Tag Archives: Germany

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 🙂

Wonderful time in Munich!

Studies have been going great here and I just finished my bachelor thesis. The courses have been very international and I have had the opportunity to work with people (students and teachers) from all over the world in projects. The lecturing style is pretty similar then in TAMK and in Finland generally, but the “block courses” (sort of intensive weeks where we different projects) have been interesting and a nice addition to the normal studying.

People in Bavaria are accurate what it comes to work or studies, but in their free time they are really laid back and chill. Only thing that is really annoying and where Germany should learn from Finland is how to manage bureaucracy and paperwork. Almost nothing can be done here through the internet, so almost everything must be done face-to-face and this means everything takes more time.

 

Unfortunately, I didn’t get to visit the Oktoberfest, since I arrived in Munich just couple days after the fest had ended. Luckily, I had the change to correct this shortcoming by going to the Frühlingsfest. It is like Oktoberfest, but smaller and with less tourists. Like “a little sister” of the Oktoberfest. The experience was amazing! If there are not any “Folksfests” like Oktoberfest or Frühlingsfest going on in Munich, one can get the perfect Bavarian experience by visiting the beerhalls. They serve good beer and food and an atmosphere that can’t be duplicated.

 

All and all the past 10 months have been great. In addition to exploring Munich and its neighboring regions, I have travel in Hungary, Austria and Czech. Meeting new people, going to new places and experiencing now things. I highly recommend that everybody should do an exchange abroad! Just a couple more week here in sunny Munich and then I will be back in Finland!

 

Grüße aus Reutlingen!

I arrived in Reutlingen in the beginning of March, roughly a week before the beginning of the summer semester. The first weekend and the following week I spent settling in and getting to know the city, taking an intensive German course and meeting and hanging out with all my fellow international students. When the actual studies began, I found myself having a lot of free time since my courses had very little contact hours compared to my studies back at home. This gave me more time to explore Reutlingen, my home for the following six months and of course the surrounding areas, especially Stuttgart and Tübingen.

Reutlingen is a city in Baden-Württemberg located about 35 km south from Stuttgart. With a population of roughly 114 000 citizens it is the ninth-largest city in Baden-Württemberg and is nicknamed “The Gate to the Swabian Alb” as its area is largely located in the Swabian Alb. The Hochschule Reutlingen is a university of applied sciences that was founded originally in 1855 as a College of Weaving and Textiles as an initiative of local textile industry. Reutlingen University offered me good opportunities and facilities to study textile technology and also a bit of Fashion management.

Back in TAMK I study bioproduct and process engineering, so studying textile technology here was  already very different because of the different subject. The school has large workshops and laboratories for spinning, weaving, weft and warp knitting and textile finishing where me and my group mates got to see and learn hands on the process of producing textiles all the way from the fibre to the finished garment. I had less contact hours during the week and more working on my own writing papers and reports than what we have back in Finland. Even though I had two group projects here, I would still say the style of teaching is less based on learning and working together in a group like it is in Finland. In addition to the textile courses, I also took one course in International management which was very interesting. I also had a German language course. It was great to notice myself getting more and more comfortable using my German language skills in everyday interactions with Germans. Also having a German tandem partner who I taught Finnish and she taught German to me is a great opportunity to learn more of the language.

One of the interesting opportunities I had in my studies was the possibility to go on a excursion to Hannover Messe, one of the world’s largest industrial trade fairs. It is held every year in the Hanover Fairground in Hanover, Lower Saxony. We left early in the morning for our eight-hour bus ride to the fair, spent eight hours exploring the fair and then drove eight ours back to Reutlingen. The trip was tiring but the breakfast Brezels we were served by the university gave us a good start for the day and some energy to head off and explore the huge fairground. The fair covers all areas of industrial technology from research and development, industrial automation, IT, industrial supply, production technologies to energy and mobility technologies.

I had some time for travel during the holidays. A road trip to see Vienna, Budapest and Bratislava and learn about their history was a great experience. Vienna with its beautiful buildings, Budapest with its laid-back atmosphere and the cute old town area of Bratislava. Seeing the beautiful Hungarian Parliament Building during a boat cruise on the Danube river was an amazing experience. On our day trip to Switzerland we saw the Rhine Falls, and the cities of Luzern and Zurich. Swimming in the Lake Zurich on a hot day was refreshing and I finally got an opportunity to get rid of my winter furs.

Day trips in the surroundings of Reutlingen and Tübingen were easy to do with our bus card called Naldo which let us travel by bus and train in a large area around Reutlingen. I visited the Lichtenstein Castle and the Hohenzollern Castle with my international friends just to name a few places. It was interesting to learn about the local history in the castles. We also the visited the Landesmuseum Württemberg in Stuttgart and the Mercedes-Benz Museum both with interesting exhibitions. Also the Stuttgart Frühlingsfest was an great experience with all the rides, beer tents and overall festive atmosphere. Spending May Day there was definitely worth it. I still have a few weeks of my exchange period in Reutlingen left before going back home, so I’m planning to explore and see more of Germany!

 

Liebe Grüsse aus Leipzig!

I still remember the feeling when I,  after a long day of travelling saw through the train’s window the silhouette of Panorama tower. I was tired and exhausted as the trip turned out to be longer because of delayed flights and so on, so I was really relieved to finally be at my destination! 🙂  After I stepped out of the train and walked to my hotel for the first night, Leipzig felt immediately very sympathetic and cheerful town. I also marked that it was very clean everywhere. And because I had spend the previous week by my parents in Lapland, the weather felt warm and already full of spring as well. 🙂 I was really excited and looking forward to everything that was going to follow.

I arrived to Leipzig around a week before the summer semester was about to begin, so the first week went through with moving and getting to know the city better. I had been going to a pentacostal church there in Finland before, so I decided to look for one in Leipzig as well, and I found a really nice free church called TOS-Leipzig. Since the first week that church has  been  a great part of my stay here in Leipzig, and I am sure the connection with me and the people will continue after I I move back to Finland. 🙂 During the first week I also got to know the other person who started his exchange studies at the same time with me. And yeah, it is true that there were only two of us starting it on summer semester, as most had already started in last autumn. I also started trying to use as much German as I could with people, which turned out to be a little bit of a challenge as people then answered to me in fast German, and many times I couldn’t get a word they were saying! 😀 But little by little, that is how you learn a new language. 😉

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As I study music and specially performing arts, my studies are maybe a little different as for the most other subjects. They consist mainly of personal practicing, private instrument lessons and chamber music and orchestra projects. This semester there have been two different orchestra projects, and I got to take part in both of them! 🙂 First one was a normal concert program with a symphony from Anton Bruckner and two concertos for solo instruments. The other one was an Opera from Mozart, that went on for about a month altogether. I got to say that I have absolutely enjoyed playing in our school’s orchestra! We have a wonderful conductor, called Mathias Foremny, and he is so passionate about music and orchestral playing, that he lights up the whole orchestra and inspires us players to give all we have got for the music. In the very first concert I remember having goose pumps after the peaceful second movement of Bruckner’s symphony. Another great experience was a so called Chamber music evening, where the players from our stringed instrument department and some pianists had an evening together and just played and sight read some famous chamber music-repertory while having snacks and a bit of red wine. Just nice time together with the people and good music! 🙂

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One of my goals for the exchange here in Germany was to learn the language more. I have studied it in the comprehensive school, so I had a little bit of ground onto which I could start building. As I went to the International high school, where we had to use English as a language of our study, I knew the different phases of the development in the beginning. First it is absolutely horrible as you don’t understand a lot of what people say to you and you do not know how to say what you want to say. That is a vital phase though, cause you just need to step out of the comfort zone of swiching to English and come in touch with the practice of using a new language. After a while you start to learn new vocabulary and your ear gets used to recognizing words of the new language. Then your understanding gets better, and you can also start using some phrases and words that you have heard often without thinking. I also recognize from my language development, that many times there are short seasons when I learn to use some word or phrase, and I find myself using it almost everywhere. 🙂 And then it changes to another one.  If I observe the development of my German, I would say I am at this phase, as I can use my German in daily life, but it still takes me time to first understand what the other person has said, then think how I want to respond, and then figure out the way how to say it. Complicated sentences in spoken language are still hard for me to produce. From this point it is good to develop it further, my goal would be that some day I’d be able to speak German so that  I can express feelings and respond without having to think of it. 🙂 So, concerning the Language I would like to encourage everyone who lives abroad to study, observe and use the language of the country. According to my experience it is almost always so that people like it when you try to communicate with their language, even when it is not perfect. And people will always find a way to understand each other, which is actually the main purpose of communicating. So don’t be afraid, just use it! 🙂 Und es macht einfach viel Spass auch!

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Grüße aus Deutschland ;)

Hi all! 🙂

I started to work on my bachelor’s thesis in the middle of May in Marktheidenfeld, Germany. Marktheidenfeld is a small town that has a population of about 11,000 people. Since Marktheidenfeld is so small, I decided to live in Würzburg (~120 000 inhabitants) instead. Würzburg is about 40km off from Marktheidenfeld. This is my third time already working for the same company (Schneider Electric) in the same location. So far I’ve worked on my thesis for 4 weeks, so I still have about 2 months to go!

Phhhh how do I spend my leisure time… Well this is my third summer in Würzburg already, so I know all the best places and all the best festivals to go to 😉 There’s lots of great wine & beer festivals in the city and the local white wine is actually well know, at least within Germany 🙂 I spend a lot of time at the Main river, either chilling, swimming or grilling with friends ;’) Music is perhaps my most important hobby and luckily I have few friends to play with, so there’s no way I could get bored here 😉

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Würzburg^^

I’ve never worked in an office in Finland, so it’s therefore pretty hard to compare the German office working culture with the Finnish one… I work in a marketing department, where I happen to have only few German colleagues from about 12-14 employees. That means that our working environment is really international, which I find really good. My boss comes from Iran, but my other colleagues are from France, Japan, Finland, China, UK and of course Germany. Everybody has their own habits, but anyways the atmosphere at work is really good which is pleasing!

Best Regards from Würzburg,

Mikael

Grüße aus München ♥

Servus!

I just came back to my lovely little flat from a day trip to Eibsee, which is a very beautiful lake at the base of Germany’s highest mountain called Zugspitze. Since the connections are so good and travelling is pretty cheap, I’ve done few trips on my own and some with my fellow exchange students inside Germany and to other countries close to Germany. There’s a lot to explore in Munich alone, so you never really get bored here and with the numerous beer gardens and big attractive parks, you can always find a nice place to relax with your friends.

 

Eibsee
Lake Eibsee in Garmisch, roughly 100 km from Munich
Enjoying the view in Olympiapark in Munich with two other Finnish Erasmus students
Enjoying the view in Olympiapark in Munich with two other Finnish Erasmus students

 

I’ve been living and studying in Munich for approximately 3 months now and I never thought time would go so fast. Unbelievable, only two months and I should be heading back “home”. I say “home”, because as much as I miss my family and friends back in Finland, I feel at home here. Sure there has been few awkward moments with the locals when you don’t speak perfect German and they don’t understand a word of English, but luckily those situations don’t happen too often. I had very little trouble settling in to my apartment, which I’m really lucky to have, because the location is super. It takes about 17 minutes to walk to the school (10 minutes with a tram, which goes basically from door to door), 10 minute walk to the main train station and 20 minutes to the central square of Munich, Marienplatz.

 

The “Glockenspiel” in the tower of the new city hall at Marienplatz
The “Glockenspiel” in the tower of the new city hall at Marienplatz

 

Studying in Munich university of applied sciences doesn’t differ much from studying in Finland, but they do have some very nice labs here. I found the sound measurement room for air conditioning systems in the lab really interesting and a nice addition to all other air conditioning related stuff they had there in that lab. I’ve also spent a lot of time in the 3D printing lab, because I chose a course called “3D printing and design”, which is a really nice course even though it’s not straight down my study major.

Overall I feel like I’m doing pretty good in my studies, but the real test awaits when the exam period starts. I chose a reasonable amount of courses (little less than what Erasmus students usually take), knowing I would have to also advance in some courses I started in TAMK before my exchange (there’s about two month difference in semester times), because it’s important that I also get those courses done this semester. In my study program, building services engineering, it might be pretty hard to place your exchange in a convenient time, but to all my fellow engineers, don’t let that stop you! There’s usually a good solution to be found in the end.

 

Ein Prosit der Gemütlichkeit! 😉 (@Frühlingsfest, “the little sister of Oktoberfest”)

Greetings from the Herzo base!

Servus!

Closing in on three months since I started my internship at adidas in the town of Herzogenaurach, Germany so it´s about time to take a look back and blog about my experience so far.

Things turned out well for me as I was able to start my internship right after finishing my exchange semester in Heilbronn. The relocation wasn’t that huge either, roughly 200 kilometers. What I found most difficult was the accommodation. Herzogenaurach being a relatively small town with little to no shared flats or other student friendly housing, I decided to set my sights on finding a place in the nearby city of Erlangen. Many employees of adidas also live in Nürnberg and the company has arranged a private bus line to bring people to work and take them back home, but I’m not a big fan of being depended on bus schedules. So it had to be Erlangen for me. Turns out, the housing situation in the whole area is quite bad, with Erlangen being a popular university city and the Erlangen-Herzo area having other big companies like Puma, Siemens and Schaeffler. I got a place for a month in the center of Erlangen and it took me the whole month to find a permanent one. Commuting by bike feels like a pain sometimes, especially when it’s raining, but hey, I didn’t want to depend on schedules. Alright, back to my internship.

So, I’m working at the adidas headquarters in the Global Logistics – 3PL Strategy and Management -department in the Procurement team. The team is responsible for inbound and outbound freight rates globally, we negotiate with carriers the freight rates to be used for a certain period of time. The project are long and demanding and the ultimate goal is of course to save as much money as possible, since adidas ships worldwide and the share of logistics costs from the overall costs is quite significant.

During my first weeks I had a talk with my boss about my tasks and my role in the team. The outcome of that meeting was that even though I have no work experience in the field, I would still be responsible for certain things in the team, to get as much out of the six months of my internship as possible.

The whole experience has been great so far and I see no reason why it wouldn’t be going forward. The work environment is great and so much more relaxed then one might expect from a German company, the normal office wear is jeans and sneakers. Not to mention the employee discount you get from adidas products. My wardrobe has never been so full of stripes. The company encourages a healthy and sporty lifestyle which is seen in the casual office attire, healthy foods offered in the cafeteria and a gym just outside the office. Walking around the campus, it feels more like a university than a company. You have flexibility in your working hours so you can take a break in the middle of the day and go to the gym, go jogging, play beach volley, tennis or basketball.

I don’t usually take a lot of pictures, but I’ll see what I can gather.

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These two pictures were taken during the Global Brand Conference evening party. The cafeteria was transformed in to a disco and some light effects were added to a pond that’s inside the campus (and is also home to a family of geese, who sometimes get aggressive and chase people).  The party had several artists performing and there was also free food and beer for everyone.

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And this is a pair of sneakers I wear around the office. Told you I don’t take a lot of pictures.