The social- and healthcare system is way ahead in Denmark compared to Finland. One can really see where the money has been invested. Holbæk hospital is breathtaking and it makes me question its privacy. But no, the hospital is actually public, not a private hospital.
First of all, technology is way ahead. Danish nurses wonder around the wards with their own smartphones called “Honeywell”. Danish system has expanded entire patient information on a digital database. All the vital functions can put straight to the smartphone where the automatic system calculates the patient’s riskpercent and gives nurses information when one needs to take new vitals (blood pressure, saturation, ventilation frequency, body temperature etc). All of this information is screened on a digital platform where nurses can keep a track on patient’s riskpercent. The digital system is based on EWS = Early Warning Score which is known in Finland. Finns just still use cardboards that are still totally forgotten behind the desk. These days I am a huge fan on EWS-system! It is very smart and logical when used wisely.
The patient information is also retained securely: all the patients have their own wristband that contains all the data needed: one can access to the system with Honeywell with the machine’s own scanning system. Nurses can scan the wristbands with Honeywell. This is also used when dealing medications so one can be sure that the right amount of the drug matches with the right patient. All the medication information has to be printed on the top of the dealed medication cups for the scanning.
Pretty futuristic hospital if you ask me. Maybe someday Finnish nurses have the same opportunities.
The hyggeism and high class design can be found inside hospitals also. Just take a look at our break area. We call it “the room with the view”:
Naturally one can find fancy coffee machine that is making lattes, cappuccinos, tea, hot cocoa and hot water. The hospital also offers free fruit baskets for the hard-working nurses on their breaks. Healthy aspects have been taken into consideration.
I need a reality check when I return from Denmark one day.
Oh, how time flies by! I have been here in Roskilde for three and a half months now and soon it is time to come back home. First of all, I have to say that I really love Denmark, not only because this is so beautiful country, but because the people here are so friendly and the whole atmosphere here is really relaxed and calming. It is all about hygge! But now, let’s get to the point. I am here studying course called Children at Risk at the University College Absalon. The course is expressly designed for exchange students and consists of three modules. The emphasis is on social pedagogical work with children and youth. In short, this course is all about human rights, children rights, early childhood education and special education, inclusion and exclusion and different methods in social work.I came here with very high expectations and now after two modules I must say that I am slightly disappointed. Basically, we are learning a bit of this and that but not really going deeper in the subjects. But that is part of Danish pedagogy: you have to find out yourself what is important and interesting for you and then go and do your own research. Secondly, the Danish education system is all about freedom: if you don’t feel like going to classes you don’t have to go there and you won’t be punished for that. I.e. if you are ill and skip the class, you don’t have to write ten-page essay to compensate your absence. This system shows that pedagogues here rely on students, who are seen as responsible adults and it really doesn’t serve anybody’s interests to give extra assignments. And third thing about the education: if you don’t like teamwork, never ever come here for exchange! We do everything in groups, so during this three and a half months I’ve had only one individual assignment. Honestly, one!
One thing I have really enjoyed is that we do lot of field visits and we have lots of guest lectures from different kind of institutions – from Denmark and around Europe. For me the field visits have been the most educative and interesting. Visits are a great opportunity to see how services are produced here and what kind of methods are used with clients. We have students from eight different countries, representing six different profession. So, this is a great chance to practice multi-cultural and -professional work. It is also interesting to compare differences and similarities of social services and legislations.
Our study schedule is quite loose, so I have plenty of spare time. Some of that time I of course have to use for school assignments but still I feel that I have more time to do other things than back at home. We do a lot of things together: go different kind of events and parties, watch movies, hang out and play games, have a dinner together etc. The city of Roskilde is small and cozy. We got bikes from our school so it has been easy to investigate neighborhoods nearby. Here is lot of great running trails with nice views so I have been really motivated to run. On weekends, I usually do some traveling. I have visited in several different castles like Kronborg, Egeskov and Frederiksborg. Since Copenhagen is not that far from Roskilde and is easily accessible by train, I spend a lot of time there. At this point it is one of my favorite cities, there is always something happening. Every time I visit there I find something new and exciting and I still have lot of exploring to do!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
I have been on exchange here in Denmark since end of January, and now I have only 4 weeks left anymore. Time is flying so fast, I don’t get it!
Roskilde is a bit smaller city (about 50 000 people living here) and it’s only 30km from Copenhagen. Probably you recognize the name from the Roskilde festival, which takes place here every summer. And other things why I would recommend this city – there’s beautiful nature and magnificent harbor where you can have a nice walk for example. Also the Roskilde Cathedral (Unesco world heritage) is a worth to see! Almost 40 kings and queens of Denmark are buried there, and it’s really impressive with all those graves around!
But about my studies – I study Social Services in TAMK, but here I’m following course called ALECE (Aesthetics and Learning in Early Childhood Education) and it’s more concentrated to early childhood studies. Actually, it’s the only thing we do here. If I would know that this course teaches more kindergarten teachers and pedagogues, I’m not sure if I would pick this at all. It’s been an interesting journey, and first I really liked all the drama and aesthetics we did, but because I don’t want to work in any kindergarten in the future I think this is too much for me. Not saying this is bad at all! Just not the right one for me, if I think how much I will gain this to my future.
Otherwise, the school here isn’t that different than our school in Finland. With all those aesthetics, we also have to write assignments and read articles for example. There is one different thing though – here we do our all works in groups. At first it was a bit strange and frustrating, but I got use to it really fast. And in my opinion, it is important to learn to work in groups with different people (and from different cultures).
You would like to know something about my spare time? Well, this it the time I want to praise my new friends here. We have such an international class – people from Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, UK, Spain, Vietnam, Czech Republic… In the beginning of this exchange, I was afraid that I won’t have that many (and close) friends than the others, because they live at Campus and I don’t (didn’t have room for me anymore, I found my place via AirBnb… Trust me, it’s really difficult find apartment in Denmark.). But it hasn’t been bad at all! This people are so nice and friendly, and they’re always welcoming me to stay night at their places if there’s a party or something. And we do lot of things together even I don’t live with all the others. We have visited different places in Roskilde, Copenhagen and once we went to more Northern Denmark to visit Frederiksborg castle. Few people from our class even did road trip in Denmark during our Easter Holiday. And of course you have to cook and clean and do homework here as well, not only having fun. I could tell you so much more, but I think it would be too long postcard. So if you’re considering to go an exchange to Denmark, I highly recommend that. You can also read more about my journey from my blog (in Finnish): http://vaihtariroskildessa.blogspot.dk (you can also find more pictures from my blog, somehow I’m struggling to put my pictures to this blog nicely…)
This exchange has taught me so much – not only about the studies I have had, but about myself. I also got many friends here, and I’m already planning to visit my friend in Belgium during this year… It feels horrible I have to leave all this behind only in four weeks. But gladly nowadays you can always call or chat on Facebook, and see how people are doing! Hopefully you enjoyed my short story about my exchange, adios!
Well actually I am already home in Finland but let me tell you about my stay in Denmark anyway.
First of all, something about the city I called home for some months. Næstved’s history stretches back to the early Iron Age. There are shopping streets with cute little stores and a square in the centre where the market is held, and where you can buy flowers and fresh ingredients. Nearby there is a small fishing town of Karrebæksminde that is a seaside holiday location with a camp site, restaurants and cafés. If I had to describe Næstved in one word, that would be cozy. For a countryside girl like me the city was just perfect place to live in.
What was I doing in Denmark? I’m studying Biomedical Laboratory Science. It is still rather under-recognized, “hidden” health profession. Biomedical Laboratory Scientist can work in primary or special health care, private laboratories or medical and biomedical research institutions and animal laboratories for example. Professional duties may include the identification of normal and abnormal cells (chemistry & hematology) and tissues (pathology), the assurance of safe transfusion of blood products (immunology) and cultivation and identification of bacteria and viruses (microbiology). The important part of the work is the validation of equipment and methods.
I went to Denmark to deepen my knowledge in some special fields. The fields chosen for me were clinical chemistry, clinical immunology and pathology. The studies I had in there were a combination of practical training in clinical laboratories, lecturing and independent learning. Finding the subject for my advanced studies was a little bit problematic. My training days were all quite different but the advanced studies should be performed in a same workstation and the theory should also be concentrated on some specific field of study. Luckily my supervisors were willing to make compromises as much as possible. With their help and with my own willpower I was able to get a subject that pleases me and is very fascinating.
At the clinical chemistry I took blood samples and electrocardiograms and learned to use different kinds of blood analyzers. Some of the equipment was already familiar to me because I had been in a clinical chemistry laboratory before. However there can be never too much repeating when you are still a student. At the immunology I got to see the whole blood donation process, participate in fractioning of blood and do some blood grouping and virus analysis of blood. At the pathology laboratory I did several different things and I was able to visit every workstation. I couldn’t find any major differences between Danish and Finnish laboratory practice. Working hours are the same and the importance of preanalytical factors and the quality system is just as it is in Finland. There are always some things that are not the same, even in the same country or inside a region. I did notice that the working environment was friendlier and somehow lighter than in Finland but that is a behavioral trait, not just a feature in a laboratory. The relationship between co-workers and supervisors seemed to be good so it felt nice to go to “work” every day and the environment’s working spirit motivated me to learn more and to challenge myself.
Ready for the weekend
What did I do during my spare time?
I was living together with another Finnish biomedical laboratory science student. Our apartment was quite small and we didn’t have a television or a radio in there. So we did something else. We were maintaining rather healthy life. Making healthy dishes and exercising nearly every day. There was a beautiful forest just around the corner so it was easy and pleasant to go out to get some fresh air. We got rental bikes from school and explored the city we were living in and also the landscape outside the city. Biking is an excellent way to get to know your surroundings but maintaining your favourite activity also helps you to bring balance and routine to your daily life. To me, biking made new spaces feel a little more familiar and welcoming.
We did a lot of travelling across the country. We did some research and got a bucket list of places that we absolutely had to explore. Copenhagen was special to us. It felt like we were there nearly every weekend. There we did some very tourist things like conquering some towers, seeing The Little Mermaid, visiting freetown Christiania and going to very beautiful parks and cemeteries. Historical landmarks and nature places were our thing. Also visiting cafes was a must thing to do wherever we went. We got to enjoy the food and also observe local people around us.
Communication with the Danes contains humor and goodwill or at least it felt like that. The laboratory staff was interested in what we are doing in our spare time and some of them invited us to their home or to a café or to see movies with them. That is why it felt safe and natural to live in Næstved.
My time in Denmark was a fascinating experience. I went to abroad to get international experience and that I got. I also made some good friends and saw amazing places.
I’ve been living in Copenhagen, the capital city of Denmark for over a month now. My internship will last three months in total and I’m doing it in a small hotel near to the city center. During the first month I have learned so much and have been in my uncomfortable zone almost every day: not only trying to survive with my very, very bad Danish but also trying to speak Swedish with my colleagues. However, it has been a very instructive journey so far.
Islands Brygge, Copenhagen
Luckily not every day is a work day. I have had time to meet friends and live Copenhagen life. I have got to know smørrebrød and bikes quite well. Copenhagen is a very beautiful, Scandinavian city and people are very helpful. It is a very international city and the lifestyle is very easy-going. It still is summer in Copenhagen but the evenings are getting darker and colder all the time. Luckily there is always something going on in Copenhagen so it is easy to find different happenings around the city even if the summer is almost over.
All in all it has been a very good experience and the weeks are just flying by. I will miss Copenhagen so much when this ends, but to be honest I can’t wait to get back home.
Greetings from Roskilde, Denmark! It feels just like yesterday when I arrived in Copenhagen early in the morning at the end of January. Nevertheless, I have to face the fact that it was over five months ago. I started this adventure together with my best friend Ninni and our original plan was to stay here from February until the beginning of May. Ninni returned to Finland in May. I decided to stay a little longer.
We have an amazing group of Eramus students here in University College Zealand. Most of us live together in Korallen, which is a hall of residence primarily meant for international students who study in Trekroner, Roskilde. Korallen is about 100 meters away from our school so I have no idea how have I managed to make a habit of being late from school. It is not like the bus was late or anything.
Our studies are even more interesting than I ever dared to hope for and that is thanks to our wonderful teachers. I study in a programme called ALECE – Aesthetics and Learning in Early Childhood Education. As the name of the programme might indicate, our studies consist of all kinds of creative themes and topics. We focus on drama, music and storytelling. I thought that we have been studying a lot of creative studies back in Finland but actually studying in ALECE has opened my eyes completely when it comes to aesthetics and creativity. All in all, I have enjoyed my studies – and learned – more than I ever expected. And had A LOT of fun while doing it.
So as you can see, I have enjoyed my exchange time here in Denmark more than I can really describe. I am so grateful that I was able to extend my exchange time since there was no way I wanted it to end just yet. Now I have only a couple of weeks left and I am trying to make the most of it.
Greetings from sunny and windy Denmark! The spring is already here and the weather is getting warmer every day. Although I live more north than where Denmark is and I am used to the cold weather, I am still freezing here all the time! The sun is fooling you and every time there is colder outside than you expect based on the view from your window. Now I really understand the number of the windmills! They are everywhere!
I live in Trekroner, which is a small part of the city called Roskilde. This place is well known abroad because of the annual Roskilde festival. Besides of that this is just like any other small city, not that “alive” outside holiday season. I began to like this place from the very beginning, because I am not a big city girl. This is a good combination of both, countryside with farm animals and houses with thatched roofs and a city center with nice pubs, shopping centers and other activities, both couple of kilometers away from our home.
The life here is nice and cozy. Almost every exchange student from my course lives in this same student dorm where I am. Although this is a student dorm, and there are (of course) a lot of parties, the walls are so thick that I’m not suffering from the lack of good night sleep, thank god. People are also very nice to each other, and there is always someone to help you if you need. With the people from my course we have invented a lot of different “theme days”, almost every time they have something to do with food. Every week we do something together, with the whole group or in smaller groups. We have done bike-trips, day-trips, hanging out at the park, picnics, playing music, doing groceries, cooking and exercising together. We have a real community spirit, and we have done a lot to build it like this, and we are eager to remain it this way. It is a priority that everyone feels included, and not being left out. Also the group’s atmosphere has to stay friendly and open, because we are doing a lot of drama and other studies at school where we have to feel comfortable around others.
Studying here is (and I’m not exaggerating!) amazing. Our course is called Aesthetics and Learning in Early Childhood Education. That includes a lot of drama, art, music and activities used as a method to work with children. Those methods are also adaptable to use in work with almost every client group in Social Services. Before I came here, I was a little bit afraid that the studies here will be similar that I already had in Finland. Although I have done studies with this “subject”, this course has gone deeper with theory and more practical and usable with the activities than the courses I had before. I have learned a lot, and after this experience I feel more ready to my future work. I have also enjoyed every lesson we have had, and because of that I am motivated and excited to learn more. The feeling that I have found my place in life (at least what comes to work!), what I want to do and in where I am good at, is even stronger now.
Before coming here, after my research of the target country, I thought people here are quite similar than us in Finland. Very quickly I found out many differences that I didn’t expect. People here are much more friendly, and willing to help you and do kind gestures, like giving compliments or hug you. They are also interested in each other, and here you can notice a lot more chatting to the strangers in the bus, at the gym or basically anywhere. They are not too familiar with the strangers, and they respect your personal space, but still they are taking more contact that I was used to. I find it very nice, and I have got cheered up from a non-expected compliments and nice gestures multiple times. Of course there have also been not so nice things, for example if you are accidently blocking some cyclers way or if you talk in the silent zone in the train. Then you are disturbing the danes, and they will let you know, loudly! All in all, this place has been easy to fit in, and I haven’t noticed an actual culture shock at all. Being well prepared and open-minded has helped a lot with that. I really like to be here, and I’m looking forward to the rest of my stay, what adventures and experiences it will bring. At the same time I’m also waiting for this to end, and go back home to see my family, my dog and my friends. And eat REAL rye bread