Tag Archives: Germany

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.

 

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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.

Working in Germany

Greetings from Germany, Stuttgart

I am currently doing my internship here in Stuttgart in a company called Jago Ag which is an online shop. Sales and marketing is the area where I am focused in and my job is quite versatile and interesting. Germany is not called a hard working country for no reason. You can see that it is hard embedded in the culture here. My work consists of quite a lot of excel related work but the range of tasks is quite diverse. I also get to translate product descriptions from German to Finnish which is quite nice.

Excel excel and more excel
Excel excel and more excel

Doing an internship is definitely different than being in an exchange. You have clear schedule and rhythm. Outside of work I go to the gym and hang out with my flat mates. I’ve had the change to meet friends from my exchange who live here in Germany. I have traveled around a bit for example I went to Aschaffenburg to see my friends and my plan is to visit Frankfurt as well. Weather here is quite warm (which is surprising) so I’ve got to enjoy it as well. And obviously the beer. German beer is possibly the best in the world but I’ve kept the consumption in a normal level.

Drink German beer. It's good.
Drink German beer. It’s good.

Germany and Finland are quite the same instead of the obvious fact that here are lot more people.  As a Finn if you come here you won’t be experiencing a culture shock. People in general are the same. We have the same mentality and same way of thinking but Germans are definitely more social.  Working culture here is a bit more strict and Germans really do work a lot. I would say that Germans are more determined to work and they work even a bit harder than Finnish people.

 

Hallöchen aus Berlin!

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I did my exchange semester in Berlin and I could not have chosen any better; Berlin has fulfilled all my expectations and more. The city is full of attractions, events, clubs and bars so it never gets boring, and the price level is considerably lower than in Finland which makes Berlin a student friendly destination. I was living in a dorm in East Berlin and my rent was less than half what I paid in Finland and it was just a quick 15 minute bus and S-Bahn ride to the city.

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Dorm in Biesdorf and part of HTW Treskowallee campus.

My school was Hochschule für Technik und Wirtschaft Berlin (HTW) located about 30 minute commute away from the dorm. I planned my courses in a way I only had to go to lectures 2 or 3 times per week which was convenient and gave me extra free time that I used exploring Berlin. Studying itself was very similar to Finland, a lot of group projects and relatively easy to pass courses if you participate in lectures once in a while and see some effort for the final exam. The staff at the International Office were super helpful with everything and made life easy for exchange students by taking care of a lot of bureaucracy. Before the semester started everyone had to attend a two-week mandatory German intensive course which was useful since knowing even a bit of German makes life in Berlin so much easier.

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Chilling in Kreuzberg on the Tag der deutschen Einheit.

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Enjoying a sunny October day in Mauerpark with friends, karaoke and Glühwein.

Free time was spent, after seeing all the mandatory tourist attractions, mainly going out with friends in East Berlin. Friedrichshain, Kreuzberg and Neukölln are my favorite districts full of good food, drinks, people and happenings. Berlin never sleeps and for a city of almost 3,5 million inhabitants it felt surprisingly safe to walk the streets even alone during night time. The atmosphere in Berlin is very liberal and relaxed, this is a place where you can really come as you are since the city and Berliners have already seen it all (you will too if you stay in Berlin for a while). I also noticed rather soon after my arrival that deutsche pünktlichkeit does not involve Berlin.

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Das Bier. Had a few during my exchange.

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Döner, miss you already.

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Best place to spend Thursday nights is Salami Social club, craft beer and 1eur per slice for excellent pizza.

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It really is.

I can warmly recommend Berlin for a semester abroad, just warning that you might not want to leave… I know I’m returning as soon as I get a chance!

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Greetings from Germany!

Right next to Stuttgart, the industrial heart of Germany, lies my hometown for the past 5 months called Esslingen am Neckar (Esslingen by river Neckar). My studies here have consisted of not too many classes, and a lot of self-studying. Courses that I am taking make up 35 ECT credits in total, and the topics are as follow:

-Sustainable, Efficient and Decentralized Energy Systems
-Laboratory Sustainable Energy Systems
-Renewable Energy Sources and Carriers
-Ecologic and Economic Design
-Design and Development Methodology
-Light Weight Design
-Advanced Finite Element Method
-German Language (at level 3 out from 4)
-German History and Culture
-Project work: Cooling concept for Batteries

Many of these courses are tied together as a module, which helps to study them both, since the teacher is the same, and topics are similar. Courses are a bit different than what I have done in TAMK, since there is nothing especially related to vehicles, exception being the project work. Categories are still interesting and also demanding. When I have to get to school, I usually cycle there with the bike that I rented from my school, only 10e for semester (+100 e deposit which you get back when returning the bike).

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The building that I normally attend to classes is showed above, and it’s really old, big and nice.  Because the building is a historical building, and building is regulated, the downside is that there is no AC-system, and Esslingen was really hot (for a Finn) in September when we got here.

During my spare-time I usually hang out with my newly found spanish girlfriend, or new international friends that I’ve made. We watch series and movies from Netflix, cook together and laugh a lot to silly youtube videos. I bought a semi-acoustic guitar from my neighbour, which I fiddle with every now and then. I also like to spend excessive amounts of time in Facebook, news sites and reading blogs, this way catching up with the news and happenings of my friends, family and Finland. I’m enjoying, though I feel also a little homesick.

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Main difference in studies in TAMK and Hochschule Esslingen is that there is a lot less graded assignments to do. Usually in TAMK we have e.g. one assignment which covers up 50 % of your final grade, 50 % coming from the exam. In Esslingen, all the effort is put to the exam, which is a bit of a bummer to me. In classes, group sizes are similar to TAMK (=too big), so there isn’t sometimes too much room up front in the classes. Luckily teachers are mostly great. They have a style to keep a constant dialogue between students and they are usually constantly asking questions, assuming people to answer without raising of hand. Although this feels similar to our studies in TAMK, but maybe in general here they do that a bit more. All the professors are extremely competant, with crazy titles such as Prof. Dr. Dipl. Ing. before their name tag of their office. Germany uses more formal approach than in TAMK, since professors are not addressed with their first names as in Finland. This feels although natural, when using English language.

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Soon back home!

-Tero Leinonen

Greetings from Hannover!

It has been quite amazing semester here in Hannover! There has been so much to do and so many places to visit in here that the time is just flying. There hasn’t been much progress concerning the my line of studies during this time, but living in here has been quite of an adventure.

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Hannover isn’t one of the biggest city in Germany with it’s 500,000 residents but for me it’s just the right size. Basically everything is within a walking distance in here and the public transportation works like a dream. There’s not too much happening everyday, which makes life a bit more peaceful than in a larger city.

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Germans and the other exchange students i’ve met in here are so friendly and open-minded. It has been so fun getting to know people all over the world and to hear about their cultures and ways of life!

 

The first month in here was basically about getting everything in order and getting to know the city and it’s customs. When the paperwork was ready it was time to start the two week long German intensive course. Days were mostly spent then on studying German and evenings enjoying the few last warm weeks of the year in a beach. After the intensive course ended everyone was looking forward to start the actual studies, but for weeks we didn’t hear anything about when the courses start.

 

Studying in here was quite different to what i was accustomed to in Finland. The classes are more about listening and studying than working at home, but there was still quite a lot of free time during the days. It’s definetly quality over quantity in here; most of the teachers are really passionate about their work, and it really motivates to try your best to learn.

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All in all, this whole trip has been probably one memory i’ll cherish for the rest of my life. At first i was a little skeptic about going to study abroad, but now i’m so happy that i decided to come here.

 

Mit freundlichen Grüßen,

Matti