Tag Archives: France

Wine, cheese and miroir d’eau

Salut from the wine capital of France, Bordeaux! I’ve spent the past fall here in the city of wine and I’ve completely fallen in love with it. I study Business Administration with a major in marketing and the exchange school here, Kedge Business School, offered all kinds of specialized marketing courses like Wine Marketing (actually drinking wine in class!) and Luxury Marketing. I’ve definitely enjoyed it here a lot. The school is very new with lots of different facilities and possibilities of student life. I joined a student association as well as a sports team to meet more French people and I definitely recommend it, it’s proved to be an amazing experience and an opportunity to befriend the locals. Courses don’t run all week, every week, which left me a lot of time to travel around other cities in France and also to go discover Spain and Portugal.

Miroir d’eau in Place de la Bourse

The French say that Bordeaux is like a little Paris because it’s smaller, cheaper and very, very pretty. It’s 45 minutes from the ocean by a local train and Bordeaux itself also has a lake beach where I spent many afternoons until late autumn. Great wine is very affordable; you have the possibility of visiting many wine châteaux all around Bordeaux and doing wine tastings.

San Sebastian, Spain
San Sebastian, Spain

France is definitely very, very different culturally and a big part of it is the bureaucracy. Things here definitely take more effort and a lot more paperwork to accomplish. The French also really pride themselves in their gastronomy, so I’ve learned that a lot of business is conducted over long dinners. The French truly enjoy many different courses at every single meal and they savor the time they’re spending eating with other people.

Carcassonne medieval city

Gros bisous !

Greetings from the city of love

Bounjour á tous!

I’m doing my exchange studies in Paris, France and the time has passed very quickly. I have been here now for 10 weeks and I have three more to go. Here, I’m studying in PSB (Paris School of Business) and I chose to study Luxury.

Studies and school

I chose five courses, because I wanted to get an certificate from PSB, that I have studied the track which includes 3 core course and two electives. I chose the track Luxury Management and I have the following courses; Doing business in Europe, French, History of Luxury, Fundamentals of Luxury Industry and Luxury Merchandising. The courses havebeen very interesting and I chose them, because I wanted to study something that differs from our’s school courses. It was great to get acquainted with different brands and different merchandising techniques, for example we went to a luxury boutique and we took some pictures and made some notes about their merchandising. Also, in other course we have made some research about luxury markets in globally, as well as in China and in the USA.

Free time

On my free time, I have experienced city a lot with friends from school and also with my friends from Finland, who have visited me. I have been in different parts of Paris and also I have seen many sights such as Louvre, Versailles, Disneyland Paris and of course the Eiffel Tower. Besides Paris, I travelled to a South-France, which was part of our integration week in PSB. It was great to see the Paris countryside as well.


 

Here, in Paris the restaurant culture is different than in Finland, for example there are a lot of cute restaurants and cafes.

What is different?

Compared to Finland the lessons are much longer and the teachers are more conservative. One lesson lasts 1.5 hours and usually we have two classes per day, so my school days lasts at least four hours a day. The school system is more hierarchical here, and also the teachers can be very strict, if you’re not coming on time for a lesson. Also, I have had much more presentations here than in Finland. It’s also different that they have shared the rating system, for example we have mid-terms and final exams both here. This way they try not to put enormous pressures on the students.

Also I have noticed that French are not very punctual, for example in Finland you will get all the details about the course and the exam during the first lesson, but here in France, you will get all the details just a week before exam or presentation. This has been difficult to accept, but I’m almost used to it.

Bisous Suvi

Even late, bonjour la France!

During the last semester, I went in training exchange in my home country, France and more precisely: next to Paris. Now, even though it is a country I know — and with which I keep a love and hate relationship –, this semester was rich in experiences.

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My practical training consisted in elaborating a tool for a grocery store, which would help them in keeping track of their environmental impact. This was a very valuable exchange, as in addition to my main project I got lucky enough to participate in the daily life of the grocery store and in a management seminar which taught me a lot about work life. In addition to this, getting along very well with nearly all of my co workers (and with my superiors) was  plus that I enjoyed a lot.

As you can see on the picture, they enjoyed my last day…..! (I blurred the face of my co-worker, don’t be scared)

 

 

Apart from work, my time also was amazing. I met a ton of new people: I have been an activist for animal rights for a long time, and I made sure that this semester was full of events. You can see in the picture below an example of a demonstration that I participated in in Paris and for which I came back home covered with fresh red paint…

Demonstration for animal rights in Paris for the Organisation 269 Life France.

Of course, I cannot write about my semester without talking about the elections for which… surprise surprise, I was also an activist. I participated in my first political demonstration, which I thought would have been less peaceful but turned out to be thrilling. Whether you agree with the outcome of the elections or not, this process was very enriching.  In the picture below, you can see my friend Christophe and I holding our sign, “Vegans insoumis”.

I by the way made this sign! This happened on Place de la Bastille, in Paris.

And to top off my semester, my friend took me to Etretat, an amazing city that I enjoyed beyond words. You can see a picture taken with his GoPro camera on top of one of the hills of Etretat on the right!

 

 

All in all, this semester was a very good time. I cannot unfortunately tell you how different working in France is compared to Finland, as I have not yet had the occasion to work in Finland. But truthfully, this exchange was “formidable“!

5 tips to become like Parisienne

Bonjour ! This is Yuko, a Japanese from Paris! More than 10 month have already passed in Paris. I was intending to write this blogpost card in the end of my stay, because life in Paris is such a « Cliché » that I would not be able to give any good advice during the beginning of my stay. Yet I don’t feel like I know everything about French culture and about being in Paris, but maybe enough to give some tips for you. These are the top5 of the necessary attitude you might have to master during your stay in Paris. 

-1. Study hard? or Smoke hard?  #Study environment at school

Contrarily to Finland, French people loves the status of being in the good school. The school I went for a Erasmus semester was especially a school with people from the high social level. It’s a school so called « Ecole de Commerce » which is (private) business school, like TAMK, whereas here you have to pay for tuition fees if you are a full time students. I found students here were well-dressed all the time, especially the French students. They smoke really hard at the same time. Smoking is really a way to get to know people here in France, but it seems like it’s also a way to cope with the stressful time of studies. I felt like the school is always covered by the smell of cigarette, because in between every break time, they go out to have cigarette.

During the courses, you need to study hard because the chance for taking exam is only once. If you fail, that’s the result. Basically there is no date assigned for extra exam date.

Tip 1.  Study hard or there’s no second chance,  smoking might help you with that.

After being in Finnish academical system for 2 years, i find French school system still traditional and very ineffective. At least throughout my experience. Especially i had the special case this semester that the administration at receiving school in Paris was renewed, that everything was in delay, and messed up. If you are happen to come to France for the exchange semester, you yourself should be seld-determined, and organised.  Tip 1.2 Never expect the French school to be well organised like in Finland.

-2. Keep calm and do not organise  #Things are not that organised as in Finland #Comparably slow life (Parisienne knows how to enjoy life)

Again, about organisation in this country of love and joy. You better be able to get used to how things work in France, in Paris. Everything takes two times more than in Finland. Especially, Visa and bank thing takes SO MUCH TIME. Well the Visa issues is also a matter of luck. I’ve heard someone took 2 weeks, and for me it took 3month, in the worst case 6month (You are already illegal, but just waiting for the Visa lol). Not only because there are more people living here, French administration is slow because of the inefficient paper works. Anyway people seem to enjoy their life here. As a Japanese, the biggest difference could be the attitude towards vacation. In France, they can just stop working in the middle of the task and leave for the vacation. It is impossible for Japanese to excuse the delay of task by the reason of « vacation ». In Japan it’s always « customer first ». What i see from my few working experience here, they are quite idealistic, creative, but unfortunately very ineffective to achieve those creativity. However this tends to happen in the traditional minded company or French people who doesn’t have enough international experiences.

Tip 2.  As long as you are working in the French company, these can not be avoid, you have to accept the way they work and maybe don’t be upset. But if you are trying to enter international market like Japan with French attitude, this will never gonna be accepted.

-3. Enjoy « Midnight in Paris » #Fantastic night walk in Paris and about walking in Paris

Many people ask me, what is like to be in Paris? What do you like the most about Paris?  I would tell, i love the night walk in Paris. Especially walking along the Seine never let me down. You can observe beautiful city lights, with the most beautiful architectures like Concorde, Orsey museums, and Eiffel Tower… It is so Parisienne thing to have wine and food, and sitting by the riverside, stay there all night long. Sometimes it smells really bad (you know why) but you just have to find a spot that is clean and with fresh air. The best part of this night walk is just that it is less crowed than day time, especially along the Seine, and the central like Marais. You will feel like you are in a totally another world with the historical buildings and mysterious light ups with some street musics sometimes.

When you are in the main streets and popular area, it is totally fine to walk around and enjoy « Midnight in Paris ». The more North of Paris you go, the less safer you feel. But anywhere and anytime you walk, you have to pay attention around your self. You never know where the pick pockets are spotting you, or it could be the speeding car that ignores the street signs. 

Tip 3. It is really worth walking around Paris during the night, only when you are little bit more sober.

-4. #French way of conversation: Talk, talk, and talk, and eat, and drink

French people, they love to talk, not only talk, but discuss. They build friendship by discussing a lot of topics. At least they care about politics, social issues and love to share there life events. In general they spend hours to eat, because 90% of the time, they are talking. Unlike Japanese, where it takes time to get into the discussion because of the language barrier and all that, French can discuss no matter what ages or level of studies they have. Some people they are not confident enough to speak in English, but young people here i have a impression that they all speak good English.

I also had many International friends in Paris, this is also another way to enjoy conversation obviously, sharing each experiences in Paris, and how they see French society from their perspectives.

Tip 4. Do not hesitate to dive into the flow of French conversation. That’s almost the only way to become friends with them. Sharing French experience with international people here also help you to understand and get the intercultural competences.

-5. #Live in festive city,

Paris never lets you down in terms of it’s variety of activities and festivals that goes all year around.  People here loves to go out, and be inspired by arts and culture. People here are really open minded towards different cultures. For me the French stereotypes of being racist is not real ! Well it is also because Paris is centre of everything, and people have more easy access to experience multicultural activities. But not only that, there are many association existing in Paris, that deals with Homeless issues and refugees and more. Thanks to these groups, there are many opportunities for local people and new comers to integrate through cultural activities like food, film and art festivals.

Tip 5. Participating as many activities as possible here in Paris is definitely worth it. Not only it’s fun but you learn what is like being in society that accepts/cope with « diversity ». 

:::::To conclude:::::

In my opinion, Paris is the place to enjoy life and have multicultural experiences.  Since i’m at the end of my one year stay in Paris, (which includes my Erasmus exchange semester and internship period )I can tell that, I still prefer Paris to be dreamy. That means “living” here shows so much realities that you want to discover and don’t want to.  So maybe it’s not necessary to build a career here as a foreigner. It depends in which area of work you want to discover, of course. However i felt that in general, France still has strong atmosphere of following hierarchies (school system, how the teachers or the boss would behave), and especially in Paris rich stays rich, and they could be quite superficial minded… It is complicated indeed to describe this, because I met so many people who is really kind from their heart, but on the other hand I got really tired “living” in Paris.

Anyhow, Paris showed me a lot of things, let me observe well how the society could work in this beautiful city !  I would love to come back here for time to time, maybe for short holiday or temporary work 😉 

Bisous ! (“kisses” in French )

photo credit @dreisalz_photo

Sous le ciel de Paris

To start with, here’s a video to get you on a Parisian mood (opens in  a new tab):

sous les ciels parisReturning to Paris after living there before for two years felt like happy comeback home. Even after a bit longer time, the French metropole doesn’t cease to amaze me and take my breath away – both in good and bad. This time Paris called for the internship of the 2nd year of my social work studies, taking place at a small association. They help those who are victims or in the danger of prostitution or pandering and who want to be assisted in their social reintegration. And now over the half of my 3 month internship has already passed!

paris1Getting the possibility to join this team has been an eye-opening experience and the things faced here aren’t easy. However, it’s very interesting and diverse: meeting and accompanying customers in various matters, planning and realizing projects, familiarizing myself with the life of an association.. Apart from all that, I’ve also got the chance to participate in a training and to follow a hearing at the tribunal.

I like the fact that at this association the relation to the customers is rather warm, close-knit and at times even a bit non-official. As I don’t yet have much working experience in the field of social work even from Finland, comparison in these terms is rather challencing. The cultural differences I’ve been able to notice are pretty much the same as in daily life: starting work later in the morning, greeting by a “how-are-you-doing” that doesn’t expect a long reply, using a lot of politeness structures in emails, wishing “bonne appétit”, sometimes everybody is speaking at the same time, exchanging cheek kisses.. Also the language barrier to French causes some extra difficulty and can be very tiring at times but I’m learning more every day.

landscapeMy freetime in Paris is mostly filled with spending time with my French boyfriend and also  discovering new parts of the city and things to do in Paris that I wasn’t yet aware of. Apart from that, the daily life is rather similar as in Finland, the routine happens everywhere. Anyway, I’m enjoying  the goods sides of living in a big city before coming back soon to my favourite city in Finland, Tampere 🙂

 

baking1       And to fin(n)ish, some homemade Karelian pies – bonne appétit!

Bonjour à tous!

I can’t believe how fast the time has gone during my semester in Nice, southern France! I’ve been here for over three months now and I only have three weeks left. These past months have been the greatest of my life and I’m already stressing about leaving, I’m not ready! First few weeks went by in a blur when life was all about new places, new people, different language and beginning of studies, but after getting used to everything I’ve really enjoyed my life here. After all, how can you not when the sun is shining 95 % of the time?

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I’m studying at IPAG Business School which is a private school that has campuses here in Nice but also in Paris, Los Angeles and Kunming. When compared to TAMK, the school is very small and I was really surprised when I first got here. There is no actual cafeteria where you could buy lunch, but only a small café that serves sandwiches and other small snacks. During lunchtime everyone just goes to boulangeries (little bakeries) near the school and eat plain baguettes. There is nothing more French than people walking in the street with a baguette in their hand.

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Studying compared to TAMK has been a little more challenging than what I expected. We usually have seperate lectures and tutorials from the courses which mean that in lectures we just sit and listen, and in tutorials we do group projects in small groups. Lectures are very similar than lectures in TAMK but the strong French accent has made listening to the teachers sometimes very difficult. Also the tutorials are something that took me awhile to get used to. In TAMK we are used to doing our group projects on our own schedule whereever and whenever we want so sitting in a classroom writing a project together with the group feels sometimes very unefficient.

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I usually only have a few hours of school a day so I have a lot of freetime! Still I feel like I don’t have enough time to do all the things I want to do and visit all the places I want to see! I live with my Finnish roommate so I never get lonely and usually we spend our days hanging out with our friends, taking trips to nearby towns, doing a little shopping and tanning at the beach. Traveling around the French Riviera is very easy and cheap, for example a bus ticket to Monaco costs only 1,50e! Going around in Nice is also very easy since the city is relatively small, there is one tram line going from one end of the city to another and there are also the bikes (vélo bleu) that you can rent. The city is very cozy and cute and life here is very relaxed. Local people spend their evenings just hanging out at the beach which is so different from the busy Finnish lifestyle.

 

All in all, I really enjoy my time here and I’m going to use the time I have left as well as possible. There is still so much to do and see and I also want to have some time to just enjoy the weather and atmosphere here.

 

-Eveliina

Postcard from France

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Greetings from the sunny French Riviera! I have been living and studying now for three months in southern France, Nice. Saying it feels  strange because the time really has flown so fast and my arrival in January feels like a yesterday. Luckily, I still have more than a month left here, there is so much things to do and see. Nice is a cozy and beautiful city and it’s a perfect match of the French and the Mediterranean cultures. All in all I’m very pleased that I chose to do my exhange here.

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I’m studying at IPAG Business School. The campus is quite small and it’s located in the heart of the city, close to the downtown area and in just about 20 minutes walking distance from the beach. The university offers a broad variety of course options and there are something for everyone. I’m studying International marketing and Strategic HRM and in addition to those I have been studying French language and culture. All courses aimed at the exchange students are in English, so you don’t have to be worried about the language things. And generally speaking if I think daily life here, it is not a problem if you don’t speak French. Many people, even young people, don’t speak English at all here but still running daily errands is easy without using French.  So if you ponder doing your exchange in France and especially in Nice, don’t be scared to do it just because you might have some difficulties with the language. However, I recommend to study even the basics of French before arriving here and to choose the French course in IPAG. And I can assure you that living in France will be a effective “language immersion”. You will notice that seeing French every day, everywhere will be the best way to learn it.

IPAG is really different than TAMK in many ways but overall it is a good place to do the exhange. The teaching staff is for the most part professional and lectures are interesting. In almost every course we have lectures and tutorials. Lectures are, naturally, for learning new topics and in tutorials we’re doing some group projects etc. With my four courses I have school about three to four days per week and the schedule changes every week. Lectures and tutorials are one and a half hours longs. We have a lot of group projects etc. but still studying here is quite pleasant.

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I’m sharing my exchange experience with my friend from Finland, so I’m spending my spare time usually with her. Mostly we’re just chilling and seeing other exhange students. At the same time with us, three other Finns came for the Spring semester in Nice. So we have an amazing Finnish group here and also other exhange students have been really nice. There are students from all over the world and the diversity of cultures is really wide. I recommend to participate in many events and be active right from the start. That way it is easier to get to know with many people.

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Thanks to the location of Nice, it is very easy to travel to many places. Especially, I recommend to visit in cities and villages near to Nice (Antibes, Cannes, Villefranche-sur-Mer, Menton, Eze Village, Monaco…). You can take a bus or a train depenging where you’re going. The prices of the public transport are incredible low, the bus ticket for a 75 min journey costs only 1,50€! Also, it is really easy to take a train or a flight to other European countries or for example to Paris. We had two week-long holiday breaks, so there is time to travel around.

Last thing that I want to say is that if you are even a little bit interested in studying abroad, just do it. You will not regret it! Exhange studying is an unique opportunity to see the world, learn new languages and meet new people from new cultures. Also, being abroad will help you to see the good things of your home country and appreciate them more.

– Elisa

Bonjour de Bordeaux!

Hello from Bordeaux, southwestern France.

I have been living here for almost three months now, and have really fallen in love with the city. The historical buildings, kind people, nice weather as well as the great (and cheap) wine!

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I have also seen a bit of the surrounding area and visited other cities close by such as La Rochelle and Toulouse. I couldn’t be happier that I chose to come to France for my exchange, all the places I’ve visited have been absolutely beautiful.

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I study at Kedge Business school, and my studies have been quite a bit easier than at TAMK, the courses do not have nearly as much content here.  The school is also quite strict with attendance, if you miss more two lectures you are not allowed to participate in the final exam. If you are sick you need to have a note from a doctor proving it, and that needs to be delivered to the school administrative staff within a couple of days of you absence. Luckily I haven’t been sick!

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I have my final exams in two weeks, but I am not really nervous. I already finished my French course, which was a lot of fun. My teacher had lived in Finland for a few years and spoke nearly fluent Finnish, and seemed to know more about Finnish grammar than I do. We also had a wine tasting in one the lessons and learned a bit about the famous Bordeaux wine and how to recognize good wine in a store.

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So far I haven’t had any negative experiences here, apart from the fact that the housing situation in Bordeaux is really bad and I ended up staying in an Airbnb this whole time. It is not that easy for a foreigner to get an apartment in France, especially for only a few months. Bordeaux is also growing at a rapid rate, and therefore it was hard for even some of the French students to find housing this semester.

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The time sure has flown by, and I am sad to be leaving the beautiful France so soon. Luckily, I will spend a few days in Paris with my friends before going back home, which should be a lot of fun!

 

 

Salutations de Paris

Greetings all fellow students from the heart of Europa, France Paris! All is good in the land of pastries, baguettes, love and fashion.

I arrived to Paris almost exactly a month ago and have been loving in ever since. This is my second time in both Paris and France so there wasn’t much that I knew about the place to begin with. Luckily, this has turned out being as war welcoming, vibrant and inspiring city as I thought it would be. Paris was my number one choice when applying for exchange so in a sense this is a dream come true for me.

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While here I am studying at a local business school called PSB (=Paris School of Business). I had heard a little bit about it before coming here, since a friend of mine did her exchange there as well. Overall the school, courses and people there have met my expectations. There are all in all 125 exchange students in our school an only one Finn besides me (and even he officially came here trough a school in Sweden), but I don’t mind! This gives me the opportunity to develop my language skills and challenge myself since there is no-one to speak Finnish with.

I chose five courses to meet the amount of credits needed for a certificate you get from PSB that states all the courses and the study track you chose curing the stay here. There are many tracks to choose from and the one I chose was Luxury. It involves three courses handling different parts of the luxury industry varying from merchandising to the basic fundamentals of the industry. This to me is very interesting since I aim to work in the business side of the fashion industry in the future.

On my spare time I’ve been exploring the city with my exchange buddies from school as well friends back home that have been visiting me quite frequently. The city itself is so huge that there is always something going on and new to see, so it ain’t hard to find things to do after classes and on weekend. Here are some pics from my adventures…

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When comparing studying here in Paris to the way we do it in Finland, there are some differences. First of all when in comes to planning an punctuality, he French aren’t as on time and organized as we are. This is something you cannot change and just have to suck up and live with.

Group works are common which is something I am very much used to back in Finland so nothing new there and the quality of the teaching is good. But one thing I noticed from the start is that the teachers and lecturers here are a lot stricter here, especially when it comes to lap tops and phones. If they see you browsing Facebook and that you have you’re attention elsewhere you gonna hear it, and so it the rest of the class.

Thats all for now. Hope this gives some perspective to people concerning Paris or PSB as an exchange location. I wish you all a great day and enjoy the crisp Fall weather outside!

Bisouxx Milla

The beautiful French Riviera

These months in the French Riviera have been more challenging and rewarding than I ever would have thought. I have learned so much about other cultures, the French language and the customs of local during this time in Nice. The city is big, and there is always something happening whether it be winter festivals, jazz music events or city marathons. The security of France has declined after several terrorist attacks, and it has effected the atmosphere in Southern France too, but after a while this feels like any other Southern European city.

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Eze Village

I have been studying international marketing, global trade and French history in addition to French, and these courses have really added to my knowledge about these subjects. Studying things from an international view helps to understand both domestic and global aspects when talking for example about marketing. The tutorials and lectures have been educational and I really like the business school I am attending.

During free time I have explored other towns and villages close to Nice and my favorites so far are Eze, Saint-Paul-de-Vence and Cap ferrat. These places have outstanding views to the sea and beautiful old fortresses and ruins from the Middle Ages. I have to say I’ve come to realize why so many artists have settled in the French Riviera for centuries already.

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Saint-Paul-de-Vence

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Rothschild Palace, Cap Ferrat

I have met people from all over the world and never stop wondering how great it is to form a connection with a person from so far away. I am not the only Finnish exchange student here but I am definitely in minority, since all you can hear on the corridors of the school are Spanish and Irish English. The lecturers are not that demanding, so we get a lot of free time. I have had friends and family over both from Finland and Italy, and had had the opportunity to show them all of my favorite places.

The return to home is closer and closer, but I still have a few moments in Nice that I will enjoy from the bottom of my heart!

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-Sara Suokko