Tag Archives: Slovenia

Slovenia, here we go again!

Greetings fellow explorers and vagabonds! Part of my thesis, I decided to finish my studies as a part of practical training in Slovenia in Tourism innovation company. This time I have decided to jump to the deep end of the pool, and mingle with locals instead of Erasmus students which I did last time while I was here. The location is the same beautiful coastal town Portoroz in Slovenia. It is almost the perfect place to take refuge from the harsh northern winters as the mild sub-mediterranean climate keeps over 20 degrees even in end of october.

Sunsets are absolutely breathtaking. At a clear weather you can see the alps spreading across the horizon, and with good luck you can even get a glimpse of Venice in the Southwest!

Travelling to Slovenia isn’t that hard. People are friendly, most of them speak english very well and are very hospitable. The country itself is a mixture of balkan and german. The mixed culture has taken influences from the Habsburgs, Italians and ottomans during its history. People enjoy sports, spending their time in cafes, nature and working absolutely hard as animals.

The city of Piran is nearby Portoroz and offers sea, culture and history in the same place. Prices tend to be for tourists, and for such I recommend other less touristic towns to visit for a more affordable accommodation, food and services. Living in touristic town is expensive as appartments are scarce and services tended more to tourists. But if you are on a holiday and have money to spend, then come on over!

Nightlife is pretty dull, but I tend to enjoy more trekking in the mountains, and most likely will go skiing in the alps at winter, since the distance is very short. For sports there are lot of activities, but otherwise you have to get creative.

As a part of my thesis I will be doing survey on Tourism advertisement and working on writing most of my days, but luckily that is a mobile job, so I will be doing them in local cafes, enjoying the sea view and letting the warm wind ease my stay.

There isn’t much anymore culture shocks for me since I visited here already, but working a thesis is a bit different, since professors tend to give direct guidelines what you should do, limiting my creativity, but otherwise they have been very supportive.

Thanks, and take care!

While in Slovenia

Hi folks!

It has been almost 3 months since my stay in Slovenia for internship. It has been such a worthwhile experience!

Sorry for not introducing myself first 🙁 My name is Hang, from Vietnam. I am studying Energy and Environmental Engineering degree programme in Tampere University of Applied Sciences (TAMK). I started my internship for a company in Slovenia this January and it is a 3-month internship. I worked as a digital nomad in Slovenia so I could combine my travelling hobby with working. I also took time to travel to some countries in Europe, sometimes alone, sometimes with friends, sometimes with acquaintances.

Slovenia is indeed a small country in area, but it is here where many of my first times occurred. I gained a huge amount of knowledge while living here. I met new people, made new friends with people from all around the world. I learnt valuable lessons. And the most importantly, I realized many new parts of me that I have never discovered before. I now understand what are important in my life. The melody of song ‘Catch & release’ by Matt Simons just poped out of my head. I recommned you guys to hear this song before starting any adventure. To sum up, I appreciate my opportunity to work and live here in Slovenia!

I do miss Finland so bad. I miss my friends, the snow (yes desperately), my private room, public transportation, and many more. But the thing I miss the most turns out to be my whole life in Finland. It includes the atmosphere I was breathing in, the people I used to meet and talk to, the jobs I used to have, the road I used to walk under the snow, the lakes I used to swim every day in the summer time, the apartment where I used to live in, all these good and bad memories. I guess what the wise man said that you only what you got once you lost it is true in this case. I realize how much I love my life in Finland only once I leave it… Such dilemma, isn’t it? But life is constantly moving forward, not even waiting for anyone. I also need to move on, leaving the past behind and keep rolling 😀

I have changed my mindset a lot since my stay in Slovenia. All these stereo types, all these misconceptions, all these unrealistic ideologies, all turn into ashes. 3 months is not a huge period of time, but it is enough to make a man become much wiser and even enough for him/her to transform. Btw I grew my 3rd wisdom tooth here in Slovenia 😀

I highly recommend everybody to have their study abroad, with exchange programs, degree programs or woking abroad. By doing this, you can know exactly how strong you are and how stronger you can become! I literally live like I am going to die tomorrow, a bit rusher than my normal life, I got sick in Slovenia here in 3 months more times than my life in Vietnam and Finland … But that is okay, another adventurous life!

Student,

Hang Nguyen

 

 

 

 

 

 

From Narnia with Love

Now, the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about Slovenia is usually Slovakia. Unfortunately they have nothing else common than almost the same name and almost the same flag. The similarities usually end there, and diversity begins. And Slovenia should be your next destination for a short vacation!

Think of a country which has old culture starting from roman era, beautiful small towns, huge mighty mountains and beautiful mediterranean coast with old towns. Picture caves deep enough to ride a train inside and a ice cold blue mountain river that stays freezing cold during the hottest months of the year. Now picture everything I said, and put it to a size of a country that you can drive through in 3 hours. That is Slovenia, and it is much more than that. And it’s fairytale looks have been captured in the Narnia movie series.

 

I chose Slovenian coast as my destination, since it was a chance to enjoy a mediterranean lifestyle, with the possibilities to go to mountains and bigger cities with little commute. The possibilities to experience all of this was relatively easy since travel times were short, and prices affordable.

My destination town, Portoroz, is a small resort tourist town in the 44km long coast of Slovenia. Located just 5 kilometers from Croatian border, and 15km from Italian border. It is buzzing with tourists during the summer, but silent during the winter. My exchange period is the whole academic year that started from late October, and ends in the hottest month of the year, July.

TAMK hospitality management only could offer Restaurant management, so my interests to study tourism had to come from a another school, and the best place to study was a tourist town with school for this specific study line. I packed my bags, and joined the Erasmus flow and moved to the sunny coast of Slovenia.

Now studying compared to Finland is different. Much less group work, more writing, academic essays and a test season that requires a lot of reading. Methods are more university style than applied sciences, so people who are afraid of writing 15 page essays regularly, should try to research their places of study if this is too hard. I actually welcomed the change and challenge since I needed training for my upcoming thesis work. In the end, it was an rewarding experience.

People here are hardworking, precise, but have a relaxed Balkan attitude towards rules of society. Bureaucracy is a a nightmare, and just a opening of a bank account may require you to visit multiple times to the bank and dealing with clerks that do not speak english at all. But do not let these facts let you down, since your tutors will help you with everything!

Schedules are quite relaxed, and there is plenty of time to plan your life around studies. Travels, excursions and trips are possible. Venice, alps, Croatia and even Hungary are so nearby that you could experience all of these in short time.

I have skied in alps, hiking in the mountains, swam the in the ocean, seen Vienna, and been to Italy and explored olive gardens and vineyards. Tasted the local wine and olives, and explored the coastal towns with great food and cheap alcohol.

Portoroz

The coastal area and Ljubljana, capital of Slovenia, are especially expensive to accommodate, so prices can get up to Finnish prices in terms of rent, but life is relatively cheaper otherwise. Student services offer discounts to certain restaurants with student menus, and you can enjoy a nice dinner with less expenses. Eating out is quite the norm and worth trying out!

The mediterranen coast is a weird place in Slovenia, since it really feels like another country than rest of the Slovenia. There is so much variety in just 200km drive from the alps to the coast. Your journey may start from snow and blizzard of Julian Alps, and end up in the sunny palm tree filled Slovenian coast with plus 10 degrees. It is crazy!

The view from my balcony

So, if you want to see the hidden gem of Europe, come to Slovenia and experience it yourself, you will find out that jumping into the unknown can be very rewarding and you will meet people that are friendly and in love with their country’s beautiful scenery.

Ciao!

 

Life in Maribor

After three months exchange in Maribor it might be a good time to tell something about this second-largest city in Slovenia. Before my exchange I didn’t have any expectations from this city or even the country. But now when I am thinking about Maribor as an exchange city, there is a few things I would like to share with you. First of all, I can’t skip a fact that this is the wine city. Maribor is surrounded by mountains. The biggest mountain called Pohorje is a well-known ski resort but every other mountain is full of vineyards. In fact, here is also the oldest vine in the world.  It’s more than 400 years old.

I didn’t know this first but Maribor is also very famous from its Erasmus life. Students come here just because of that. Instead of just one welcome week we had two of them and also a lot of activities during the semester. This might be the reason why here is more than 400 Erasmus students at the time and it’s growing every year. 

One rare thing comparing to other countries is student coupons. What? With student coupons you can go almost every restourant in the city and order portion from their menu. And the price is 0 to 3 euros including soup, salad, main dish and fruit/desert. If eating was cheap I can also happily tell you that drinking is even more cheaper. And actually the average price level is way lower than in Finland.

I am studying in faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science in University of Maribor. Usually faculties organize separate lectures for Erasmus students. But I have one course where I am the only Erasmus so I have to study by my own.  This kind of studying method was totally new for me. But in generally studying here is almost same like in Finland. We have laboratory exercises almost in every course and  I like this kind of practical work. After laboratory exercise I had to write report but basically we didn’t have any homework.

Of course this was a great oportunity to travel. Slovenia has a beautiful nature and it’s surrounded by interesting countries. I have visited five countries and for sure more than twenty cities. In addition to many cities, I met a lot of awesome people from different countries and culture.

Only few weeks left here so I’ll stop writing and go to enjoy these last moments!

Slovenia, you stole my heart

Zdravo!

Did you know that Slovenia has a coastline? Or where Slovenia is, for that matter? That’s okay, neither did I until it came across on the list of partner universities and that’s how it all got started…

I did my Erasmus exchange during autumn semester 2017 in the small but most beautiful town of Portoroz in Slovenia. I am an International Business Student, but I majored in tourism, so that’s why I chose to apply to the Tourism Faculty of University of Primorska. Main campus of this uni is located in nearby city of Koper and Tourism faculty is in Portoroz, which is the main tourist area of coastal Slovenia.

I took 4 courses to study (the list of available courses held in English was small, but after many students asked about it, they added more options): Entrepreneurship in Tourism, Sustainable Tourism, Tourism Product of Slovenia and Consumer Behavior in Tourism. I enjoyed all the courses, especially Tourism Product was very interesting and we made several excursions and studying was made fun. The quality of teaching varied quite much depending on the teacher, but all of them spoke English very well, which was also the case in all Slovenia, everybody spoke English so I never experienced any language barriers.

My hometown, Portoroz.

 

My jogging route by the sea.

 

My weekly schedule consisted of two or three lessons, so I had a lot of free time, which I appreciated very much and pretty much used it to traveling within Slovenia but also around Europe – during my exchange I visited Italy (multiple times given it was only 40 km from Portoroz), Austria, Hungary, Slovakia, Croatia, Montenegro and Bosnia. Pro tip: If you want to travel around, go to Slovenia either by your own car or rent one from there, because the public transportation doesn’t function that well.

 

 

Marketplace in Sarajevo, Bosnia.

 

The autumn semester, in hindsight, was not the best possible timing for exchange studies in a tourist attraction area, because there the season ended in September, and our studies only began by then. This meant that many restaurants and bars were closed for the season, so we didn’t have so many options what to do on our free time. Portoroz has only approximately 3000 inhabitants, so it was a quiet and calm place during my exchange. The locals told that during the high season, it’s hard to even find a parking spot because it is so crowded  everywhere and filled with tourists, but that seemed hard to believe when walking the quiet streets.

When we were not travelling, we were usually having dinner together with our Erasmus group and enjoying the subsidized student meal system called Boni, which allowed us to eat in restaurants for a student-friendly price of 2,50 €. We also went bowling, to the movies or shopping in Koper, which offered more activities.

 

Ice skating rink and Christmas market in the heart of old town in Titov Trg, Koper, Slovenia.

Overall, I would say that I really enjoyed my exchange. Studies were very laidback and did not require much time or effort, so there was a lot of time for everything else. Also, Slovenia has such a convenient location in Europe, so it is fast and affordable to travel around- there is even a ferry going from Piran (neighbouring town of Portoroz) to Venice during the high season.

Also, because only the tourism campus was located in Portoroz, our Erasmus group got to know each other really well and we were a tight group from the beginning and I am glad to say I gained many friends from this time.

 

Moon Bay in Strunjan, Slovenia where we did an excursion during Sustainable Tourism course. In the background you can see Trieste, Italy.

-Ella

Greetings from Slovenia

Zivjo!

I did my exchange semester in beautiful Ljubljana that is the capital of Slovenia. Slovenia is an amazing country that provides great opportunities for outdoor activities, but especially Ljubljana also has a very active cultural life. I found it very easy to get to know the city and get into the everyday life there. Slovenes are slightly reserved, but always very helpful! In the picture you can see the castle of Ljubljana.

I really have enjoyed my studies in the faculty of social work. I only have two courses, as I was also supposed to do an internship while staying in Slovenia. Unfortunately the internship did not work out. But the studies I took part in have been very interesting. There are also plenty of guest lecturers who are coming to visit our faculty and so we had the change to learn more about very important topics related to social work. Our erasmus group at the faculty was really great and I learned really a lot outside of school. I shared my flat with three other social workers and sometimes our kitchen seemed to be the best place to gain knowledge!

During my exchange semester I had plenty of time to do sports, go hiking, travel or just to enjoy time with my friends. In the first weeks of my stay we went to visit one of the most famous attractions in Slovenia, the Postojna caves. Close by there is also Predjama castle. In the picture you can also see that during my stay I got to explore different seasons as in the beginning of February they had plenty of snow!

In the picture above is a city of Ptuj, where we went to see the local carnival called Kurentovanje. Ptuj is the oldest city in Slovenia and Kurentovanje is really something interesting to see. Also in Ljubljana they organized carnival even though it was a lot smaller if compared to Ptuj.

Later in the spring we did some hiking trips with my friends and also our faculty was organizing some trips for us. And of course we were travelling on our own as well 🙂 Below you can see a picture of Koper and a view from a cave. 

I can truly recommend Slovenia for studying or just for a visit! I am definitely going back.

-Emmi

 

 

I wish I could just stay here

This is my first time in Slovenia and before I came I knew only few people who was been in Slovenia and in Piran where I was heading at. I came to do my traineeship in Slovenia’s coast in the small city called Piran. I came here end of April and I started working in May and I will go back to Finland 17th of July. Everybody is saying that Piran is like a little Venice but for me it is only this place where I go to work. Still I haven’t never been working in so beautiful place than Piran. There is so much sun and the sea is near so basically all that I needed after long winter in Finland. Before I came here I thought that I could have time to go around and see all Slovenia because it is so small country and it has this beautiful nature. I was wrong because I work every time in the evening and I am only free once in a week. Work is sometimes rough because there is only me and four people working and the bar is open every day from 8-22 and there is three on the mornings and then evenings I am working with Milan. In our bar we have so much decoration so when we start closing the bar it takes one hour to close the garden. First, I was only working outside taking orders etc. but now I usually work inside the bar and in the kitchen and only sometimes in the terrace. In here people work so much more than in Finland.

 

On my free time I still have visited Trieste it is only like half an hour drive from Piran. Also, I went to Croatia to this small city Umag but without my renter Tamara I wouldn’t visited these places. Tamara is the one who took me everywhere and told me to see Koper and Izola. Koper is the nearest place where I can go shopping so I have been there five times. Usually on my free time before I go to work I go to beach in Portoroz and for lunch in Lucija. I live in Lucija and it is 5 kilometres away from Piran so I usually spend my free time in Lucija or Portoroz. After work I go with Milan for a beer in Piran or Bernardin which is between Piran and Portoroz. On my free days I see Tamara or on weekends before I go to work and usually we go for a coffee somewhere in Lucija. When my sister was here we went to Ljubljana for a one day and it was so beautiful city.

 

This place really stole my heart. This is my home now so it is going to be hard to leave. Before I came here I couldn’t even think that I could find from here my second family or boyfriend but I did. Back in Finland I was only thinking how hard it is to leave all my friends and come here and how happy I will be when I come back to Finland. It didn’t even come to my mind that maybe I never want to go back to Finland and it is going to be harder to leave this place than Finland. I am still here but I have already booked my flights back in here in August. I am also planning to come here to study maybe in next spring.

Maribor je odlično

For anyone who’s looking to find an exchange destination where 5 months is enough to make it feel like home, look no further than Maribor.

The city has beautiful hill and mountain views with various wine yards covering them. Drava river runs through the city and from the bridge you can overlook the view of orange-ish rooftops of the buildings.

For me the Balkan area was unknown so I was also eager to visit Slovenia’s neighbouring countries. The likes of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Albania, Montenegro, Croatia etc. are within striking distance and I’m happy to say to have been able to visit them.

Whether you’re looking at magnificent views on the coast (Croatia, Montenegro) or visiting busy but relaxed streets in Sarajevo, you’re in for a treat.

You must be careful about the topics since it hasn’t been that long from the wars (some areas still remain tense), so it’s still fresh in many locals’ memory.

Pay a visit to Slovenia, have a shot of borovnicke, try some amazing Balkan food (meat based mainly) and walk around the hills and enjoy the views. I’m sure you’ll like it a lot just like I do.

Dober dan from Slovenia!

Ciao!

We are two girls from Tampere, and we are currently doing our exchange in Koper, Slovenia. Koper is the biggest city in Slovenian coast, and  it’s located just 10 minutes from Italian border and 20 minutes from Croatian border. This city is bilingual, locals speak Slovenian and Italian, and their English is also good. Slovenia is much cheaper than Finland, which has allowed us to travel, shop and eat out more than at home. The time is one hour less than in Finland. The weather here has been much warmer and sunnier compared to Finland. Even though the locals say, that this spring has been really cold here, we have been sunbathing already for over a month. 
ranta Koper beach walk.
mäKoper looks like small Italian town, with its narrow alleys and colorful houses.
seaThe best thing about Koper is its location next to the Adriatic sea!

Studies

We are studying management and our courses here are concentrating on strategic management and entrepreneurship. From our courses we get 24 credits. One semester is divided in two periods, just like in TAMK. In the first period, we had only one course, and because of that we had only one or two classes per week. In this period we have two courses and classes 2-3 times per week. Studies have been easier than in Finland, but the study methods are the same. We have made many essays and presentations during these courses. Before we came, we thought that we could learn Slovenian in school, but they didn’t offer any Slovenian language -courses in the spring, so that was a little disappointment.

School food system is different than in Finland. Here we get this Studentski boni, which means, that school co-operates with many different restaurants who give students discounts. For example in our favourite restaurant, a big salad/pasta/pizza etc. costs only 3,07€. And if you feel like eating junk-food you can go to McDonald’s and get burger, fries, drink, fruit, salad and ice-cream all just for 2,70€!! So as you can guess, we really like this system here, because you can choose from many different restaurants. You can find these restaurants all over Slovenia.

Here is also good opportunities to exercise. School offers discounts to gyms, swimming halls etc. If you want to do your workout outside, here is this free sport park, Bonifika, where you can find football, tennis and basketball courts, running tracks and outside gym equipment.
_MG_9206Visiting lake Bled with our closest friends.

Daily life

We live in city center with four Slovenian girls. Our rent is student-friendly, only 160€ per month per person. We are really happy with the location of our apartment, as we can reach everything in few minutes. Our basic day without school consists of going to gym or running, and meeting our friends. Life in here is extremely relaxed which has been quite difficult to get used to, because it’s so different than our lives in Finland, but we have started to love it!

The best things here are our new friends and the opportunity to travel a lot. We have traveled around Slovenia, Italia and Croatia and visited also Greece and Austria. After the school ends, we are going to Split, Croatia and to Bulgaria. Most of the trips we have done by bus, which is the cheapest transportation, but if there has been a bigger group we have always rented a car.

Even though Koper is a quite small town, here is one big shopping mall, Planet Tuš. There you can find cinema, bowling, restaurants, night club, gym and all our favorite shops (ZARA, Stradivarius, Bershka, New Yorker, H&M etc.).
bikesBest regards from Marja & Ronja!

Zdravo from Slovenia

For the past 4 months I have been living on the city of Maribor in Slovenia. Many people are saying that Slovenia is shaped like a running chicken. And if Slovenia is chicken, Maribor is located at the neck.Kuvahaun tulos haulle slovenia chickenMy studies of electrical engineering in Maribor consisted of 30 ECTS and are the follwing:

– Industrial Electronics
– Electrical Circuits
– Electrical Power Conversion and Generation
– Media & Democracy
– Industrial Electronics
Most of the studying is done in self-studying in forms of reports and exams, which is very different compared to Finland. My courses were mainly about electrical engineering except for the course Media & Democracy which was more directed toward journalist studies. I certainly learned a lot about many concepts which are very important to electrical engineering and relying on self-study was a interesting change.
Kuvahaun tulos haulle maribor
Maribor is a relatively small and compact city with around 130 000 population. Climate was quite great, about +10 degrees compared to Finnish temperature. Most amazing thing was that the city was full of Erasmus students. When I walked to my nearest shop on the way there I would meet at least 3 friends. Also the government supplied the students with 22 food coupons per month.  With a food coupon you could go to any restaurant and get a 2.5 euro discount. The food was delicious as well as cheap.

20161015_121121

I was living in a student dormitory near the city center called Tyrseva and sharing a room with another Erasmus student. There were over 100 Erasmus students living in that dormitory so you can imagine what it was like. The spare-time was spent together with all the great people I met during my Erasmus. I felt there was so much fun things to do: we went running, gymming, drinking coffee, traveling to neighboring countries and of course – partying.

The studying culture in Slovenia is much more formal and academic as we are required to do a lot of self-study and there is not that much practical work. In most of the courses I only saw the professors a few time in the whole semester. But for me this type of studying was new and refreshing.

It was a great trip and I will certainly miss many things from Slovenia and I am sure to go back there some day.