Tag Archives: Spain

Spring in Valencia

I am spending my exchange year in Valencia and studying music in the Conservatorio superior de música “Joaquín Rodrigo”. The curriculum here is very different from what we have back home in Finland, so I have taken the opportunity to try out all kinds of new subjects. As a singer I have been especially exited about the number of lessons we get working with a pianist every week. In addition to this, the school offers subjects like stage acting, body movement, singers’ anatomy lessons, chamber music and language studies. So, a whole package of skills essential for professional singers! My biggest challenge has been the language. All the lessons are held in Spanish, and even though my Spanish skills are improving, they don’t quite cover the professional anatomy vocabulary at this point. 😉

Now that the rainy winter months are over, the best way to spent time in Valencia is outside. Right next to my home, continuing through the whole city is the Turia-park. In the past, it used to be a river, but after causing huge floods in town it was dried from water. Today it has been transformed into a beautiful, I believe at least 9km long park-area, for all Valencians to enjoy. It is a place where people go jogging or cycling, families go for a picnic and kids have play-dates in the children’s parks. The cafes, football fields and roller-skating rinks ensure that people of all ages can find things to enjoy. So, when the sun is shining outside – and it mostly is – I love to go to Turia, do some sports, have a coffee or just sit on the grass and watch the people and life around me. 🙂

Bon dia!

I thought, that now is a good time to write this postcard, because it’s raining here at this moment. So, I am a nurse student, and I am doing my training in Spain, in the city called Manresa.

Kuvahaun tulos haulle manresa
Picture of Manresa, from Google

I am doing my training in big hospital. I don’t have one specific place in the hospital, but I have toured in several units during my training. It has been very nice, because I have seen and learned a lot of new things. I have, for example, seen and participated in treatments of cancer, different kind of endoscopies and treatments of surgery wounds.

The biggest problem has been the language. I don’t really speak Spanish and even less Catalan, and people here hardly speak English. Lucky for me, every unit I have been, has been person who has been able to speak English. And best of all, everyone wants to learn to speak English.

The things I have been noticed here in working culture, is that nurses really care about their patients. Or at least that is how I feel, when I see them working here. For example, in oncology unit, nurses really know them patients and their history, and they listen and speak with patients really much.

One thing, which was little bit a shock for me, was that here is only one break during the working shift, when there are often two in Finland. And in morning shift the break is breakfast, not even lunch. Now my stomach has started to get used to it, but first I was always hungry.

Picture taken when I was leaving work.

 

My spare time. Well usually after training days I come home and take a nap. It really isn’t so easy to do training in different country and in a foreign language!
But at weekends we usually travel to Barcelona with my friend. Manresa, where we are living, is really nice but pretty small, so here is not so much to see, and it is easy to travel to Barcelona by train.

Picture taken in Barcelona

The finest place so far has been the Montserrat Mountains. Views from the mountains are incredible.

Picture taken when we were visiting in Montserrat Mountain

All in all, I can say that I am very happy that I came here!

Salutacions de Manresa!

Greetings from Manresa! I am doing my training here in South Europe. I am nurse student, and my training place is quite nice and small health center where children and adults are cared for.  My training has gone pretty well even though really no one speaks English and I barely speak Spanish or Catalan. But thank God we have a Google translator. People here are very friendly and interested in to learn some English so in practice I also teach English to my work mates.

(view from Manresa)

Manresa located about 65km from Barcelona. And almost every weekend I used to take train to Barcelona. I can say that Barcelona is huge city and every time I visiting there I found something new and interesting to do. Here it is not possible to get bored. The best thing for me is just to walk the seashore or La Rambla while the sun is warming up. Besides, there are also great shopping places here.

(La Sagrada Familia and La Rambla)

The training is quite similar here and in Finland. Of course there are some differences but I could say they are quite minor. The first difference I saw was that they do not have brakes between their work day, they just keep their brake when they had done all the works, like if you went afternoon shift your first brake was 20.15 and you can go home 21.00.

Other compares I saw was that almost every single TV series and movies are re-recorded in Spanish and I think that was quite annoying. Despite that I really can say that I have liked to be here. And of course the parking system, Spanish just park their cars anywhere and leave the warning lights on for while they go shopping.

(park Güell)

Hola!

Greetings from Fuengirola, Spain, where I am in practical training. I’m studying for a Bachelor of Social Services. Now I have been here five weeks and my training lasts three months. I enjoyed my life in Spain and the placement is a very good. It’s a small home school where is about 25 pupils.

                                         I love sunny mornings

 

Spare time

Spare time has passed by walking nearby villages and nearby mountain. During the first month came more than 300 km of walking. While the walking can to sense the mood of the villages better than in the car. In the nearby mountain there is a cave at an altitude of about 500 meters and there also came a deviation.

                                                                              

                                 Great views from the mountain

 

                                                                                   Sunset 

                                                                                                   Colomares Castle

 It’s not really Ia castle, it is a monument dedicated to the life and adventures of Christopher Columbus. It is a miniature model of the castle. This attraction is located on Pueblo Benalmadena near Fuengirola.

 

Spain as compared to Finland

First at all, the climate comes to mind, especially right now, that in Finland has had severe frosts. Despite the fact that last week there was a very rainy climate it is wonderful. However, rainfall is needed to fill rainwater from the basins of drinking water, otherwise the water setting will begin.

 

           Water flows down the Fuengirola River down the mountains

 

In Spain, nothing is very accurate and, for example, a car can be a parking space in the middle of the road and block the whole traffic if the driver deviates somewhere and there is no immediate parking space.

People are very polite and many greetings, hola! In Finland it is normal to turn away and say nothing. Here are lots of dogs and they usually run free. On the streets are quite a lot of dog stools. The dogs are not interested in other people but are running their own paths.

 

Even though here are many tourists, it is worthwhile to come if there is a chance!

 

Riikka

 

¡Hola, estoy en España!

Valladolid is known of beautiful religious buildings. For example the cathedral of Valladolid or the church of San Pablo and many others. Valladolid is not much bigger than Tampere. It is a city of 300 000 people and is located 200km north from the capital of Spain, Madrid. I think the size of Valladolid is perfect for Erasmus. It`s not too small but small enough to know, where you can find other Erasmus students when you want to spend your evening outside. The size of the city made it very easy to adopt the Spanish life.

   

 

I study building services engineering and all courses I chose in university of Valladolid were in English. When I arrived at university of Valladolid, I had a problem with my courses. Due the lack of information all courses I had chosen were available only in the spring semester. I met my responsible professor to help me with the courses. Even though the responsible professor didn`t expect any students from Finland, she helped me to find the right courses for me. I had to take courses from the field of study of chemical engineering and industrial engineering. It was easy to understand a big difference between Spain and Finland: The things did not work as smoothly as they do in Finland. Every appointment and process were always delayed and took a lot of time to happen. First it was really frustrating, but I got used to it and I just had to accept the way it is. Although the people had difficulty with time, all teachers and persons I met at university were really helpful and kind.

I came to Valladolid with my Classmate and being in Erasmus with a good friend is great. We have been living and traveling together, which have made everything simpler. The best way of spending your weekends in Erasmus is traveling. We have been all over Spain and Portugal visiting many beautiful places. One of the best part has been the atmosphere in the football stadiums around Spain.

Saludos de España

Hola! I’m studying building services engineering in Spain, city called Valladolid. Valladolid might be unknown place for most of you, but it’s a beautiful old city located 200 km up north from Madrid. The city has a lot of old architecture, narrow streets and small river flowing through. Along the river is a small beach where was nice to play beach volley and take a sunbath in a beginning of exchange when the weather allowed it. Although the city doesn’t have many specialities, so it’s pretty unknown and tourist free. Moving around the city is easy with a good bus network and citybikes. Citybikes are cheap and useful way to go around the city and you can reach all the places in an half hour. I think Valladolid was perfect place for me to do my exchange. Good parts in a smaller city is that you will get to know the city and the people more easily. Valladolid gave also good opportunity to learn the new language because they speak clean Spanish here (in Spain they have lot of different dialects and languages) and the lack of English speaking people force you to learn Spanish.

First thing what I noticed in Valladolid was that no one speaks English at all. It was quite interesting for me who didn’t know a word of Spanish before reading travel guide for Spain in an airplane on way to here. After two Spanish courses, help from the other exchange students and a tons of Google Translate the Spanish language starts running pretty smoothly.

 

I came to Valladolid to study building services engineering on the University of Valladolid. Due to my bad Spanish language, all courses I took was in English and matching with my own field of study. However after wrong informations and misunderstandings all the courses I had chosen in Finland, wasn’t available on autumn semester. To replace these I got courses that were taught in English from different field of study. On top of that my responsible professor in Valladolid didn’t even expect student from Finland. These kind of lacks on organising made me realize the biggest differences between Finland and Spain. After all the teachers tried to do their best to find the most suitables courses and helped me with every problem I had.

I was lucky that I could do my exchange with my classmate from Finland. We have lived, studied and done almost all together. Traveling with your good friend has been also awesome and easy. We made a lot of trips together or with other exchange students. In this five months I have visited places like Bilbao, Madrid, Salamanca, Porto, Sevilla, Valencia, Alicante, Barcelona, Zaragoza, Málaga, Gibraltar and maybe something more before I come back to Finland.

Finalmente aquí

Practical training 

I´m in practical training in Tenerife, in Santa Cruz. I study nursing and this is my last practical training. First weeks I was in health center because I had to learn some skills I haven´t learn in Finland. For example taking blood samples: I have done it only once in the school 2 years ago. Secondly i needed to learn Spanish quite well before the practising in hospital. These last weeks I´m in the university hospital,  in traumatology ward. This is very interesting. Other nurses don´t speak English much so we communicate with Spanish language. I think I have learned to speak Spanish quite well and other nurses and patients understand me.

 

 

 

Spare time in Spain 

There are many activities in Tenerife. Hopefully I have spare time every weekends. I´m grateful because me and my Finnish friend spend our exchange in the same destination country. When we have spare time we usually go take the sun to the beach or sea water pools. We are very lucky because here is everyday at least 22-25 degrees. Three weeks ago we were in Teide  (the volcano that is the highest peak in Spain) with our Spanish friend. We have met Spanish students and been hanging out with them.

 

 

 

There are many shopping places in Tenerife. Santa Cruz is the best shopping city in whole Tenerife. There are many shopping streets  and commercial center in Santa Cruz. Clothes and food in restaurant is cheaper than in Finland. That´s why we can go eat to restaurant more often than in Finland.

 

 

Compared to Finland

Practising in the university hospital in Spain is quite same than in Finland. There are quite same treatment methods and aseptics is important also in Spain. Even if I work in the different culture, there are similarities in practicalities and ethics laws. All in all I think Finland is more advanced with health system than Spain does: because of technology.

 

 

 

 

Gorgeous feeling of teetering in the unknown

“Life might be difficult for a while, but I would tough it out because living in a foreign country is one of those things that everyone should try at least once. My understanding was that it completed a person, sanding down the rough provincial edges and transforming you into a citizen of the world” – David Sedaris


One thing was sure to expect; better weather. And yes definitely it was better than in Finland!

Moving abroad and starting over in a new country is one of the most terrifying and gorgeous exhilarating adventures ever. (Even though it was already my third time doing that. Still every time it surprises me again)

When I heard about the opportunity to do an exchange abroad, I didn’t think twice. Mayor problem for me was; Which country will I apply to?!

I started my exchange period in august in my host university “Rey Juan Carlos”  which was located in Vicalvaro. University was okay, literally okay, but that’s mostly all how I can describe it.  I was studying in the university of Social Sciences and law (grado en turismo).

Luckily I got a change to mix subjects so I picked those subjects which were interesting. Mostly from tourism sector and rest of the subjects from marketing. I was slightly disappointed about the education system in Spain, even thought I knew it’s not as good as it in Finland. International students were mixed with the normal class, on the other hand it was nice to get to know with local students but on the another hand teachers changed the speaking language all the time to Spain, so it was quite hard to follow the lessons.

I lived in a neighborhood where I literally were “the only white girl in the town.” I lived in a flat with my Spanish roommate and It was great. I had a chance to increase my cross culture awareness really in an “inside” perspective.

I had a bit of a culture shock during my time in Spain, mostly it was because of the late dinner times, ( WHO EATS DINNER LATER THAN 10pm?)  If I wanted to have a dinner at 5 or 6 0’clock there was only a few places open. People weren’t able to communicate in English.  So it was necessary to start practicing my Spanish. During my time in Spain I travelled a lot and went to see all those heritage villages near by. with a student card you can travel as much as you want inside of the region, FOR FREE ! In a city like Madrid, I bet there will be always something to do to spend you spare time.

 

 

Here are some tips for you, if you’re thinking about going for Erasmus in Madrid:

  • Before your take-off, start learning Spanish! You definitely will need that!
  • Don’t rent a flat, even if it’s a bit difficult, there’s no doubt you won’t find one. It’s better to see first and then make a contract!
  • Take your winter jacket and woolen socks with you, at winter time heating systems in houses are not as good than in Finland.
  • BEWARE with your bags and phones, Sol is a heaven for the thieves at Christmas time when its crowded.
  • …. last but not least, make your intercultural competences tasks on time….

 

 

Best time of my life in Madrid

My journey in Madrid has gone to its end. It was an amazing experience to study in a city that is so lively and friendly. Gaining new friends and having new experiences made sure that the time in Madrid was totally worth it.

My studies consisted of human resource management, marketing management, national and international environment of firm and two tourism courses. The teachers were usually nice. One teacher must be the most interested person that I have ever met – and not in a good way. He was loco. One day he was being funny and making jokes with us and on the other day he was saying how much he hates us and can’t wait our classes are over. On the other hand university was easier than TAMK so luckily for me I passed the courses quite easily.

Most of my spare time I spent with my new friends, traveling around Spain and in Europe. There is not that many weekends that I spent in Madrid and when the school was over we went to road trip to the north for 11 days which was one of the best experiences. Other places where I visited was Malta, Morocco (Tangier, Casablanca, Rabat), Switzerland (Zurich, Luzern), France (Riviera cities), Portugal ( Lisbon, Porto) and Ibiza.

 

 

Greetings from Barcelona!

I came to Barcelona in the beginning of April when I got my internship here in a large international translation company. I’ll be staying here until the end of September so I’m a bit over half way through my stay in this gorgeous city.

As I mentioned I’m working in a translation company and I’m an intern in project management in one of the multicultural marketing teams. My daily tasks are mainly to help the team with different clients we have, so my days are filled with emails to find linguists for the needed jobs and paying them for their work and to check that the final translations are perfect for the clients. So far, I have enjoyed my internship and I have learned a lot.

The only thing I still find myself struggling with is the working hours. I work from 10 to 19 and as a Finn I would prefer to go in earlier to get out earlier too. Often, I end up feeling that I just spent the whole day at work and there’s really no time to do anything else, but I still need to try to get used to the Spanish way of living. Besides this I don’t really see many differences working in Finland and in Spain.

During my free time, which I mainly have on the weekends and bank holidays I tend to spend time with friends, going to the beach or just wandering around the city. Barcelona is a wonderful city because it has everything; the beach, the big city vibe and a lot to see and do! I have also done weekend trips to Montpellier in France and another one to Andorra. With the time I have left here, I hope to explore a bit more of Spain too.