Tag Archives: Germany

Greetings from my second home

Hello Finland,

I know your summer is not very hot and sunny this year, so let me give you some of the heat from South West Germany. With around 30°C for 3 weeks I don’t need to be stingy.

My internship is going great! I did not expect that it will become that interesting. Have you heard about Umicore? That’s the place to do your internship. Seriously, my working mates are so super friendly and support me with all their possibilities so I can get the most out of my it. The last 3 weeks I spent in Umicore´s laboratory in the area of sample preparation. Umicore is producing catalysts for cars and working in the sample preparation means to prepare catalysts for cars in a way that further quality tests can be done to them. Next week I will move on to a different area. There I will have a look into such a quality test. I am already looking forward.
My workmates are pretty interested about you, my dear friend Finland. I tell them a lot about your awesome student culture and the beauty of your nature. I even recommended them to spend holidays in a finish Mökki. When I showed pictures about my friends swimming in a lake at midnight in a bright sunset  I did not mention that it is much colder than it seems. Sneaky me 😉

After I am done with my work I am usually hanging out with my friends. We often go swimming in the river Rhein, but that’s nothing compared with your plenty of lakes. But I am not complaining, therefor I can enjoy reasonable priced food and drinks in restaurants. Oh and guess what? Finally I can eat my daily portion of ice cream without getting poor! In deed a portion of ice cream does often not cost more than 1€. Unbelievable! How can your ice cream be so expensive?

Well I have to leave, it is time for BBQ with my family. What a wonderful luxury to have them close by me. But dear Finland do not worry, I will come back to you, soon.

 

My goodbye gift to working mates

Discovering Germany apart from its famous beverages.

I guess that many stereotypes had stuck to Germany. Chosing it as a destination country I wanted to prove that cliches cannot express the full depth of culture and mentality.

My studies took place in Hannover University of Applied Science. Originally, my major is Energy and Environmentall Engineering, but there was no courses available in English from the same sphere. Thus, in these circumstances I slightly moved to Mechanical Engineering Faculty, which was pretty funny. Anyway the experience was worthy since I studied something completely new and participated in interesting projects.

The education approach is dissimilar to Finnish. In Hannover the teachers were more strict and the lectures were very formal (professor was explaining material without much communication with the audience).

Conserning my free time, I believe I would need hundreds of papers to express everything. It was a lot about communication and making new acqauantances, taking part in festivals and traditional holidays. But the best part was travelling inside and outside Germany, the connection is cheap and very convenient.

I explorated many interested places, tried tasty dishes and actually tried many beers!

Pictures are taken by me 🙂

From heat to snowfall and back

I stay three months in Villingen-Schwenningen, Germany. My host university HFU offers education mainly for business and engineering students. I’m doing my internship in local laboratories, first four weeks at a clinical laboratory and then eight weeks at a research laboratory at the university. It has been very interesting to see how is the laboratory work in Germany like and also to compare it to the Finnish system. Laboratory field is very international and many principles are similar in both countries. Even so I have found some differences: the information systems and sample handing are organized differently, for example.

The weather in the Black Forest has been very changeable and it has also affected our plans for the weekends. However, I have done many unforgettable trips in the southern Germany and near its borders in Austria, Switzerland and France. Some of the trips were organized by the university but I have also planned some of them together with the other international students. It’s easy to travel by train in Germany and the group tickets are also very cheap. One of the best Saturdays we spent in Konstanz, on the shores of the lake Bodensee. It was a perfect, sunny summer day. We hired pedal boats and enjoyed the heat.

It has been a bit surprising to notice that many Germans don’t speak English. Fortunately I’ve studied some German but for a few years I haven’t had to use the language so I have forgotten almost everything. But even the basic knowledge has been very useful for me and I have been able to refresh my language skills during my stay. It has been great to notice that I can live in another country and communicate in foreign languages without any bigger problems. This experience has made me more self-confident. But of course the best thing is an opportunity to get new, international friends and learn about their cultures.

Continue reading From heat to snowfall and back

Bielefeld

Hello, I am Johannes and I am currently studying in Bielefeld University of Applied Sciences. Bielefeld, where is that? Well I did not know either and I had never heard about it before. Bielefeld is little bit smaller town located in upper part of North Rhine-Westphalia, but it is easier to say that it is just smaller city between Dortmund and Hannover.

Only about 300 000 people live in Bielefeld but city center feels a lot bigger. Some parts of the old town are worth a visit and famous Sparrenburg castle is located near city center. Otherwise it is not that amazing city, at least that is my opinion. I think there is some lot more interesting cities near Bielefeld which makes it good base camp for travelling in Germany.

Studying in Germany is different compared to Finland, semester starts on March and ends in the end of July. Our courses started middle of April but ended already in beginning of June, some courses even started as late as in May but still ended in June. It was really confusing how little time we had to spend in school because in most of the courses we also had only one lecture each week.

So, I had a lot of spare time on my hands which I spend travelling with other exchange students. Our school gave us so called “semester ticket” which is related to our student cards. This semester ticket allows you to travel for free in the whole area of North Rhine-Westphalia using regional trains and busses. Before arriving I did not know that we would get this kind of tickets and it was very pleasant surprise, North Rhine-Westphalia has total area of 34 000km2 so there is a lot to travel. It includes big cities like Cologne, Dortmund, Düsseldorf and Münster, but smaller cities are also wonderful places to visit.

Another way to spent spare time are multiple sport classes which are offered students for free. There are classes from dancing and acting to all the way to swimming and weight lifting, my choice for semester was dancing.

Johannes Äärelä, Johannes Aarela

Overall my experience in Bielefeld was really good and I can recommend it for other students also.

Augsburg Confidential

Greetings from Augsburg, the garden city of Bavaria. Before we start, I have to inform you that I am officially doing my studies in Munich (approx. 80 km from Augsburg), but as luck will have it, I had to accept my principal accommodations from Augsburg, as to not get bankrupted by the insane living costs of Munich!

Anyways, I think fate dealt me an excellent hand, as I surely have had a quite a different ride from other exchange students that are living in Munich proper. At the moment I am situated between hundreds of rows of Corn stalks, few hay bushes, three pig farms and two horse stables. Oh and thousands of overtly friendly country people!

Between all those things I have to try to survive with my basic german speaking skills as 90% of people here do not willingly parlay in english. The good part is that it works great with my goal of getting out of my comfort zone, which I am! Constantly!

The long distance to my actual university city of Munich makes commuting a chore, but it also makes going to Munich an event! So every time I have to drag my self to class it feels important and that in turn makes me take classes a little bit more seriously.  And that seriousness is a good thing as these double professors and herr doctor-doctor teachers really have a lot stuff to give to us students.

To balance out all this extreme focusing and seriousness during the classes, I attend all sorts of gatherings with like minded people. Be it beer festivals or rock concerts, you can probably spot me in there somewhere!

With Head-Banging greetings

Sami Juntunen

Hallo from Frankfurt am Main.

My exchange semester in Germany was one of the best experiences in my life. Frankfurt is a nice city with dynamic day and night life, with beautiful historic buildings and modern skyscrapers in the center.

Usual sunset in Frankfurt

The Frankfurt University of Applied Sciences, where I was studying during this time, had a bit different system in comparison with TAMK. The enrollment system was quite challenging, as you had  to register for the course, for the first exam, for the second one, for the small other exam before the final one, so it was quite coplicated for me to find these things out. And studies in general were a bit more diff icult than in Finland, had to study a lot to pass some exams. 

But apart from studying I enjoyed every minute I was there. I’ve met so many amazing people from different countries, we were spending all the time together: traveling, partyying, studying, complaining about the exams, hoping to just pass them, rejoicing that we have passed, chilling by the river, singing, dancing , living the life! It was extermely difficult for me to say bye to some of them, because I know, that I most likely will not meet them again.

Rheinfall in Switzerland

During my xchange I was traveling a lot, I had a goal to visit at least 5 different counties, and I did it, it is not expensive to travel from Germany, especially from Frankfurt, there is one of the largest airports in Europe . I have visited France, Switzerland, Belgium, Luxenburg and Netherlands.

Heidelberg.

I also visited a lot of cities in Germay, my favorite one is Berlin, I fall in love with this city! It’s one of the most beautiful plases I’ve ever seen. I will defenitely go there again, because I did not have time to see everything.

Berliner Dom.

My best friends stayed there for another semester and I’m going to visit them soon so I’ll see all of my favorite places in Frankfurt again!

 

 

Hallo aus Dortmund!

The Semester here in Dortmund has been awesome, very challenging but also rewarding.

On my spare time I’ve been travelling, tasting awesome German products including wine that is so cheap and so so good. I’ve been to Luxembourg a few times, in Holland and also traveled a lot inside of Germany. One of the highlights here were when we went to see ice hockey world championship game in Cologne. Finland vs USA and Finland won!!

My absolute favorite place has been the beautiful Berlin. There is so much to see and so much to do.

Kuvahaun tulos haulle berlin
Berlin skyline

I also loved the beautiful Mosel valey. Mosel is a famous vineyard area in Germany, where the grow the King grape, Riesling.

Kuvahaun tulos haulle trabe trarbach
Traben-Trarbach, in Mosel Valey

Studying in Dortmund has been a bit harder than in Finland. The subjects are taught very differently, more university alike than in Finland. There are very few things that we learn through practice but more through lectures and team assignments. Also people are very grade oriented so to say. Also the lecturers prepare you much more for the coming exams than in Finland.

All in all everything is going well here in Dortmund. The weather has been awesome at least comparing to Finland (for what I’ve heard).

Living in Germany

Summer semester 2016/2017 in Dortmund Germany was unforgettable. I met a lot new people, traveled, my car broke down, bought a new one, learned a lot about other cultures and countered all kind of different situations.

Ruhr Museum in Essen, Zollverein

I think one of the most positive thing was the climate in middle-Europe. We went to Dortmund 03.03. and at the end of March we bought a grill and had a barbecue at our balcony with friends. It was like +25, not too bad after the Finnish climate.

End of March in Dortmund

I studied at FH Dortmund in International business. I think studying in Germany was bit harder than in Finland. My courses were in English so can only imagine how would it be if they would have been in German. I think most of the local students are quite study oriented and quite keen to success in their studies.

Spare time in Germany was filled with traveling, sports, parties sometimes, friends and perhaps some studying sometimes also :).

Local Discgolf park in Dortmund

Working culture in Germany is more hierarchical than in Finland. They are quite serious about their own achievements as a person/employee and want to be recognized for those. Sometimes it also felt that because of the volume of people is so big in Germany (at least if compared to Finland) they can be a bit rude for example in customer service situations. I didn’t really enjoy that discovery.

Classic car Remise Düsseldorf

All in all Germany was an amazing experience and totally worth it!

 

Grüße aus Deutschland!

We (Ina and Maria) are doing this postcard together, because we are working in the same place and living together in a same city.

We came to Germany to do our practical training in a private international kindergarten. We are staying in Düsseldorf and the kindergarten is located in Meerbusch, about 9km from our apartment. Luckily the public transport here is very good ant it takes us only approximately half an hour to get there.

The kindergarten has about 65 children, 6 employees and of course the head of the daycare center. There are three different groups; the nursery group (4 month-3 years), the kindergarten group(2-3years) and the preschool group(4-6years). We are working daily, excluding the weekends, from 9am to 4pm, but we work in different groups every week. The staff and the children took us in very well and we could see how ecxited they were that we came there.  The days go past so quickly and there is so much to do. But of course in a good way. We have been here now for four weeks and only three weeks are left. The biggest barrier that we had to overcome was that we had no common language with most of the children. They speak either German, Japanese or Chinese and just a few children understands/speaks a little bit of English. The same thing is with the staff, only 3 of the 6 employees speaks English. So body language is an important tool for us. Fortunately working with children is quite easy like that. We have also learned some basic daycare phrases in German, so communication is getting easier day by day.

Düsseldorf is a big town and there lives 604 527 people. Here is a lot to see and to do for us in the free time. When the weather is good, we have been exploring the city. For example here is a huge park called Nordpark where we usually go for walks and see the beautiful gardens in there. And it is only a a few kilometers from our apartment.  We also like going to the city center, where there is a lot of shopping opportunities and good restaurants. There is also the old town, where we like to go to just hang out and see other people. This time a year here is also a lot of tourists, so expecially when the weather is good, the city center and the old town are packed with people.

The working culture in the kindergarten we work in is quite similar than in Finland. The daily routines and schedule also goes almost the same comparing to Finland.  A couple big differences we have noticed is that only the youngest children takes  a nap during the day. And because the days can be long for the children (even 7.30am to 7pm) the children that does not sleep, might even snooze while playing etc. Also the food culture is a lot different than in Finland. It is normal food in here but the way wee see it, it`s not as versatile and healthy than what we are used to eat in finnish daycares.

  

We are looking forward the rest of the weeks in here and are excited to learn even more from the Germanys culture and early childhood education.

Tschüss,

Ina Schmidt and Maria Salonen

Viele Grüße aus Deutschland!

I did my exchange period in Dortmund, Germany. Dortmund is located in the west part of Germany, in a state (=Bundesstaat) Northrhine-Wesphalia. Dortmund is middle-sized city in Germany with its almost 600 000 citizens.

There is not much to see in Dortmund. Dortmund is famous for its football team, Borussia Dortmund (BVB). During BVB’s matches the football stadion Westfalenstadion ( or as the new name, Signal Iduna Park) is always full with more than 81 000 football fans. I had the chance to go to one match and it was totally worth the money!

Luckily it was free to us to travel in regional trains to other cities in the same state – Cologne (Köln), Düsseldorf, Bonn, Aachen and to many others. Cologne was my favorite of these and had a lot of history and of course the Cologne Cathedral. We also went to see a world championships of ice hockey which was organized by Paris and Cologne this year.

The school days were shorter than in TAMK but more demanding and theorical. The bureaucracy was something unbelievable, everyone should experince the paper war with German authorities.

The student life in Dortmund was very good with cheap student bar near the dormitories and the ESN Dortmund arranged lot of freetime activities. The German food culture (sausages, Schnitzel) also became very familiar. It was easy to travel to Netherlands from Dortmund and you can also take the train to Paris in 4,5 hours 🙂