Austria, the amazing place to be

Greetings from Austria! A truly beautiful and amazing place to be.
Its a great retreat if you like Nature, you can go to the Alps, or if you like cities and architecture, you can go to Vienna. Absolutely astonishing buildings make you feel like you are living in the 1700s.

The International Business field in FH Wiener Neustadt is very in depth and you can select to study whatever you really want and really deepen in that field. There are a lot of courses which offer a great opportunities. The school facility is amazing and the atmosphere is great too, which motivates you to study well.

During my exchange in FH Wiener Neustadt i have learned the key differences between Finnish and Austrian schooling system. It is somewhat more strict in here and there is a stronger discipline. For example, from some courses you have to have more than half % to even get the worst possible grade. You really need to put hard work to it in order to get a good grade. The good news is that the courses are distributed so, that there are only few per day, and some days you will have “free day” so you can study from home and not show up to school. This is always great because you get to sleep longer and not wake up early.

Our school

One of the biggest problems however is the fact that in the library there are not enough course books for all, which means you will have to find a partner from which you could borrow the books.

Free time!
Of course its not only about studying all the time. You get to hang out with people and learn to know them. Luckily in our dormitory we had the most amazing people living in our student housing. Party? No problem. Breakfast? No problem, Dinner? You say it, Chief.
This is a truly great place to socialize and be with people after hard studying -> Our dorms. We had parties every weekend and there were always people that left somewhere to explore Austria during the holidays and you could come with them.  Luckily Vienna is just 20km away so that is like 13minute train ride to the big city. And there is always something you could do there. Meet people, go to restaurant, clubs, and such. Its cheap and its fun!

Our amazing dorms

The amazing Wiener Neustadt

Greetings from St. Paul, Minnesota. United States

I had my exchange studies in Mc.Nally Smith College of Music, I had most of my studies in the Hiphop music production and music business department. McNally Smith College is a leading music college in the country, I had a wonderful experience learning from some of the best teachers in the industry.

 

I live in Minneapolis, which has a beautiful and vibrant night scene. I usually hangout in the downtown area during my free times.

While sightseeing the city of Minneapolis, I found a Finnish Bistro 🙂

Education in McNally is a bit different as to the grading system, but the approach is similar for the most part, just like in Finland at the end of the semester, there is a chance to give feedback for each course.

It has been a great experience thus far 🙂

Tanti saluti dalla città eterna!

Many greetings from Rome – the eternal city where every road leads to. I’ve had the amazing chance to spend my year studying music at one of the most famous conservatoires of the world; Conservatorio di musica Santa Cecilia di Roma. It’s been utterly an educational experience and I’ve learned so much about myself, the italian culture and some useful common coping skills of life.

The idea of coming here felt quite good, because it had been a dream of mine for a long time and I had studied the language earlier in life and knew it already pretty well. I had also travelled to Italy quite many times, so I knew what to expect. Or so I thought. Very quickly it turned out that arranging your life in Italy is very different to being a tourist in this paradise of food, wine and historical monuments. As a tourist you can embrace the relaxed attitude and feel free, but as a resident and a student it really hits you that NOTHING works. It takes a lot of patience to accept that everything takes time and nothing is clear. When school starts, such things as a ready study plan or a calendar don’t exist. But whatever… This is how it rolls here and there’s nothing else you can do about it but try and embrace the culture and make the most of it.

But to better things: when I really got to studying, it was great. The level of the education is so high, my singing teacher has been amazingly good and my correpetitor as well. I’ve gotten to study vocal chamber music, scene work, classical piano and even took a couple of choir classes. I’ve also managed quite well in my final exams. It’s so nice to know that whatever comes on your way, you can always find a solution. You get the feeling that your wings actually do carry. You start to feel strong and independent, which I think is one of the main goals of a student exchange.

My journey has also taken me to Venice, Bologna, Padova, Nemi, Naples and many other exciting places. (Exploring your grounds is the best part of living abroad.) I’ve listened to amazing concerts, seen some of the nightlife, eaten divine food (and lots of it!!) and had the best coffee ever.

And let’s not forget the most important part…

All the friends I’ve met. Old and new ones. Amazing people.

Sending lots of love,

Katarina

Greetings from French Riviera!

I did my exchange in Nice, France, last spring 2018. I studied at IPAG Business School located in the heart of Nice. In the Shanghai Ranking, IPAG is listed as the 3rd best French business school, so I had high expectations when I started my studies there.

My school started on Thursday 25th January 2018. We had small orientation at first (approx. 1-2 hours) where we talked about the semester, exams and participation. In my opinion, the orientation should have been longer and more extensive. We had to find out most of the practical things ourselves, since the orientation was so limited.

In IPAG I studied Strategic Human Resources Management, Small Business Development, International Marketing and French. All of the courses (except French) were built around one big group work. The final evaluation was made according to the mid term exam, final course exam and group work. The scale was 1-20, and you needed at least 10 points to pass the course. I was hoping there would be more traditional lectures and less group works, but in IPAG we had the other way round. 

In my spare time in Nice we travelled along the Southern France: Cannes, Antibes, Monaco, Menton, Valberg… We also travelled to Barcelona in February and to Italy in April. Besides the travelling, my normal day included school, gym, groceries and Netflix – just like in Finland.

My studies in IPAG were quite similar than in TAMK. One of the differences was that it was usual in IPAG that the lectures might be cancelled in last minute. In TAMK we have never had that.

We had our final exams at the end of May 2018, and I flew back to Finland on Thursday 31st May 2018.

If you have your exchange in Nice and you have questions about the education, city or anything, don’t hesitate to contact me! 🙂

Yours Sincerely,

Julia

julia.taivaljarvi@biz.tamk.fi

Lincoln, Lincolnshire

My studies in England differed a lot from my experiences in Finland. Being a foreigner in both countries, it is not a difficult task to draw comparisons and point out differences between those two countries educational values and strategies. While studying in Media and Arts in Tampere Mediapolis I experienced a heavy focus on individual ideas and personal development. My primary study path here is Fine Art, which explains the heavy focus on creative work. At University of Lincoln I was a guest at the Lincoln School of Film and Media for about 5 month. It took me some time to figure out the teaching system which divides classes into lectures, seminars and workshops. All teacher where incredibly helpful and very funny. The teaching was packed with information and I feel like I could take a lot of valuable lessons back into my main studies at Tamk. As usual, it was easier to make contact to exchange students than to the native ones. This might have been connected to the fact, that I shared only a few classes with the same groups of students.
In my spare time I spend a lot of time exploring the surrounding cities together with other exchange students as well as Lincoln itself. UoL offers a range of coach trips for very little money, which comes in very handy as train tickets tend to be fairly expensive. My personal highlight was the Lincoln Cathedral, which is almost 1000 years old and hold an endless amount of historical and personal stories as well as a great variety of artistic expression.


I understood fairly soon that drinking culture in the UK is about as big as in Finland. As I am personally not a big drinker or dancer I have only gone out a couple times to the usual student parties and managed to stay away from some of the more famous party locations of Lincoln. That being said, the town offers a good amount of loud and colourful bars around campus. So who is into that will definitely find satisfaction.

Comparing TAMK and UoL next to each other seems like an impossible task to me on some matters. Both schools have an incredibly different approach to learning in general. UoL offers a lot more academic knowledge than TAMK but also requires its students to put those lessons down into texts and diaries. Every student who wants to visit UoL should be prepared to write complex essays and spend some time in the library. The lectures at UoL are very impersonal compared to TAMKs (mainly because there are hundreds of students attending sometimes) but also incredibly packed with fascinating knowledge. I enjoyed my stay in Lincoln very much, but I deliberately decided not to extend my studies. I can recommend anyone to take the opportunity to study at Lincoln in any case, not only because you can get high-class education fore free (full-time students pay up to £9000 per year), but also because English heritage is incredibly well documented and proudly layed out for foreigners to explore.

Saluti dall´ Italia

I´ve studied music in the Conservatorio di Santa Cecilia in Rome. It has been a great pleasure to work with such a talented people and having the opportunity to perform with all different groups of musicians. Big part of my studies is contained of different kind of singing classes: Italian opera, French music, chamber music, choir music etc. There is also possibility to learn for example Italian language, some instrument or history of music.

I´ve had the opportunity to get to know to wonderful people from all over the world and we´ve spent time together by going to different museums, concerts, restaurants, travelling all over Italy and having movie nights and picnics. When I´m not with my friends I go jogging, for a walk and practice at home. I´ve also started to learn how to cook proper Italian food especially pasta and it has been really interesting to compare the cooking habits between Italy and Finland.

When I first entered the Conservatory I did not realise how many different status the institution consists of. There are headmaster, assistents, masters, professors, janitors and lounge hostesses and of course us students. They all have different kind of mission and status in the surrounding society and it took some time for me to understand my place. In Finland we have equal rights and responsibilities at the Conservatory and we are able to have educational conversations with each other.  We also have a possibility and actually we´re obligated to give feed back to one another. In Italy there are still quite a lot of hierarchy in the institutions which is as much as a problem as a positive thing. From positive point of view hierarchy demands individuals to pay attention to the advices given by the author and teaches to respect elder/professionals but it also diminsh the possibility to have an influence to the action made in the institute. The biggest problem for the student is that the masters/professors do not have any kind of responsibility to compensate the lessons which they cancel and this way the students wont get the lessons that they are supposed to have. In worst case that might mean that if the master gets sick for longer time or has to cancel teaching often when it´s your turn to go to the class you have no rights as a student to have for example a replacement for the subject. I´m so relieved that in Finland there´s no such a possibility and the studying is well planned and equal.

The eye-opening Malta

Hi!

My practical training was placed in a Maltese hospital. I had two separate placements, first one in the main hospital Mater Dei and the second one in a health care center. Both of these places were very eye-opening, but I liked the hospital more.

 

 

 

First days in the hospital were awfully confusing. A lot of things were happening, people were talking in two languages and I was trying to absorb all the information I possibly could. Mater Dei seemed massive for such a small country. By the end of the first week, I was familiar with the daily routines. However, hearing everything first in Maltese, worn me out. In addition to that, the normal working hours at the hospital were 12 hours. Although, that meant that I had only three or four workdays a week. What made everything all the more interesting, was my extremely supporting and positive mentor.

Health care centre was slower paced than the hospital. Mornings always started with blood samples and continued with wound care in the afternoon. By this time, I had gotten so used to hearing Maltese all day every day, that I just zoned out when things weren’t in English. Nevertheless, I learned so much from my second mentor as well and got to practice my skills more.

 

The health system in Malta was very much similar to ours in Finland. Some small practices in protection against infection were different but they weren’t overwhelming to me. The hierarchy in the hospital was very distinctive. However, I noticed a friendship between all the workers in the ward. They were all one big family, supporting each other.

I also liked the system that they had with the work shifts. Two day shifts from 7am to 7pm and the third shift was a night shift, from 7pm to 7am. Three days of 12 hours shifts and after that, two days off. The schedule sticks and you can plan easily ahead. In Finland the shifts change, and you get shifts for three weeks. The 12 hours were long and I was usually very tired at the end of the day.

 

During the exchange, I traveled around the main island. I got to know the culture, architecture and beautiful sights. I enjoyed the sun, hikes and small trips that you could make every day because the island was so small.

Hello from Hannover

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.

The scenic route to-and-fro school

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.

Maschsee, Hannover

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.

Hannover Hbf., Cars under the bridge

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)

Bulletin Board in HsH

Here’s a slightly amusing reliever to end this post. It took me a few moments to process this wasn’t written in english.

Slovenia, you stole my heart

Zdravo!

Did you know that Slovenia has a coastline? Or where Slovenia is, for that matter? That’s okay, neither did I until it came across on the list of partner universities and that’s how it all got started…

I did my Erasmus exchange during autumn semester 2017 in the small but most beautiful town of Portoroz in Slovenia. I am an International Business Student, but I majored in tourism, so that’s why I chose to apply to the Tourism Faculty of University of Primorska. Main campus of this uni is located in nearby city of Koper and Tourism faculty is in Portoroz, which is the main tourist area of coastal Slovenia.

I took 4 courses to study (the list of available courses held in English was small, but after many students asked about it, they added more options): Entrepreneurship in Tourism, Sustainable Tourism, Tourism Product of Slovenia and Consumer Behavior in Tourism. I enjoyed all the courses, especially Tourism Product was very interesting and we made several excursions and studying was made fun. The quality of teaching varied quite much depending on the teacher, but all of them spoke English very well, which was also the case in all Slovenia, everybody spoke English so I never experienced any language barriers.

My hometown, Portoroz.

 

My jogging route by the sea.

 

My weekly schedule consisted of two or three lessons, so I had a lot of free time, which I appreciated very much and pretty much used it to traveling within Slovenia but also around Europe – during my exchange I visited Italy (multiple times given it was only 40 km from Portoroz), Austria, Hungary, Slovakia, Croatia, Montenegro and Bosnia. Pro tip: If you want to travel around, go to Slovenia either by your own car or rent one from there, because the public transportation doesn’t function that well.

 

 

Marketplace in Sarajevo, Bosnia.

 

The autumn semester, in hindsight, was not the best possible timing for exchange studies in a tourist attraction area, because there the season ended in September, and our studies only began by then. This meant that many restaurants and bars were closed for the season, so we didn’t have so many options what to do on our free time. Portoroz has only approximately 3000 inhabitants, so it was a quiet and calm place during my exchange. The locals told that during the high season, it’s hard to even find a parking spot because it is so crowded  everywhere and filled with tourists, but that seemed hard to believe when walking the quiet streets.

When we were not travelling, we were usually having dinner together with our Erasmus group and enjoying the subsidized student meal system called Boni, which allowed us to eat in restaurants for a student-friendly price of 2,50 €. We also went bowling, to the movies or shopping in Koper, which offered more activities.

 

Ice skating rink and Christmas market in the heart of old town in Titov Trg, Koper, Slovenia.

Overall, I would say that I really enjoyed my exchange. Studies were very laidback and did not require much time or effort, so there was a lot of time for everything else. Also, Slovenia has such a convenient location in Europe, so it is fast and affordable to travel around- there is even a ferry going from Piran (neighbouring town of Portoroz) to Venice during the high season.

Also, because only the tourism campus was located in Portoroz, our Erasmus group got to know each other really well and we were a tight group from the beginning and I am glad to say I gained many friends from this time.

 

Moon Bay in Strunjan, Slovenia where we did an excursion during Sustainable Tourism course. In the background you can see Trieste, Italy.

-Ella

How y’all doing ?

Hello from NC State Uni !

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

NC State football game

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.

Plantation at Lousiana

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.

Waterfall at North Carolina
Thanksgiving trip to New York

I really encourage people to go abroad ! It’s fun !

Death Valley
Wild horses, somewhere in the state of Washington.
Grand Canyon
Massive tree for paper industry