Time has gone flying here in Madrid. I came here with two of my finnish friends also from TAMK and I’ve got so many new ones in here. The studying here is somewhat similar as in Finland. However, here it is not mandatory to attend classes. One of our teachers even said that he doesn’t want to wake up as early as we have classes, so we may as well skip it.
Even though the classes aren’t mandatory, it doesn’t mean that here wouldn’t be any work to be done. I mean, almost in all of our classes we have group works. Usually I do enjoy group works, since I get along with different people very well. However in Spain, the Spanish and Finnish way of doing school works are really different. Also, the language is a problem. There are not many Spanish people in our school that would speak English all that well. So you kind of have to learn to understand Spanglish.
We do have similar school tasks as in Finland. For example in addition to group works we also have to write essays in almost every class. Although I have to say that in here it doesn’t really matter what you write in your essay as long as it has lots of pictures.
Spanish people have siesta. That means that between 12 and 16 there is no hope for finding anything to do. Most of the stores are closed and most of the people are at home. It the evening however the city comes to light and everyone comes to hang out together. Despite the siesta In Madrid here is also really nice things to do and see. Like tasting all sorts of different tapas and experiencing the culture. Like visiting the royal palace for example.
Although I’ve had a nice time here, I sometimes miss the fact how everything works in Finland. Everything and everyone is on time. You don’t have to prepare for everything being late all the time. Also here is no concept of personal space and sometimes that can be a little bit overwhelming.
However I am enjoying my time in Madrid and adapting to the culture here.
I was doing my internship for my studies in Business Information Systems in Benalmadena, around 10 kilometers south from Malaga. The weather was nice – raining twice or so during my stay. It was warm although cold of the night caught me by surprise. Not because of the temperature but because the apartment I had rent had no proper heating for the season. Something I was mistakenly expecting due to our Finnish heating system.
Okay, that’s enough of the weather. Let’s move on to my work. To put it simply, I was working at a organization consisting of voluntary workers. The organization and the members of it are all Finnish old people who have retired and either live permanently in Spain or are just visiting for few months.
So, my basic work day usually consists of helping the members of the organization and updating social media with current events. There are two days when the office is open and at those times people come to me asking for help with their devices. The open hours are very tight so I made reservations for home visits. I liked the fact that I got to travel around the city while on the job and talk to colorful personalities and see how they lived there.
On my free time I walked around the city. On the weekends I would plan ahead a destination and make a longer trip there. There are tons of places to see like Castillo Monumento Colomares and bull arenas and parks. My highlight was definitely climbing the nearby mountain, Calamorro. I did it exceptionally after my work. I did some calculations and came into conclusion that I can get up there and back before it gets dark. Oh how ignorant I was…
I also visited Málaga on my last week with my buddy. There was a castle up the hill so of course I had to climb that too.
I didn’t get to experience all the things in Málaga area but overall I am satisfied. There is still room for another eventful visit.
I did my practical training in Tenerife. I had never visited the Canary Islands before so it was very interesting to go there. My friend and me lived in the capital of the Island, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, but we also got to know many other places of the Island. Here I want to share a few places I really liked.
Teide is a volcano that is located in the middle of the island. Big area around the volcano is Teide’s national park (Parque Nacional del Teide). We made a trip to the national park and near the volcano by car. Views around Teide were amazing. We did not have the chance to go to the top of the volcano, did not book the elevator trip before. From the top it is possible to see the whole island. If I travel back sometimes, i I definitely want to go there.
García Sanabria City Park (Parque García Sanabria)
This park is a big park in the centre of Santa Cruz de Tenerife. There are a lot of different trees, flowers and plants in the park. There are also many beautiful fountains. We went to the park many times because it was near to our home and it was a calm place to relax for example during the siesta time. There was also a good restaurant in the park that I can absolutely recommend!
La Laguna is an old city in the northern part of the Island. I found it very cute and pretty place. Everything wasn’t so “big” like in the capital. It is an important historical centre and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The loveliest part of La Laguna is its old town. Thera are beautiful buildings and only pedestrian streets, so you can walk around in peace.
My Erasmus studies came to its end in Madrid a while ago. I studied for the duration of the spring semester, a little over 4 months in Madrid at the Universidad Rey Juan Carlos. The university is located outside of the centre of Madrid, in Vicálvaro. For me it took about 50 min to get to school with the metro. It is a lot of time to travel one-way but in my opinion it wasn’t too bad, especially since I didn’t have school every day. I also knew that I wanted to live closer to the city centre than the university. I lived in south from the centre of Madrid, close to the Madrid Río. I think the area where I lived in was peaceful and nice, 15-20 min metro ride or about 30 min walk away from the centre.
The university campus was little old-fashioned in my opinion but it had all of the necessary features you needed. It had a quite large library, where you could go to study. The library even had some computers at the students’ disposal. I used the library a lot since I had a course that required doing a lot of homework with a computer. I had mostly business courses but I also had some studies in tourism and international relations. There was some variance in the level of teaching, which I wasn’t too happy with. Luckily there were a couple of good teachers on the courses that I chose.
In my opinion the teaching in Finland is at top level. It was interesting to hear that Erasmus students from other countries had also heard or read about the level of the education in my home country.
I travelled quite a lot in Spain while living in Madrid. My favourite trip was to Andalucía which was very beautiful. It was easy to travel from Madrid to other cities and that was actually one of the reasons I chose the capital of Spain for my Erasmus destination.
I had not been to Madrid before my Erasmus, so it was a completely new experience for me to explore the city. It came as a surprise for me how large the city actually is. The population of the metropolitan area of Madrid is about 6,5 million. In comparison the total population of Finland is 5,5 million. My favourite areas in Madrid were the trendy neighbourhood of Malasaña and La Latina. I enjoyed the good restaurants and terraces in those areas. I also loved the area of Madrid Río a lot.
Although Madrid did not live up to my initial expectations, I still feel that all in all my Erasmus experience was great! I met a lot of new people, and made new friends which when I think about it, makes Madrid actually very special for me.
I would encourage anyone who has the opportunity to go to Erasmus exchange. It will give you countless unforgettable experiences and friendships that hopefully lasts for a long time.
I’ studying technical architecture in the Polytechnic University of Valencia for the Spring Semester of 2018.
I have four courses in total; two are taught in Spanish, one in English and the fourth is a Spanish language course. I was in the building engineering faculty, but I also took one project course from the architecture faculty. In the beginning I was a little bit nervous taking the two courses in Spanish, as it was a little bit difficult for me to follow the lessons, but as time went by I gradually started understanding the teachers more and more and by now I have very little problems understanding the lessons. Studying in Spanish has definately helped me with my Spanish comprehension!
I wanted to come to Spain to improve my Spanish skills; I have studied Spanish on and off for about 5 years now and my goal was to become fluent in Spanish. I haven’t become fluent – I think half a year is not enough to become fluent, for that, I think one year study exchange would have done the trick!
Studying in UPV has been a good experience overall. In the beginning I was surprised at how some things are organised (for example there are printing shops, where you give an employee your usb stick and they print it for you, instead of you being able to print things yourself – when we had to hand in a final project I had to wait two hours in line so that they could print four A1s!) but in order not to stress yourself you just have to accept how things are done differently in different countries. Also, a lot of the teachers wanted us to draw things by hand and also show the methodology we used in taking measurements, particularly in the restoration course.
During my free time I spend it mostly with my friends, at the beach, in cafes in the centre or doing Erasmus activities; there are a lot of Erasmus organisations that organize activities such as trips to different cities (I’ve been to Toledo and Xativa – amazing little towns!) and different events, like hiking or colour festivals.
I also organised my own trips to Barcelona in February, and to Andalucia and the Basque country during Easter break (one of the perks of studying in Spain is that you have a nearly two week Easter holiday!)
But most definately the best part of my exchange studies was meeting lovely people and making so many new friends, who I will hopefully remain friends with forever!
So if you are a technical architecture student, would I recommend UPV for you? Yes! You should definately go, but be prepared to learn a little bit of Spanish beforehand and be open minded! There are courses in English, but you would definately get more out of the experience if you also took the Spanish ones. However, even if you do not speak Spanish, you will still be alright and you will have an amazing time!
I have now spent the last 10 months in Madrid. First, I was doing my Erasmus studies here at Universidad Rey Juan Carlos for one semester. After that I started my internship with a company called Citylife Madrid. At the moment, my 5 months internship is going to end. On this post, I will focus on my experiences during my Erasmus study exchange abroad.
One semester in Universidad Rey Juan Carlos lasts for about 4-5 months, depending on which courses you select. All my courses lasted from September to December, so I didn’t have school anymore in January. The University was located a little bit outside of the centre of Madrid, so I always went there by metro which took about 30-40 minutes each way. The campus area was nice; couple of palm trees on the outside and benches to sit down during breaks. Also, the big library was a good place to study for the finals and to do group projects. About the courses that I selected: compared to my studies in Finland, I think the teaching quality wasn’t as good and furthermore, there weren’t so many interesting courses to choose from. Not only is this my opinion, but I have also heard the same from other Finnish exchange students as well. I studied all my courses in English but there was also a chance to study in Spanish or with both of the languages.
And then something about Madrid itself… I’m not wondering at all why it is the capital of Spain. Madrid is a really beautiful city that is full of life day by night. Its architecture is just gorgeous. The city is divided in many different neighbourhoods of which Malasaña and La Latina are definitely my favourite ones. Not to mention the Parque de El Retiro that is a huge park in a city centre. I used to go there to run in the evenings and sometimes have picnics with friends during the day.
In Madrid, there are parties going on every day of the week and you can’t find a bar that doesn’t have Sangria or Tinto de Verano in their selection. People like to sit down outside on the terraces to see their family and friends while eating some tapas.
In Spain they have many different holidays during the year. That means, no school or work and also some shops might be closed (depending on which holiday is it). That gave me and my friends good reasons to travel all around Spain. We visited many cities, for example in Valencia and Sevilla. Those cities were so pretty too!
If you ever wondered about doing a study exchange in Madrid or to just go there for vacation, I can highly recommend it! The culture and the city itself is way different than what we have in Finland and it gives you amazing experiences and memories to remember for the rest of your life! <3
I have been in Spain Fuengirola now almost three months and my practical training is coming to its end. This has been amazing road and I will remember this forever for sure. Like I mentioned, I’m doing a practical training, in a Finnish homeschool here, and in Finland I study Bachelor of Social Services.
My job here is very different for what I have used to since I have never worked with kids this age. The children are between preschool and ninth grade, so the radius is also big. My job description includes for example guidance, teaching, motivating and actual “parenting” if you know what I mean. It’s kind of funny because I have such a big influence on these kids and I’m also growing a lot at the same time… The best thing in this job are definitely the children, challenging roles and of course the beach where we eat our lunches 😉 (picture from our break –>)
Time has flown but luckily I have had some time to get to know my current residence. In Fuengirola there is a lot of Finnis people and other foreigners so it’s a bit hard to find locals. (<– There was lot of locals 😉 Malaga CF vs. Barcelona. Spain is a football country so it was kinda obvious I go and see at least one game!) You really have to know where locals spend their time. So first I had to explore the nightlife of course, and I did manage to find good places where also local people liked to hang out. They love dancing as do I, so it was natural for me to go in these kinds of places. Second thing I have spent a lot of time is watching ice-hockey, since SM-league and MM-games both were going on whilst I was here. Along with dancing and ice-hockey, I just hang out and do nothing special. Sure I have made some trips to another cities and so on but those does not fill my normal days.
(this pic is from Mijas near to Fuengirola)
I don’t know how to compare Spain and Finland as working places because I’m in Finnish school and the schools main teacher is Finnish as are the children. Of course it is different to be in small, under 30 student school than to be in school where one class can include that 30 students… Here we can provide more individual teaching and help, and if (when) there are students with special needs, we notice them more easily and can pay more attention to them.
I have loved it here and i firmly recommend Spain as a practical training country. I personally think that people learn best from another cultures and from another people so if you don’t want to go to Spain, go somewhere. Muchas gracias y hasta luego!
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. 🙂
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.
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.
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.
The finest place so far has been the Montserrat Mountains. Views from the mountains are incredible.
All in all, I can say that I am very happy that I came here!
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.