Category Archives: Technology, Communication and Transport
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I am spending my exchange period in Belgium, in a small town called Kortrijk. Kortrijk’s population is approximately 70 000 and it’s located right next to border between Belgium and France, only 30 km away from Lille. Daily life is very similar than in Finland except the culture of using bicycle for going to school or work. In first weeks I also rented a bike and joined this massive group of cyclists. First two months have gone so fast that I haven’t even noticed it! Let’s open things a bit.
Studying in Belgium is quite similar that it is back in Finland. You have lectures for theory and then lots of laboratory work to support theory. Here in Kortrijk school have great facilities and resources for those laboratory courses. Every time in the laboratory there is all the time teacher from who you can ask help if you need. I have done some laboratory works in the lab while there are local students, beside working only with exchange students, and I have found out that they are very kind and helpful if you just ask something from them, local students english skills are also in a good level. Same thing is with teachers here, they help you with good patience and knowledge and make sure that you really understood. After all teaching methods doesn’t really difference from Finland style, it hasn’t been as big cultural shock as I thought before exchange began!
I am living in residence owned by the VIVES (school where I am studying). There’s over 100 people living in there, mostly exchange students but also some local students. In my spare time I go to gym and spend time with my friends at the residence. In the residence atmosphere is very nice so everyone gets along with everyone. Belgium is a small country, so couple of other countries are just couple hours away from our city for example Netherlands and France. So far I have visited with my friends cities like Brussel, Brugge, Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Lille and couple smaller towns in Belgium. In autumn break we did four days visit to Milan, Italy. Cities in Belgium looks similar a lot compared to each other; old churches, market square and same architecture all around cities.
Now I understand why Belgian beers are so famous, even though they are strong they doesn’t taste like that. So far Belgian beers have been best beers I have ever tasted. Beer is also very cheap here! Belgian waffles, fries and chocolate are also very good according to my experiences with them. I have also seen two Belgium’s top league football game and one Italy Serie A game during this time.
There is still few weeks left of this exchange and I’m going to take all advantage of this time left in here.
I did my practical training in Bangkok, Thailand. My practical training lasted little bit over 3 months. My workplace was 25 km from Bangkok downtown. I rented apartment close to office because Bangkok´s chaotic traffic would take too much time if I had to drive in rush hour. My title was HVAC engineer and most of my job task were related to cooling systems because Thailand’s very hot climate. My days started at 9 am and workday ended 6 pm. I had 1-hour lunch break.
In Thailand working culture hierarchy and respecting older people are very important. Rising voice or losing temper are things you should try to avoid. My co-workers were very helpful and interested in Finland. I learned from them lot of about Thailand and its culture. In Thailand people have more relaxed attitude in work and free time. Sometimes it caused some problems, example in Finland I got used to that if we agree to meet at 6 pm it really happens 6 pm and not 7 pm.
In weekends I tried to explore Bangkok or travel around Thailand. Bangkok is very big city and there are lot of things to do. Many markets, shopping centers, temples, restaurants, bars and nightclubs. Domestic flights in Thailand are very cheap and it was easy to fly to different cities to explore more Thailand. Good location of Bangkok offers change to go explore neighboring countries such as Vietnam, Cambodia or Malaysia. My favorite place where I traveled in Thailand was Phuket. Phuket is big island in South Thailand which offers many nice beaches and beautiful nature. I had also time to travel to Cambodia and Malaysia.
Time flies in Austria. As soon as I arrived to Airport in Vienna, I knew I chose the right place to come studying. Beautiful landscape with its old cities and historical places got me feel like that I won’t get bored during my stay here. Even though the city of Wels felt first like it was quite small for a five month visit. Already after first two weeks, I got to know most of the common places around the city. But it didn’t bother me, because I knew that the location of the city is perfect for traveling. In the beginning using almost every weekend to go to new places, was definitely one of the best things to do, because I knew that there will be more schoolwork to be done at the end of semester.
Studying in Austria is a little different that I’m used to in Finland. As in both countries most of the people are well motivated and the professors have a really good knowledge about their subjects. Still the feeling I have about the studies is that most of the courses in Austria are, more or less, just trying to learn new things by reading it from a book. Then later at the exams there’s a big hurry to put all you know to the paper with so little time to use. Normally I prefer more hands-on doing by discussing more and analyzing the new information we get by doing exercises. That’s why I think that the best experiences I have from the university are the project classes with local students. It is a nice way to see how they work as a group and support others in their team.
Even though the times I have spent at Wels have been one of the greatest of my life, I know that getting back to studies in Finland is something I like more. Still I feel that the Finnish way of education suits me better.
The past year has been quite balanced with its ups and downs. Stressful self studying and exams counterweighted by days playing boardgames and drinking various beverages in good company.
Compared to Finland, the studying hasn’t been that much different. There’s more to do, but there’s also more time to do it. However in exams it’s different. There’s more to do and less time to do it.
There is beautiful green nature between the school and my apartment, but I rarely walk to school. I’m lazy like that. And I had to pay a small fortune for the unlimited access to public transport so not using the service would be a waste.
Sometimes the surface of the local man-made lake, Maschsee, is soothing to look at. When it’s not populated by tons of boats. There’s also a path along the edges of the lake, which makes for a perfect place to get your morning jog in and enjoy the view. Not that I have.
I saw this while wandering about near the main railway station in Hannover and it struck me as something different from normal art-pieces. As it’s upside down, stuck on the bottom of a bridge. Apparently it’s a sculpture from 1991 called “Hang Over Hannover” by artist Andreas Freiherr von Weizsäcker. The cars are obviously not real, but are realistically sized. (Details from Waymarking.com)
Here’s a slightly amusing reliever to end this post. It took me a few moments to process this wasn’t written in english.
I have been taking Paper Science and Engineering , Chemical Engineering and Environmental courses while my exchange. School has higher work load and professors are expecting you to handle it. Work hard, play hard
On my spare time I have been traveling some major cities. I have also seen some smaller places and nature. We have had couple camping trips with the whole dorm. We have had also a lot of other activities as a dorm.
With my friend we have seen lots of sports. Carolina Hurricanes games especially, since the arena is only 15 min away by bike. Tickets for students are only 15 dollars. Cheaper than Tappara’s games.
I really encourage people to go abroad ! It’s fun !
This is my second time in the most beautiful city in Portugal, Porto. I was doing a study exchange last year for one semester and I felt like coming back – so here I am! I am studying and doing my internship and thesis here. This time it is different – I am doing my internship and not just studying.
The internship company is different compared to the average company in Finland. I am working as a lean engineer in a quite small manufacturing company. In Finland there isn’t many small manufacturing companies anymore because it is too expensive, the automation is on and the bigger companies have taken over. It is really interesting to see how it is done here and how a small company can still run independently.
The working culture is different, people are working really hard in Portugal and the manual working phases are still there, and by that I mean a lot of paper, for example. Working days are longer and vacations are shorter.
I haven’t had too much spare time since I am studying, doing my internship and also working from here for a Finnish company too. The spare time I have, I love to spend in the garden enjoying the sun and going to the beach, having long walks in the city and meeting friends. It is an amazing country and I am really grateful being able to be here and I have learned a lot.
Today my last whole month in Germany started and soon I am heading home. My time here have been a wonderful experience. Since Germany is located in central Europe, it has given me a opportunity to travel many countires I otherwise would have never visited.
After many bureaucratic actions, I started studying in Hochschule Munchen which is one of the biggest Universities in Munchen. Going to school here doesn’t differ so much from going to school in Finland, altough here in Bavaria there is always some kind of holiday. One of my teacher even said, he doesn’t see a point having a summer semester because it’s always a holiday.
Lack of free time opinions isn’t really a problem here, not when you live in one of the liveliest tourist attractions in Munich: Olympiazentrum.
Olympiazentrum is a former home of Summer Olympics 1972 contestants and right next to BMW Plant and museum and Olympia park where the stadiums, tower and all the awesomeness lay. There are also University’s sports hall near, swimming halls, jogging tracks and bike routes.
If sports or parks don’t turn you on? No worries, there’s always countles number of museum (Deutsches Museum is my favourite), see sights like old residents of King s, churches, drinking beer in public and maybe eating a few würsts and of course: shopping.
I’ve been walking around park, visited maaany castle and parks, enjoyed my time in festivals, traveled all around and discovered things I never knew excisted. I will miss Munich, but will still be glad to go back home <3.
I’m spending my last few weeks here in Breda Netherlands and writing down my experiences about studying in Avans University of Applied Sciences. I’m following Forensic Chemistry minor. In the minor there are preselected courses that are worth of 30 ECTS. The courses have been very interesting and all the teachers and local students speak very good English so it is easy to follow the lectures. Most of the studies have been project work (18 ECTS) which means that there has been more independent work.
Compared to Finland, here are less lectures and more independent work. I prefer less lectures, because the I can plan my studies and free time better. I think that the courses here are more challenging than in Finland. Also, I think that more work is required here for the credits than in Finland. There are more things that you should remember by heart whereas in Finland understanding the phenomenon is more important than the details. The teachers have higher expectations for students and it is more difficult to get good grades than it is in Finland.
Introduction day with all the exchange students
I enjoyed my stay in Netherlands very much. Breda is quite small city and it is very peaceful to live here. We have a nice international community in here since most of the exchange students live in the same apartment buildings. It is easy just to knock on someone’s door and hang out. A bike is essential to have in Netherlands, because it is the easiest way to get around places. The buses are quite expensive here so another reason to buy a second-hand bike and sell it when you leave. In my spare time I have been travelling in Netherlands and other countries as well and hanging out with my friends. It has been very easy to travel inside Netherlands, because the train system is good and the prices aren’t that bad. There are also discount train tickets for sale regularly. I have also been doing a quite a lot of sports. There are really good opportunities to do sports for students in Breda. There is gym, group lessons and discount for example the local bouldering centre.
Studying in Saint Petersburg State University of Industrial Technologies and Design (quite a mouhtfull) was not what I expected. I feel that the school was not completely ready for me to do my studies there. Two of my eight teachers don’t speak english, (google translate has been helpful). But everyone has been so polite and lovely and the famous Russian hospitality has really been showing!
We had one mandatory course in Russian history, which lead us to tours in museums, memorials and churches. Here are some of the beautiful places we visited:
There are surprisingly many Public holidays in Russia; during my stay there has already been women’s day, men’s day, two victory days.. and the list goes on. The public holidays differ from Finland, most of them are non-working days, and if the holiday happens to be on a weekend, then there will be a day off on Monday or Friday. Or if the holiday is on Thursday, you might a free day on Friday as well..? I think it’s best to just check from teachers if you should go to school or not, because this was very confusing to me.
On our free time, me and the other (two) exchangers like to roam around the city. We have already found ourselves in the Summer garden, different gallerias, some amazing restaurants and of course some bars as well. The culture and art is much more visible in Saint Petersburg than in Tampere, also much more accessible; students get to visit most museums for free of at leas on a discount. Also there are museums and gallerias etc around every corner.
The school life itself was not so different from Finnish school, lectures in classrooms and some excursions to different companies. But I did notice some differences; when giving a presentation you should wear more formal clothing (for girls dress or white shirt and dark pants), also it is common to bring some sweets to the people listening to your presentation, or at least to those grading it. The same applies to the course teachers, it is common to bring something to the teacher after the course, not as a bribe or anything, but just to show your gratitude.
I’ studying technical architecture in the Polytechnic University of Valencia for the Spring Semester of 2018.
I have four courses in total; two are taught in Spanish, one in English and the fourth is a Spanish language course. I was in the building engineering faculty, but I also took one project course from the architecture faculty. In the beginning I was a little bit nervous taking the two courses in Spanish, as it was a little bit difficult for me to follow the lessons, but as time went by I gradually started understanding the teachers more and more and by now I have very little problems understanding the lessons. Studying in Spanish has definately helped me with my Spanish comprehension!
I wanted to come to Spain to improve my Spanish skills; I have studied Spanish on and off for about 5 years now and my goal was to become fluent in Spanish. I haven’t become fluent – I think half a year is not enough to become fluent, for that, I think one year study exchange would have done the trick!
Studying in UPV has been a good experience overall. In the beginning I was surprised at how some things are organised (for example there are printing shops, where you give an employee your usb stick and they print it for you, instead of you being able to print things yourself – when we had to hand in a final project I had to wait two hours in line so that they could print four A1s!) but in order not to stress yourself you just have to accept how things are done differently in different countries. Also, a lot of the teachers wanted us to draw things by hand and also show the methodology we used in taking measurements, particularly in the restoration course.
During my free time I spend it mostly with my friends, at the beach, in cafes in the centre or doing Erasmus activities; there are a lot of Erasmus organisations that organize activities such as trips to different cities (I’ve been to Toledo and Xativa – amazing little towns!) and different events, like hiking or colour festivals.
I also organised my own trips to Barcelona in February, and to Andalucia and the Basque country during Easter break (one of the perks of studying in Spain is that you have a nearly two week Easter holiday!)
But most definately the best part of my exchange studies was meeting lovely people and making so many new friends, who I will hopefully remain friends with forever!
So if you are a technical architecture student, would I recommend UPV for you? Yes! You should definately go, but be prepared to learn a little bit of Spanish beforehand and be open minded! There are courses in English, but you would definately get more out of the experience if you also took the Spanish ones. However, even if you do not speak Spanish, you will still be alright and you will have an amazing time!