Tag Archives: Slovenia

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.

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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.

Živijó!

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Hello from Ljubljana, Slovenia. It’s been a month now since I arrived here and so far it’s been raining most of the time. Me and my friends here tend to joke that even bad things are good ”as long as it’s not raining”. Spring here in Ljubljana is mostly rainy, but later on this country should start blooming when the sun comes out, and we’ve seen a little bit of those days already.
There’s always something going on here so I don’t have problems with finding things to do in my free time. After school days we go to restaurants with my class mates. Slovenia is really like a paradise for students when it comes to eating. Almost every restaurant in town has a special menu for students. It costs 2,5-4 euros including soup, salad, fruit and main course, sometimes even dessert. I will have a hard time when coming back home, it means I have to start cooking again.
In the evenings there’s also a lot of things to do. Concerts, clubs,20160306_171203 theatre, international movie nights and so on. There are also two interesting alternative social centres where people hang out and organise all kinds of happenings from jamming sessions to art exhibitions. Metelkova is full of colorful graffitis and interesting people and during the night the main square of the place can be crowded by people gathering together.
Studies have started slowly in our tiny campus of social work. Teachers are very open-minded and friendly towards us students, which I heard is not so common in other faculties here. In addition to lectures I’m doing a practical training in an asylum home, which is very interesting too, to see how organisations work here. Through my work I’ve met a lot of people from different countries.
So far it’s already been amazing to be here so I can’t wait for all the forthcoming experiences.
Greetings, Saara

Pok!

Greetings from Slovenia or as the headline says “Moi”! Pok is a good word for hello to your friends in Slovenia but when you want to be more polite “Dober dan” works better. And well another thing I learned from my Turkish roommate is that in his language it means, well..shit.  That’s all about the language studies because I can tell Slovenian is not an easy language for Finnish mouth and learning it wasn’t the main reason to do my exchange there.

Somebody has one time said that Slovenia is like mini-version of Europe because of the nature and I can only agree that. The country is the same size than Kainuu in Finland and population is not much over two million people.  Slovenia got the Juulis alps, 45 kilometers of coastline, two beautiful lakes, turquoise green rivers, stalactive gaves, amazing green mountains and vineyards growing all over the  hills and forests with huge old trees,  historical castles and white churches can be seeing all over the view.

I am doing my studies in University of Maribor which is big old city near by the Austrian border. My faculty is however located in smaller and sympathetic town called Brezice and I study tourism there. Mostly my studies are individual work because all my lectures are held in Slovene but that is fine by me because I got more time to study tourism also in practice way in other neighbor countries. I still got few lectures with every subject and my professors are able to help if I need. We also got few conferences in our town and make field trips in surrounding places to learn about culture and nature. In this post I would like to tell little bit more about our one trip with some pictures in the end.

One of the greatest memories in Slovenia during stay was my field trip to the Alps to place called Logarska Dolina with other classmates and our professors. Trip lasted two days but because the country is not wide the distances are short and that thing is nice when you have used to the travel times in Finland. But yeah we did go few museums and had students presentations on the bus, saw the biggest waterfall in Slovenia, went to tasting local foods and guesthouses in the valley and heard the stories of local people. Our minibus drove us in the top of mountains to see the views, old church and drinking from the mountain creek. We had amazing weather all of the time and because it was early October it was really warm especially to a person who comes from cold snowy Finland 😉 That was the main thing that everybody did know about my country but maybe that is reasonable.

Trip was super and we had good time in the evening and many of the students had brought wines from their own vineyards and some kind of homemade blueberry and plum liquors. Slovenians are extremely friendly and nice people but as same than in Finland you will need to get to know them first that they really show their characteristics. I was surprised  how good they speak English in everywhere and other languages but my classmate explained that if they want to speak with other people they need to speak foreign languages because  2 million people really isn’t big group of people.

I love the pictures I got from our trip and I knew that Slovenia was a beautiful country but the views still caught me. For many of people the country is relatively unknown, and in my opinion it is underestimated. For outdoor people I can only recommend to see these mountains in real. Let the pictures speak!

 

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Hvala lepa and adijo!

-Roosa

 

Greetings from Goat Island!

Koper, the biggest city of Slovenian coast with population 25 000, was ages ago island that was inhabited by goats. That is where its Italian name Capodistria originates (capra=goat). Koper has long history with Italy. It has been under Roman and Venetian rule, Koper is bilingual and you can go to Italy in half an hour. Italian effect can be seen in city architecture and in the menus of restaurants. I have been living in this picturesque city for two months now and I have really liked it here.

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Koper above rooftops

I had my first practise in regional hospital of Izola. I was practising 6 weeks in surgical ward, in vascular and abdominal section and 2 weeks in surgical intensive care unit. System of practical training is really different here. At first, university arranges placements for every student, they don’t have to take any responsibility about that. And second huge diffenrence is that there is always several students practising together. For example I had my practise in the surgical ward with two Slovenian students, so we had to share every task we had in the ward. Because of that and slight language barrier with the nurses practise is not closely as efficient as it probably would have been in Finland. Two weeks in ICU were better, because I was only student and there was more for me to do.

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Splošna bolnišnica Izola

Now I’m having my second practise, perioperative nursing, in neigbour town Ankaran. There is private orthopedic hospital, Valdoltra, that is very highly valued hospital around here. Orthopedic patients all coming from all over Slovenia and even neighbour countries, especially from Italy. Valdoltra is old hospital, established in 1909 for childrens hospital. It is located right next to sea and with its beautiful garden athmosphere is more like holiday resort than hospital. I have seen a lot while working in operating room but Slovenian students of nursing don’t practise perioperative nursing, so sometimes I can see that the nurses are little confused what to do with me.

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Ortopedska Bolnišnica Valdoltra

Life here has been really nice. When I first arrived here spring was already far and it was very sunny. Now here is practically summer. The city is cosy, prices are cheaper than home and the best thing, distances are short! That’s why I haven’t spent many weekends here in Koper. I have been several times in Croatia and Italy, and visited other cities in Slovenia. And for spring break I travelled to Budapest. Because I’m having only practical training here my free time has really been free time, no studying at all! That’s why life has been easy here. After practise I can just go to beach or for cafe to read a book. I will really miss this freedom next fall in Finland!

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Ljubljana – beautiful capital of Slovenia

– Fanny

Živijo!

Greetings from the beautiful Slovene Istria! Slovene Istria is a region in southwest of Slovenia that covers all the coastline to the Adriatic Sea. Though the coastline is teeny-tiny (only 47 kilometres!), we’ve got everything – historic cities, sea, vineyards, nature parks, beaches, Mediterranean food and let’s not forget the warmest weather in Slovenia!

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The main square of Koper

My city Koper is almost next to the Italian border and that’s why everyone here knows how to speak Italian and actually, it is is easier to find Italian than Slovenian food here. I have also noticed that the closeness of Italy can also be seen in the relaxed atmosphere. The population rate of Koper is only 25,000, but we have an amazing group of nearly 80 Erasmus students here. Our local student organization is really active and taking incredibly good care of us. But it’s not only the student organization, but the Erasmus students themselves too. We spend a lot of time together and since the distances are really short to different parts of Slovenia and other countries too, we have been travelling quite a lot.

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Since I am a public health nurse student and doing practical training here, I am going to tell you something about that. Firstly, everybody who sees my name tag and the title on it, start laughing or ask me to pronounce ‘terveydenhoitajaopiskelija’. I consider myself really lucky, that the language barrier has created more funny than frustrating situations like that. I already finished my first practice in Splošna bolnišnica Izola in an internal medicine ward. At first, there weren’t too many nurses that spoke in English, but in the last couple weeks I guess they started to feel more confident doing that. In the same ward was also two Slovenian students, that I made friends with, and they were helping me all the time. Now I’m doing my second and last practice in a health center. It just started, so I don’t have a lot to say, but the first impression was good. People are so nice here!

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Splošna bolnišnica Izola and the most amazing views from the hospital

Instead of summing this post up, I’m going to tell you something funny about Slovenians. When we are trying to do something in the same pace in Finland, we usually count from one to three. What Slovenians do, they count “three, four, now!” instead. After hearing this, they told me that Slovenians are special, and they sure are!