Tag Archives: United Kingdom

Unforgettable Scotland

I began the first half of my 3rd study year in Scotland, at Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU). Getting settled there was easy as I was able to receive a room in Caledonian Court, right across the street from the university itself. The location was great, right next to GCU and the city center which meant I was walking distance from everything I needed. I had a little over one week to get my bearings before the modules (courses) began, during which we had the Welcome Week and many fun activities.

The biggest surprise for me, nature wise, was the lack of parks and green areas near the city. To get to a park you had to walk for at least half an hour, and they were very well maintained compared to the raggedy forests I’m accustomed to in Finland. I’m used to having a forest only a few minutes’ walk away from home in Finland. It took some time to get used to the lack of forests or parks nearby, as I like to go for walks in the forest to de-stress and spend time.

About my studies in GCU

Compared with Finland the study culture is very different in Scotland. In TAMK I am used to mainly group work but in Scotland the emphasis was on independent work, meaning a lot of studying at home and doing all assignments individually. The focus was on theoretical learning without much practical application of knowledge.

In TAMK I am used to having smaller assignments due every now and then, but at GCU the way the assignments were spread out through the semester was very different; there were typically only one or two really big assignments for each module, and many were due at the end of the semester. Two of my modules had exams in January but I was (luckily) able to do both of them in Finland.

In total I did three modules during my stay in Glasgow, each worth 10 ECTS. I had lessons 3 days a week which left me with a lot of spare time to cook, go to the gym (located on the university campus), visit museums and landmarks in Glasgow and go on trips to see the country.

Spare time

Scotland is, without a doubt, one of the most beautiful countries I have ever visited. The mountains were enormous, and in the autumn they were covered in dead ferns that coloured the mountain sides in a deep hazel. The most beautiful place I visited was Isle of Skye where small white houses dotted the countryside. It was probably the windiest place I have ever been to! Overall, the weather wasn’t as poor as I thought it would be, so I wasn’t as bothered by it when it was windy or rainy.

I spent a lot of my spare time with my 7 flatmates who were all exchange students like myself. We went on many day trips together; some were guided tours and others we organised ourselves. Those trips were what made my exchange in Scotland truly memorable. Some trips we organised with my flatmates were visiting Pollock Country Park to see the highland cows, visiting Edinburgh (only an hour bus ride away from Glasgow) and going to the Enchanted Forest. We also climbed Goat Fell Mountain which was one of the best days of my life!

I loved my exchange in Scotland, the friends I made, the unforgettable memories and I can’t wait to go back to there!

My studies at Reading, UK, place when you’ll never know when it’s going to rain

When I was choosing my location for abroad studies, my main goals were to learn to speak English better and more confidently, the place needs to be easily accessible to home and there would be no need for learning a new language. With all these three combined, I decided to send an application to the University of Reading. 

I didn’t know anything of this town before I searched the places, and the first impression of googling it out was “kinda like Joensuu but easier to access.” I got accepted, rented a room of these traditional, semi-attached houses and moved in a little after new year.

I chose to study some typography courses, virtual reality and modern Britain, and the studies itself were much different than in my home university at TAMK. 

I was used to learning by doing the thing, but Reading uni turned out to be very academic and their studies included a lot of reading (hehe), making notes and researching by yourself. Most of the study hours are self-studying, and it could be hard for a person like me who likes to know exactly what to do next and what you need to read to learn the right stuff. Most of the grades are given based on the tests. Difference could also be that my home studies are interactive media, and we do most of the stuff digitally. 

The University has a lot of student free time activities and social clubs, and you will find whatever suits you the best. I was just enjoying my time alone, and spent most of my time at home. Campus is its own little town: there are bars, a grocery store, a library, coffee houses, restaurants… If you live at the university halls, you don’t need to walk farther than the campus area to get along. 

Little bit about the place: Reading is a town, where people move when they get tired of London and they want to settle down. It’s really easy to travel to London for work, but it’s cheaper to live in Reading. London is only 40 minutes of train travel away, and the train takes you straight to Paddington station.

 

It’s also really easy to move around in town itself. Public transportation is easy to use and not too expensive, and buses are easily figured out. 

It was “middle winter” when I got there, but basically the whole 3 months were like a long spring to me. Grass was green, weather changed really quickly from sunny to pouring rain and nature was alive. It was so refreshing how green there was! And now I understand why Brits like to talk about weather. 

Brits itself are kinda like Finns: Helpful but a little bit reserved. Don’t try to smalltalk with the store clerk. And the same time, it also took me a while to learn to answer the “How are you”-question with just “Fine, you?”

Unfortunately, this spring the COVID-19 situation ended my (and many others) abroad studies earlier than expected, but I’m happy to be home safe and sound. University were really great at informing students about the situation. 

After all, I’m really happy of my time there, and I’ll look forward to visit the town again later in life. 

Student life in Stoke on Trent

I studied in Stoke on Trent in England for the autumn semester 2019. I did my studies in Staffordshire University. The university was really big and it was only 15 minute walk form my home so it was really nice. The studies were really different than the ones I was used to in Finland. We had some kind of preparation work for every lecture, for example reading some articles or watching a documentary. Some of them were a bit difficult but made the studying interesting. The lectures were shorter than in Finland and we had no exams, only essays and reports to write. The lectures were really interesting and you could focus on the topics that you were interested.

I have spent my spare time travelling. I have been in London, Manchester, Scotland, Ireland and Northern Ireland as well. It has been super interesting to explore the country! I have also met many other students, local English students but international exchange students as well.  Stoke on Trent is famous for the potteries so I have also visited a pottery museum in the city. Sometimes it feels like I have no free time, the studies and essay writings take a lot of my time! I also had my family and my friend visiting me during the exchange which was really nice. Three months is a short time to explore the whole country so I wish to come back in the UK again very soon and visit more places!

 

Greetings from Pompey!

Greetings from Portsmouth!

I did my exchange in Portsmouth, England, which is located on the south coast of England, and as you can see from the picture it wasn’t all cloudy and rainy all the time. At the moment I’am already back in not so sunny Tampere, but my exchange went well. The studies were nice and interesting and Portsmouth really is a student town as the population there is around 200 000 with about 20 000 of them students. I had two supply chain courses and one finance and accounting course. The courses where structured nicely as all of the lesson involved a theoretical part which was then followed by a practical part. It made the learning easier. The only minus was that the courses I had chosen happened to have all of their assignments in January, so I had a pretty busy couple of weeks.

I did, of course, still have a good amount of spare time. Portsmouth is a very small town, so there isn’t much to see there after the first few weeks. Luckily, there is a lot to see around the UK and for example London is only about an hour away by train. By the way, if you want get cheap train tickets in the UK, you should book them well in advance. I also visited London for a couple of days and I have to say, It never lets you down! I also went to Southampton, which is also about an hour away and has way better shopping opportunities than Portsmouth. I also took a bus to Manchester, which was a bit of a mistake, but as the train tickets get massive expensive when you travel a longer distance, I had no choice. And now I have experienced the standstill traffic on M6. It was a nice 9-hour trip on the buses. A place you must visit when in Portsmouth, is the Isle of Wight. It is an hour ferry ride away from Portsmouth and the landscape there is just breathtaking. We also went to Pompey FC’s football match, which was quite something. And yes, Portsmouth is called Pompey for some reason.

The studies were quite different from Finland or at least from Tamk. Because it is an actual university, the focus was on the academic side all the time. I have now become a master at referencing as that seemed to be the main focus.  In your essays you can’t even say that the earth is round without having an appropriate reference for it. The rules were also stricter and attendance was always compulsory and it was monitored with your student card that you had to scan always before a lecture. If you were sick, you had to get a note from a doctor, otherwise it was a forbidden absence. Reports and essays also have s strict word limit and if you go above that just by 1 word, you get 10% taken off from your mark. How crazy is that! But all in all, the exchange was a nice experience and it also made me appreciate Finland more. The student accommodation there was absolutely awful with mold, small rooms and sky-high rents so it is really nice to have Toas and cheap and comfortable apartments. School is also nicer in Finland as you don’t have to worry about all these different kind of penalties if you go above a word limit or return the assignment a minute late.

 

Br,

Katri

Greetings from Stoke-On-Trent

I have been studying in Stoke-On-Trent for almost three months now.  Stoke-On-Trent is a city in Northern Staffordshire that has a population of a bit over 250 000 citizens and is best known from its pottery industry. Even though by its population Stoke-On-Trent is slightly bigger than Tampere, in my opinion, it feels a bit smaller. However, it has a lot of nice things to offer: it has, for example, many beautiful parks, a shopping center, museums, a movie theater, many pubs and restaurants, a shopping village and even a monkey forest.

         

         

In my opinion, the best part of the city has been the university where I study, Staffordshire University. The courses I have studied have been very interesting and the professors have been really nice, helpful and good at what they do. The contents and implementations of the courses have been well structured: they have involved both theory and practice, and instead of just listening to lecturers the lessons have involved a lot of discussions and group work. There are a few differences between studying in Staffordshire University and studying in TAMK. For example, in Staffordshire University there are preparatory tasks for each lecture, whereas in TAMK, at least in the courses I have attended, there aren’t. In here, I also have more independent studying and less contact hours. I have lectures only on Tuesdays to Thursdays and only two to four hours per day. Another example of the differences between my host and home universities, is that in the courses I have studied here, the final marks are based on essays or portfolios, whereas in most of the courses I have in TAMK the grade is based on an exam done in the end of each course. In here, we have to write usually one 3000-word essay per course and you can plan and write it whenever you want to, as long as it’s done by the deadline in the end of the semester. For my personally, regarding my learning and development during a course, this way is more suitable. In all, I have been very satisfied with my host university and I have learned a lot during the semester!

My free time I have spent, for instance, hanging out with my new friends, exploring the British culture (including celebrating the local holidays, such as Guy Fawkes Day and Halloween) and enjoying our university’s weekly student happenings.  I have also spent a lot of time travelling. Right in the beginning of my exchange period, before arriving Stoke-On-Trent, I spent a few days in London with my friend, which was a great way to start the student exchange.  In September we also traveled to Dublin and Belfast, in October to Manchester and in November to Scotland. Next week, I will travel to London one more time, and the week after that my destination will be Finland!

Best Regards, Katariina

Not that rainy after all, The Univeristy of Salford, UK

Hello from Salford, United Kingdom!

I am happy that I came to Salford to do my exchange studies. Salford is a part of Greater Manchester, so it doesn’t have a center of its own (well it does, but it there’s only supermarkets) so as you wish to shop, go to bars and pubs etc. you go to Manchester city center.

I have lived in a student housing called Bramall Court, it is in a good location between the center and uni, I walk to both of them in 15 minutes. The public transportation is expensive in here so I would suggest you to move close to the uni so you can walk there.  Student apartments are popular here, and there are a lot of them. Bramall Court has been ok to live in, but I would get more with the same money if I still lived in Tampere. So, living here is pretty expensive. Also, if you move to a student accommodation, you have to buy __everything__ yourself. Pans, pots, glasses, cutlery, sheets, pillows etc, nothing is here waiting for you. So if you wish to save some money, bring something already with you and use the second hand shops that the university provides. They sell kitchen supplies there with a good prices. Btw, you also have to pay the rent for the whole 5 months in advance, so be ready for that.

Lectures start pretty late here. Mine started 23.9 if I remember correctly, but I moved here on the 6th of September already. That was a wise thing to do. Semesters start first with early arrivals week (mostly exchange students come then) then welcome week takes place and only after those two weeks, lectures start. During the first 2 weeks, there is a lot of free events on campus where you can make friends, and that  is also what I did.  There is a lot of exchange students and also international students here in Salford, so I am sure that everyone will find friends here.

You will select 3 modules (=courses) that you study while being here. I study service sector marketing, managing international events and business ethics and sustainability. I have school only 3 times per week, 4 hours a day. So there is a lot of free time to do you assignments and travel. I think the courses are very good here and teachers are polite, well educated and want you to learn, so they are here for you.

The weather is also better than what I expected, it does rain a lot but not that much. If you come here with an attitude that it will rain all the time, you will be surprised that it does not and then don’t even mind the rain when it does. The winter here is nice because there’s more sunlight than in Finland and it’s not as cold. Now in November its usually from 4-8 degrees.

All in all, I think Salford is a place to be and if you want to do your exchange in the UK, I think you should come here. Manchester is a good location, big but not too big of a city, close to Liverpool and in the center of the UK so it’s easy to travel to Scotland, Ireland and other places. Btw, trains  are suuuuper expensive here, so be ready to sit in a bus when traveling.

 

Working in Theaters, Scotland, Ayr Hospital.

During the time I was in University Hospital Ayr, doing my Placement for six weeks, I had the opportunity to take care of real People as they went through an Operation. My supervisor was an Anesthetic Nurse so my job description was in that section too. I learned how to handle Patients who are scared and nervous of the upcoming operation, as we went to pick them to the Theaters. Anesthetic Nurse (at least in Scotland) arranges the Theater ready for every operation. Making sure that there is right kind of equipment, they are on the right side, everybody knows what’s coming and know what they should do. In Finland we might have this division a bit different. All the arrangements are done in the Operating Room before we went to collect the Patient. With the Patient we went straight to the Anesthetic Room, witch is connected to the operating Room but different area from it. There the Patient is put to sleep or have a local anesthesia, depending on the operation. Anaesthetist is the one, who does this all. Anesthetic Nurses are there to assist. During the Operation the Patient is under the Anaesthetist’s wach and after the operation Anesthetic Nurses help the Anaesthetist in the post-operative work and accompany the Patient to recovery ward.

There were seven different Theaters:

  • trauma
  • urology
  • general (x2)
  • orthopaedics (x2)
  • vascular

The Operations I accompanied with for example were: fistula, part removal of colon, prosthetics of hips knees and shoulders, hernia, TURP, amputation, gallbladder removal, evacuation of aorta, removal of sigmoid colon.  And these are only part of the operations.. 🙂

I absolutely loved working in Theaters!

All the best!

-Henna xx

Enjoying Scotland

Living in Scotland for 2,5 months gave a chance to see more than just the Hospital I had the placement in.. I worked from Monday to Friday so Weekends were off and that gave me the opportunity to go around and discovering what was around..

One beautiful spring weekend I decided to visit Ireland, Belfast. We (another Erasmus-student, from Finland) took a ferry from Scotland, Cairnryan. Buss drive to the Harbour itself was already so joyful. Weather was sunny, the drove was near coastline and there were tiny villages with lots of sheep all around. In Belfast we walked around the City, dropped in a Botanical Garden and had a blast!

 

 

Picture: Statue in front of Belfast City Hall

 

 

 

 

During the time in Scotland, I thought the weather would be rainier than it was. Actually it was mostly so lovely, sunny and bright, I even had to go and buy shorter clothes for the “heat”. Everything was blooming and I couldn’t get enough of the Nature around me.  I lived in student flats near the University of The West of Scotland. It was located by the River Ayr. To being so close to a River, the trees and everything were really soothing for walks and enjoying outdoors.

   

 

Now that I have been back to Finland for several months, I find myself longing back there.. And if everything goes planned, I will be visiting my old Home Town over there at least for short period of time. And wee meeting with all the great people I had the privilege to meet by the Placement. After visiting Ayrshire, I’m gonna rent a Car and drive the rest of the Country. Even though the driving on the “wrong” side of the road will take it’s time.. 😀

Things I miss from Scotland: Cheerful People, sarcasm, Fish and Chips, Rhubarb and Ginger Gin, fresh Fruits, Tennent’s beer, Sticky Toffee Pudding(!!!)

Things I missed in Scotland: Visiting Islands of Harris and Lewis. And didn’t see enough of the Highland Cattles.

Things that helps for the longing: Irn Bru. (Scottish soft drink. Second most popular drink, after whisky) And gladly You can find that some places in Finland too!

Oh, I almost forgot.. My supervisor bought a House during my Placement. And the most hilarious thing is that there is a Sauna in their new House! I told them everything I know about having a Sauna, but of course, when there is a lot of new information You can’t remember everything.. That’s why I wrote them a Practical Guide having a Sauna. 😀 It was 10 pages and Mark (the supervisor) was so touched by it, he even send me a message afterwards.. We all joked in tee brakes about the fact that we have a thing called Sauna-sausage. And I explained how you roll the sausage in tinfoil before going in. You place the wrap in to the hot stones and when you throw löyly, you throw it around the wrap. Must remember that beer is one of the most popular Sauna-drink. And You can throw a wee bit of it in to the kiuas as well.. (“Do not forget to drink enough water as having some Sauna-time, ’cause You should sweat alot in there.”) After a relaxing time in the heat, be cautious and take the foiled sausages of the kiuas and enjoy the warm sausages as a snack afterwards.

 

Cheers!

-Henna

 

Student Nurse in Operation Theaters at Scotland, Ayr.

How wonderful life can be for having this kind of an opportunity..!

About me: I just turned 35 during my placement here in Scotland. I’m studying for my second occupation, to become a Nurse. I used to be an entrepreneur for 14 years, and I remember thinking what an awesome chance it is for those who can go abroad during their studies.. 😀 And look at me now! You never know where life might throw you.

I’ve been to Scotland once before, maybe 7 years ago, with my sister. We were on a holiday for a week. And during that time my I fell in love with this country. It makes sense now why I’ve always loved rain and small, quiet places, and kind, helpful people. -It’s how this is!

So when it came to my knowledge that there is a chance to go abroad the first thing I had to find out was – could it be Scotland? And ’cause it could, that was my aim.

The process of applying started in Autumn 2018 and we had a placement, with my class, in Finland at Christmas that i had to skip so I would have few options for Placement in here. That made some difficulties, personally, to understand what I’d be doing in here.. And because of that I understood, we do have this strict way of doing things and wanting to plan and know how things will go ect… 😀 But the worry was totally unnecessary. When I came here everything solved out the best way possible and people are at ease for adapting a new  situation.  I had to embrace that ability as well.. 😉

    

My sister came with me here(, of course, again. She loved the place just like I did.) to escort me. We had the chance to get familiar with my new hometown, find out where my new beautiful home was, how to get around and – most of all, enjoying Scotland.

Placement started on Mon 22nd of April, that was Easter Monday and I didn’t know at all what I would be against with because it was a day off for most people. Of course Emergency Theaters are always running but I didn’t yet know how.  Everyone were so welcoming when I walked in and took me with them. My own supervisor came to back shift, but ’cause there was another student for a first day as well, I got the first tour just like any local would have it. Anyhow the day was quiet (good thing for mankind) until in the afternoon.. There was a planned patient coming for washing of an Necrotising fasciitis. The washing was made under a General Anaesthesia. (This may sound awful for most, but for those who are in Nursing or in other Health -field, this is amazing..!) That was a great first day. (And FYI the Patient had the needed help and was doing better. ) 🙂

There will be more of those Operation later, but I’ll try to write the way how normal people write and are able to read. Without gagging.. 😛 -And of course, no one can be recognized.

But for now, cheerio!

-Henna 🙂

Greetings from Lincoln🇬🇧

I spent last fall in England as an exchange student at the University of Lincoln. I’d never heard about the city before being accepted to study there so I didn’t really have any expectations before arriving. Everyone was just telling me to watch out for rain while in England but to be honest, it didn’t rain almost at all.. Didn’t get to use my raincoat even once. What a bummer (not).

Lincoln is a super cozy city with such an interesting history behind it. I would recommend to explore the city and after that travel around England as much as possible on your days off. Lincoln is located in mid England so you can easily travel to most big cities from there; the fastest train to London takes 2 h and you can even get to Scotland by train. On my stay in England I visited York, London, Dublin, Oxford…  many different cities, some of them even a couple of times.

The University of Lincoln is a great school! The university grounds are huge and all the buildings have a modern look to them. You can find many kinds of bars, cafés and restaurants as well as a library. The university has over a hundred clubs and sport teams that you can join and everyone is so welcoming towards international students. Also the students union and exchange students department try their best to organize different kinds of events for all the international students, especially in the beginning of the semester. Teaching was good and the courses were interesting, even if I had far fewer lessons compared to our school and some teaching methods differed quite a lot from what I’m used to. I attended four courses on my one semester exchange; two of them were basic essay writing courses regarding games cultures and heroes and villains in film, one was a 3D course and the last one a digital media course where we had four different workshops.

What I loved the most about my exchange was to be able to travel all around the country and both learn and experience as much of the British culture and history as possible. The only downside I had was problems with accommodation (I was going to get a room from the campus dorms but the school told me that that wasn’t possible anymore and I had to search for another place on my own in a little time window, didn’t go that well..) but otherwise I’m happy with my stay. Get to know the locals as well as your international student buddies, attend activities together or even host your own! One event I’ll always remember fondly was when all the international students made traditional food from their home countries and we tasted them together as a group. I really miss my time in Lincoln and I’m really glad for all the great people I met and the memories we made together. ❤️