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My exchange period is almost over and I think now is good time to tell you something about my studies and the Netherlands. My studies here have been quite intensive and I was well prepared for that. I am studying in The Hague University of Applied Sciences and I participated in course called ‘Smart Manufacturing and Robotics’. The basic idea of this course is to design automation systems for companies, and I would totally recommend this course for somebody who is studying automation or mechanics and is ready to study from 9am to 5pm every day. The course may be a little bit different than what we are used to in Finland and in TAMK. There is more freedom but also a lot of self-studying and hard work. I have really liked this course but because of corona it wasn’t quite same experience what it would be normally.
But for those people who want to have more free time I would say that choose another course. Because free time in the Netherlands goes really quickly. The thing what I liked the most in the Netherlands is the possibility to travel another countries really quickly and easily. Even despite of the Covid-19 I managed to make one week trip to Frankfurt, Zürich and Luxembourg. If you want to stay inside of the borders you will still have plenty to do. The Netherlands is a beautiful country, especially in the springtime. If you want to see beautiful landscapes you should go to watch tulip fields and for those who are more into sports go to watch football, hockey and F1. There is also many museums and historical places.
Living in the Netherlands is quite similar to Finland but there is one thing what you must have and that’s a bike. The bike is the king of the transportation although the public transport works also well. Price of the food is quite similar as in Finland and grocery store selections are good. But there is one product which is much cheaper than in Finland and that’s alcohol. For a poor student who likes to taste different beer brands I would say that go to the Netherlands.
I have now spent 6 months in the beautiful city of Hamburg in the north of Germany. And i would not give any single one of them away. My studies are going amazingly even though first half of them were completely in German (which I wasn’t prepared for). but luckily professors and other students are able and willing to cooperate with me! Most fun so far in a class I’ve had with Fahrzeug design course where we got to design our own car. There are some pictures below!
My free time i have been spending with friends and sports. There is so much to do in Hamburg that even if you tried you could not get everything done in a year! I also joined a local ice hockey club which has now taken a lot of my time. We are playing on the third highest level in Germany and the atmosphere is unbelievable in the games!
The working culture here in Germany is a bit more demanding than the one I’m used to in Finland. So it took a bit time to get used to it, but now I’m fully integrated and enjoying myself!
I have been studying in Prague for four months now and I have really enjoyed it. I study civil engineering and architecture here at Czech Technical University. This fall has been somehow hard what it comes to studies but still I have had a lot of time to explore Prague and some other places in Czech Republic.
On my spare time I have been getting to know the city and spend time with other exchange students. I have made some trips with my Finnish roommate on weekends for example to Bohemian Switzerland National Park and to Kutna Hora to see the Sedlec Ossuary. The best way to spend a day off in Prague is just to hop on a tram and wonder around the city. There is much more to see than you can read from a guide book.
Studying at CTU has not differed much from studying at TAMK. In the beginning the hardest challenge was certainly to study in English but I got used to it in a month or two. The quality of the courses and knowledge of professors are very high-quality.
My studies have started well. I have lectures only from Monday to Thursday and the courses I have picked are from civil engineering and architecture course catalogue. These courses are in English and customized for exchange students so my class mates are from all around the world.
I love to spent my spare time in Prague by walking around the city because here is definitely a lot to see! In addition I love shopping and have a cup of coffee in some cute little coffeehouse or drink a pint of beer like locals do.
Studies differs a bit compared it with studying in Finland. For example here in Czech Technical University we have more assignments and not that much exams. The quality level of teaching is pretty high in CTU which was nice to notice because I have used to it in Finland.
Greetings from Wels! Wels is small city in Upper Austria where you don’t have so much to do. But next to Wels is the third biggest city of Austria, Linz, which means good public transport connections all over Austria and Europe (Tip: buy an ÖBB Vorteilscard Jugend for 20 € and get 50% off all the train tickets for a year). For example you can go easily in Salzburg, Munich, Wien… Also car rental is really easy and cheap option for a group of five person, especially if you are going to ski and you bring your own skiis or if you go travel in Europe. Austria have 7 neighboring countries which are actually really close! The longest drive is to Switzerland and it’s just 4,5 hours. From Turku you can’t even get out of Finland in 4,5 hours!
Graz and Salzburg castle
Vanish and Wien
Level of equation is comparable to level we have in TAMK. So, courses aren’t too difficult usually, but of course there are also exceptions. Teachers are mainly good, helpful and they speak clear english. Other students are always ready to help if you have some questions and usually they like to work together, as brainstorming.
When I don’t have anything to study I usually spend my time in gym or hanging out with other exchange students. Exchange is the best opportunity to to get new international friends!
I arrived in Brno two days before the exchange period started. I was going to live in dormitories close to the school hole time. First thing that I noticed when I came in Brno was that it was feeling like summer, because everything was so green, and sun was shining everyday although we were living September. Luckily, I packed few shorts with me.
The school system here is very different than in Finland. Of course this school here is university and that’s first difference and the second is that there are much more lessons in TAMK than in here. There are no very much of any schoolwork so the independent study is important here. What is been also different is that many of the classes have cancelled in here because teachers have to go somewhere abroad or some training events. In addition, studying here is been very nice and it’s been good change to studying in TAMK. Beneath in left picture is the dormatory where I live and in the right there is Faculty of Mechanical Engineering where is most of the classes.
In spare time I have visited many other countries that are nearby for example Poland, Hungarian, Slovakia and Austria. In addition I have visited in London by airplane which was very cheap. In the weekdays I usually exercise a lot for example go to the gym, running, swimming or play football with other students. The food is here cheaper than in Finland so I eat out almost everyday in week and that’s pretty nice, because I don’t like cooking very much. Czech Republic is world’s number one beer consumer and I understand that well because the beer is very good and cheap.
In SeoulTech I didn’t have any problem enrolling to courses. Here we just did excel of courses we wanted that we sent to the person in charge. Most of the people got what they wanted. All of the courses were mostly in English, sometimes mix of Korean and English. Professors English might be hard to understand at first, but when you get used to the accent isn’t that hard to understand anymore.
I had six courses and that didn’t leave me much spare time with all the assignments in the end. But I still managed to experience most of the stuff I wanted to do since I prioritized my work and exploring (no time for Netflix). Courses I had weren’t that hard but they did required lot of my spare time compared to Finnish studies.
After studying we did a lot of sightseeing around Seoul. With international students we saw most of the things that is advertised around Seoul, though it is much, we did spend almost four months there. These places were really nice and worth exploring, for culture we visited various palaces and a shrine that had interesting stories in them, worth taking the time and reading the story behind them. Also, Seoul has nice museums, especially the War Museum where you could spend days just reading and diving in to the history. For Korean culture the markets were a must-go, there is one for various of traditional goods, Korean street food, and one with various shopping centers. Lastly, I had chance to fulfill my childhood dream: visit abandoned amusement park.
For general sightseeing the nicest things were riding bike along the Han-river, visiting Haneul Park for sunset and awesome view of the city, walking along a stream in middle of metropolis, going for Namsan Tower for the mini hike, and lastly going for Lotte World Tower observatory for the awesome 123rd floor view. Lotte World Tower is must-go, but when we went there for sunset, we had to queue for two hours to get in, which wasn’t that pleasant. If we would’ve gone other day or other time, probably wouldn’t have to queue at all.
We also did a lot of hiking around Seoul’s mountains. Since there is bunch on mountains around Seoul, it is easy to just take bus in the base of a mountain and just start hiking. When hiking you can see fit elderly Korean people just blasting through like nothing, and even some hikes have an outdoor gym where people can just blast a quick extra workout during the hike. One of the reasons to go for a hike, is to see the awesome sunsets, and we saw lots sunsets from the mountains. Of course, the sunset is just perfect with great people and few cups of Soju. I’ve never seen so many sunsets in my life that I get to see in this short time. After enjoying the sunsets, we had to be careful going down from the mountain, since it got dark fast after sunset.
Highlights of the exchange was hanging out with great people around the world and sharing stories, cultures and ideas. We spent countless hours in campus’ cafe Two of Us just enjoying coffee and talking. Also, we enjoyed Korean culture in a way of eating every day, just ordering bunch of food and drinks for the table and sharing it, no better way to enjoy food like in this social way. All of us made life lasting great friends, and we already planned meet-ups around Europe.
During October We had trip to Busan. It’s large port city on South Korea, and it’s known for its beaches, mountains and temples. Busan has population of 3.43 million which is around 65% smaller than Seoul. Traveling there with buses and taxis the whole place felt small, when we had already adjusted in Seoul. In Busan we did mostly sightseeing around docks, culture village, beaches, fish and food markets, and lastly a lighthouse, where we were stuck for an hour because we managed to go there just when it started to wind and rain hard. During nights we enjoyed Busan’s nightlife and lived in a little cozy guesthouse. Other than sightseeing we reserved one whole day for surfing in Songjeong Beach, where was just enough waves for complete beginners. First touch to surfing and loved every minute of it.
Time here has passed faster than I could have imagined, even though I had very high expectations. I’m studying at the Seoul National University of Science & Technology and the semester is coming to an end. The studies have moved on with good pace, but stressful during the exam periods. For every course there is a high attendance percentage mandatory, what firstly was a shock. At the beginning it was hard to get enrolled for
the courses, but after the beginning things have been moving on well. Every professor of every course speaks good English and the teaching has been good.
My time here has been a great combination of studying and traveling the city. Living at the campus is a dream for a student. It is so easy to just get down stairs and walk for five minutes (maximum) to the lecture. The facilities are great too. At the first floor is a cafeteria, a convenience store, a gym and a coffee shop where you can hang out. The campus is located relatively far away from the city center, but with such a good metro system it is no problem to just hop on a train and travel anywhere in the city before you know it.
There are so many great traditional palaces as there are modern buildings. I have seen lots of things in one semester, since almost every week we have discovered something new from this city with friends. Personally, it was really easy to adapt to the life here in Korea. In here one might feel like been followed, because of the camera surveillance, but most definitely this is a safe place to live in. This city is exciting and full of adventures. I’m going to miss Seoul.
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.
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.