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Nihao, greetings from China!

This is a postcard from China, one of the culturally richest country. So I have started my exchange in China from August 2018 at the Qilu University of Technology in Jinan, the north part of China. This is my second home country and looked forward to this exchange journey!

(This photo was taken a front of the library of QLU, nice fountain!)

Studies weren’t so easy, okay the hardest part was the weather. It was so hot in China when I arrived, almost 30 degrees. And of course, there was no air conditioning, and for some reason, those fans never worked… But fortunately, exchange students had air conditioning in their room, so whenever the lecture finished, I enjoyed my study in my room (or “our” place with my roommate). Besides the heat, for me, everything went well (okay, Chinese professors had a quite strong accent, but you would get to familiar with that).

(Jinan Expo Garden near by the school)

Usually, I hang out with my friends during my spare time. Attending to the local church and had a few travels on the weekend or holidays. Oh, and Business Street was s cool place! Basically, I could find everything from there, like gyms, restaurants, karaoke, pubs, bakeries, stores, hairdressings etc, just everything!

Having a bicultural background was helpful for me to adapt to this country. Surely, there were some difficult times and it was hard to adjust to the local way of acting. But finally, everything went well.

Everyday life of Wolverhampton Wanderer

Greetings from Wolverhampton, United Kingdom! I’m Veera, construction engineering student from Finland and I’m doing an Erasmus in England.

Picture 1: Part of the campus.

Our campus here is huge. Pretty much half of this (small) town’s buildings belongs to the University.

Here in the University of Wolverhampton we don’t have many lectures and even if we do, we are not required to go there if we don’t want to. However, I work more for the University here than I do in Finland, but mostly cause it takes so much time to read and write in a foreign language.

 

Pictures 2&3. On the left: a silent study area with a nice view. On the right: Mainstream. But yes, we have a Starbucks on campus.

Most of my friends here are also exchange students and we all live in an university accommodation. Everyone has their own tiny room with a bed and a table in it and then you share your kitchen and bathroom with five other people.

Football is a big thing here. Wolverhampton Wanderers F.C. (Wolves) compete in the Premium League and the stadium is between the accommodation and the university, so you cannot miss out a match day. On match days there are a lot of kiosks near to the stadium, and one of my favorite things here is buying some sausage and chips on my way home after a long day at the library!

Yesterday (2 March 2019) I happened to walk beside the stadium when Wolves scored their winning goal against Manchester United. Memorable moment.

 

Picture 4: Molineux stadium.

Wolverhampton is a small but well-connected town. Birmingham International airport is only 30 minutes away and coaches to London leave almost every hour. I’ve been to London four times already and during our winter break we flew from Birmingham to Ireland and tickets were only 60 euros each. Also Manchester and Liverpool are only few hours away. Since lectures here are optional, you can easily travel a lot if you want to.

In conclusion, Wolverhampton has been a good place to do Erasmus. Studying here is pretty much what I excepted and there are a lot of exchange students here so it’s super easy to make friends.

Best,

Veera

While in Slovenia

Hi folks!

It has been almost 3 months since my stay in Slovenia for internship. It has been such a worthwhile experience!

Sorry for not introducing myself first 🙁 My name is Hang, from Vietnam. I am studying Energy and Environmental Engineering degree programme in Tampere University of Applied Sciences (TAMK). I started my internship for a company in Slovenia this January and it is a 3-month internship. I worked as a digital nomad in Slovenia so I could combine my travelling hobby with working. I also took time to travel to some countries in Europe, sometimes alone, sometimes with friends, sometimes with acquaintances.

Slovenia is indeed a small country in area, but it is here where many of my first times occurred. I gained a huge amount of knowledge while living here. I met new people, made new friends with people from all around the world. I learnt valuable lessons. And the most importantly, I realized many new parts of me that I have never discovered before. I now understand what are important in my life. The melody of song ‘Catch & release’ by Matt Simons just poped out of my head. I recommned you guys to hear this song before starting any adventure. To sum up, I appreciate my opportunity to work and live here in Slovenia!

I do miss Finland so bad. I miss my friends, the snow (yes desperately), my private room, public transportation, and many more. But the thing I miss the most turns out to be my whole life in Finland. It includes the atmosphere I was breathing in, the people I used to meet and talk to, the jobs I used to have, the road I used to walk under the snow, the lakes I used to swim every day in the summer time, the apartment where I used to live in, all these good and bad memories. I guess what the wise man said that you only what you got once you lost it is true in this case. I realize how much I love my life in Finland only once I leave it… Such dilemma, isn’t it? But life is constantly moving forward, not even waiting for anyone. I also need to move on, leaving the past behind and keep rolling 😀

I have changed my mindset a lot since my stay in Slovenia. All these stereo types, all these misconceptions, all these unrealistic ideologies, all turn into ashes. 3 months is not a huge period of time, but it is enough to make a man become much wiser and even enough for him/her to transform. Btw I grew my 3rd wisdom tooth here in Slovenia 😀

I highly recommend everybody to have their study abroad, with exchange programs, degree programs or woking abroad. By doing this, you can know exactly how strong you are and how stronger you can become! I literally live like I am going to die tomorrow, a bit rusher than my normal life, I got sick in Slovenia here in 3 months more times than my life in Vietnam and Finland … But that is okay, another adventurous life!

Student,

Hang Nguyen

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hallo and greetings from Upper Austria

I spent my fall semester 2018 – 2019 attending the University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria. It is divided into four campuses in different cities around the state of Upper Austria. The engineering programmes are in a small town called Wels. It´s located in the middle of the train route from Vienna to Salzburg. The town is small, but cozy. You will get to know the city center pretty quickly. The Traun river flows right through Wels. Where in the summer it’s nice to take a cooling dip in or if you are daring a refreshing one in the winter.

The campus of Wels is really nice and modern. The campus consists of 8 buildings that are spread around the city center. Most of my classes were held in the main building. I stayed in a dorm during my exchange. It allowed me to meet many people, locals and other international students. Austrian food also came familiar through the warm dining and breakfast opportunity that was included in our accommodation.

Traun river that flows through Wels
A typical lunch at the dorm, spinach Knödel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I found the lectures and teaching methods to be pretty similar to what I have experienced in TAMK. Of course, there were minor differences. For example, the scheduling system with weekly changing timetables and the occasional workshop-oriented courses. That would last up to 7 hours a day for three days and then the course is completed. The exams here are also a bit different being more condensed and therefore the exam time shorter, usually about 45 minutes to one and a half hours. Another thing is how the semesters are determined. In Austria there is a summer and a winter semester instead of fall and spring semester. The winter semester stars in October and ends in February while the summer semester goes from March to June.  This unfortunately caused me some troubles at the end of my exchange because the semester in Austria had not finnished when the spring semester in Finland had already started. The school community is active, they organize events and trips. For example, we got to visit a famous cookie factory. Also, there is a Seidlstandl every other Thursday in the school courtyard. Where you can have a drink and get to know other students.

In my spare time I aimed to travel as much I could and see around Austria and Europe. Take advantage of the great location of Wels. Like I mentioned before Wels is located on the main railway route from Vienna and Salzburg. Therefore, it was super easy to get around using the train. (Tip: buy an ÖBB Vorteilscard Jugend for 20 € and get 50% off all the train tickets for a year) At the beginning of my exchange I got to explore Austria and witness the beautiful mountain landscapes. There are too many opportunities for great hikes and enjoying the nature in Austria. It was also worth visiting the bigger cities of Upper Austria, like Vienna and Salzburg. Wels is also positioned well for traveling around Europe. Always nice to return from the bigger cities to the calm and quiet city of Wels though. Lastly, you can´t fully enjoy Austria’s alps without having a little go at skiing or snowboarding. Two weeks before my exchange came to an end I got to squeeze in a day to go snowboarding to Grünau Kasberg a close by skiing resort.

Although I struggled a little academically in all I really enjoyed my exchange in Austria.

Mozart’s hometown Saltzburg

 

 

Ski resort Grünau Kasberg

 

 

Servus!

Wels, such a tiny and traditional city in northern Austria where I decided to spend my exchange semester. The city with its all train connections wasn’t a bad idea at all!

I am studying in Engineering Wels campus of University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria. Studying here is not so different and teachers use the same methods. The campus itself is very nice and there has been spent many late hours especially in January. Campus food is more expensive (4-6 euros) so eating in dorm or making own food are more common options among exchange students.

                                                                                     Wels

Concerning to organized things any problems didn’t occur, and all things went like they were planned! Courses I chose were interesting but very quickly I noticed they were challenging for me. Let’s see later how I did!

It’s fun to think about differences afterwards so here I have a list with things I noticed to be a little different comparing to studies in TAMK:

  • Students are almost always in class before the scheduled time and some teachers close the door before classes are planned to start. Going to class after that is more eye-catching.
  • Sometimes during lectures students really throw the comments and answer if teacher is asking something
  • You schedule will be different every week
  • One thing you get also familiar with: very late lectures
  • Lot of questions and little time!

Now when we come to the more interesting part I can say travelling is very easy from Wels to everywhere and during the first month I came familiar with many beautiful places. Views here are something amazing! Also, exploring in Wels during the sunny days was so nice. My exchange wasn’t only travelling from place A to place B or studying. Good restaurants and cafes are locating in Wels for spending spare time with other exchange students. I can name at least three places that I am going to miss: Urbann Café, restaurants Lili Asia (very cheap and delicious) and Indiya, and Bar Stadtbeisl Wels (one place for karaoke nights).

                                                                           Eisriesenwelt

                                                                                 Hallstatt

Mit freundlichen Grüßen,

Riina

Qilu University of Technology – Finnish in China

Hello from China, Jinan!

It’s Kati again! As I stated above, I was half-a-year student in China, Jinan. Let me tell you some aspects of my daily life!

Studying in an Asian country is -of course- very study oriented, but the courses are not so difficult. The campus is big (1,5 million squares according to Wikipedia) so the distances between school buildings are very long. You easily got 10,000 steps by just going to classes and canteen. There were many school buildings, about 15 when counting 3 canteens, library and doctor’s together, which was a huge surprise compared to tiny little Tampere University of Applied Sciences. Everyone should be addressed with their surname, like Mr. Wang. There was also a brewery, tea house and other warrants of the school which we visited.

Picture: Me(second from the right) and other transfer student in the tea house of Qilu school.

There were many ways to spend your free time and many Chinese chose to study. I found different ways to stabilize my everyday life by going to jog and to a gym, hang around in bars, playing pool and table tennis, hiking a mountain, travelling to different cities, seeing different tourist attractions, and just walking around the schoolyard. Why I mentioned walking around the school? Well, there were many statues, places to relax and they were usually quiet and empty. There were many opportunities nearby the school, you decide where you want to spend your days!

Picture: City of Jinan

There were also different kind of weather, as there only snowed once during my stay, even I was there on the autumn semester! The snowflakes were tiny and melted away in an instant. Also, the lunchtime were about 2 hours as there were 15,000-25,000 people on the same time who went to lunch. Sometimes we went to the nearby restaurant to have lunch as in the canteens there were very noisy and no seats left. One cool aspect of the school was to see different kind of clubs, as in TAMK there is only (maybe) 2 clubs, which are Paperikerho, a “club” for paper engineers and Ääriraja, a theater “club”. During my free time I saw for example the band club, rollerblading club, hiking club and dancing club. I wish there would be as many clubs in Finland too.

 

Until next time!

Kati “Kaz” Nieminen

Grüße aus Österreich

I have lived and studied in Upper Austria now for three and half months and now it’s time to tell you a little bit about my stay here.

Studying

It has been a really interesting for me to experience a bit of Austrian school system. Basically, I had no prejudices or expectations about it before I came here, but now I can say that it has been a positive surprise for me so far. There’s a couple of characteristics that I would like to highlight.

In Austria, people are extremely punctual and they really appreciate and even demand punctuality from everyone. You can be sure that you will be scolded if you arrive late on the lecture. Working and studuying culture is also very formal here. All the professors are well-dressed and students address them with their correct titles, and actually in everyday life also, elder must be addressed with “Frau” (Ms.) or “Herr” (Mr.).

All in all, my studies here have been interesting but challenging as well. Professors speak fluent english and the teching methods are quite similar than in Finland, so studying itself is not that different here than in TAMK.

Free time

Naturally, student exchange is not just studying. Actually I have had plenty of day offs in my schedule, so I have had a lot of time to travel and explore. My favourite way to spend free time here, has for sure been mountain hiking in the Alps. And as Austrians boast the second highest consumption of beer per capita worldwide, I haven’t been able to avoid tasting the local beer specialties.

    

It has been great and memorable time here and I can greatly recommend Austria as a travel destination for everyone.

Cheers,

Olli

Everyday life in Korea!

I came to Republic of Korea (commonly known as South Korea) about three and a half months ago, and it has been an amazing experience! Korea is so much different than Finland: the food, the people, the amount of people, the city of Seoul, everything is far from what I’m used to at home. The biggest difference is the studies. Koreans really enjoy studying everything by hard, and to spend a lot of time doing so. I’m used to learn how to the solve the problems and close the book, but Koreans keep studying from 9am to 9pm and extend that a little when exams are near.

When I arrived, this was a bit of a shock for me and I didn’t know how to catch with all of the local students and their motivation/memory skills. So, after some time I decided I would not do that and continued to learn the way I’m used to. This gave me way more time to enjoy Seoul and everything else outside of school.

Here are a few photos during my journey in Korea:

The temples. In South Korea, there are hundreds and hundreds of places to visit from the early ages in terms of buildings, sites and museums. This was something I really enjoyed, since it gave really fun way to learn about the Korean culture and history.

The food. In the picture you can see what is called Korean bbq. You order your meat raw and then cook it with your friends in the middle of table. Usually when we went for a bbq with exchange students, there was some beer and soju (Korean alcohol drink made from rice) involved.

The atmosphere. Seoul has a population of 10 million people inside the city borders. If you count the actual metropolitan area, the number becomes 25 million. And it felt like every single one of them took the same subway route, visited the same market and was on the move at the same time as I was. This was an amazing experience since my home town is only some 230000 people.

If you are considering Korea as your destination for exchange period, I can highly recommend! Flights to neighboring countries are cheap and short, the people and food is amazing and it won’t be anything you can experience in the western countries!

안녕하세요 from Korea!

After a proper period of stay it’s good to make a little summarize about living in one of the biggest cities in the world. I have studied in the Seoul National University of Sciences and Technology in Seoul, South-Korea. There is a huge difference in an everyday living between Seoul and any city in Finland. Seoul metropolitan area with more than 25 million inhabitants is definitely stunning thing to experience for boy a small-town boy like me.

South Korea is one of the fastest growing economies in the world, and especially the last 50 years have been so explosive that the phenomenon is called “Miracle of the Han river”. Now that I’ve lived here for some time it is easy to understand what’s the reason for that. People’s studying and work motivation is just something else what I’ve never seen. It is totally common to see university students to study in library still at midnight and people are assessed, for example, in a job search situation based solely on grades. For this reason, studying in the university is a little different than what I’m accustomed to in Finland. Professors expect students to learn a lot of things by memorize and that’s something what I personally don’t believe to be the best way to study. Nevertheless, I feel that my studies have gone well, thanks to a good teaching and motivating atmosphere.

 

Here have been a lot of different things that have made a big impression to me and to name one is that even though city is that big, there is a nature quite nearby. Seoul city is surrounded by mountains and that make awesome view over city skyline, especially during sunset. Mountains were historically an important part of a city defense and those were another reason why Seoul was built at the place where it is nowadays. The city center of a Seoul is split by a river that you can see on a Figure 1. The river was the main reason for the birth of a city. Seoul was that close to the North Korean border that there was no shipping on the river because the other end of the river led to the other side of the border.

Even though Seoul is highly developed city as well as the whole South Korea as a country, here is a plenty of historical culture to see. One of the “must-see” things what you can find when you make a Google-search about staying in Seoul is definitely the palaces nearby city center. In 1392-19210 Korean Peninsula was ruled by dynasty of Joseon. The dynasty built five great palaces in Seoul which are popular tourist destinations nowadays. In figure 3 there is a photo of building belonging to one of these palaces.

So far, I have enjoyed my time in Seoul more than I could ever imagine and I definitely feel this city to be my home. The biggest reason for that is, no doubt, kindness of strangers and benevolence of peoples. One concrete example of this is food culture. It is very common thing that food is shared with every people in a table and usually the meals last a lot longer than I was used to in Finland. In figure four you can see maybe the most traditional Korean dish, called Korean barbeque.

Lastly, I hope every exchange student have had as awesome exchange period so far and let’s enjoy the rest of it what’s left!

Regards,

Juuso Järvenpää

Seoul, South Korea

Life in Maribor

After three months exchange in Maribor it might be a good time to tell something about this second-largest city in Slovenia. Before my exchange I didn’t have any expectations from this city or even the country. But now when I am thinking about Maribor as an exchange city, there is a few things I would like to share with you. First of all, I can’t skip a fact that this is the wine city. Maribor is surrounded by mountains. The biggest mountain called Pohorje is a well-known ski resort but every other mountain is full of vineyards. In fact, here is also the oldest vine in the world.  It’s more than 400 years old.

I didn’t know this first but Maribor is also very famous from its Erasmus life. Students come here just because of that. Instead of just one welcome week we had two of them and also a lot of activities during the semester. This might be the reason why here is more than 400 Erasmus students at the time and it’s growing every year. 

One rare thing comparing to other countries is student coupons. What? With student coupons you can go almost every restourant in the city and order portion from their menu. And the price is 0 to 3 euros including soup, salad, main dish and fruit/desert. If eating was cheap I can also happily tell you that drinking is even more cheaper. And actually the average price level is way lower than in Finland.

I am studying in faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science in University of Maribor. Usually faculties organize separate lectures for Erasmus students. But I have one course where I am the only Erasmus so I have to study by my own.  This kind of studying method was totally new for me. But in generally studying here is almost same like in Finland. We have laboratory exercises almost in every course and  I like this kind of practical work. After laboratory exercise I had to write report but basically we didn’t have any homework.

Of course this was a great oportunity to travel. Slovenia has a beautiful nature and it’s surrounded by interesting countries. I have visited five countries and for sure more than twenty cities. In addition to many cities, I met a lot of awesome people from different countries and culture.

Only few weeks left here so I’ll stop writing and go to enjoy these last moments!