Most of my free time I spent with my friends. We have spent a lot of time just here in Cork but also been to many trips around Ireland. We have an International Students Society at our school and I was a member of this society. The society arranged a lot of trips that I was on to places like Blarney Castle and gardens, Mizen Head, Mahon Falls and Cobh.

My roommate from Germany came to Cork with her car and this was really nice because we had a chance to do trips by ourselves also. With the girls, we had a weekend trip to Galway on Halloween and we also saw the Cliffs of Moher. Also, when my parents were here we drove around the Ring of Kerry and with my Finnish friends we had a two-night trip to London.

Cliffs of Moher
Cliffs of Moher
London
London
Ring of Kerry
Ring of Kerry
Cobh
Mizen Head

What is Different

The school her is a lot bigger and It took some time to get used to the lessons. They only last for 45 minutes which is really short compared to Finland. It is a little weird to me that many of the Irish students wear track suits to school.

The people here are very different compared to Finns. It’s awesome when you enter a pub and people come to say hi and ask where you’re from. I think this sentence sums up the Irish culture very well: “There are no strangers here, only friends you haven’t met yet.”

 

 

Greetings from Cork!

Studies and School

I have been studying here in Cork Institute of Technology in Ireland now for seven weeks. The first semester lasts 13 weeks and after that there are final exams. I have chosen four courses, which are Digital Marketing Management, Digital Advertising, Emerging Markets and IT Skills for Marketing. All of the courses have been really interesting. For example we have created a digital marketing blog, professional Twitter and Facebook account and learned how to use Google Analytics. I think that these things are really important when finding a job in Finland.

Compared to Finland the lessons here are really short, only 45 minutes. It goes so fast. We have every course three times a week. Another difference, which I have noticed, is that the students always dress up in their tracksuits at school. Almost every boy wears Adidas sweatpants and girls wear some gym leggings.

The school feels a lot bigger than TAMK. Here are many different societies, anything you can think of, from karate to Muslim society. I have only assigned to international students society. They arrange really nice trips almost every weekend and the trips are really cheap.

 

Spare time

At spare time we have been to trips around Ireland. I have seen so many beautiful places here, for example Mizen Head and Blarney Castle. I also visited Dublin last weekend. The city was similar to Cork but bigger. One thing I still must see, the Cliffs of Moher.

We have also gone shopping to city and for a cup of coffee. Here are so good shops and almost every clothing store has a student discount. This should also be in Finland! In few weeks we will also visit London, which will be fun.

Nĭ hăo! Greetings from Shanghai

Studies

I chose four courses which are Foreign Trade of China, Chinese Language, Chinese Culture and China and Globalization. Every subject is held once a week except Chinese language is twice a week. The culture and language courses really help in this big city since it is really hard to find someone who speaks English. Learning about the Chinese culture is interesting because the cultural differences are so noticeable in some cases.

   Spare time

There are so much to see in Shanghai so whenever we have spare time we try to use it wisely, such as exploring the city and places. Shanghai exchange is really short which does not leave that much spare time so you must plan ahead what you would like to do. We have made plans for traveling and sightseeing. So far we have been to famous tourist attractions such as Yu Garden, Shanghai Zoo, Shanghai Museum and The Bund.

Studies – Finland vs. China

The classes in the school are longer, they last about 3,5 hours. Lectures are really similar to Finland. When it comes to the differences between Finland and China, there are not that many. Teachers don’t give assignments here and the projects are bigger and require more effort in Finland which was surprising.

Best time of my life in Madrid

My journey in Madrid has gone to its end. It was an amazing experience to study in a city that is so lively and friendly. Gaining new friends and having new experiences made sure that the time in Madrid was totally worth it.

My studies consisted of human resource management, marketing management, national and international environment of firm and two tourism courses. The teachers were usually nice. One teacher must be the most interested person that I have ever met – and not in a good way. He was loco. One day he was being funny and making jokes with us and on the other day he was saying how much he hates us and can’t wait our classes are over. On the other hand university was easier than TAMK so luckily for me I passed the courses quite easily.

Most of my spare time I spent with my new friends, traveling around Spain and in Europe. There is not that many weekends that I spent in Madrid and when the school was over we went to road trip to the north for 11 days which was one of the best experiences. Other places where I visited was Malta, Morocco (Tangier, Casablanca, Rabat), Switzerland (Zurich, Luzern), France (Riviera cities), Portugal ( Lisbon, Porto) and Ibiza.

 

 

This place feels like home

I’m currently doing make exchange studies in the land of chocolate, watches and banks, you guessed right, I’m talking about Switzerland. I chose Switzerland because I always found the country to be a place where I could live. Truth to be told I’ve never actually been here before but that was the image I had in my head. And so far it seems I was right. This seems to be perfect blend of new and familiar.

School system is pretty similar to Finnish one we know. There are more traditional Universities and the Universities of Applied Science. There also seems to be differences between individual school were they either one. ZHAW where I’m currently studying is located in Winterthur, about 20 minutes from Zürich via train. Even though school is labeled as a University of Applied Sciences the structure of courses and the whole semester reminds me more about traditional University.

I as a exchange students  am able to choose any courses of my liking but local students seem to be split in three categories: Business Administration, Banking and Finance and Accounting students. As far as I’m aware they are split in classes and study current courses of their field together. So I’m less restricted than local students because I’m not bound to the same class structure.

There are mainly two types of courses: More broader ones that have three hours of lectures per week and give you six credits once you complete them, and minor ones with 90 minutes and three credits. On the contrary to my Finnish study experience there is a lot independent work outside of school. I remember doing 8-10 hour days at the library in May because there was so many school projects going on at the same time. Surprisingly though I actually started feel motivated about the challenge and felt real accomplishment when I got my tasks done.

Outside of school we’ve been traveling quite a lot. Switzerland is in middle of Europe so it’s easy to catch a plain or train and visit France for example. Still the best trips have been inside the Swiss borders. The Alps and diversity between different regions have kept me busy and out of money whole semester.

When I’m staying in Winterthur my daily routine is pretty much the same as in Finland. Student camp gives its on flavor on top of that because there’s always someone to talk to and I’ve made more friends in couple of months here than in two years in Tampere.

The city itself is fairly compact. Public transportation works and we have everything we need. If we feel like needing even more options, we can always hop on a train and go to Zürich. Swiss prices cut a lot of options out of the picture but during my stay I’ve learned to be smarter with my choices and aware what I can afford and not.

The Swiss have reputation as very work oriented and distant people. As a Finn I feel like home  in here. People act pretty much the same way, the weather just is warmer and views and salaries are better. Some other students have had problems here because they feel treated coldly in the stores for example but this is similar service as in Finland so it doesn’t bother me. I feel like people respect my space but open up more when we are in right situation to talk.  Work and school culture is pretty similar too although I feel like everything is a little bit more competitive and serious and that’s exactly what I need.

 

Bielefeld

Hello, I am Johannes and I am currently studying in Bielefeld University of Applied Sciences. Bielefeld, where is that? Well I did not know either and I had never heard about it before. Bielefeld is little bit smaller town located in upper part of North Rhine-Westphalia, but it is easier to say that it is just smaller city between Dortmund and Hannover.

Only about 300 000 people live in Bielefeld but city center feels a lot bigger. Some parts of the old town are worth a visit and famous Sparrenburg castle is located near city center. Otherwise it is not that amazing city, at least that is my opinion. I think there is some lot more interesting cities near Bielefeld which makes it good base camp for travelling in Germany.

Studying in Germany is different compared to Finland, semester starts on March and ends in the end of July. Our courses started middle of April but ended already in beginning of June, some courses even started as late as in May but still ended in June. It was really confusing how little time we had to spend in school because in most of the courses we also had only one lecture each week.

So, I had a lot of spare time on my hands which I spend travelling with other exchange students. Our school gave us so called “semester ticket” which is related to our student cards. This semester ticket allows you to travel for free in the whole area of North Rhine-Westphalia using regional trains and busses. Before arriving I did not know that we would get this kind of tickets and it was very pleasant surprise, North Rhine-Westphalia has total area of 34 000km2 so there is a lot to travel. It includes big cities like Cologne, Dortmund, Düsseldorf and Münster, but smaller cities are also wonderful places to visit.

Another way to spent spare time are multiple sport classes which are offered students for free. There are classes from dancing and acting to all the way to swimming and weight lifting, my choice for semester was dancing.

Johannes Äärelä, Johannes Aarela

Overall my experience in Bielefeld was really good and I can recommend it for other students also.

Augsburg Confidential

Greetings from Augsburg, the garden city of Bavaria. Before we start, I have to inform you that I am officially doing my studies in Munich (approx. 80 km from Augsburg), but as luck will have it, I had to accept my principal accommodations from Augsburg, as to not get bankrupted by the insane living costs of Munich!

Anyways, I think fate dealt me an excellent hand, as I surely have had a quite a different ride from other exchange students that are living in Munich proper. At the moment I am situated between hundreds of rows of Corn stalks, few hay bushes, three pig farms and two horse stables. Oh and thousands of overtly friendly country people!

Between all those things I have to try to survive with my basic german speaking skills as 90% of people here do not willingly parlay in english. The good part is that it works great with my goal of getting out of my comfort zone, which I am! Constantly!

The long distance to my actual university city of Munich makes commuting a chore, but it also makes going to Munich an event! So every time I have to drag my self to class it feels important and that in turn makes me take classes a little bit more seriously.  And that seriousness is a good thing as these double professors and herr doctor-doctor teachers really have a lot stuff to give to us students.

To balance out all this extreme focusing and seriousness during the classes, I attend all sorts of gatherings with like minded people. Be it beer festivals or rock concerts, you can probably spot me in there somewhere!

With Head-Banging greetings

Sami Juntunen

Greetings from the Netherlands

I never thought I’d truly fall in love with a country such as Netherlands, but it happened. The people here remind me of Finnish people, but more open minded and accepting.

I’m studying at the Hague University of Applied Sciences, and I’m attending a project called European Project Semester. This year’s project is to create a smartphone application that helps art students and young artists to promote and sell their art. We’ve decided to create an application that lets the user talk to pieces of art, such as statues and paintings. When the user gets close to a piece of art he gets a message from it and can start having a conversation. Each art piece has artificial intelligence, meaning they can learn from the conversations they have.

In my spare time I mostly hang out with my newly found friends, making food, going to parks and to the beach or with our school project. It is very easy to get around the Hague because of the bike lanes that are everywhere, and if there isn’t one you can just cycle among the cars without the fear of road rage. The public transportation is also very functional.

depier.png

Me and a couple of buddies also did some traveling around Europe. First we went to Belgium, and spent time in Brussels and also Bruges, a medieval trading post on northern Belgium. Then after that we went to see Vienna, Prague and Krakow. It is very easy to get around central Europe with either a bus or a train. We usually use the bus, as it is way cheaper compared to train or airplane, with some exceptions.

Center.png

Studying in the Netherlands feels, for the most part, the same as Finland. Dutch people kept telling me that apparently the education system in Finland is perfect and their system is trying to replicate what’s happening in Finland . Although I did not get to see the whole picture, I don’t think it differs that much from Finland’s education system.

IMG-20170407-WA0005

I also bought two bikes, both of which I fixed. One of them (the one on the photo) i brought with me to Finland.

Greetings from Korea University

Well, it’s time to say goodbye to South Korea. It was an amazing experience to study in a city that is four times as big as Finland. Gaining new friends and having new experiences made sure that this journey was worth it.

My studies consisted of human resource management, operations management and information systems management. I was a little surprised that all of the classes were only 1h 15 min long and we got a lot done during that time. The teachers were nice and they had a sense of humor. But, in addition, they were very strict about their subjects.

One of the main buildings in KU

Most of my spare time I spent with my friends, traveling around Seoul and in Korea. Usually we went to a new place in Seoul and spend the day there. One of the best experiences was the Lantern Festival in Daegu. We went there with 10 other persons and we saw a beautiful show made by the locals.

Lantern Festival in Daegu

Studies in KU was not as different from TAMK as I expected. We had to read more but the exams were not that hard. The biggest difference was that we had to do a lot of group projects. Each course had one or two projects and they were bigger than what we’ve had in TAMK. But, it was a fun way to meet Koreans like that.

VAK