Tag Archives: Italy

Tanti saluti dalla città eterna!

Many greetings from Rome – the eternal city where every road leads to. I’ve had the amazing chance to spend my year studying music at one of the most famous conservatoires of the world; Conservatorio di musica Santa Cecilia di Roma. It’s been utterly an educational experience and I’ve learned so much about myself, the italian culture and some useful common coping skills of life.

The idea of coming here felt quite good, because it had been a dream of mine for a long time and I had studied the language earlier in life and knew it already pretty well. I had also travelled to Italy quite many times, so I knew what to expect. Or so I thought. Very quickly it turned out that arranging your life in Italy is very different to being a tourist in this paradise of food, wine and historical monuments. As a tourist you can embrace the relaxed attitude and feel free, but as a resident and a student it really hits you that NOTHING works. It takes a lot of patience to accept that everything takes time and nothing is clear. When school starts, such things as a ready study plan or a calendar don’t exist. But whatever… This is how it rolls here and there’s nothing else you can do about it but try and embrace the culture and make the most of it.

But to better things: when I really got to studying, it was great. The level of the education is so high, my singing teacher has been amazingly good and my correpetitor as well. I’ve gotten to study vocal chamber music, scene work, classical piano and even took a couple of choir classes. I’ve also managed quite well in my final exams. It’s so nice to know that whatever comes on your way, you can always find a solution. You get the feeling that your wings actually do carry. You start to feel strong and independent, which I think is one of the main goals of a student exchange.

My journey has also taken me to Venice, Bologna, Padova, Nemi, Naples and many other exciting places. (Exploring your grounds is the best part of living abroad.) I’ve listened to amazing concerts, seen some of the nightlife, eaten divine food (and lots of it!!) and had the best coffee ever.

And let’s not forget the most important part…

All the friends I’ve met. Old and new ones. Amazing people.

Sending lots of love,

Katarina

Saluti dall´ Italia

I´ve studied music in the Conservatorio di Santa Cecilia in Rome. It has been a great pleasure to work with such a talented people and having the opportunity to perform with all different groups of musicians. Big part of my studies is contained of different kind of singing classes: Italian opera, French music, chamber music, choir music etc. There is also possibility to learn for example Italian language, some instrument or history of music.

I´ve had the opportunity to get to know to wonderful people from all over the world and we´ve spent time together by going to different museums, concerts, restaurants, travelling all over Italy and having movie nights and picnics. When I´m not with my friends I go jogging, for a walk and practice at home. I´ve also started to learn how to cook proper Italian food especially pasta and it has been really interesting to compare the cooking habits between Italy and Finland.

When I first entered the Conservatory I did not realise how many different status the institution consists of. There are headmaster, assistents, masters, professors, janitors and lounge hostesses and of course us students. They all have different kind of mission and status in the surrounding society and it took some time for me to understand my place. In Finland we have equal rights and responsibilities at the Conservatory and we are able to have educational conversations with each other.  We also have a possibility and actually we´re obligated to give feed back to one another. In Italy there are still quite a lot of hierarchy in the institutions which is as much as a problem as a positive thing. From positive point of view hierarchy demands individuals to pay attention to the advices given by the author and teaches to respect elder/professionals but it also diminsh the possibility to have an influence to the action made in the institute. The biggest problem for the student is that the masters/professors do not have any kind of responsibility to compensate the lessons which they cancel and this way the students wont get the lessons that they are supposed to have. In worst case that might mean that if the master gets sick for longer time or has to cancel teaching often when it´s your turn to go to the class you have no rights as a student to have for example a replacement for the subject. I´m so relieved that in Finland there´s no such a possibility and the studying is well planned and equal.

Ragazze mie, questo è Italia!

The Spring in Udine

If I should describe the scenery of Italy with different sounds, the soundtrack would consist of chiming of church bells, birdsong, honking of cars and some Italians speaking loudly to one another. Mix this with the scent of flowers and maybe some freshly baked pizza, interaction with friendly locals plus unbelievable views, and here you go, you’re in the heart of Italy!

Beauty of Verona

We spent our three-month exchange in Northern Italy, in a small city called Udine with my classmate Noora working in the field of physiotherapy. During the exchange we did three traineeships in different departments of the rehabilitation hospital Gervasutta. First practice was in children’s policlinic, the second one was with adults in a department called Biomeccanica, where the patients had had partial spinal cord injuries. The third one was general rehabilitation department where there was patients with brain injuries.

In all the departments we got to practice physiotherapy independently, but there was also some bystanding when we observed physiotherapists to do the work. We didn’t know almost any Italian so there was some difficulties with teachers and patients who didn’t speak English. In those situations either the Italian students translated us the important things or if that wasn’t possible, we managed to translate some things by ourselves and to speak simple words and sentences to patients and teachers. Oh boy you learn a lot of Italian in three months if you must! The teachers and Italian students were really friendly and despite the language barrier you could understand and get to know each other well and have fun.

One of the palestras in the hospital of Gervasutta

The courses of physiotherapy are also held in the hospital of Gervasutta and the teachers of physiotherapy are besides teaching working in the different departments of the hospital. All the students do practical training in the morning and in the afternoon they have lectures. The schoolday can last from 8am to 6pm (there is two-hour break at noon) and there is many tests during the year so it’s a lot of work. The students seem to appreciate the education very much and they’re very motivated and hard-working. It shows in the results: The level of skill and knowledge is high. I guess is partly because in Italy you must pay for the higher education. The Gervasutta is one of the best physiotherapy schools in Northern Italy.

The rush hour in Venice

Compared to Finnish hospitals, the working culture is a bit different in Italy, at least here in Udine. There is a lot less coffee breaks (depending for the department, of course) but more communality. People greet everyone, also the strangers, and everyone are working together and helping each other if needed. People do something all the time and often many things are done at the same time. Also in some departments there is this huge working area, “palestra”, where many patients are treated at the same time, so it’s a lot of hustling and bustling and noises. In the hospital where we were, there was also a lot of paper work: in Finland about all the information of patients is on computer, here all the documents were paper versions. And that is a lot of paper and files!

Naples, what a view!

Although there are less coffee breaks and lots of things been done, there is sometimes a lot of waiting too and you’ll get used to not to know what happens next, especially if you’re not that good in Italian. All the equipment might not work as you would expect them to do and things might not always happen in the minute you have agreed. But as one of our tutors once said “Ragazze mie, questo è Italia!” (free translation: “Oh my dear girls, this is Italia!”), it’s a part of Italian culture.

The best pizza I’ve ever had!

In my spare time, I have been doing lots of traveling, taking part of events and parties with other Erasmus students and enjoying the atmosphere, food, drinks (very affordable wine and Aperol Spritz) and the culture of Italy. For example in the Easter we went to Naples for a few days and it was such an experience! The city of Naples was unbelievable: So much crazy traffic, cars honking and scooters speeding pass you in the narrow streets, so much trash and splittered glass everywhere and a bit obscure people in the dark alleys! But on the other hand so helpful and kind locals and very beautiful views of the sea and the volcano Vesuvio. And the pizza was so delicious! I ate the best pizza margherita after visiting the archeological site of Pompeii, in a nice pizzeria in the beautiful center of the village of Pompeii. Also I miss the small pizzettas you can buy for 1€ from the street booths – yum! When in Naples you could really understand the differences of northern and southern Italy. After that trip I was kind of relieved to not to get hit by a car get to do the internship in the Northern part of Italy in a safe and peaceful Udine.

One of the piazzas in Udine (It’s Aperol time!)

As I write this I have only three weeks left of my internship. The time has flown so fast! During these months I have learned much about myself and the Italian culture. I have seen unbelievable places and met so many new, friendly people. Udine is a great base to explore the Northern Italy (and also Slovenia and Croatia). I’ve really enjoyed my time here in Italy! At times there has been difficulties but as one famous American artist sings: What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. If you have the chance to spent your exchange here in Italy, don’t hesitate! Go for it, it’ll be worth it.

Magical mountain scenery in the Fusine lakes

Saluti a tutti!

Greetings from Udine, a small city in northern Italy. Udine is a not so typical Italian city because this Friuli-Venezia-Giulia region has a lot of influences for example from Slovenia and Austria. This university city is beautiful and quiet with great possibilities to travel. It takes just a couple of hours to reach the mountains or the seaside and there are some nice small towns and bigger cities near. In fact, I have spent my weekends travelling around. For example, I have visited Trieste and Grado, which have pretty sea views.

Duomo di Milano
Pompeii

Of course, I’ve also travelled to Venice which was my absolute favourite place here in Italy. Also, Milano with its stylish atmosphere and stunning sightseeing locations was great. I have seen small Italian towns and Kanin mountains. During the Easter holiday me and my classmate travelled to Napoli to see the difference between North- and South-Italy. The difference was huge. Napoli was everything you would think of when speaking of stereotypical Italians. Their way to talk and the usage of hand gestures while communicating is a very distinctive feature. They also drive scooters a lot. But it was great to see Pompeii and Vesuvio!

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Laghi di Fusine

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vesuvio
Grado

 

 

 

 

I’m doing my physiotherapy internship here with my classmate from Finland so I’m working every day at the local hospital. Hospital “Gervasutta” is specialised in rehabilitation so I have learned a lot. My friend and I have been working at three different areas of the hospital. The first practical training was with children so it was my favourite. The second training was with patients who had spinal cord injuries and with amputation patients. Now we are working at a department where people with different types of brain injuries are treated. I have seen so much during my stay here and neurological physiotherapy has become familiar. Some of the teachers/physiotherapists speak English. With the patients I must speak Italian language. When I came here I didn’t know the language but the practical training has taught me so many words and phrases. Also, working here has tested my manual and visual skills constantly. The biggest difference between Finnish and Italian way of doing physiotherapy in a hospital is that here you must wait everything because things happen so slowly. They also do loads of paperwork here which amazes me. It seems like they don’t use so much softwares to keep record of patients and treatments. Also, students must give every assignment in paper. Physiotherapy education also takes place in Gervasutta. The students have practical training at the units every morning and afternoon they have classes. I think that practical training at the hospital is a great way to improve students’ skills. For me as an exchange student it has also been a wonderful opportunity to get to know local students because I’m not at the University of Udine at all.

 

 

 

 

During my free time I like to get familiar with the city of Udine and do some sports. I have also taken part in nice events arranged by the ESN of Udine (Erasmus student network). I have spent my time with other Erasmus students and of course tasted a variety of Italian food and drinks. For example, here in Udine they serve a typical dish called frico. And tiramisù is from this region! And what would my time in Italy be without tasting plenty of pizzas, gelatos and wines.

      

Oh, how time has flown. It’s hard to believe that I have already lived here for over two months. Now I will enjoy my last month in Italy. Luckily, the weather is finally great (around +26 degrees) and the nature has blossomed. It’s like the best of Finnish summer here even though it’s only spring and some people are still using their winter jackets. See you soon Finland! Ciao!

Piazza Libertà

 

 

Belissimo Torino, ti voglio bene!

Ciao tutti! Hi everyone 🙂

I am studying Business Administration at Università degli studi di Torino. My journey here is almost finished and I feel both sad and relieved. Next week I am travelling back home and I will see my family and friends again – too excited about it! Then again I feel sad that I can’t spend time with these people that I have hanged out with the last four months, and that’s going to be weird.

Something about our University: Our university is one of the oldest universities in Italy. It was found in 1404 and most its buildings are old. Sometimes even the style of teaching feels like from that century- just kidding. We had this Irish professor that said that Italian teaching method is so old fashioned and should be changed. This is because the professors just sit in front of the class and speak from the slides. There were two professors standing up, but their bad skills of English blew it. The style of the lectures are very university like, but there were also some group tasks and case-studies. For me the case-studies worked the best. In TAMK the teaching method is more from practical point of view and that’s why I missed more of case-studying kind of method to the lectures. But it’s an old university, can’t forget that.

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View from Monte di Capuchini – me and my flatmate

Now something about my spare time. At first I attended the Erasmus parties and other events for exchange students. I liked to go to this Tandem Linguisticoevery week- the idea of it was to practice different languages. In Torino there’s also a party called Baila Conmigo, where’s a free dance lesson about latin dances in the beginning and afterwards you can set your new skills free on the dance floor. Now that it’s summer I like to spend my time in the big park of Torino called Parco del’ Valentino. We also like to have apericena, which is a combo of aperitivo and dinner.

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Baila Conmigo in LAB

I have also done a lot of travelling while being in here, mostly in Italy. I have seen Rome, Naples, Bari, Aosta, Alba, Ivrea, Verona, Venice, Genova and Paestum. Outside of Italy I have travelled to Nice, Monaco and Athens. If your wondering how I had the time to do all that, it’s because our courses are held one at a time. Then after every course there’s always been a long enough vacation to travel. I’m so happy about this journey and all of the people I have met here. I’ve got to know people from so many different countries but after all I have to say- we are not that different from each other. 🙂

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I wish all of the other exchange students the best time! Enjoy :):)

Summer Perfetto!

Alrighty! Now I’m already in Switzerland completing my exchange studies and I will tell you guys more about how’s everything been here in a couple of months. But first let’s start by summarizing my summer in Italy and the practical training I did there.

I’ve got to admit – I can still remember how it felt when I arrived to Genoa Airport after spending the night on the floor at Copenhagen Airport; very tired but extremely excited. I received a phone call from my colleague that he is on his way to pick me up. And luckily he was picking me up, since my luggage was still on its way from Copenhagen to Italy and I was able to get some translation assistance. We managed to sort things out and eventually I received my stuff in a couple of days.

I started my journey in Genoa as a business intern in a worldwide known company Outokumpu. This Finnish stainless steel giant has a lot of business operations in Italy, since Italy is the second biggest market in stainless steel sales in Europe.

Hopefully some day I don’t have to fake entering a Ferrari, haha!

In Genoa, Outokumpu has their Italy’s head office. During the first month I was circulated between for example HR, Direct sales, Credit and Technical Department. With direct sales I was able to visit a lot of different customers all around the Northern area of Italy. Business negotiating, seeing their factories including machinery processes and having lunch with them afterwards were experiences that opened my eyes a lot. Theory and practice are different from each other, but they are still connected and go hand in hand. Without the theory I had sucked in like a sponge during office days, I would not have understood all the stuff I was able to see in practice and vice versa.

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It was impossible to be disappointed with the delicious food and dishes served during lunches and dinners.

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I spent one week at the Treviso office, which is very close to Venice. My Trevisian colleagues took me there one night and we did an awesome pub tour and laughed a lot!

After the first month I moved to Castelleone, where Outokumpu has a service centre. Long story short, Castelleone service center has mainly two purposes. First one is to produce from the heavy stainless steel coils smaller pieces called sheets. They also have a plasma cutter to work enormous quarto plates into the desired shapes. The second purpose is to work as a smaller warehouse to provide stainless steel for distributors etc. when they’re in a hurry. In Castelleone I spent two months. I travelled all around Northern Italy meeting customers and their factories with different sales managers and field sales people (Also in Castelleone I traveled around the Northern Italy since Outokumpu has agents in the South). I counted that I met more or less 65 different customers and also factories with most of them. If I compare how I did at the first customer and how I did at the last, the difference is huge. I opened myself so much and the knowledge I gathered regarding customer policies and stainless steel industry through those visits is remarkable.

My leisure time was mostly all about relaxing, exploring the nearby places, sun tanning, reading books and spending time with a few close colleagues. After a rough week touring around Northern Italy you just wanted to charge the batteries and give some time for yourself.

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I had also visitors during my stay in Genoa and Castelleone! My sister and her boyfriend came to see me in Genoa and we had a blast! I showed them the city and during the evenings we watched the Hockey World Championship games and chilled.

Me & Milla

Me and my girlfriend Milla. We arranged an extended weekend in Milan where we did a lot of shopping, went to Museo Civico di Storia Naturale di Milano, walked around the beautiful Milan streets, fine and dined and just enjoyed the short, but fantastic time together.

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My last visitors to see me were my parents, who came by motorcycle all the way from Tornio to Castelleone. We spent a nice and lovely week together by chilling the evenings around the poolside, visiting a nearby city Crema and also Milan. In Milan we did of course a little bit of shopping, haha.

There were many similarities but also differences compared to the Finnish working culture. We have to remember that the company is indeed Finnish, but the blue- and white-collar workers in Italy were Italian (excluding a few employees). From the very beginning I felt very welcomed and people seemed very happy all the time. In Finland I have felt myself welcomed too in different jobs, but the Italian culture makes it slightly more warm. In the attitude of the employees I saw similarities – hard working people with a certain goal to approach. Is the punctuality in Outokumpu Italy inherited from the Finnish culture or is there a natural tendency for it, I could not say. Nevertheless, all the people I met during those 3 months, colleagues and customers, they all made my stay one of the best experiences I’ve had so far.

Ciao bella! – Life in Italy

Buongiorno,

Greetings from the fascinating Dolomites  of Italy! The south tyrol is truly a place where the mind and soul rest. Yesterday me and the other piano students from Ambrosini´s class went hiking. It was truly a remarkable experience. We walked almost in 1800 meters and spent the whole day watching the most beautiful views and breathing the freshest air you can only imagine. It was wonderful!

Italy and Italians have treated me very well.
Our school is small but active, full of musicians who possess at least the desire to make music with full heart and will. I´d say this is the starting point for all high-quality submission. I am very proud to be part of the music community in Verona. 

The conservatory has become a special place for me. Due to the fact that I spend most of the time there, but also because I got to meet and play with some great people. I have noticed for Italians there is always a moment to catch up despite the situation and share parts of the day with one another. Also the fact how Italians keep in touch with their family members is something, which is little bit missing in the Northern parts of Europe. Perhaps the cultural collectivity has made a biggest impact on me after all.

Lots of greetings and see you very soon,

truly yours,

Juuli

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CIAO!

Greetings from Italy! I am doing my Erasmus traineeship in Udine which is a small city in northern Italy. I am here with my classmate and we have been here one month. Time is going really fast and luckily we have still two months left.

vaihto

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I am doing my traineeship in the rehabilitation hospital Gervasutta. The first month I worked with patients who had neurological and musculoskeletal problems. Now I have patients with different neurological disorders. I have worked with other students, teachers and physiotherapists. In Gervasutta there are great facilities and equipment to practice physiotherapy. Many patients speak only Italian so sometimes it has been challenging to work with them.

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In my free time I have met other Erasmus students, done some sports and enjoyed food and wine. We had a long eastern holiday and during that holiday I visited in Verona, Venice and Tarvisio. There are amazing landscapes in Friuli-Venezia Guilia so I would like to travel more and see all the beautiful places!

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Buongiorno!

IMAG5310Greetings from Udine,  a small university city in the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region in northeastern Italy. Me and my classmate Ilona have been here already over a month, though it feels like we had arrived only a week ago.

I study physiotherapy and here in Udine I’m doing my practical training in the Gervasutta Institute of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. The first month I have worked with patients who have both neurological and musculoskeletal problems. I have worked together with some local physiotherapy students, which has been nice. It has been great to been able to speak English with other students and teachers, but at the same time I have not learned so much Italian.

In my free time I have worked out at the gym, done some shopping at local shopping IMAG5318centre, eaten some delicious Italian food (of course), walked around the city and met other Erasmus students. There is an active group of Erasmus students who organize many great events and parties here in Udine. Few weeks ago we prepared some typical dishes from our home countries and then we met and had this ”Eurodinner” together. Me and Ilona baked some cinnamon buns and they were a hit!

I think the best part of being in Italy so far, has been the earlier spring. While in Finland has still been snow and freeze, I have already enjoyed the sun in our balcony in March!IMG_20160314_123438

For the following two months I’ll stay in Italy, I have planned to do more travelling. I want to explore the region of the Friuli-Venezia Giulia – see the Alps, visit little villages and Trieste, the capital of the region. And of course, I have to visit the Venice. So, there are still many things to do and I’m a bit afraid those two months will go too fast…

Saluti da Parma, Italia!

Buongiorno a tutti!

I arrived in Parma, Italy in mid-September when summer was still at its best and temperature around +30’C. Parma is a beautiful city of 187 000 inhabitants, which is small for Italy. The location is perfect for exploring places, for example by train you can reach Milano in 1.5h, Bologna in 1h and Modena in 0.5h.

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Cattedrale e Battistero di Parma
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Piazza Garibaldi

I’ve gotten to know the local culinary culture by visiting a cheese factory where they make the world famous Parmesan cheese, Parmigiano Reggiano. My favourite! Goes well with the local spakling red wine Lambrusco. Lots of pasta and pizza also, though pizza comes from the south of Italy and isn’t typical for the north.

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A wheel of Parmesan cheese weighs 40kg.
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The wheels are soaked in salt water

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Very soon after arriving in Italia you also realize, that Italians generally don’t speak English. Even at the university, the welcome lectures for international students were held in Italian and everyone expects you to know and speak Italian. The con is that you easily feel an outsider if you don’t speak the language. The pro is that you learn it REALLY fast because you have to 😀 Luckily they provide language courses at the university.

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A park next to my apartment

I’ve managed some travelling also, most memorable being Cinque Terre at the Italian Riviera. There are five small villages at the coast with unimaginably scenic views and small alleys to wander along.

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Cinque Terre

My exchange is now a little over half-way. I’m looking forward to more unforgettable experiences in this country of culture, art and good food. Arrivederci!