Category Archives: Technology, Communication and Transport

Bioproduct and Process Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Laboratory Engineering, Construction Site Management, Construction Architecture, Construction Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Building Services Engineering, ICT Engineering, Vehicle Engineering, Wellbeing Technology, Automation Engineering, Strategic Leadership of Technology-Based Business

Halo!

Coming for practical training to Namibian winter for three months was one of the most spontaneous, stupid and best things that I have done. I exchanged summer in Finland, a practical training with a salary and my friends, to an unknown environment and work.

A view over the city of Windhoek

I always wanted to go somewhere exotic for practical training, so I could expose myself to different opinions and culture. When I read an article of Namibia in Rakennuslehti, a Finnish magazine for construction engineers, I knew I should try to get in there. So I contacted the writer of the article.  She guided me to one Namibian engineer and after few emails there was no way out anymore. Arranging everything went fast and without trouble.

I came to Namibia in the beginning of May. The first two months of training went fast, everything was new and exciting. After two months the days have slowed down and certain routines and habits has taken place in the mind and life. Now when my training is soon over, work days have the same pattern, and I feel like I have received the cultural education I came here for.

Namibia is mostly desert and Windhoek is surrounded with mountains, which are great for hiking during weekends. The climate of Namibian Winter is very nice. Even though it is called winter the temperature during days is always above 20°c but in the nights it can go below 10°c. Windhoek has 3605 hours of sunshine in one year (Helsinki has 1858 hours) and after my arrival I have seen clouds five times. I have been lucky to visit some projects like Ai-Ais hot spring spa in Fish river Canyon. I also visited the coast and huge sand dunes in Walvis Bay.

Here is a fancy pic of me on the Dune 7, close to Walvis Bay

 

In Namibia you can hear many languages spoken around you. The official language is English but there is a great amount of national languages. They are Oshiwambo (the heading and greeting in the end), German, Afrikaans, Otjiherero, Khoekhoegowab, Rukwangali, Setswana and Silozi. What I heard most from the smaller languages were Oshiwambo and Afrikaans.

Katutura – “The place where people do not want to live” in Otjiherero

Night life in Windhoek is flourishing there huge amount bars or clubs in the city. There are modern shopping malls with Western brands, good cafes and restaurants. If you still end up hungry you can find locals selling fruits and fresh Braai (BBQ) meat and Biltong dried meat from countless places around the city, along roads and inside stores.  during my spare time I hang out with my boss’s son, he shows me the city of Windhoek, the good and bad in it.

The Grove Mall of Namibia- A big shopping center in Windhoek

My boss studied in Technical University of Tampere and many engineers have studied abroad in England, Russia or Cuba. In work this reflects as enthusiasm for engineering and long hardworking days in the office. In this company Africa time does not exist. Superiors are addressed as Sirs, Mrs’s or Miss’s and dress code is smart and casual. All these might sound strict for a Finn, but after you get used to it everything comes out naturally without thinking. My work is mostly done with a computer with modern engineering programs like AutoCAD, so the work itself is not so different than in Finland.

Likwata  nawa, take care!

Elmer Halonen

Even late, bonjour la France!

During the last semester, I went in training exchange in my home country, France and more precisely: next to Paris. Now, even though it is a country I know — and with which I keep a love and hate relationship –, this semester was rich in experiences.

… do I really need a caption for this?

My practical training consisted in elaborating a tool for a grocery store, which would help them in keeping track of their environmental impact. This was a very valuable exchange, as in addition to my main project I got lucky enough to participate in the daily life of the grocery store and in a management seminar which taught me a lot about work life. In addition to this, getting along very well with nearly all of my co workers (and with my superiors) was  plus that I enjoyed a lot.

As you can see on the picture, they enjoyed my last day…..! (I blurred the face of my co-worker, don’t be scared)

 

 

Apart from work, my time also was amazing. I met a ton of new people: I have been an activist for animal rights for a long time, and I made sure that this semester was full of events. You can see in the picture below an example of a demonstration that I participated in in Paris and for which I came back home covered with fresh red paint…

Demonstration for animal rights in Paris for the Organisation 269 Life France.

Of course, I cannot write about my semester without talking about the elections for which… surprise surprise, I was also an activist. I participated in my first political demonstration, which I thought would have been less peaceful but turned out to be thrilling. Whether you agree with the outcome of the elections or not, this process was very enriching.  In the picture below, you can see my friend Christophe and I holding our sign, “Vegans insoumis”.

I by the way made this sign! This happened on Place de la Bastille, in Paris.

And to top off my semester, my friend took me to Etretat, an amazing city that I enjoyed beyond words. You can see a picture taken with his GoPro camera on top of one of the hills of Etretat on the right!

 

 

All in all, this semester was a very good time. I cannot unfortunately tell you how different working in France is compared to Finland, as I have not yet had the occasion to work in Finland. But truthfully, this exchange was “formidable“!

Grüße aus Reutlingen!

I arrived in Reutlingen in the beginning of March, roughly a week before the beginning of the summer semester. The first weekend and the following week I spent settling in and getting to know the city, taking an intensive German course and meeting and hanging out with all my fellow international students. When the actual studies began, I found myself having a lot of free time since my courses had very little contact hours compared to my studies back at home. This gave me more time to explore Reutlingen, my home for the following six months and of course the surrounding areas, especially Stuttgart and Tübingen.

Reutlingen is a city in Baden-Württemberg located about 35 km south from Stuttgart. With a population of roughly 114 000 citizens it is the ninth-largest city in Baden-Württemberg and is nicknamed “The Gate to the Swabian Alb” as its area is largely located in the Swabian Alb. The Hochschule Reutlingen is a university of applied sciences that was founded originally in 1855 as a College of Weaving and Textiles as an initiative of local textile industry. Reutlingen University offered me good opportunities and facilities to study textile technology and also a bit of Fashion management.

Back in TAMK I study bioproduct and process engineering, so studying textile technology here was  already very different because of the different subject. The school has large workshops and laboratories for spinning, weaving, weft and warp knitting and textile finishing where me and my group mates got to see and learn hands on the process of producing textiles all the way from the fibre to the finished garment. I had less contact hours during the week and more working on my own writing papers and reports than what we have back in Finland. Even though I had two group projects here, I would still say the style of teaching is less based on learning and working together in a group like it is in Finland. In addition to the textile courses, I also took one course in International management which was very interesting. I also had a German language course. It was great to notice myself getting more and more comfortable using my German language skills in everyday interactions with Germans. Also having a German tandem partner who I taught Finnish and she taught German to me is a great opportunity to learn more of the language.

One of the interesting opportunities I had in my studies was the possibility to go on a excursion to Hannover Messe, one of the world’s largest industrial trade fairs. It is held every year in the Hanover Fairground in Hanover, Lower Saxony. We left early in the morning for our eight-hour bus ride to the fair, spent eight hours exploring the fair and then drove eight ours back to Reutlingen. The trip was tiring but the breakfast Brezels we were served by the university gave us a good start for the day and some energy to head off and explore the huge fairground. The fair covers all areas of industrial technology from research and development, industrial automation, IT, industrial supply, production technologies to energy and mobility technologies.

I had some time for travel during the holidays. A road trip to see Vienna, Budapest and Bratislava and learn about their history was a great experience. Vienna with its beautiful buildings, Budapest with its laid-back atmosphere and the cute old town area of Bratislava. Seeing the beautiful Hungarian Parliament Building during a boat cruise on the Danube river was an amazing experience. On our day trip to Switzerland we saw the Rhine Falls, and the cities of Luzern and Zurich. Swimming in the Lake Zurich on a hot day was refreshing and I finally got an opportunity to get rid of my winter furs.

Day trips in the surroundings of Reutlingen and Tübingen were easy to do with our bus card called Naldo which let us travel by bus and train in a large area around Reutlingen. I visited the Lichtenstein Castle and the Hohenzollern Castle with my international friends just to name a few places. It was interesting to learn about the local history in the castles. We also the visited the Landesmuseum Württemberg in Stuttgart and the Mercedes-Benz Museum both with interesting exhibitions. Also the Stuttgart Frühlingsfest was an great experience with all the rides, beer tents and overall festive atmosphere. Spending May Day there was definitely worth it. I still have a few weeks of my exchange period in Reutlingen left before going back home, so I’m planning to explore and see more of Germany!

 

Hello from Denmark, from the land of wind and hygge

I arrived in Odense, Denmark in mid-January just in time to experience the ultimate Danish weather: wind, snow, wind, slush, sun, wind, rain. This also pretty much sums up the weather for the rest of the spring.

Frozen H.C.A
H.C. Andersen taking an icy bath at the Odense harbor.

During those cold and windy (and later on warm and windy) days, most of my time was spend on Erhvervsakademiet Lillebælt (EAL for short) campus and in HC Ørsted Kollegiet dormitory. One thing that sparked my interest when choosing an exchange destination, was that EAL was building a new campus here in Odense just in time for me to come and get all the benefits of the new place. Before the new campus was built, EAL had seven different places all over the city, but now all the different departments are under same roof in a beautiful modern building next to the city center.

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EAL campus

Back at home I’m an ICT engineering student and even though EAL doesn’t offer engineering degrees, they have a comprehensive list of IT modules. I ended up taking on Artificial Intelligence and Web Development courses which meant that I would study with their 4th semester Computer Science students.

The teaching and studying here in Denmark is quite different from how things are back at home. I only had lectures 2 times a week and rest of the time was dedicated to individual studying. Danish educational system emphasize group work from the kindergarten to uni, so even the individual homework was usually performed within a group of classmates. Teaching methods differ from teacher to teacher. The AI teacher preferred giving us more classic lecture, which did however include discussions with students, but the WEB teacher was more of an ”I’m here only to inspire you!” –type of a teacher. He would give us examples of what we could do with a specific topic and then let us do our thing with it. During security lecture he urged us to hack to a website he had created for the day!

Our lectures (and my 6 months in Denmark) we’re fueled by coffee. 9 out of 10 students carry they own coffee thermos and in our dormitory kitchen there are 5 different ways to make coffee! Danes love their coffee and cake. Oh, I will miss Danes and their cake! Every other day there was someone in class who would bring cake to class.

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Onsdagssnegle aka the Wednesday slug. The biggest cinnamon bun I’ve even seen!

And the same thing happened at the Crossfit gym were I spend a lot of my free time. After torturing and sweaty hour of training you could grab a piece of homemade chocolate cake and a cup of coffee for free!

But then again I guess they can eat all the cake since they bike everywhere. No matter the distance, the time of the day or the weather. Even though I’m a Finn, I had never biked in slush and in snow before I came to Denmark. The 8am rush hour in a snowstorm? On a bike? Sure! I felt like a champion after that! Getting a proper bike is a must when in Denmark and I was lucky enough to find a guy who rented good, used bikes to Erasmus students. My bike was rusty and old, but the ride was smooth as dream!

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Bike parking hall in the campus cellar
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My rusty ride

I ended up living in the H.C. Ørsted Kollegiet dormitory, which is a huge student housing complex built in 1970’s. I had my own room and bathroom, but I shared the kitchen with 13 other students. I was so lucky to end up in this particular kitchen, with these lovely people! Most of my roommates were locals so I had the ultimate Danish experience. Cake, coffee and weird Danish humor so full of irony and sarcasm that sometimes I’m wasn’t sure whether they were joking or not. We had common dinner every Monday and there was always someone to chat with and drink coffee with. I must say that for all the things I got to see and experience here, my roommates were the best thing that happened to me.

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Last common dinner with my Danish family. On the background you can see the dormitory building.

 

Grüß Gott from Austria

 

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The entrance to the old city of Wels

What did I know about Wels beforehand? Nothing. A small city in upper Austia, 60000 inhabitants. That was what Google said. Still it turned out to be a much more than that. Nice old buildings, a university of applied sciences and events going on. In total, beautiful and lively city.

I studied one semester in Upper Austria University of Technologies in Wels, Austria. My study program there was Innovation and Product Management, which was a bit different compared to mechanical engineering back in Tampere. Still this period gave me different overview about management field, especially when all my courses were in master program. At the beginning, I thought would it be doable but it turns out that the courses were not impossible. If you are thinking is something possible, it is, just jump into it!

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The Alps

Manners

Daily living in Austria is not so different compared to Finland, except there is some more traditional habits. All shops close early and are closed on Sundays. Besides, cash is still widely used and credit cards work just in supermarkets or bigger shops.

What comes to manners, Austria is more masculine country than Finland. In Geert Hofstede’s analysis Austria got 79 point out of 100 in masculinity, when Finland got only 26 points. That means that Austria’s society is more driven by competition, achievement and success. In Austria, people live to work, unlike in Finland where people work to live. That means in Austria people are more career-oriented than in Finland. I didn’t see the difference every day, but generally people were very oriented in school and wanted to achieve big things after it. For my opinion, this kind of attitude at least in the school was just positive. (https://geert-hofstede.com/austria.html)

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Hallstatt

 

Travelling

In middle Europe, everything is near. Trains work perfectly (no delays because of snow or electric failure..) and you can reach cities and different countries just in couple of hours. That is why the best thing was travelling: ski resorts, capitals, small cities, everything! In every trip, I also tried to explore as many different cuisines as possible. Especially in eastern Europe you get very good dishes with reasonable price. Berlin is also heaven for a gourmet, totally recommended.

In conclusion, if someone is thinking there do I dare to leave out of my comfort zone and do something new and exciting, I have only one tip: definitely. It will gain something that you did not know even existed. Be open-minded!

 

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Berlin food

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Berlin TV tower

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Brno

The greatest beer and waffles in the world, greetings from Belgium!

I’ve spend the last 5 months in Aalst, Belgium and it’s now my last 2 weeks here. Aalst is a smaller city located between Brussels and Ghent. I studied construction engineering / site management at Odisee College University. I’m really not the type to share an apartment with other people so I had my own studio apartment close to the centre of Aalst which was great.

One of the reasons I wanted to come to Odisee is that I wanted to do my bachelor’s final project in English. The final project structure was completely different than in Finland. I had this building site I visited regularly and the final project was to make plans, drawings, schedule etc. for them. I think that doing final project like this is more practical and educational for a construction engineer than doing a thesis. Otherwise I think that studying in TAMK is more theoretical than in Odisee. For example we had this course in Odisee where we did plans for a roof and a balcony and then actually constructed them at the school. The studying atmosphere was pretty relaxed, the teachers knew their stuff and most of them spoke English almost fluently.

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There wasn’t lot of other exchange students in Aalst so all the exchange student activities were in Ghent which is one of the greatest cities I’ve ever been to. I also had my Dutch classes in Ghent so I spend a lot of time in there. The trains are very cheap and easy to use in Belgium so I spend a lot of time travelling to different places. My favourite cities in Belgium are Ghent, Bruges and Antwerp, the streets on those places look like a fairy tale. The location of Belgium is amazing for a traveller, in my time here I got to visit France twice, Luxembourg, Switzerland and Netherlands. Other than travelling I really liked biking here since the weather was amazing and there is like zero uphills in the whole northern Belgium.

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Before coming to Belgium I didn’t even know that I like beer but the first time I ordered Rochefort 10 it felt like falling in love. My Belgian friends showed me all the different beers and I can now understand why Belgian beer culture is on the UNESCO cultural heritage list. The people here are very helpful and somewhat like Finnish people. What I mean by this is that Belgians also aren’t the type to small talk and such but when you get to know them they become great friends.

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I really enjoyed my stay Belgium, this place is now like a second home to me. I made some Belgian friends and learned a lot about their culture. My spoken English is now top notch and I’ve learned some Flemish/Dutch too. I could see myself living here again in the future.

Groetjes,

Jesse

Grüße aus Deutschland ;)

Hi all! 🙂

I started to work on my bachelor’s thesis in the middle of May in Marktheidenfeld, Germany. Marktheidenfeld is a small town that has a population of about 11,000 people. Since Marktheidenfeld is so small, I decided to live in Würzburg (~120 000 inhabitants) instead. Würzburg is about 40km off from Marktheidenfeld. This is my third time already working for the same company (Schneider Electric) in the same location. So far I’ve worked on my thesis for 4 weeks, so I still have about 2 months to go!

Phhhh how do I spend my leisure time… Well this is my third summer in Würzburg already, so I know all the best places and all the best festivals to go to 😉 There’s lots of great wine & beer festivals in the city and the local white wine is actually well know, at least within Germany 🙂 I spend a lot of time at the Main river, either chilling, swimming or grilling with friends ;’) Music is perhaps my most important hobby and luckily I have few friends to play with, so there’s no way I could get bored here 😉

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Würzburg^^

I’ve never worked in an office in Finland, so it’s therefore pretty hard to compare the German office working culture with the Finnish one… I work in a marketing department, where I happen to have only few German colleagues from about 12-14 employees. That means that our working environment is really international, which I find really good. My boss comes from Iran, but my other colleagues are from France, Japan, Finland, China, UK and of course Germany. Everybody has their own habits, but anyways the atmosphere at work is really good which is pleasing!

Best Regards from Würzburg,

Mikael

Grüße aus München ♥

Servus!

I just came back to my lovely little flat from a day trip to Eibsee, which is a very beautiful lake at the base of Germany’s highest mountain called Zugspitze. Since the connections are so good and travelling is pretty cheap, I’ve done few trips on my own and some with my fellow exchange students inside Germany and to other countries close to Germany. There’s a lot to explore in Munich alone, so you never really get bored here and with the numerous beer gardens and big attractive parks, you can always find a nice place to relax with your friends.

 

Eibsee
Lake Eibsee in Garmisch, roughly 100 km from Munich
Enjoying the view in Olympiapark in Munich with two other Finnish Erasmus students
Enjoying the view in Olympiapark in Munich with two other Finnish Erasmus students

 

I’ve been living and studying in Munich for approximately 3 months now and I never thought time would go so fast. Unbelievable, only two months and I should be heading back “home”. I say “home”, because as much as I miss my family and friends back in Finland, I feel at home here. Sure there has been few awkward moments with the locals when you don’t speak perfect German and they don’t understand a word of English, but luckily those situations don’t happen too often. I had very little trouble settling in to my apartment, which I’m really lucky to have, because the location is super. It takes about 17 minutes to walk to the school (10 minutes with a tram, which goes basically from door to door), 10 minute walk to the main train station and 20 minutes to the central square of Munich, Marienplatz.

 

The “Glockenspiel” in the tower of the new city hall at Marienplatz
The “Glockenspiel” in the tower of the new city hall at Marienplatz

 

Studying in Munich university of applied sciences doesn’t differ much from studying in Finland, but they do have some very nice labs here. I found the sound measurement room for air conditioning systems in the lab really interesting and a nice addition to all other air conditioning related stuff they had there in that lab. I’ve also spent a lot of time in the 3D printing lab, because I chose a course called “3D printing and design”, which is a really nice course even though it’s not straight down my study major.

Overall I feel like I’m doing pretty good in my studies, but the real test awaits when the exam period starts. I chose a reasonable amount of courses (little less than what Erasmus students usually take), knowing I would have to also advance in some courses I started in TAMK before my exchange (there’s about two month difference in semester times), because it’s important that I also get those courses done this semester. In my study program, building services engineering, it might be pretty hard to place your exchange in a convenient time, but to all my fellow engineers, don’t let that stop you! There’s usually a good solution to be found in the end.

 

Ein Prosit der Gemütlichkeit! 😉 (@Frühlingsfest, “the little sister of Oktoberfest”)

Greetings from NC State University!

Studying here in NC State has been very different compared to Tamk. Here we have only few hours of lectures in a week. For one class there is only about 2-3 hours of lectures but there is way more homework than in Tamk. Also in here they give us lot of midterms during the year and also final exams in the end. I study engineering and engineering professors do give a lot of homework every week.

 

I have been living in international dorm called Alexander hall on main campus. It has been great experience because I got to meet lot of people all over the world. We have had lot of trips with people of Alexander hall for example we have been hiking in mountains, we have been travelling to Chicago and Washington. There has been lot of events on campus too like every few weeks we have this thing called cups of culture where group of people from same country makes some traditional food for everyone and they also tell about their culture. We have coffee talks every two weeks where people just gather drink coffee and talk about some interesting/important topics. Living with these people has been so nice and interesting.

Kuvahaun tulos haulle alexander hall nc state

Here is a picture of Alexander hall

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This picture is taken from Chicago and these are some of the people of Alexaner hall

Greetings from NC, US

Greetings from North Carolina!

Semester here is getting close to the end, which is sad, but I have enjoyed every single day in here. I think there is a lot of difference in studying here than back in Finland, at least in engineering. First of all I have to say that I study in North Carolina State University and it has very good engineering programs for undergraduate students as a public state school.

As most people probably know already, there is a lot more homework in US schools compared to Finland. The grades are constructed (in most cases) from you homework, projects, midterms and finals. In Finland we usually have only one or two exams per semester. Both has their pros and cons, but there is no denying that studying all the time the whole semester helps you to learn. But as a exchange student, I have to say that sometimes there is too much work, since I would like to travel and have a social life etc.

Compared to the Finnish university life, the American students take studying way more seriously and are much more concerned about their grades than Finnish students.

THE CITY AND SPORTS

Okay, enough of studying, lets talk about the city and sports.

raleigh

Raleigh is the capital of the state of North Carolina. There is about 400 000 people living in Raleigh and about 40 000 people studying at NC State. The campus is about four miles away from downtown, which is not too far away at all if you ask me. The downtown area in Raleigh has a quite few bars and nightclubs which offer live music and things to do for college students.

SPORTS

The school of course has it’s own football and basketball teams and it is a huge deal.

stadium

The Carter Finley stadium has a capacity for almost 60 000 people. It is free for students to go watch the football games. Also what I personally liked a lot it the tailgating before the games. People arrive to the parking lots few hours before the game and have a barbeque, play corn hole, throw football and play many other games and socialize.

Close to the campus there is also the PNC arena where the NHL ice hockey team Carolina Hurricanes play.

arena

As a Finnish person I was very happy to see few NHL games and that the arena was so close to the campus.

LIVING ON CAMPUS

Most students here live on campus which is good idea if you ask me. You are close to your classes and don’t have to commute too much (well depends where you live on campus). Since the campus is quite big, there is a free bus lines going around the campus all day and most of the night too.

ncsu

Since NC State is a public state school the classrooms can (especially in the freshman level) get quite crowded (about 300 people max). But on junior and senior level classes the size drops to a reasonable level (about 20 – 30 people in a classroom).

To sum it up, I really enjoyed the time I have spent here in NC State, especially the student life and all the trips we did with other exchange students and Americans.