Tag Archives: Netherlands

Exchange in Zwolle, the Netherlands


Zwolle from above
Zwolle from above

A little bit more than half of a year has already passed since I’ve came back from my study exchange in Zwolle, but memories are still alive. Even though, frankly speaking, I did not like Windesheim University of Applied Sciences for certain reasons I’ve described in the exchange report, Zwolle itself still made a better impression on me.
The ones who are crazy about big and noisy European capitals would not probably like Zwolle that much, because the town is rather calm and small, to be more precise – just 200 thousands people living there and its small start-shaped city center can be crossed on foot just in 25 minutes. But because I happen to be creeped out by huge, stuffy, crowded, dirty and smoggy megapolises, Zwolle was just of a perfect size for me. Even though Zwolle is quite little, it is still that type of town where everything one might need can be found. It is a very cozy place: nice small streets, little cafes, every now and then street merchants and street entertainers, a couple of middle-aged churches – in a word, everything in the best traditions of little neat towns of Europe. But also Zwolle is “very Dutch”. When you come there you can’t really confuse what country you are in: canals, omnipresent bicycles, traditional Dutch fast food, and coffeeshops 😀 are surrounding you from the first moment you reach the place.
Legendary Dutch canals
City centre view
The location of the town is also convenient, it is just 100km away from Amsterdam, around 40km to the border of Germany, and also rather close to a few other well-known Dutch cities.

The tallest building in the city centre, Pepperbus
The tallest building in the city centre, Pepperbus

Do I miss it? Hard to say; even though I would not probably agree to spend another 5 months there, it would still be nice to visit it again and have some reminiscence moments at some point.

Hallo from Rotterdam

First of all I am safe and everything is pretty much fine except some disgusting problems with our apartment.20160822_203418

These first days here in Rotterdam have been extremely busy but now I have finally time to sit down and tell some experience from my first week of my exchange.

The reason why I moved to Rotterdam is that I came to study a logistics and economics to Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences. My exchange studies last approximately 5 months, after which I have intended to complete a three month internship in Rotterdam as well.

I arrived Rotterdam on Sunday morning at 10:30 (here a local time is one hour behind of Finland). Our plane landed to Amsterdam at 9:35 from where me and a couple of my classmates from Tampere University of Applied Science continued our trip by train to Rotterdam. All in all, the trip went well even I had my huge ice hockey bag with me, which usually always cause some problems, but not this time..

In Rotterdam I live in one of the student dormitory, Erasmus International House, and I am sharing my  flat with Aleksandr who is also from Tampere but here he studies in the different program. When we finally arrived our dorm, there was waiting a very friendly guy who told us the rules of Erasmus International House and took us to our rooms. First sight was not pleasant. I opened my room door and it looked like someone has got shot in my room. The floors are extremely dirty and the walls have full of smudges plus everything is broken. Literally speaking; this is not bad this is horrible. We have already sent a complaint about the condition of the flat and the complaint is under the process by SSH (the organization which provided this “lovely” apartment to us.

Winger crossed that we can get a new apartment!!!

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However, Rotterdam is a very cool city with its lively cultural life and riverside setting but especially the architecture of Rotterdam is outstanding. During these few days we have explored the city and  I can surely say that this is one of the coolest cities where I have ever been. If I need to describe Rotterdam by using two words, the words would be a modern and fresh.

In addition to studying , I also play ice hockey here in the Netherlands. The team where I play is called Zoetermeer Panters, which is playing in BeNe league. This is the highest league in the Netherlands and Belgium.

More about my upcoming season in my next post!





“bump” on the road.


Projects, Projects, Projects…

For the past three weeks, I have been sitting behind my computer and writing assignments, projects reports and bunch of other tasks. The amount of work you have to do during 4 courses feels unbelievable. It would be fine, if we didn’t do a lot of extra and unnecessary work. I have realised here how big difference there is between finnish way of doing things and the dutch way of doing things. The bureaucracy here is hardcore. During the first week of school, 3 lessons were cancelled and we got no message about it, neither was the timetable updated.

In Rotterdam there is no such thing as direct approach to a problem and there is also no direct answer to a question. Everything must be described theoretically and as complicated as it is possible. When you start a project you need to do bunch of stuff and documents with the group before you actually get to a problem – and that is frustrating, because you waste a lot of time and energy on those things that are either common sense in Finland or just self-evident. Because of this, you lose the efficiency and the work you do could be done much faster with less effort and a same result in the end.

Absolutely no flexibility. This is another thing I have noticed and discussed with those rare friends I got here (due to the fact that local people are extremely distant, arrogant, boring and just sad), that teachers here do not understand that a student could sometimes think for himself with his own little head. Some of the students are already doing their 4th year of studies and yet still before every single task they are explained how they should do an assignment of max. 500 words, using the assignment criteria chart. There’s are also no middle ground with most of the teachers – its my way or no way. That is a sad fact, because a huge potential is being killed by following the 1.2.3. steps with no permission of using own thinking or evaluating a problem.

The “applied sciences” part is forgotten totally here. Books are priority #1 and theoretical approach is the only way. We have to read 80-120 pages before every single class and the actual class is then lectured in the way where a teacher asks questions and we have to sit and answer, 60% of the class never read anything so you can imagine how much sense this makes. There are no personal experience examples, there are no examples from real life/world, there are no stories, no newspaper or a book written by a famous person used to elaborate anything. It is boring, it is lacking of quality and it is way behind the 2016 education system, which is funny because we are talking about Netherlands here and not Africa.

The educational system that our school is using is also a huge mess. Everybody knows that its from the era of Dinosauruses, but nobody does anything since there are a cooperation between the software provider and the money was paid and now there is no other options but to use this buggy and broken system. Intranet is like 999 times better and more sufficient – I can’t even use the local system in english. Email is used to send the assignments to teachers and visa versa, which is a joke to be honest and not a professional way of doing things.

Half of the materials provided are in dutch, so imagine the easiness of starting the projects.

90% of the people I met here are distant, fake, arrogant, boring, full of themselves and I have no idea who told dutch people that they are direct and straight forward in their actions, because they can’t even handle the directness. A total respect and love back to Finland, because compared to what I have seen for the past 5 weeks now, Finland is awesome.

I can not recommend the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences to any finnish student, because it sure feels like a huge step back and the quality difference is amazing between TAMK and RUAS.

The first day in Rotterdam and especially in my room was not a very pleasant experience. Even the hard rain which was pouring on the city did not depress us, but arriving at the Erasmus International House and seeing my room did the job. The room was in such a bad condition that still up to this moment I do not understand how can an organization rent such a room after seeing that it is clearly not in a shape for renting or do not stand up to a basic standard and what I have paid for. My flat mate is having the same problem and currently we are trying to do everything to get out of here, because paying a rent for this sh**hole is something we are not going to do.

The fact that it was Sunday did not help our case, since it’s a day off for the offices and their staff. We had a discussion about the flat with a helpful guy who is taking care of the office inside the Erasmus House, but he can’t make any decisions and still needs to connect those who can. This will obviously take some time and every extra minute spent in this apartment is a minute too much. This morning I woke up with a smell of a public toilet and in a couple of days that smell will stay in my clothes and belongings no matter where I go. Not a pleasant experience so far.

There is a difference between bad quality and a disgusting sight – hopefully SSH will fix this during the next 1-2 days, because this is not what I paid for and will not continue to pay.

Thank you for this awesome start Erasmus International Housing and SSH!





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 Other than that, things are fine. Rotterdam is a cool city.

Greetings from Holland


Here I am enjoying my time in Leeuwarden, the Netherlands. Time has gone so fast and I absolutely love my time here! Even there is many good things here, definately the best thing is the people.

IMG_8976My studies are going well, doing lots of group work here, just like in TAMK too. In my class there is nine other exchange students around the world.

We’ve been doing lots of courses of amrketing and journalism, so it is very different from what I have learned. But it’s been fun!

Here’s a picture of us suring the coffee break.



Definately the best thing happened here are my flatmates, two irish girls. They really are like family for me and couldn’t be happpier that I found them. Life in leeuarden is really good!

In the picture we are celebrating St. Patrick’s Day!


Greetings from the land of the children with clogs

I have spent now 1,5 months in Groningen, Netherlands and I can say that I am starting to get used to this city. Things and people are not so different comparing to Finland so the culture shock hasn´t been too big. I have been quite busy with my studies. A couple of days ago we had a third year student exhibition in our university. I made a new videowork for the exhibition. There is some stills from the video at the end of this message. I had to also make my webpage for this exhibition, which was very good thing to get over with. I have also thought a lot of my artist statement and I think I have made some progress with that subject.

I have used most of my freetime in exploring the  city. Thing that got much easier after I got myself a bike couple of weeks ago. I have also seen some good exhibitions and gigs and meet some interesting people.

songs_still_4 Songs_still songs_still_2

Floating in Friesland.

In middle of August 2015 I arrived to the country of windmills, bikes and the home of Heineken. During the very first train ride from Amsterdam Schiphol to Leeuwarden I saw more sheep and cows than possible to imagine, as well as bikes and bikeways. Now afterwards thinking of the whole exchange period, it went by extremely fast and was definitely an experience worth having.

Leeuwarden skyline.
Leeuwarden skyline.

In TAMK I study film and television and in the Netherlands I went to an internationally orientated school called Stenden University of Applied Sciences, taking courses from business school, and media and entertainment management. About Stenden I have very mixed feelings. I learned so much about branding, marketing and management, and developed my own professional identity. In the same time, however, I never got quite used to their educational system, which was highly focused on group discussions and group assignments. During my stay there I learned that sometimes instead of studying and knowledge you have, it is more important to be social and talkative, and choose your group assignment members carefully. Nevertheless, going on exchange and selecting Stenden and these particular courses has been one of the best decisions I have ever made career wise.

An ICT company KESH, for which we designed a marketing communications plan.
An ICT company KESH, for which we designed a marketing communications plan.

What comes to Leeuwarden and the Netherlands, I immediately fell in love with them. Settling down in the Netherlands was not hard. Quite opposite, it was actually very easy. Everything was organized rather well, even though there were some difficulties, such as being unable to pay with any of my bankcards (even MasterCard) in stores. Therefore, opening a local bank account was more or less a necessity in the beginning.

The city center in August.
The city center in August.
Leeuwarden in August.
Canals in August.
Canals in Leeuwarden.
Beautiful canals.
Getting to know Leeuwarden in a boat tour.
Getting to know the city in a boat tour.
Canals in Leeuwarden.
View in the canals.
De Oldehove.
De Oldehove.
Autumn in Leeuwarden.
Autumn in Leeuwarden.
Canal in January.
In January.

Comparing the Netherlands and Finland, they are actually very much the same. They are both very egalitarian in nature, strive for consensus in decision-making and do not show off too much to mention some similar characteristics. On the other hand, some things are very different in Netherlands. Most notably people, oh my gosh, they were so tall compared to everybody I know back in Finland. Even the exchange coordinator in Stenden was nearly two meters tall. Obviously, as time went by I got to know many Dutch who were not that tall. Even though most of them were.

Oldehove during Leip! Festival.
Oldehove during Leip! Festival.
Halloween Night.
Halloween Night.
Gym building with Stenden and NHL in the background.
Gym building with Stenden and NHL in the background.
Student dorms next to Stenden.
Student dorms next to Stenden.
My room in a shared flat.
My room in a shared flat.
The view from my room.
The view from my room.

About Heineken… I knew it was Dutch, but I had no clue how big it was over there! Heineken Experience in Amsterdam was definitely worth visiting and it blew my mind. I have never been into beer, but I have to admit Heineken got into me eventually. Of course, amongst students it was considered rather ‘posh beer’, since it costs almost one euro a bottle…

Heineken Experience.
Heineken Experience.
The best sushi in the world.
The best sushi in the world.

The best part of the whole experience was, however, travelling and all the people I met. I could not be more happy and grateful for making friends with such amazing people from all over the world, as well as meeting and catching up with dear, old friends who I had not seen in years. I travelled inside the Netherlands, enjoying Amsterdam and Maastricht the most. In addition I got to spend an amazing weekend full of sports in Hamburg, Germany with athletics junior athletes of Tampereen Pyrintö that I used to coach; I travelled to Glasgow in Scotland to visit my friends and (ex) fellow students from University of Glasgow; and we took part in an exchange student trip taking a night bus to Prague in Czech Republic and drank cheap beer till the dawn.

In Amsterdam with exchange students.
In Amsterdam with exchange students.
Found another Finnish.
Found another Finn.
Sports weekend in Hamburg.
Sports weekend in Hamburg.
Prague trip.
Prague trip.

What more can I say? Take a leap of faith and go on foreign exchange!

It won’t let you down!

met vriendelijke groeten from the Netherlands

Well.. where would I start? My exchange has had more events that could have ever imagined, both good and not so good.

The action started on the day I got to the Netherlands. I found out that the dorm is under renovation and there’s no certainty on when we would be able to go back. So I spent the first weekend in a hotel. Then we moved to a small cruise ship! It wa
s kind of old, the rooms were really small and we didn’t have wifi. That was actually pretty great because everybody got to know each other very well because there was nothing else to do than IMG_0001hang out the a bigger common room. We lived on the first boat for a month and then moved to another, bigger and newer boat. It was the same thing there. When we finally got to move back to the dorm in lateOctober, we looked back at the time spent on the boats and realized that even though it was challenging and out of the comfort zone, it was great because by then we all knew each others and has become really good friends.

IMG_0705Rotterdam as a city is about the size of Helsinki. It is a bit different from other Dutch cities because it was basically bombed down during the WW2 so they’ve had to build it all over since then. This has made this city to be sort of an architectural melting pot because the city is full of relatively new buildings, some being more weird than others.

School here in the Netherlands in very competitive, everybody wants to get good grades. We have had a lot of group work which has been somewhat challenging because even though the Dutch are very social, they are also very independent and like to most of the school work alone. So most of the times, we would just divide work and do it at home. Nice things about the school here are that we don’t have a lot of lectures but we’re doing most of the work on our spare time and that we are working for a real company which makes it more challenging and requires more logical thinking.

I have travelled to sevIMG_0003eral countries during the exchange. It is really easy to go to places by a train and it is not even very expensive. For example a train to Paris took only two hours. Seeing other countries has been one of the best things during the exchange. I’ve seen the Eiffel Tower in Paris, Big Ben in London and the European Parliament in Brussels.

Goedemorgen uit Nederland!

So what’s all happened to me since I arrived here in the Netherlands..?20150825_155256

I’ve had a near nervous breakdown at Amsterdam Schiphol for not figuring out how to buy train tickets and how to use the machines there…However, buying the OV-chipkaart (the national public transport card) has made life a lot easier since, so not to worry!

I’ve met my new school mates who are all wonderful and come from places like Canada, Russia, Spain, Germany, Latvia, Hungary, Mexico, France, Brazil, Korea, Japan and the UK (to name a few!).
With them I’ve attended a BBQ and games organised by my school – Fontys International Business School – in a lovely place by a big field on a beautiful summer’s day in August.

received_1040690092616548I’ve also had some fun out by the river Maas in Venlo with my new friends from school (again, on a beautiful hot summer’s day), I’ve ridden a tandem bike (and not crashed), I’ve taken a bus (tha20150902_085520t was going in the wrong direction) and ridden on it for nearly an hour when the journey SHOULD have taken 10 mins, I’ve gotten lost (oh so many times!) on the little streets around Venlo where I live…The nature over here is breathtaking though, so you really don’t mind getting a little lost!


Some things that I love over here in the Netherlands: the kindness and helpfulness of people, random conversations with strangers, the Sunday ”buzz” (Sunday seems to be one the liveliest days of the week with lots of things, like concerts, fairs and such happening), cheap prices (drinking, eating out, grocery shopping and some clothes shops) AND the way every Dutch person modestly answers: ”Yes, a little bit”, when asked if they speak English. They always end up speaking it fluently!20151023_223800

School-wise, the learning and teaching methods used here at Fontys International Business School are close to those at TAMK: there are a lot of group tasks, projects and cases to be done, but with the exemption that all the projects are theoretical as there is no contact with actual companies. I have liked it a lot though – the teachers are great and the subjects in my International Marketing and Management minor really build upon what I have previously learnt at TAMK. The grading system here goes from 1 to 10, with 10 being the best grade you can get so it’s a little different from the system in Finland, but you get used to it quickly!20150826_132359

Some great Dutch experiences thus far:

  1. Trip to Amsterdam on Halloween to meet with some friends – what a beautiful and interesting city it is with lots to see and to do, and some things you would never expect to see.
  2. 20151021_160323City of Fears trip (Weeze, Germany) A terrifyingly exciting trip organised by Fontys; an abandoned industrial park turned into a full-on horror experience with clowns, zombies and the works!
  3. Maastricht Christmas Market, lovely little city with heavenly Christmas lights and a lot of nice things to look at.20151128_180737
  4. ’Kermis’ in Venlo in October; the whole town turned into a bustling fairground for a week!
  5. Gigs, games of pool and general fun times with our new Dutch friends at Kafee de Splinter – our favourite local pub with great music and familiar atmosphere!

All in all, Venlo is an amazing little city, and the Dutch are some of the nicest and most entertaining people you’ll ever meet! I can honestly say that I recommend considering Fontys International Business School as an exchange destination. This place has exceeded my expectations.

Memorable Netherlands.

Hello there!

Quotation by Julian Barnes:

“I know this much: that there is objective time, but also subjective time, the kind you wear on the inside of your wrist, next to where the pulse lies. And this personal time, which is the true time, is measured in your relationship to memory.”

I live in Breda, in the small city of Netherlands. This plausible city has a lot of history, history which reaches far away, even that far that us present-day students, we were not even born.

The weather here stays timeless in winter time, sad and rainy, but beautifully timeless and efforless. The people are open-minded and their way to speak is as vacant as a flower in summer, but the time, the time flies fast, even too fast to catch. That is why we have our memories, the memories which never disappear.


Breda, the place where students love to go, Breda where when the time goes by, you realized that you don’t want to leave, Breda which remainds you of the people who became accidentally your whole life in short period of time, Breda which stays in your mind always.

I studied  International business operations in Breda. Education program was very extensive and instructive. The courses we went through were economy, foreign exchange risks, international law, business English and English communication. All courses deepened my essential knowledge of the overall business economy. The courses were very clear, but challenging of the viewpoint of passing. 
All students of the Avans University of Applied Sciences were very smart and knew how to speak proper business English, some even better than the teachers themselves. Overall feeling of The Neterlands, Breda and Avans was exceptional. The school itself is my point of view very progressive and pragmatic, which is an valuable aspect for students who are searching reliable extension of their business knowledge by using English.

Thank you for showing my personal time, which is measured in my relationship to memory.