Category Archives: Social Services, Health and Sports

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Greetings from Hanoi!

Greetings from Hanoi!

 Vietnamese people believe that they are the children of a mountain fairy and a water dragon. The fairy and her dragon fell in love and the fairy moved to the sea shore. They got lots of children but the fairy could not be happy without her mountains. She took half of the children with her and moved back to where she came from. The water dragon took care of the other half. The story is easy to believe because Vietnam is a land of great mountains and the sea.

I am doing my 7 weeks internship in Hanoi Medical University Hospital. The first four weeks of my internship consists of mornings at the surgical department and of participating lessons with local students in the afternoons. There is also another Finnish girl participating the same courses. The next 3 weeks we’re going to spend at the emergency department and as a future emergency nurse I look forward to it! The local students are our tutors during our internship. The doctors don’t have time to teach us and many of them lack English speaking skills so that’s why it is easier for everybody to have the students to guide us. Most of the patients don’t speak any English so the communication with them is difficult. But we smile a lot with each other and they are very interested in Western nurse students.

Hanoi is a city of great contrasts. In the city centre you can find expensive restaurants and shops, and you almost forget that Vietnam is not a rich country. The majority of Hanoi consists of shabby buildings and narrow streets where the local merchants buy fruits and vegetables, meat and fish. Forget the cold chain, it is okay to keep the meat products laying on the table whole day. There are chickens walking freely in the city streets and once I saw a man skinning the chicken next to the pavement. It is very dirty everywhere and air pollutants are a big problem. Vietnamese people are friendly and helpful. I have been travelling around Asia when I was younger and I always hated the way many people try to take advantage of me when talking about money. It happens here also, but not so much. People stare at me because I am a western girl with almost blond hair, but mostly they let me be alone.

My favourite Vietnamese food is bun cha. It is a local soup made of pork and noodle. It costs approximately 25000 Vietnamese dongs, about 90 cents in euros. As a coffee lover I tasted the famous Vietnamese coffee. It is a bit strong and sweet for Finnish taste, but still very good!

During my free time I have been exploring the city. I went to see the botanical garden and the famous water puppet show. The show was interesting and crazy in a good way, I recommend it to anyone who travels to Hanoi. I’ve been travelling outside of Hanoi also, to see the famous Halong bay and the valley of Mai chau. I love travelling and the countryside, so it is very difficult to me to stay in Hanoi for a long time. Especially because the population of the capital is 7,5 million.

Vietnamese nursing culture is very different compared to Finnish one. The hospital where I am working is one of the best hospitals in Hanoi but still I can see the differences. Protection against infections is not so strict as it is in Finland and for example gloves are not used very often. It has been difficult for me to do all the things in Vietnamese way and not how I learned to do them in Finland. The treatment of ulcers is made with iodine only and some treatment practices differ a lot from Finnish ways. Sometimes it is difficult to keep myself from questioning the practices, but still I can see that local nurses and doctors are very professional and I learned a lot here. Privacy is not a big deal, there are approximately ten patients living in the same room and sometimes nurses need to make extra beds to the floor or have two patients in the same bed. There are no curtains around the beds and all the nursing operations are done in front of other people. Including catheterizing. The nursing work here consists mostly of medical treatment. Families take care of feeding and washing the patients.

I have been enjoying my life in Vietnam and fortunately I still have 5 weeks left.


Greetings from Paris

I’m doing my 6 weeks internship at Cochi’s Hospital. Hospital lies very close the beautiful garden of Luxembourg. People are very friendly at the hospital and my tutor speaks good English. Some of the patients don’t speak or understand at all English, so sometimes it’s a bit difficult to give some physiotherapy. I don’t speak french at all, except few sentences and words. Some patients have asked me why did I come to France if I can’t speak french? Well yeah… That’s a question. I have spent a lot of time at the rheumatology and ortopedic sections where people suffer a lot of low back pain. Postoperative physiotherapy is also given at the both sections. I have also had  a couple of french lessons at the Ecole d’Assas. Just trying to learn some sentences and phrases what I can use with patients who don’t speak English.

This is how they recommend patients to eat

After 6 weeks internship at the hospital, there’s an international week at the school. There are going to be lots of presentations about different areas of physiotherapy. After the international week, I have 4 weeks internship at Cardiology and respiratory center in the north side of Paris.

Jardin de Tuileries

I’m spending my free time at the local gym called ”Fitness price”. I try to workout 2 to 4 times a week. It gives me good feeling and improves my endurance condition. I have also seen many sights, for example Eiffel tower, Triumphal arch, Champs Èlysée, Sainte-Chapelle, Church of Notre Dame, Sacré-Coeur, Luxemourg garden, Tuileries Garden, The Pont Alexandre, Pére Lachaise Cemetery… Paris is a historical town and there are lots of old buildings and much to see. Maybe 3 months is not enough to see everything that the town offers?



French pastries are incredibly good and tasty! I spend my free time… eating. I have already tasted opera cake, macaron, mille feuille, croissant, baguette, chocolate tart (twice…), eclair, nutella crepe, madeleines… This is the city of gourmet. If you go to café and order one cup of coffee, it’s going to be a really small cup. I’m serious. I think they don’t understand that I’m a finnish girl and I need a bucket of coffee!

Physiotherapy studies last here 4 years ( in Finland 3 ½ years) and they have specialized studied in their education. Physiotherapy is similar in the hospital than it’s in Finland. Here they invest a lot of time and resources to intensive rehabilitation. They rehabilitate their patients 5 hours a day! That’s something Finland should learn from example! Here also multi-professional collaboration comes out very clearly. Doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, social workers, personal trainers, podiatrists and orthotists work as a team.

Salutacions de Manresa!

Greetings from Manresa! I am doing my training here in South Europe. I am nurse student, and my training place is quite nice and small health center where children and adults are cared for.  My training has gone pretty well even though really no one speaks English and I barely speak Spanish or Catalan. But thank God we have a Google translator. People here are very friendly and interested in to learn some English so in practice I also teach English to my work mates.

(view from Manresa)

Manresa located about 65km from Barcelona. And almost every weekend I used to take train to Barcelona. I can say that Barcelona is huge city and every time I visiting there I found something new and interesting to do. Here it is not possible to get bored. The best thing for me is just to walk the seashore or La Rambla while the sun is warming up. Besides, there are also great shopping places here.

(La Sagrada Familia and La Rambla)

The training is quite similar here and in Finland. Of course there are some differences but I could say they are quite minor. The first difference I saw was that they do not have brakes between their work day, they just keep their brake when they had done all the works, like if you went afternoon shift your first brake was 20.15 and you can go home 21.00.

Other compares I saw was that almost every single TV series and movies are re-recorded in Spanish and I think that was quite annoying. Despite that I really can say that I have liked to be here. And of course the parking system, Spanish just park their cars anywhere and leave the warning lights on for while they go shopping.

(park Güell)


Greetings from Fuengirola, Spain, where I am in practical training. I’m studying for a Bachelor of Social Services. Now I have been here five weeks and my training lasts three months. I enjoyed my life in Spain and the placement is a very good. It’s a small home school where is about 25 pupils.

                                         I love sunny mornings


Spare time

Spare time has passed by walking nearby villages and nearby mountain. During the first month came more than 300 km of walking. While the walking can to sense the mood of the villages better than in the car. In the nearby mountain there is a cave at an altitude of about 500 meters and there also came a deviation.


                                 Great views from the mountain



                                                                                                   Colomares Castle

 It’s not really Ia castle, it is a monument dedicated to the life and adventures of Christopher Columbus. It is a miniature model of the castle. This attraction is located on Pueblo Benalmadena near Fuengirola.


Spain as compared to Finland

First at all, the climate comes to mind, especially right now, that in Finland has had severe frosts. Despite the fact that last week there was a very rainy climate it is wonderful. However, rainfall is needed to fill rainwater from the basins of drinking water, otherwise the water setting will begin.


           Water flows down the Fuengirola River down the mountains


In Spain, nothing is very accurate and, for example, a car can be a parking space in the middle of the road and block the whole traffic if the driver deviates somewhere and there is no immediate parking space.

People are very polite and many greetings, hola! In Finland it is normal to turn away and say nothing. Here are lots of dogs and they usually run free. On the streets are quite a lot of dog stools. The dogs are not interested in other people but are running their own paths.


Even though here are many tourists, it is worthwhile to come if there is a chance!




Greetings from Ireland!

I have been living in Ireland for four months now and I got to say that I love it! Beautiful evergreen Ireland stole my heart. (Actually now even more, but my blog never loaded here…)

My Erasmus experience didn’t start as well as I hoped but at least it wasn’t boring at all! The second day after my arrival I fell down the stairs in Dublin and sprained my ankle.  First three weeks I walked with crutches and a boot on my leg.  Through that accident, I got to see how helpful and kind Irish people are. I met so many nice people during those weeks who helped me in different kind of situations.

I’ve been studying in Tralee which is a cosy little town with little under 24 000 people living there. It has everything you need and pubs actually more than you need… but that’s Irish…

Institute of Technology Tralee is quite a big college and also a really nice one. It has two campuses (North and South) and I’ve been studying at both. North campus is bigger and a new one and basically all social service classes are there. It is about three kilometres from the centre and south campus is about one kilometre away from the city centre.

In the beginning, it was hard to catch up with the Irish accent, but surprisingly I got used to it really fast. The way of studying is different comparing to TAMK. There a teacher usually speaks the whole hour and your job is to make notes. Usually studying is not practical, but sometimes we had the possibility to talk in groups about a topic set by the teacher. We got a lot of assignments, actually I’ve never done that much assignments in one semester in Finland. But in the end, it wasn’t as bad as I thought. The most important thing there is to listen and make notes during the classes. 

I lived in Tralee Town Centre Apartments. The rent wasn’t expensive at all but the electricity bill was really high during winter time. The owners are super nice people and the most of Erasmus students lived there and I would say that it was definitely the best part of it!

During these months I’ve been travelling a lot around Ireland. I’ve been spending time with my new friends, enjoying pub culture and Irish music. I was also a member of college music society where I met a lot of talented local people too. I also got to see Northern Ireland through Irish Experience Tours which I highly recommend because of their student prises. Ireland is amazing country and I love the atmosphere there. The most beautiful place was definitely Giant Causeway! Unbelievable. 

For me, Ireland feels like home. This country is so outgoing and relaxed! I don’t feel like going back to Finland at all, but unfortunately, I have to come back to do my thesis. This time here has really opened my eyes, I’ve learned so much about myself and about life itself that I’m forever grateful for this experience. 

Greetings from sunny and beautiful Porto!

My practical training

During my 2,5 months of practise in Porto, I have two practises: pediatrics and obstretics. Both practises took place in the biggest hospital of Porto, St. John Hospital  Hospital São João, which took me a few weeks to learn how to pronounce and still Portuguese people smile when I say it :D. Portuguese language has a lot of nouns that don’t exist in the languages that I speak, so it has been very difficult to even pronunciate some words.
The pediatric practise took place in a day hospital, where I prepared a lot of medication and learned about many chronical disaeases. The picture is from the pediatric practise where luckily me and my friend where on the same place! 🙂 The obstretic pra the babies have a black, thick hair! 😀


The spare time in Porto has been really nice, the city is extremely beautiful and comfy at the same time. I’ve met a lot of nice people and made new friends who I like to spend my free time with. Here it is very natural to meet up by having dinner, and it’s quite cheap to eat out compared to Finland. I’m living with my friend and in our flat there is no wifi, so instead of netflix, we’ve been doing a puzzle of one thousand pieces.:D I warmly recommend it.
I’ve also done a bit of travelling in Portugal and after my practise I’m going to travel around Portugal and Spain before coming back to Finland.





Views of Porto.











A a good daytrip to Guimaraes with some other exchange students, who I spend time with weekly.




Studies and practise compared to Finland

Even though I’m doing a practise in the hospital, I also have classes at school and I’ve got to know to Portuguese students. Their mentality to studying is a bit different, and grades are more important. They also get grades from their practises on a scale of 0-20, whereas in Finland the practise is either accepted or not. It seems that the students put a lot more work into their presentations and are well prepared. I think their skills of argumenting are more advanced since they have to give a proper feedback about others presentations.

In the hospital the things work pretty much in the same way as in Finland. Nurses come to work, do the work and go home.There are some differences though: or me it was confusing to realise that the medication is not behind locked doors like it’s in Finland.

The nurses are usually not very friendly to students and to the Erasmus students they don’t like to look in the eye too much. 😀 Most don’t speak English and some of them just don’t want to. The teachers don’t speak English either, so the other students are translating if needed. It is quite challenging to work without being able to talk in Portuguese, but there are also very funny situations that come from using the few Portuguese words I know + ”the sign language”.

The nurses have been striking a lot this year and are demanding better working conditions. They don’t get paid extra of evenings, nights, weekends, holidays or the years of experience. Even though there are a lot improve for nurses in Finland, this is giving a bit of perspective of how well things are for nurses in Finland..

All in all, I’ve loved being in Portugal, it is an interesting culture and I wouldn’t mind staying longer. On the other hand, I’m happy to go home where I have a warm shower and in every small talk situation I don’t have to say: ”Yes, I’m from Finland, it’s very cold and dark in there and we’re all very very blond.”


Porto locates to the coast of Atlantic and the sunsets are simply outstanding.




Mela, in Malta…

Practical training

I’m doing a three month practical training in Malta. Those three months are divided to three placements, each lasting four weeks. That has given me a nice overview about physiotherapy in Malta.

Maltese fishing boats “Luzzus” in Marsaxlokk.

Spare time

I am working morning shifts from Monday to Friday, as physiotherapists in public hospitals most often do. It gives me the evenings and weekends off.

I came here with my wife and son, so most of my spare time we spend together. Sometimes we go around Malta and see all the interesting and beautiful places but most of the time we do what we would back home, spend time in playgrounds, go around shops and flea markets, eat out, hang around in our home etc. of course now in a totally different environment.

I have made many friends with other Erasmus students and I/we also spend time with them. Fortunately we’ve had many visitors from Finland and it’s been nice to go around Malta with them also.

Blue Lagoon, Comino.

Differences with Finland

Working as a physiotherapist in Malta is mostly the same as doing it in Finland. Techniques are the same and in hospitals physio’s work mainly on morning shift. I think the biggest difference is the paperwork. Because actually there is quite a lot of actual true paperwork. In Finland all the medical files are digital and you add new reports straight to an electronic medical record softwares like Pegasos, but here it is all still done on paper.

View from the hospital office.


It has been a very interesting, educational and in every way a good experience. My Erasmus experience has most probably been very different from others experiences in Malta, due to that I came here with my family. Malta offers something for everyone and I recommend coming here for Erasmus to anyone who is open to different cultures and experiences. Malta truly is something different, compared to Finland or other northern European countries.


Finalmente aquí

Practical training 

I´m in practical training in Tenerife, in Santa Cruz. I study nursing and this is my last practical training. First weeks I was in health center because I had to learn some skills I haven´t learn in Finland. For example taking blood samples: I have done it only once in the school 2 years ago. Secondly i needed to learn Spanish quite well before the practising in hospital. These last weeks I´m in the university hospital,  in traumatology ward. This is very interesting. Other nurses don´t speak English much so we communicate with Spanish language. I think I have learned to speak Spanish quite well and other nurses and patients understand me.




Spare time in Spain 

There are many activities in Tenerife. Hopefully I have spare time every weekends. I´m grateful because me and my Finnish friend spend our exchange in the same destination country. When we have spare time we usually go take the sun to the beach or sea water pools. We are very lucky because here is everyday at least 22-25 degrees. Three weeks ago we were in Teide  (the volcano that is the highest peak in Spain) with our Spanish friend. We have met Spanish students and been hanging out with them.




There are many shopping places in Tenerife. Santa Cruz is the best shopping city in whole Tenerife. There are many shopping streets  and commercial center in Santa Cruz. Clothes and food in restaurant is cheaper than in Finland. That´s why we can go eat to restaurant more often than in Finland.



Compared to Finland

Practising in the university hospital in Spain is quite same than in Finland. There are quite same treatment methods and aseptics is important also in Spain. Even if I work in the different culture, there are similarities in practicalities and ethics laws. All in all I think Finland is more advanced with health system than Spain does: because of technology.





Hilsen fra Danmark!

Oh, how time flies by! I have been here in Roskilde for three and a half months now and soon it is time to come back home. First of all, I have to say that I really love Denmark, not only because this is so beautiful country, but because the people here are so friendly and the whole atmosphere here is really relaxed and calming. It is all about hygge! But now, let’s get to the point. I am here studying course called Children at Risk at the University College Absalon. The course is expressly designed for exchange students and consists of three modules. The emphasis is on social pedagogical work with children and youth. In short, this course is all about human rights, children rights, early childhood education and special education, inclusion and exclusion and different methods in social work.I came here with very high expectations and now after two modules I must say that I am slightly disappointed. Basically, we are learning a bit of this and that but not really going deeper in the subjects. But that is part of Danish pedagogy: you have to find out yourself what is important and interesting for you and then go and do your own research. Secondly, the Danish education system is all about freedom: if you don’t feel like going to classes you don’t have to go there and you won’t be punished for that. I.e. if you are ill and skip the class, you don’t have to write ten-page essay to compensate your absence. This system shows that pedagogues here rely on students, who are seen as responsible adults and it really doesn’t serve anybody’s interests to give extra assignments. And third thing about the education: if you don’t like teamwork, never ever come here for exchange! We do everything in groups, so during this three and a half months I’ve had only one individual assignment. Honestly, one!

 One thing I have really enjoyed is that we do lot of field visits and we have lots of guest lectures from different kind of institutions – from Denmark and around Europe. For me the field visits have been the most educative and interesting. Visits are a great opportunity to see how services are produced here and what kind of methods are used with clients. We have students from eight different countries, representing six different profession. So, this is a great chance to practice multi-cultural and -professional work. It is also interesting to compare differences and similarities of social services and legislations.

Our study schedule is quite loose, so I have plenty of spare time. Some of that time I of course have to use for school assignments but still I feel that I have more time to do other things than back at home. We do a lot of things together: go different kind of events and parties, watch movies, hang out and play games, have a dinner together etc. The city of Roskilde is small and cozy. We got bikes from our school so it has been easy to investigate neighborhoods nearby. Here is lot of great running trails with nice views so I have been really motivated to run. On weekends, I usually do some traveling. I have visited in several different castles like Kronborg, Egeskov and Frederiksborg. Since Copenhagen is not that far from Roskilde and is easily accessible by train, I spend a lot of time there. At this point it is one of my favorite cities, there is always something happening. Every time I visit there I find something new and exciting and I still have lot of exploring to do!

Med venlig hilsen,


Osijek, Croatia – a small big city

Osijek – A small big city

When I started to plan my training abroad, Croatia wasn’t my first choice. Deciding to come here for a traineeship was quite a gamble because I didn’t know a lot of things about Croatia or Osijek in general. Now it is the last week of my stay, and it has been an experience that I’ll never forget. I’m happy and thankful that I’ve had a chance to work and live in this place and learn about it’s culture and way of living.

I’m staying in a small city called Osijek. It has been a big industrial city in the past and you can still see it. The river Drava flows through the city, making it a perfect place for fishermen. And  not only the river, but the numerous of parks here really warm a nature lovers heart. Osijek has a long history and you can still see and feel it when you walk along the streets. One of my favorite places here is Tvrda. It’s an old part of the town that has been kept and partly renovated to look as it was originally built. There you can find a lot of cafes and bars and a few interesting museums.

What I love most about Osijek, is that even though it is a quite small town, they have everything they need here. You can walk or cycle anywhere and while doing that see beautiful places and buildings around you.

My Traineeship

So, I study emergency care in TAMK and I came to do my surgical and community nursing training here. I didn’t know much about the hospital or what my training will include beforehand, so I didn’t have much expectations.

The hospital of Osijek is a medium sized central hospital of this area in Croatia. I spent there six weeks, every week in a different surgical department. Because of my interest in emergency care, my favorite departments were trauma ward and trauma control. I also really enjoyed seeing the operating rooms and to follow the operations they proceeded. I had very good mentors on every department and I had a lot of good conversations about health care with the local nurses and doctors. All in all, people were very welcoming to me and I could always ask questions and discuss things that I found interesting. All the workers didn’t speak English, but they tried their best. With a bit of body language and creative ways of explaining things you can come a long way.

The last 4 weeks I had in community nursing, it included two weeks in home nursing, one week in pediatrics reception and one week in cardiology. In home nursing, I was doing some regular check-ups with another nurse, it was interesting to see people’s homes, but I couldn’t really do much because most of the visits were about interviewing the patients and most of the patients didn’t speak English. In the pediatrics reception, I had a very learnfull time. I learnt a lot about how to check children’s normal development and about the common sicknesses. The doctor there was super helpful and nice.

The training itself was different than I’m used to. I have some previous work experience in nursing, so I don’t think that my clinical skills were improved so much, but I got some new perspectives in nursing and got to see many things I’ve never seen before.

My freetime

The good thing about Osijek is that it is surrounded by other interesting cities. You can rent a car and travel around Croatia and its neighbor countries. I’ve been on weekend visits to Zagreb, Pecs and Budapest and I still have some places I’d like to see and experience! If you are willing and able to drive here, renting a car is a good option. It’s not very expensive especially if there is a bigger group going. Of course there are also buses for weekend trips.

These pictures are from Pecs Hungary. A small city 80 km away from Osijek. I hadn’t heard from this city before but I strongly recommend visiting it. Lovely architecture, a stunning cathedral and much more. It isn’t a tourist city but worth visiting.

The capital city of Croatia. In Zagreb, you can find different museums, a lot of restaurants and bars, gift shops etc. I recommend you visit the Zagreb 360. Up there you get a view of the whole city. Also, Maksim park was beautiful.

If you want to stay in Osijek, you can find a bunch of lovely cafes and bars and if you are interested in history, here are some very good museums. And if you get sick of eating and drinking at cafes and restaurants, all the parks and the river that I told you about earlier makes Osijek also a nice place to exercise.


I think it is quite hard to start comparing Croatian work life to Finnish. We have a lot of similarities but also our differences. Croatia may not be as developed as Finland but its heading to the same direction. The biggest difference I’ve experienced here is that the whole atmosphere, not only at work, but in general is more relaxed. I had really big problems at the beginning to adjust to the laid-back attitude. After all I think my exchange here has helped me to loosen up a little bit with everything.  It has been a positive experience for me to see how health care system and practical work are done here. I think I can appreciate the medical schools, our nursing education and our state of health care, and its techniques and technology much more than before.