Category Archives: Tourism, Catering and Domestic Services

Hospitality Management, Management of Service Business

My Adventure in Seoul, South Korea

My time in Seoul in coming to an end. I can count the days I have left with my fingers. I have been studying in Kyung Hee University for the past semester. My major is hospitality management. I have had a lot of fun and I have met new people from all over the world.

Kyung Hee University, The Grand Peace Hall

Studying in Korea has been surprisingly easy for me. I have five courses and they have all been going well. Right now, I only have my finals left and I only have two of those. Registering to courses is very competitive here so I had to wake up at 4.15 to be able to register to the courses I wanted. I also needed to change few courses and got one more added before I traveled to Korea. I haven’t had any problems with the language of the courses, and I got to keep all the courses I registered to. Kyung Hee has a lot of international students so those courses that have a lot of international student and exchange students don’t have to worry about the language. I have had very few assignments during the semester, so I have had quite a lot of free time.

Library in the mibble of the COEX Starfiled mall

During my free time I either wander around Seoul. I have also traveled to few cities inside Korea and I also traveled to Tokyo during the semester. Busan and Jeju island are a must visit in Korea. Both are beautiful places and are very different compared to Seoul and each other. I also won tickets to a music bank concert so for that I had to travel to another city. But at that time, I did not have time to see the city itself. Seoul has a lot of places to visit and it is easy to travel in Seoul. There are many popular areas to go to clubbing or shopping. I had spent most my free time going to cultural places and going shopping all around Seoul. There are also many cultural places that are nice to visit in Seoul. The food is good and cheap in restaurants. I eat in a restaurant almost every day because we aren’t allowed to cook in the dorm and there is no kitchen in there. There are only few microwave ovens, few toaster ovens and a toaster. One tip if you want to travel to Korea there are very few options for vegans and vegetarians. So, if you don’t eat pork, beef or chicken you should think very hard about if Korea is the right option for you.

Geongbukgung

Comparing the education and studying to Finland. In Korea university is very competitive because grades are given in cumulative so only a certain percentage gets an a and so on. But most English courses are not like this. They are mainly point based grades. Because in Finland the grade is always point based and everyone gets a grade based on their effort. In here sometimes you fail a course because you just didn’t fit into the percentages. So, it’s very competitive and grades are very important here so getting the best grade possible is important. That is why many people spend most their time studying and not having fun the closer to the exams we get. Classes here are mainly lectures and it is not encouraged to ask questions during class you can questions after the class from the teacher personally. And you should always try to take notes because you don’t always get the lecture material for yourself to review.

I have had a lot of fun during the past semester. I have Made new friends and traveled to new places. I think Korea was a good choice and Kyung hee university has been a great place to study at.

Greetings from Malaysia!

I have been studying in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia almost three months now. Time has passed very quickly. I have five different courses at the uni and I feel like some of them are similar that we could have in TAMK. In TAMK we do almost everything in groups but here we have more individual assignments which I prefer more.

Sunset at Pangkor Island

I spend my spare time usually with my friends, the other exchange students. There are approximately 70 exchange students, mostly from Europe but also from the United States, Mexico, and Australia.

Swimming with my friends

I have been traveling quite a lot around Malaysia so far. Almost every weekend I have been to different places inside Malaysia and it has been a lot of fun. I have visited for example Georgetown in Penang, Perhentian Islands, Tioman Island, and Langkawi. All the trips have included many hours on a bus. I still have many places where I want to go to Malaysia. During the past month, I have been visiting also in Cambodia, Borneo, Brunei, and Singapore.

Perhentian Island
Melaka

 

During the weekends I feel like there is not that much to do at home. Sounds crazy- I live in Kuala Lumpur. However, I live quite far from the city centrum and you have to go by car every time you want to go somewhere because there are highways all around. There is not that option to walk from one place to another. That is something, what I really miss from Finland.

View from my window

I live in a student house where most of the exchange students and local students are living. It is ten minutes walk from the university and a mall, where there are places to eat. In my opinion, it is cheaper to go to eat than cook food yourself. I usually eat at least once in a day in a restaurant at the university area. In Finland the student lunch is 2,60€ and here you usually pay approximately the same amount of a good meal.

This is my second time in Asia so I already had some experience with cultural differences. I think you will really get inside the culture and habits after years of staying somewhere. Malaysia is a Muslim country and you are able to see that in your everyday life, for example, women wearing scarfs and the Islamic call to prayer. At the university, I feel like some things are more strict, like the way you talk to the teachers and the dress code. It might be also because it this is a private university and students have to pay for their studies and also because some of the students are so young.

Overall, this has been a great experience and I still have one month to go!

Petronas Twin Towers

 

Love,

Maria

 

All pics taken by me 😊

Greetings from Kuala Lumpur

Time has just flied past really quickly here in Kuala Lumpur. We only have a few weeks of classes left, and after that we will have our exams. Even though this autumn has been pretty amazing, I’m actually looking forward on getting back home to Finland.Taylor’s University

The school system here is quite different than in Finland. In TAMK you will get a lot of credits from one course, but here the courses are divided to smaller units which means more exams. The local students are younger than in Finland, and you can see this for example in their behaviour, but also in the responsibility for their studies. It feels like the students are not responsible for their learning and the teachers and parents are the ones who are in charge of everything. For me this has been a challenge, because I’m used to being independent and being the only one who has the responsibility for my studies.

In Finland it feels easy to reach a teacher. They seem to be on the same “level” as you, but here In Taylor’s University you can really feel the ascendancy between students and teachers. You never call the teachers by their first name. Using Mrs. or Mr. when talking to them is almost always mandatory. It has not been once, twice or even three times during this semester when the teacher never showed up for the class, and without any notice for the students. The local students are used to this, but for me it felt kind of rude. If the teacher don’t show up in 30 minutes, the students usually give up and leave the class.

On the first orientation day we had a health check and we weren’t informed about it at all. They took blood samples, x-rays etc. but no one knew why and what they are would do with all the information of us. In total the health check with all the waiting took more than nine hours. This tells something about Malaysians way of handle things: nothing is done the easiest way. For example, I wanted to drop out from a course, and in total the process took over a month. I had to fill up several papers, run around the school and get signatures and also get an official confirmation from TAMK.

Luckily, we have a lot of free time, so we don’t have to be annoyed at school more than a few hours a week. We had to submit our passports on the first week because of the visa process, and during the five first weeks we only travelled within Malaysia: we saw the cool art street city Penang, “Asia’s little Venice” Melaka, Langkawi island and the paradise island Perhentian.The Perhentian Islands

Our campus is located around 15km from the city center, and since we are living on the campus there are not much to do on the free time. Some people spend time at a huge mall which is located close to the university and there they might do groceries or have dinner. You can’t walk ANYWHERE since there are no sideways (expect from our apartment to uni) and you have to take a Grab (Asia’s Uber.) Luckily, it’s really cheap, but sometimes this campus area feels like a prison because you just can’t walk anywhere. Of course, sometimes we take a Grab to the city center, and there you can spend a lot of time. Walking around the countless skyscrapers and trying different dishes from all over the world is really nice.

When we finally got our passports back, all the travelling started. The first destination was a weekend trip to Krabi in Thailand. After that I was travelling for almost three weeks nonstop. We didn’t really have any weeks of from school, but we made a “Leave of Absence” application for one week. There were also several public holidays which made this possible. We went to Cambodia, Malaysian Borneo, Brunei and Bali. I hope I will have time to spend a weekend in Singapore before we have to submit our passports to school again.

As said, this time in Asia has been great and I’m really happy I’ve had the possibility to travel and experience different Asian cultures. I’m glad that we still have some time left here in Kuala Lumpur, but at the same time I can’t wait to get back to Finland for Christmas.

Slovenia, here we go again!

Greetings fellow explorers and vagabonds! Part of my thesis, I decided to finish my studies as a part of practical training in Slovenia in Tourism innovation company. This time I have decided to jump to the deep end of the pool, and mingle with locals instead of Erasmus students which I did last time while I was here. The location is the same beautiful coastal town Portoroz in Slovenia. It is almost the perfect place to take refuge from the harsh northern winters as the mild sub-mediterranean climate keeps over 20 degrees even in end of october.

Sunsets are absolutely breathtaking. At a clear weather you can see the alps spreading across the horizon, and with good luck you can even get a glimpse of Venice in the Southwest!

Travelling to Slovenia isn’t that hard. People are friendly, most of them speak english very well and are very hospitable. The country itself is a mixture of balkan and german. The mixed culture has taken influences from the Habsburgs, Italians and ottomans during its history. People enjoy sports, spending their time in cafes, nature and working absolutely hard as animals.

The city of Piran is nearby Portoroz and offers sea, culture and history in the same place. Prices tend to be for tourists, and for such I recommend other less touristic towns to visit for a more affordable accommodation, food and services. Living in touristic town is expensive as appartments are scarce and services tended more to tourists. But if you are on a holiday and have money to spend, then come on over!

Nightlife is pretty dull, but I tend to enjoy more trekking in the mountains, and most likely will go skiing in the alps at winter, since the distance is very short. For sports there are lot of activities, but otherwise you have to get creative.

As a part of my thesis I will be doing survey on Tourism advertisement and working on writing most of my days, but luckily that is a mobile job, so I will be doing them in local cafes, enjoying the sea view and letting the warm wind ease my stay.

There isn’t much anymore culture shocks for me since I visited here already, but working a thesis is a bit different, since professors tend to give direct guidelines what you should do, limiting my creativity, but otherwise they have been very supportive.

Thanks, and take care!

Dreams do come true!

Hello from Malta! 

My internship lasted almost four months. When I came here, I had no idea what is it really like working as a receptionist. The beginning was super intense, because there was a lot to learn. Reception duties are pretty easy, but there is just so much to remember. All the things, tasks and machines were new to me and it was my first time working overseas so the beginning was honestly pretty crazy. Although after a while everything gets easier when you remember what to do. The tricky part of being a receptionist is that you are the face of everything. No matter if you would do your job perfectly, you are the one people complain if something is wrong. That was actually a big part of my job: past things to different departments. Sound easy? Yeah, maybe, but before it gets easy, you have to remember all the different departments and their tasks and even the names of the people who work in all those different departments. For example in my work place we had leisure activities, lounge bar, which is our restaurant, IT-office, bookings department, accounts department, education etc..

I carried out several different duties, but mainly answering phone, dealing with clients queries, dealing with arrivals and departures, entering bookings in the system for online reservations, collecting direct payments for accommodation, excursions and lessons and so much more. As a receptionist in a language school you work with student in all of the ages and from all around the world. You have to have a lot of common sense, act fast and be ready to answer for the most different kinds of questions at any point of your shift. I know all this sounds like it was crazy and super busy, and most of the time it really was, but I still loved every second of it. It was the best kind of job for me, especially at this time of my life.

My summer squat ❤️

What it comes to my free time in Malta, it would not be nothing without my co-workers and students who became friends. I was never alone, it even came to that point that I couldn’t be alone because I didn’t know how. I was so happy and grateful to meet all those people who I can now call one of my best friends. So, what did we do in our spare time? We went sightseeing all around Malta: new cities, beaches, churches, restaurants. We partied a lot and just hang out basically everyday. We did everything together. Down below you can see few of my favorite go to places.

   

Eeetwell was one of the places I went to eat or at least crap a smoothie every other day. Easy and healthy 😉

You can find few eeetwell’s around Malta.

💚💚💚

My favorite (and probably most common places to visit in Malta) cities in Malta where Mdina and Valletta. Mdina is so cute, little and pretty. Valletta, the capital city of Malta is also a must to visit.

Malta’s longest beach is Mellieha Bay. You can easily spend your whole day there because there is also restaurants and bars around the beach.

Malta also has two islands very close by, Cozo and Comino. Both worth to go! In Comino you will find a beautiful Blue Lagoon.

My favorite church is for sure St. Paul’s Cathedral in Mdina. Breathtaking!

After spending four months in Malta, it started to feel like home. This summer was full of the most beautiful moments in my life which I would not change for anything!

This last picture is from Golden Bay, where you can see the sunset in a whole new way 💛

Pictures speak better than words but if you have any questions about my summer, my internship or Sprachcaffe in general, feel free to contact me, I would love to tell you more!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Greetings from the sparkling city of Kuala Lumpur!

This is my first time in Asia, so there is so much to discover here! Many exchange students were able to fix their timetables so that there would not be classes on fridays, which gives us one extra day to travel around. Otherwise I have classes from oenology to revenue management and even a course for holistic health and wellness. In my perspective, it seems like a very interesting catalogue of courses.

In Finland we are more focused on restaurant business in our studies while in Malaysia we will learn more about the international hospitality industry. This exchange period is probably going to be very useful for our future careers as we get to widen our knowledge from different viewpoints as well. Also, travelling in Asia and getting to know local cultures would serve us well when communicating with tourists in Finland – or wherever in the world, too.

Spare time in Malaysia is full of activities. There are fancy rooftop bars, swimming pools and numerous destinations to travel for either a cultural trip or a holiday on the beach.

Last weekend we visited Penang – a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site since 2008, which is full of culture and natural scenery. For example, you can take a hike in the national park and visit monkey and turtle beaches by boat.

Penang is also known for its street food, combining Indian, Malay and Chinese cuisines. Food in Malaysia is overall very delicious and offers many options for everyone! Also, the variety of street art found all over George Town makes the destination enjoyable for any art lover.

Looking forward to the next trip, lovely warm nights outside and many new local dishes to taste.

-Laura

Ciao from Italy

I have been in Italy almost two months now, and I am in love! Here are so many things to learn about the culture and so many new perspectives to gain. I am living in the middle of most beautiful landscapes and I recommend if you are going to visit Italy, you must visit Barolo area.

A little town called Verduno, is where I live now, has 600 habitants with lovely restaurants and wineries. Pelaverga wine is smallest DOCG certificated wine in Italy. This unique wine can be exclusively produced only in this little town!


Luxury villas

There are a many other little villages nearby worth to visit! For example Roddi, La Morra, Serralunga and Barolo.

I am studying Hospitality management in TAMK University of applied sciences. For my last year internship I came to work here in Monvigiliero Vineyard Villas. We have four beautiful luxury villas which can accommodate up to 40 persons, or individually up to 13 persons.

I came here in the beginning May and I will leave in the middle of August. I am sad realizing that my internship is almost over. Even though I love Italian hot summer, I would love to see Italian magical autumn as well. Especially because in the beginning of October starts famous Alba white truffle- season and harvest in the vineyards.

I wanted to come here, because I am interested to work in a hotel business. After I finish my studies, I would love to find a job in a hotel’s reception. On my spare time I am sunbathing, relaxing and spending time with my boss. Usually I have 2 – 3 days off. Everything is doable if I want to travel somewhere; for example, I visited Genova last week and I before spent one night in Torino as well. I have a small apartment at villas, so it doesn’t take a long time for work.

I didn’t have any special expectations for my trip to Italy. The only thing that I considered as a difficulty was the language barrier. I did not speak Italian when I came here, only English. Now that I have been here almost two months, I know some words and I have started to understand some Italian.

In Finland it is quite rare to drink even one glass of wine in a lunch break. Here it is normal to drink one glass of wine while eating. It is actually vice versa; if you don’t order wine, everybody looks at you like you are sick! Of course, it is okay to drink one glass of wine, but I have not never seen that quite often. Overall this trip has been my best thing ever, I have learnt something new every day and I can’t believe that I need to return home so soon!

-Nora

Herkese merhaba!

Greetings from Turkey.

I am happy to say that coming to Ankara was one of the best choices of my life. There is so much to learn in this culture and so many new perspectives to gain, mostly because Turkey differs from Finland quite a lot. One of the biggest differences I noticed is religion, also being the most prominent as there are many mosques and calls to prayers five times a day. These are probably the first things a newcomer will notice here. Also, my exchange takes place during Ramadan, which I am as well excited to experience, although from a perspective of an outsider.  I have been able to visit some of the best attractions in Ankara during my time here, and also places in other parts of Turkey.

 

Inside Kocatepe Camii, the largest mosque in Ankara

Photos from the mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk – the founder of Turkey

Bilkent University is said to be one of the best universities in Turkey. When we have mostly large, project-oriented courses in Finland, the ones in Bilkent are more theoretical and scattered in many smaller entities. Students here need 52 courses in able to graduate, which seems too much for someone who is used to two 10 credit courses per semester. Although, instructors are knowledgeable and know how to teach, which provides good chances for learning.

One of the more practical courses I am taking is International cuisines, in which we prepare foods from different countries and serve them to the customers. As a part of the course we had also an opportunity to take part in Bilkent Mayfest and sell our products there. That was in fact challenging but fun addition to the course! The final exam will be like ‘mystery box’ from MasterChef, everyone getting different ingredients to prepare dishes from.

-Laura

 

 

Greetings from Akureyri!

I have been studied here this spring and I am totally in love with this place. Akureyri is so called  “capital of north”. Even thought it is a very small town, approximately 18000 habitants, they have their own university.

I am a Hospitality Management student, but I wanted to go to Akureyri even thought they don’t have any courses for my studies. I took some business courses which I found very interesting. I also took courses that are made for exchange students for example Icelandic language and Icelandic Nature.

In Tamk I used to do almost everything in groups, but because now I studied in the university, teaching was totally different. Courses consist mostly lectures and there were only a few group works.

I spend my spare time mostly with my flatmates and other exchange students. Because Akureyri is so small, basically all the foreigners know each others. I have met so many amazing people here and it is gonna be hard to say goodbye. With other exchange students we have done some roadtrips together around Iceland and I have seen many beautiful places.

Before I went to Iceland, I thought that people are similar with Finnish people. Culture is quite similar, but there are also differencies. Finnish people are way more punctual than Icelandic. One of my teacher gave a very logical explanation for that; the weather. The weather can variete during the day a lot and that is why Icelandic people are not good at planning in advance, because it depends so much of the weather can you go somewhere or not.

-Maria

Hallo aus Wien!

Two months has now passed since I arrived to the beautiful capital city of Austria, Vienna. I’ve enjoyed my stay here and even though I still have two months left, I’m getting anxious when I’m thinking that I need to come back to Finland. There is so much to see, discover and do in this old historical city, the weather has (most of the time) been amazing, the people I’ve got to know are awesome and life in general is just really nice.

 Ice skating at Rathausplatz.

The studies are not the first thing to come up to my mind when thinking how I’ve been spending my time here. I’m only doing 22 credits in Vienna, and this means I need to go to school only once or twice a week. I study at FHWien der WKW and the school is mainly focused on management and communication. At TAMK I’m studying hospitality management, but here I’m having courses in international marketing, social media, eMarketing etc. All of my courses are only with other Erasmus students, so I haven’t had the chance to get to know local people. The lectures and study methods are quite the same as in Finland: the teacher lectures about a subject and we do group work and have presentations (which I don’t like.) A few times we’ve had quizzes of the subject that we studied in the last class, and the winner usually gets something sweet to eat as a price. Sometimes the classes are at a weird time, for example one course took place in the evening and ended after 10 PM. Another thing that differs from TAMK is that the schedule changes almost every week.

In my spare time I usually travel, because it’s really cheap and easy here. We’ve travelled to Hallstatt (picture with the church), Bratislava, Cracow, Prague and Budapest and I still have trips to Italy (Rome, Pisa, Florence and Venice), Salzburg, Graz, Munich and maybe some other country in Southern Europe. We also like to go and spend time in some of the cozy cafes in Vienna. When it’s warm we usually hang out in a park or around the Danube river.

     

I never got a culture shock, but there’s few things that I’m still not used to in Vienna and Austria. First of all the public transport works perfectly here. The public transport ticket for the whole semester was only 75 euros and the trains, subways, buses and trams are ALWAYS on time. Another thing that is quite annoying is that grocery stores closes at 8 PM and they are not open on Sundays.

Can’t wait to see what the next two months will look like!