Tag Archives: Canada

Toronto, Ocad and I

Hi everyone!

Streets of Toronto

I just spent 4 month in Toronto, at Ocad university which is the largest art, design and media university in Canada.

Ocad  had a really wide selection of an interesting courses,  so I got a bit greedy by taking 5 instead of the 4, which was the recommendation.

Now I know better. I recommend taking just the 4 courses, because they all are very time consuming and the teachers expect you to work a lot, all the time.

Choose wisely, you don’t want to spent your whole exchange doing nothing but school work!

Streets of Toronto
Classroom from Ocad

I would also recommend taking the figure drawing and painting classes,(If you are interested in painting and drawing, of course.) those two were my favourites and I learned the most from them.

But regardless the busy schedule with the school, I did managed to travel a bit! I went to see Niagara falls, it’s only two and half hours away with a bus from Toronto.

Totally worth it, even though it can feel like a tourist trap during the summer seasons, at least you can do it in one day!

Niagara falls

During my study break I went to Montreal, Ottawa and Quebec, which was a great experience, especially in Montreal and Quebec you could feel the difference, people spoke mostly French and it was a bit smaller city and the nature felt a lot closer.

Ottawa, Parliament Hill
The Montmorency Falls, Quebec
Mont-Tremblant National Park

I felt that in Ocad, or in Toronto in general people were pretty busy. The public transportation wasn’t great, and it was really expensive so if you can, try to find place close to the school. But then again, also finding the apartment can be tricky and expensive for sure.

I had a lot of fun during my exchange, and I hope I can visit Canada someday again!

Toronto skyline



Life in the Soo

Now that I’m done with my exchange, I can tell a bit of my experiences in Canada.

I was studying in Algoma University which is located in a city called Sault Ste. Marie. It’s a small border city of 75,000 people in Northern Ontario. The university itself is very multicultural and also really small but I liked the fact that you get to know people so easily and make a lot of new friends as well.

Shingwauk Hall

I took four courses during my semester there. Comparing studying in Canada to Finland, I would say that the workload is significantly more than back home – all the assignments, quizzes, midterms, final papers and final exams. However, I didn’t find it harder, it’s just more.

Waterfront Boardwalk
International Bridge to USA

Everyday life is happening mainly at the campus since there is not that much to do in the city. But I think there is pretty much everything you need – gym, friends you can hang out with and different kind of activities to participate, everything from different sports to karaoke nights. I also lived at the campus, in townhouses, where I had four roommates. We all had our own rooms and shared kitchen & bathroom. It was a great experience and I would recommend it if you’re going for an exchange to Algoma U!

Even though the city is quite small, there is something to do, for example going for a Soo Greyhounds hockey game or for a hike to beautiful places nearby. And you can always travel! I did trips to Vancouver, Toronto and New York.

Soo Greyhounds & Hiawatha Highlands

Melwel Lodge & Lake Superior Provincial Park

I met such an amazing people during my exchange semester and I already miss that place! My exchange in the Soo was unforgettable.

Greetings from Toronto

I spent 4 months in Toronto, Canada studying in OCAD University. Based on my portfolio I was placed in the Digital Futures program, but only ended up taking one course from it; on top of the project heavy studies in the world building and research course, I took one game design and one concept art course.

Dundas Square near Eaton Centre, Toronto’s biggest shopping mall

I feel like the quality of teaching in OCAD was very high, as it should as the students there pay thousands of canadian dollars a year for their tuition. The teachers knew what they were talking about, and were quite strict with their grading – however, their feedback on assignments was constructive and I learned a lot.

As I mentioned in the start, I took courses about concept art, game design, world building and product design. All the courses had many projects, so working with other people came up a lot. The teachers quite a lot of work at least compared to TAMK, so free time was scarce at times, but in the end it was rewarding because the assignments felt useful and interesting.

Toronto pictured up from CN Tower

As I had quite a little of free time because of the demanding studies, I didn’t get to sight see as much as I wanted to. Still, I managed  at least to visit CN Tower (pictured above) which is the tallest building in Toronto and had a quite a nice view. I also went to see the musical Matilda, visited the Christmas Market and Nuit Blanche, went to see some art galleries e.g. the Art Gallery of Ontario. Otherwise I met up with fellow exchange students as often as we were able, and we tried out different restaurants together or just hang out in either a pub or someone’s home.

I also enjoyed just walking around the city, as I lived right in the Kensington Market, which is an old outdoor market area and has many niche shops. Chinatown was just around the corner too, so everything you needed was close by, and there was always new things to try.

Toronto Christmas Market

My study exchange in the Soo

Greetings from Canada! I am currently living in a friendly border city called Sault Ste. Marie. I am here to do my study exchange in Algoma University, which is a small but very multicultural university. I have stayed here almost three months now and I have enjoyed every moment. I chose to live on campus in townhouses where I have three lovely roommates which makes this experience even more fun. Canadians truly are the nicest and the most polite people I have met and because the school is rather small you will definitely make new friends while you are here.

The International Bridge
The International Bridge

I am taking five business courses and I can tell that the workload is much more than in TAMK but the courses are not necessarily more difficult. We have a lot of quizzes, assignments, midterms and final exams that take most of my time. Studying here in a university is more about theory and memorizing chapters from thick books. Be prepared to spend a LOT of money on buying your school books, it surprised me how expensive the school books were. The class sizes are about the same than in TAMK and the classes are well planned ahead and they follow their syllabus.

Shingwauk Hall
Shingwauk Hall

       I like to spend my spare time here with my international friends and go explore the Soo. In addition to eating pancakes with maple syrup, hiking and hockey seems to be a thing here. Therefore, I would recommend going on a hike to Robertson Cliffs and watching a Soo Greyhounds hockey game. There is never a dull moment because the university arranges every week all sorts of activities from different sports to karaoke so there is always something to do on campus as well.

The view from Robertson Cliffs
The view from Robertson Cliffs




Discovering THE SOO

Hello from Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada! I have been doing my study exchange at Algoma University for almost three months now, and this semester has been so different from anything I have ever done. I arrived in “The Soo” at the end of August, when the weather was almost +30C and no one was even thinking about school yet. I chose to live on campus, because it was a very easy option for me as I didn’t want to live in a host family. The campus is very small, and a major advantage is that it only takes you 2 minutes to get from your room to class. I live in the Lou Lukenda Res, which is an okay option, but coming from my own apartment in Finland it was a bit of a shock not having a kitchen, or even a fridge in your room. But, I have adjusted, and it has been (mostly) a fun experience living in a dorm.

Shingwauk Hall


School is very different here at Algoma than at TAMK, especially when it comes to reading, writing, and group work. The studying is much more theory based, and the work load is much more with all the assignments, quizzes, mid terms, final papers, final exams and homework on top of that. I don’t think it is harder, it’s just more. In TAMK we do a lot of group work and assignments are based on real cases or companies, whereas here we do individual assignments rather than group work and the assignments are basically describing theories. I have done courses in HRM, business ethics and Canadian business, and I think they are have given me something that I probably wouldn’t have learned back home. It is very interesting to talk about these issues here, because the university is very diverse, and in every class there are people from many different countries.

Bridge to USA
Soo Greyhounds game

Sault Ste. Marie is a nice, small town. There is everything you need here, but not much extra, but I have been traveling around Canada, and doing a few road trips in Michigan, USA. The people in Sault Ste. Marie are so nice, and at the university you really get to know people, starting from the staff in the cafeteria and your professors. The class sizes are about the same as in TAMK, but there are so much more activities arranged for students to get to know each other. The school has also made it possible for us to see so much culture and history around the city, which has been great because those events have been something you wouldn’t experience as a tourist!

Agawa Bay

Anyway it has been a great experience that I will never forget!

Having the time of my life!

Greetings from Canada, city called Sault Ste. Marie! I am studying marketing and international business for one semester here at the Algoma University. It is already halfway of my exchange period and I cannot believe how fast time goes here. It feels like I would have been here only for few weeks even though it has been over two months now!

I find that studying here is more demanding than back in Finland. Textbooks for courses are big and thick, and classes play a smaller role here. In Finland we have more classes and less homework, here it is quite the opposite. I like the fact that courses here are structured and the classes are planned in advance. It makes it easier for students to keep up and plan studying. I wish our courses at TAMK would be as well organized as here!

As I am already in the half way of my exchange period, I already feel kind of sad to go home… I have made so good friends here from all over the world! It is just amazing how fast and easily you have become friends with so many lovely people. I hope that the contact with these friends will not end when it is time for everyone to go back home!

I have traveled with my new friends also. In the beginning of January we made a road trip to Green Bay to see American Football game Packers vs Cowboys. It was my first time in USA and I have never seen such a mania! I have never realized how important the football is for Americans! The experience at the stadium was unbelievable! The feeling among the 80 000 people at the stadium was something you have to experience yourself!

During the study week on February I went to New York for four days. I can’t find words to describe how awesome the Big Apple was! I definitely want to go there again, but maybe during the summer time. I visited many must-see attractions, as Empire State Building, Top of The Rock, Statue of Liberty, several museums and so many other places! My feet were aching from the amount of walking and straight from NY I flew to see the capital of Canada, Ottawa. So even more walking ahead! I experienced kind of culture shock there, after NY Ottawa felt like a small village to me! But Ottawa proved to be cool city, too. My Japanese friend joined me in Ottawa and we stayed in a Jail Hostel, which is really an old jail! We also took a Haunted Walk -tour in the jail, just to lose our good night sleep the next night… It was exciting to hear about the stories about the prisoners and especially the first political murder in Canada. But still, the question is, was the right man hung at the prison…? In addition to the Jail Hostel and guided tour we went to see the National Gallery of Canada and the Museum of History. The latter was especially interesting with totem poles and stories of the aboriginal people!

I have experienced so much here during these two months that I cannot even imagine how many adventures I still have ahead! The final exams are approaching and I have been studying effectively during the weekdays so that I get to see my friends during the weekends. Last weekend we were downhill skiing and I cannot wait what we figure out for the next weekends!

Here are some pictures of my adventures in the North-America:

SAM_6466 IMG_8790

IMG_8649 searchmont

IMG_7668 SAM_6259


O’ Canada…!


Last Fall I lived in Toronto and it was awesome! I spent my exchange semester exploring Canada, enjoying maple syrup, meeting new people and having lots of fun. Oh, and I also studied, haha! I attended to OCAD (Ontario’s College of Art and Design) which is by the way largest art and design school in North America. OCAD was huge and it offered a lot of interesting courses which were pretty different compared to my school back in Finland. Wow.

My school; OCAD.

I arrived in Toronto at the end of the August. I remember my first two thoughts: I was amazed by tall buildings and people being so polite even towards strangers. I heard that Canada’s climate can be very close to Finland’s, so I was surprised to find out how summer kept going on for two more months. People started to consider using jackets maybe in the middle of October. I have to admit – at first I was really excited but then I started to miss chilly, autumnish weathers too.

My exchange semester went by very fast. I was busy with school but every weekend I discovered new parts of the city and tried something different – whether it was a Korean restaurant or a road trip to the northern parts of Ontario. Overall, these exchange studies were amazing and I’m never going to forget my fun experiences with all my new friends. I think I left part of me in Toronto.

But enough babbling! Pictures tell more than thousand words… eh?

(The quality of pictures varies; I used my smart phone, film camera and disposable cameras since I don’t own a digital camera.)

I lived in China Town so these specialities were pretty ordinary. Yummy.
My home street. (I used film camera for this shot, the reason for being black and white.)
My home street. (I used film camera for this shot, the reason for being black and white.)
To be a decent tourist, I just had to see Niagara Falls.
To be a decent tourist, I just had to see Niagara Falls.
POUTINE. My ultimately favourite Canadian dish. If you ever have a chance to try poutine, just do it!
POUTINE. My ultimately favourite Canadian dish. If you ever have a chance to try poutine, just do it!
I used disposable camera here as well but as you can see Canada's nature is as magnificent as in Finland! All the colours, wow.
I used disposable camera here as well but as you can see Canada’s nature is as magnificent as in Finland! All the colours, wow.
Happy Halloween! It was obviously a bigger deal than in Finland.
Happy Halloween! It was obviously a bigger deal than in Finland.




Oh Toronto, I’m going to miss you so much!

Nuts’nuts’a’shun – hearty hello from Vancouver Island!

The word “nuts’nuts’a’shun” is included in the title for two reasons. The first one being, that it means snowflakes in Hul’q’umi’num language spoken by the Snuneymuxw First Nation in and around Nanaimo, on Vancouver Island, and since winter has already arrived (as much as it can in the Pacific Northwest), we have already seen some snowflakes gracefully flowing in the air. The second reason is, that especially during the first days of my orientation here at Vancouver Island University, I was told several times, that the city of Nanaimo is built on the 1st Nations’ holy grounds, and everyone should respect that. In general, the 1st Nations’ are a staple part of the past and present of Nanaimo.

I arrived here in late August, when the weather was still rather warm and I enjoyed the beautiful views on and off Vancouver Island. Since then there’s been this and that to complain, but that’s a different story for a different time..

Horseshoe Bay, just north of Vancouver in British Columbia, Canada
Horseshoe Bay, just north of Vancouver in British Columbia, Canada

I had never been to Canada before, and it is not often that I get to see mountains like the ones in British Columbia, so I was completely in awe when I took the ferry from Horseshoe Bay, BC to Departure Bay, BC.

I’m a 3rd year International Business student, and I set out to study accounting, finance, and economics here at VIU. One of the best things about VIU as a university is, that there are so many different courses to choose from, that it was almost impossible to pick just a few! Not just that, but some of my friends chose to study the wine industry (their first homework was to buy a wine glass to taste some samples in the following classes..), Chinese, and professional time management just to name a few.

The Vancouver Island University sign on Wakesiah and Fifth
The Vancouver Island University sign on Wakesiah and Fifth

Vancouver Island’s nature is truly amazing, from the mountaintops and very Finnish-esque forests to the massive Pacific Ocean’s shore in Tofino, BC. For a person who loves the nature and different outdoor activities like myself, Vancouver Island takes your breath away. Just be sure to grab your raincoat and umbrella, as the weather is definitely not always like in these pictures..

Tofino, BC, on the west coast of Vancouver Island
Tofino, BC, on the west coast of Vancouver Island

I only have a bit more than a week left until I depart from Vancouver Island, and several exams will keep me busy, but I can’t wait!


– Kasperi

Maple Syrup and Moose Kissing

Greetings from the promised land of maple syrup, moose and hockey!

Time flies when one is having fun. I ended up I hoping for a longer exchange already at the beginning of September. Algoma University is located in Sault Ste. Marie which is a friendly border city of 75 000 inhabitants. It’s true what people say about Canadians, they truly are the nicest people I’ve ever met! It helps to study at a small school as everybody knows everybody and it’s fairly easy to make new friends (especially if one happens to have a cute accent, just saying).

I have lectures Monday to Thursday and the workload is about the same as in TAMK. I live a 5-minute walk away from school, in a host family. My Canadian family is amazing and we get along really well (they also have two adorable dogs to cuddle with). I spend most of my free time with friends, working out or going out. There’s never a boring moment!

I’ve done a weekend trip to Toronto with my friends and next destinations are the US and Quebec. I’m planning on getting a practical training placement here and never coming back home… I’m only half joking.


The Magnificent Algoma UniversityCorn Maze

My first ever corn maze. And my Canadian BFFs. Pumpkin

I Know What I Did Last Halloween.Niagara Falls

The Almighty Niagara Falls.