Tag Archives: Czech Republic

Greetings from Prague!

I have been studying in Prague for four months now and I have really enjoyed it. I study civil engineering and architecture here at Czech Technical University. This fall has been somehow hard what it comes to studies but still I have had a lot of time to explore Prague and some other places in Czech Republic. 

 

On my spare time I have been getting to know the city and spend time with other exchange students. I have made some trips with my Finnish roommate on weekends for example to Bohemian Switzerland National Park and to Kutna Hora to see the Sedlec Ossuary. The best way to spend a day off in Prague is just to hop on a tram and wonder around the city. There is much more to see than you can read from a guide book. 

Studying at CTU has not differed much from studying at TAMK. In the beginning the hardest challenge was certainly to study in English but I got used to it in a month or two. The quality of the courses and knowledge of professors are very high-quality. 

 

Na zdravi!

Hi/Dobry den!

Greetings from Prague, Czech Republic

My studies have started well. I have lectures only from Monday to Thursday and the courses I have picked are from civil engineering and architecture course catalogue. These courses are in English and customized for exchange students so my class mates are from all around the world.

I love to spent my spare time in Prague by walking around the city because here is definitely a lot to see! In addition I love shopping and have a cup of coffee in some cute little coffeehouse or drink a pint of beer like locals do.

Studies differs a bit compared it with studying in Finland. For example here in Czech Technical University we have more assignments and not that much exams. The quality level of teaching is pretty high in CTU which was nice to notice because I have used to it in Finland.

See you soon!

#czechrepublic

Greetings from historic Brno!

I arrived in Brno two days before the exchange period started. I was going to live in dormitories close to the school hole time. First thing that I noticed when I came in Brno was that it was feeling like summer, because everything was so green, and sun was shining everyday although we were living September. Luckily, I packed few shorts with me.

The school system here is very different than in Finland. Of course this school here is university and that’s first difference and the second is that there are much more lessons in TAMK than in here. There are no very much of any schoolwork so the independent study is important here. What is been also different is that many of the classes have cancelled in here because teachers have to go somewhere abroad or some training events. In addition, studying here is been very nice and it’s been good change to studying in TAMK. Beneath in left picture is the dormatory where I live and in the right there is Faculty of Mechanical Engineering where is most of the classes.

In spare time I have visited many other countries that are nearby for example Poland, Hungarian, Slovakia and Austria. In addition I have visited in London by airplane which was very cheap. In the weekdays I usually exercise a lot for example go to the gym, running, swimming or play football with other students. The food is here cheaper than in Finland so I eat out almost everyday in week and that’s pretty nice, because I don’t like cooking very much. Czech Republic is world’s number one beer consumer and I understand that well because the beer is very good and cheap.

 

Thank you!

 

 

 

Small city called Zlín

I am located with my practical training in Tomas Bata Regional Hospital in Zlín. I would say the hospital environment is basically the same compared to Finnish hospitals even though there is a lot of differences. Itself the hospital is large complex of different buildings which all has own departments. So the hospital isn´t just one big building with different sectors and that is what makes the working there little tricky. Whenever you need to go to another department you might need to travel all along to the different side of the hospital area for few minutes easily. Our locker rooms are located in different building and after changing to uniform you have to head outside and find your way to the department. You usually find yourself walking outside depending what weather it is, which doesn´t make it very pleasant. Also, for moving the patients between different departments it´s not very handy system.

Aerial view of the hospital

We have changed the departments almost every week to another. Basically they are not as modern as in Finland. I wouldn´t say that is a surprise. Mostly no one speaks english except the students that we are with. It makes the communication with nurses and patients and other staff little bit difficult. Comparing to practice we had in Finland to practice here, it doesn´t offer that much what we expected. It seems that the students here doesn´t have own mentor and maybe that´s the reason we don´t get to do so much things in the hospital. The days in the hospital can really be boring when there is nothing to do or see. Best things might be those when we had opportunity to see different surgeries.

The architecture in Zlín is called “functionalism”

Even though the Zlín isn´t that big city it has decent amount things to do and easy ways to travel somewhere else to enjoy your time. There is a zoo just nearby where we visited in the first week. The city has also own ice hockey team called PSG Berani Zlín whose matches we have gone to see with other students. Time to time there is country presentation with two different countries against each other where we get to hear history and other information about them and lastly taste the food they have prepared for us. Zlín also has a mall with movie theatre where you can enjoy the new movies. Likewise in Finland there is a lot of parties every week with different themes that contains parties with other students abroad. So the most common way to spend your time is to grab a drink or two of good Czech beer and just hang out with other Erasmus students.

PSG Berani goaltending
The draft beer in Czech Republic

Another option is to travel somewhere in Czech or nearby countries. Zlín is located actually very central place when thinking to travel countries like Hungary, Austria or Slovakia. So when there is time enough in your schedule you can find yourself in places like Budapest or Wien which are really nice. In Bratislava there wasn´t that much to experience though.

Parliament house in Budapest
Christmas market in Vienna

Dobrý den!

The FAMU main building by the Vltava river. Image from FAMU website.
When lazyness kicks in or I just want to avoid the tourist-filled narrow cobblestone streets on my 20-minute walking route to FAMU I’ll take a metro to Národní třída.

My studies in Prague in FAMU have kept me quite busy. They have consisted mostly of either more academic and analytical courses on film theory and history, or intense shooting periods doing various student films. Many of the more academic courses have focused on the New Wave of Czechoslovak cinema in the 1960-1970, taking also into account the turbulent political situation of the times.

I feel that diving into this period in Central Europe through these films has really helped me understand and grasp what it means, and what it has meant, to be European. Prague is literally in the heart of Europe, while even in these days Finland can feel almost like an island. To anyone doubting this I suggest first traveling without flying from Finland to anywhere in Central Europe and then from Prague, for example, to any of the neighboring countries. The world seems a bit smaller here.

The shooting periods, on the other hand have been a great way to meet people, local and foreign, and also to see places that a regular tourist or maybe even a exchange student wouldn’t necessarily end up seeing. I’ve had the chance to shoot projects with very different kinds of people, from legendary underground rock heroes of the 60’s to modern day Czech drag queens and everything in between. I’ve also had the chance to shoot the projects in all kinds of places imaginable, from the centre of Prague to remote nudist beaches and weird underground clubs, from elementary schools to traditional pubs in the tiniest of villages. Below is one of my favorite shooting locations from this semester, a remote cabin a few hours south from Prague. Finnish people might guess why I found this scenery soothing. (Lakes in the Czech Republic are not that easy to find.)

Prague itself is beautiful but quite crowded and touristic. I live in the heart of Old Town, Prague 1, in an old building that has a nice vintage feeling to it. Though I appreciate the views, I tend to spend my free time somewhere a bit further away from the hectic Prague 1. Free time, though, for a film student can be a quite ambiguous concept.

A view from the window of a film student. At the intersection of the busy Dlouhá and Rybná, where one’s faith in humanity is truly tested by the nightly orchestras of drunken tourists.

Of all the choices I’ve made in life so far, coming to FAMU for my exchange was definitely one of the good ones. Working with, and more importantly befriending people from all over the world has made me richer, and I think that is what I’ll take with me from here when in few weeks I pack my backbag and hop on the train.

Wonderful life in Prague

Living and studying in Prague has been great. I fell in love with the city at first sight. Even though it’s the capital of Czech Republic it feels relaxed and very easy to get to know. The buildings and nature are gorgeous and that alone makes it great to live in Prague. The city is full of culture, one of my favourite things here has been going to a jazz club to listen good music in cosy atmosphere. I’ve seen a lot of stand up (in English), almost every evening there is stand up at some club for only 4 euros. Prague is full of cheap restaurants with great vegetarian and vegan options, which was a nice surprise. One of the best things is that here are a lot of dogs without a leash. They put a smile on my face every time.

The studies here have been great. I study film in FAMU (Academy of Performing Arts in Prague) which is located right next to Vltava. From the classrooms I can see the Prague Castle. I have a lot of classes which remind me of my years in university. The teachers are very enthusiastic and they really know what they are talking about. We have discussions in class and we watch a lot of films. Studying here have been a very inspiring experience. Comparing the courses to TAMK, it’s more theoretical here. In TAMK we do a lot of projects. It is possible to join the other students’ projects here, too, but I’ve really enjoyed the university-styled studies.

All in all I feel really good living here and hopefully I can return here after the exchange, too.

Life in Brno

So far so good.

I’ve been doing my exchange in Brno. Brno is located in South-East part of Czech Republic, and Czech Republic is located in the heart of Europe.

Brno is student city, as roughly 20% of population are students. And there are around 400 000 people living in city of Brno. Wherever you’re walking, you always meet up with students. This makes the city to increase the amount of services offered especially for students. For example traveling is really cheap – train ticket to Prague can be under 1 euro.

When traveling outside of the capital Prague, be prepared to use hand gestures for communicating or learn at least a little bit of Czech. People over age 40 do not speak English at all in general. And most of the people working in customer service don’t either speak English usually.

Living in general is really cheap compared to Finland, and I haven’t really needed to think how I’m spending my money on everyday purchases. I’m afraid to return to Finland and feel Finland’s prices again 🙂

Studying is based more on individual doing than in Finland. You are given lectures, and then you have laboratories where you have to do certain task in given time. I have most courses from faculty of Information Technology, where level of teaching is pretty high in my opinion. Difficulty of subject varies a lot depending on course, but mainly the courses are easier than same courses given for local students. That is good in my opinion, so Erasmus students don’t have to spend all time studying in the library. Difficulty isn’t really be comparable to Finland, as I’m not studying same subjects, although work amount is roughly the same.

Faculty of Information Technology is combination of old and new. It used to be an old monastery, and it is well renovated.

The best part is definitely getting know to new people, and amount of traveling that is possible to do here with small amount of money.  Also the amount of nice castles and churches is surprising. You don’t necessarily have to go to search for them – you will find them when you are doing road trip in Czech Republic. For example here’s a nice backyard of a castle in a small city where we just went to take some gasoline.

Also don’t be surprised if you get a beer like this. This is the normal Czech way of pouring beer. Foam is there to protect the flavors from running out.

I have enjoyed my time in Erasmus, and I will most definitely enjoy it until the very end. If you’re thinking whether to go to exchange or not – do it. I have not found anyone who hasn’t liked his stay here, or who hasn’t found a group of friends to share the experience.

Ahoj a Zdravíme z Česká !

PICTURE 1. City of Brno

My studies in the Czech Republic surprised me mainly in a positive way. The teachers being late from the start of the classes every now and then was a little disturbing but otherwise the quality of the courses I took was satisfactory to say the least. The facilities of my faculty were great and recently renovated so the overall atmosphere of the school was really nice. The quality of the courses themselves was good and due to the expertise in aeronautical engineering probably even better than in Finland in some cases.

PICTURE 2. Wind tunnel testing in the Aerodynamics course

 

When comparing studying in the Czech Republic to studying in Finland, I’d say I was a little surprised about how much effort I had to give to pass the courses in my usual level. My expectations were set to a little lower level than what I faced in the school but after I learned the syllabuses from all the courses I adapted to the new situation. The duration of the weekly classes were a big surprise to me, as more than half of my courses lasted usually 3-4 hours per day. In Finland 3 hours has been the longest duration for one course for one day and even that is a rare case for a course. One particular detail that really pointed out about the courses was one of the courses that always started at 07.00 o’clock on Wednesday mornings. And the biggest parties of the week were always organized on Tuesdays… So, I really don’t understand why would anyone organize a freakishly early morning like that for ERASMUS students, perhaps the guy had some personal friction with the the foreign students I don’t know… All in all, I didn’t run into any problems with the courses I took and even managed to make it to at least half of the 07.00 o’clock classes.

 

What comes to my spare time in the Czech Republic, well, I’d say I did exactly what you’d expect from an ERASMUS student, partied and traveled. The International Student Club (ISC) organized parties for us at least twice a week and during the weekends we held our own. During our travelling we visited a few places in the Czech Republic and all the border neighbor countries, which are Germany, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and Austria. And in addition to those we also visited Slovenia due to one person of our group living there and she asked our group to join her to see her home country.

 

PICTURE 3. Move In Europe -Event                          PICTURE 4. We won the event

 

I was really positively surprised that the ISC organized a lot of different kinds of events (also non-alcoholic ones) for the ERASMUS students. To be honest I would’ve liked to join every one of the events they organized but sadly that wasn’t possibly due to travelling. But the ones I did join were indoor paintball, laser tag, go karts and jump park. One of the events I enjoyed the most was the pub quiz which was organized every other week. Sadly, my team didn’t win even once but we were close many times… All in all, I have nothing but good things to say about the local ISC, they really made a huge effort to ensure a pleasant stay  for us and they sure did in my opinion.

PICTURE 5. ERASMUS Birthday parade                PICTURE 6. The Finnish group of the parade

 

PICTURE 7. Indoor paintball                                     PICTURE 8. Halloween party

Ahoj

Merry Christmas from the beautiful city of Prague

Christmas holiday is about to begin, which means it is the end of the autumn semester at FAMU film university, where I’m doing my exchange study.

so far my exchange here has been okay, the school is a bit disappointing but the city is wonderful so I guess that compensates. I live in a nice area in Prague called Zizkov, which is Praha 3. it’s really walking distance to anywhere you wanna go, very central and about 10-20 minutes walk to Praha 1 (center).

if you got a chance, please come and visit Prague.

 

Ahoj! Greetings from Zlín

Hello!

My studies here in Zlín, Czech Republic, are leaning towards the end. It’s going to be also the end of amazing semester with many great new people I have met here.

When we arrived, we had Welcome Week before official starting of studies. During the week there was lots of events like bowling, pub tour, trips, etc to get familiar with each other. This week was really amazing and got to know so much about many different cultures.

First weeks of studying was basically introduction of teachers and studying environment. University has mostly really modern equipment, laboratories and measurement facilities. Each faculty have different buildings, below is a map of University buildings in Zlín.

Capture

 

Main building, and library is situated in U13. I have been studying in Faculty of Applied Informatics in a building called U5, below is a picture of my faculty.

u5

Studying here is not really much different than it is in Finland, teaching methods are mostly same. Only thing is different is that teachers are not really strict and don’t really require anything else that you will do the tasks they give at some point. I find it not too good, because you will really lose your motivation to study. Still after all in general I’ve enjoyed my studies here.

Living in Zlín is really cheap, sometimes food costs like half of the equivalent in Finland. Local people don’t really speak English here so sometimes it can be difficult to deal with them. Usually using universal sign language does the trick or then other helpful local who can speak English will help.

People here are really socially active and they tend to sit on pub with lot of friends or family. Pub is the soul of Czech peoples lives, and usually there is really amazing atmosphere.  Service in pub is also mostly really good, serving is always done to table and you don’t need to get up to bar counter for orders, so the service will come to you

Possibilities to travel here are astonishing, and I have visited Italy, Austria, Poland. Alone inside Czech Republic there is so much to see for example capital city Prague, Český Krumlov and many more. Below are only few pictures of all my trips here.

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View in Prague

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Main square in Krakow, Poland

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Hofburg Palace in Vienna, Austria

After all these trips I have always left astonished by all the things I’ve seen, and I really want to visit most of them again! Before I go back to Finland I will also visit Budapest in Hungary.

I can really recommend visiting Czech Republic the people and places are so great!

With kind wishes,

-Tero