Tag Archives: United Kingdom

Greetings from Salford, United Kingdom

Now that it is almost the end of my exchange in the United Kingdom, it is good to go through my experience. I moved to Salford in the middle of September and I had a week to settle before the actual school started. Salford is a rather small city right next to Manchester. Salford itself isn’t the prettiest place but Manchester I really like. In Manchester, there are around 500,000 people but Manchester Metropolitan area (including Salford) has nearly 3 million people.

About my school, studies and accommodation – University of Salford

I really like the University and the fact that we have a big campus area. In the campus area, there are a lot of buildings, many cafeterias, a library, a few accommodation buildings and the school’s gym. We also have our own restaurant/bar on campus which is nice. In my university, there are only 2 semesters and I am here for the first one. I had school 4 days a week, but mostly I just had one class per day and the classes took only 2 hours. I had three modules and all of them were about marketing. All the three modules I had, took the whole semester, meaning that my schedule for the whole semester was the same every week. I really liked my modules and I learned a lot. In all these modules there were an assignment and an exam. One of these assignments was an individual assignment and the two were done in groups. Salford University has 3 campus areas. Two of them are almost next to each other and the third is in Media City. Media City is a beautiful part of Salford with its modern buildings, a theatre and a world war museum. Even though there were accommodation buildings in the campus areas, I wasn’t able to get a room from these buildings since they were only for first-year students. I was living outside campus but the walk to school took only 10-15 minutes. I lived in a flat with 3 other exchange students. We all had our own bedrooms and we shared a kitchen and a bathroom.

 

  

Campus area                                                  Views from my room

What did I do outside school?

As I told already, I had school 4 days a week. On some weekdays I and my friends usually studied in the school’s library and went to the gym. On weekends there was more time to do things. We got to know Manchester, which is a really nice city. There is a mixture of old and new, with skyscrapers and brick buildings. Manchester city centre is not that big and it is quite easy to get to know the city. In Manchester, there is a National Football Museum which was cool to experience. In Manchester, outside the city, there is a huge shopping centre, called the Trafford Centre. We also got to see some nature of England through the school’s societies. We went for a hike to Peak District and then for a day trip to Lake District. Both of these places were beautiful, that I hadn’t even heard before. I also got to see York and London, where the train took only 2 hours. I had also dreamed of getting to see a Premier League game and I did! We went to see Manchester City game, and I really enjoyed it! I really enjoyed my time in Salford and can recommend the school for everyone who is considering the UK as their exchange destination.

Media City, Salford                                                                 Manchester City game

Scotland, oh Scotland. You beautiful country.

I did go there to study, which I did, but I also went to travel. Not being a ‘city girl’, Glasgow was crazy big (it’s the same size as Helsinki, roughly) and the weekends were not spent in the city. The studies did not have a lot of contact teaching, and I was lucky enough to get all of my contact teaching scheduled Tuesday-Thursday, which meant me and my friends often left Glasgow on Fridays to explore the countryside. (I think we spent only 1 full weekend in Glasgow…)

The studies were very different, a lot more individual than at TAMK. This was not an issue for me, since I like working individually, since then I get the grades I work for and do not get judged based on somebody else’s work. What did confuse me is the grading system. Apparently 70 % is very good. In my head that sounds like 30 % from a full grade = how did I do that badly? Just be aware of the difference in grading criteria, and you will not be sad when you see your score.

Many might wonder about the language. They do speak English, and the Scottish accent takes some time to get used to. How I solved this problem was by binging the TV-series Outlander before going. Without subtitles. It took a few episodes before I started keeping up and by the end of the first season I understood almost everything. But do not fret, the teachers do speak a very clear English, since they are aware of their accent being difficult for non-Scots.

In conclusion, travel around (it’s worth every penny), make sure you understand your university’s grading system, and do not be afraid of the language.

Greetings from Cardiff!

Over a month have passed already and the time has gone so quickly! Cardiff is very nice city and the weather has been good. Not that rainy as I thought!

                              

My firs placement is medical placement in University hospital of Wales. Ward A7 is specialized in acute general medicine and Gastroenterology. There are also four infectious disease cubicles for patients who needs isolation. Ward is 33 bedded and it is separated in two parts (south side and north side). I have been working in both sides depended who was my mentor in that day.

Biggest difference to Finland is probably what student nurses can do. Students in here can’t practice clinical skills as much as in Finland. For example students can’t cannulate, do i.v. medications, catheterize or take blood samples. After all I have learned a lot.

Shifts are long (12,5h) and approximately there are three shifts per week. I like the long shifts, because then I have lots of time to travel and go sightseeing!

                              

Staff in ward have been very nice and they made me feel as part of the team from the beginning. I have really enjoyed my time in here so far!

Welcome to Portsmouth

Portsmouth is a lively seaside city with beautiful views and surprisingly good weather. I came here for my exchange studies in International Business and have already spent about two months getting used to the way things work around here.


I’ve always been interested in the UK and its culture. It has certainly been interesting to see how different everything is compared to the rest of Europe!

The studies are quite easy compared to Finland and it’s quite amusing to hear the locals talk about “a full day of school” when it has only been 4 hours. I must say that while things are certainly not perfect in Finland, and in TAMK especially, there are a lot of things I wish they had here. Everything is so old-fashioned and it sometimes feels like they don’t even want to bring their systems to the 21st century. Trying to find information online is hopeless as it either doesn’t exist or can’t be trusted. I’ve also had a lot of trouble getting any papers or documents from the uni – they didn’t even send me my acceptance letter and I had to call them several times to get that sorted out. The same theme has definitely continued with everything else after that.
Still, I enjoy the lectures.  The teachers come from all around the world and it’s interesting to hear examples from different cultures!

Finding accommodation proved to be a challenge. Due to the uni’s mistake with my acceptance letter, I couldn’t apply for the school halls in time. Not that that would have mattered much, as they prioritise degree-students over exchange students. The private sector was difficult as well, since most landlords refuse to make contracts for less than 9-10 months. Finally, I found a house that was specifically meant for exchange students and still had a room available.
While most things are cheaper here than they are in Finland, housing is very expensive and the houses are usually in bad condition. I share a house with 3 other exchange students and I  pay more for my room than I did for my studio apartment in Tampere. The house is also in bad condition: there’s mold and moisture everywhere and the rooms and cabinets start to smell if you keep the doors closed.

 

I found a nice group of friends during the orientation week and we’ve been doing all sorts of things together. The first big event I went to was Portsmouth Pride, which was a very nice experience!

It’s a little hard to define the working culture here because, like in Finland, the study environment is very international. However, I can say that the school assignments here are clearly only meant for school and are not done the way they would be done in work life. This is not the best approach as it doesn’t exactly teach you what you need to know later on. What I have liked is the more independent style of studying. Constant group work is really not meant for me and I find it extremely stressful in TAMK, this is why I’ve enjoyed the independent essays and lectures.

As a conclusion, it’s nice to be able to experience all this but I think I can safely say that the culture is not for me. I will miss some things when I go back to Finland, but I have definitely started to appreciate Finland more!

– Krista Tolonen

University of Salford, TV studies

My time studying Television and Radio at University of Salford was beyond amazing. I must say, if you want to work in TV or Radio,  Salford is the place to go. Media department of this university is located at MediaCityUk, which is basically a home for ITV and BBC. Lots of shows are being recorded/filmed in MediaCity and students have an opportunity to do freelance work in a real production. 

 

 My choices of modules were: TV Drama, TV studio and TV Documentaries. During my TV Drama module, I had a chance to Write and fully produce one short film and Direct a short film of my other classmate. I had to study a lot during this course in order to produce something good. Most of my spare time I was spending in the library reading books on scriptwriting, directing and producing. I really had to come out of my comfort zone during this course, especially when I was taking a role of Producer. Finding professional actors, finding replacements for the actors that dropped out last minute, recruiting people for filming crew, booking locations and equipment, settling down conflicts, and tons of paper work – all mixed with a stress of an upcoming deadline. Hands down, I’ve learned a lot. 

Another module of mine was TV Studio. That course was really well made. Every week, we had a chance to learn a new job in the multi camera studio or in a gallery.

There was a decent amount of both theory and practice, but for those who wanted to deepen their knowledge there were additional workshops held 2 times a week. The technicians that were giving us those workshops were always extremely happy to help.

 

 

 

During this module we were developing 2 TV shows: For the first show I was doing all the visuals and animations and for the second show I took a role of a show Director. I was really glad that everybody accepted me on equal terms and I was given such a big role, even though I was an exchange student.

 

 

 

My absolute favourite module was TV Docs. It was a module that made me apply for an exchange extension.

 

 

During this course, we had to make 2 documentaries: one – observational documentary and another one – a documentary with a narration. Basically, the course structure was similar to TV Drama, except for the fact that we were mostly concentrating on working with real people with real issues and stories to tell. I found this fascinating. 

 

All these modules required a lot of work, I barely had any spare time. This taught me time management really well. After TAMK, Salford felt way more strict with all those rules and incredible amount of tasks. I enjoy this kind of crazy working routine, and my area of studies was really social oriented, considering I had to work with people all the time. There was a lot of team work, so I’ve managed to find really great friends that were constantly dragging me out to party. 

 

I’ve done most of my travels around the UK in the beginning of exchange, during the Easter break and after the exchange. I would totally recommend to buy train card, because it saved me plenty of money.  Well, I think that’s it! Enjoy your time in UK!!!

 

 

Lincoln, Lincolnshire

My studies in England differed a lot from my experiences in Finland. Being a foreigner in both countries, it is not a difficult task to draw comparisons and point out differences between those two countries educational values and strategies. While studying in Media and Arts in Tampere Mediapolis I experienced a heavy focus on individual ideas and personal development. My primary study path here is Fine Art, which explains the heavy focus on creative work. At University of Lincoln I was a guest at the Lincoln School of Film and Media for about 5 month. It took me some time to figure out the teaching system which divides classes into lectures, seminars and workshops. All teacher where incredibly helpful and very funny. The teaching was packed with information and I feel like I could take a lot of valuable lessons back into my main studies at Tamk. As usual, it was easier to make contact to exchange students than to the native ones. This might have been connected to the fact, that I shared only a few classes with the same groups of students.
In my spare time I spend a lot of time exploring the surrounding cities together with other exchange students as well as Lincoln itself. UoL offers a range of coach trips for very little money, which comes in very handy as train tickets tend to be fairly expensive. My personal highlight was the Lincoln Cathedral, which is almost 1000 years old and hold an endless amount of historical and personal stories as well as a great variety of artistic expression.


I understood fairly soon that drinking culture in the UK is about as big as in Finland. As I am personally not a big drinker or dancer I have only gone out a couple times to the usual student parties and managed to stay away from some of the more famous party locations of Lincoln. That being said, the town offers a good amount of loud and colourful bars around campus. So who is into that will definitely find satisfaction.

Comparing TAMK and UoL next to each other seems like an impossible task to me on some matters. Both schools have an incredibly different approach to learning in general. UoL offers a lot more academic knowledge than TAMK but also requires its students to put those lessons down into texts and diaries. Every student who wants to visit UoL should be prepared to write complex essays and spend some time in the library. The lectures at UoL are very impersonal compared to TAMKs (mainly because there are hundreds of students attending sometimes) but also incredibly packed with fascinating knowledge. I enjoyed my stay in Lincoln very much, but I deliberately decided not to extend my studies. I can recommend anyone to take the opportunity to study at Lincoln in any case, not only because you can get high-class education fore free (full-time students pay up to £9000 per year), but also because English heritage is incredibly well documented and proudly layed out for foreigners to explore.

Greetings from Hatfield

I started my internship 14th of May in Mercure Hatfield Oak hotel in Hatfield, UK. I work in Food&Beverage Team, so basically I work as a waitress in the hotel’s restaurant and bar. Very often we also have some occasions which are in the hotel like weddings or anniversaries.

Mercure Hatfield Oak Hotel

Sometimes the work is very hard and stressful. English is not my native language, so at the beginning I was very tired after work, because there were so many new things to learn, new people and most of all that I have to speak English all the time.

Most of my workmates are also young people and students, so I have lot’s of common with them and we have a great atmosphere. I am not the only foreigner working here, we have people for example from France, India, Pakistan, Romania and Brazil, so we all have problems with English sometimes.

In the morning shift I serve breakfast for customers. We have a breakfast buffet, so what I have to do, is keep an eye on everything. There need to be enough food and coffee all the time and the tables need to be clean. After breakfast, staff is allowed to eat what is left for breakfast. After my first week here, I haven´t eaten any bacon…

After breakfast we clean the restaurant and set it up ready for dinner or if there is some lunch meeting, then we set up ready for lunch.

In the evening shift my main job is usually serve to tables in the restaurant for customers. Sometimes when it is busy, I might also work in the bar. Restaurant opens 6:30pm but the kitchen is open for hole day until 9:15pm. After that we need to clean the restaurant, set up the tables for breakfast and polish the cutlery.

 

Hatfield locates 32 kilometres north from London, in Hertfordshire. There are approximately 40000 habitans. I live in Staff house with four other students, whom all are doing their internship in Mercure Hatfield.

Hatfield House
Staff house

When I am off to work I like to walk in town and very often I go also for running. I have been in London few times during my placement here, because it is so easy to go there by train. I also spend my time with my housemates, most of all with my roommate Deby, who is from Brazil. Sometimes we cook together or go out to eat or just spend time outside the house, because we have a lovely backyard. Sometimes I also go to pub with my workmates from the hotel.

Harry Potter studios in Leavesden
Platform 9 3/4 at King’s Cross Station
My roommate Deby and me

Life in England is a quite different than in Finland. Traffic was my first problem here, when I came. When I arrived to Hatfield, I took a taxi to take me to hotel, where I was supposed to meet my supervisor. When the taxi came, I accidentally open the drivers door thinking that it is the passenger seat. The taxi driver gave me a very weird look, and I apologized and told that we have a different side of traffic in Finland. But after that I did that same mistake many times. Maybe after a month I finally learn how the traffic works.

Even thought people are more open-minded here and they have the small talk but in traffic they are not very polite. If you are about to cross the road and there is the pedestrian crossing  cars won’t stop. Actually, it feels that they even make more speed when they see pedestrian waiting.

Alcohol law is also very different here than in Finland. Just before I came here, I studied alcohol law in Finland. When working, chefs are allowed to drink. They can ask you or even for the supervisor to bring a beer for them. If the evening shift last until midnight, our supervisor might offer us drinks in the hotel’s bar and then he will drop us all to our houses.

You can buy strong spirits in supermarkets and there are no time limits when you can buy alcohol. I found out that, when I went out first time with my workmates. The pub closed 12pm and after that we went to the petrol station to buy some more drinks. When you buy alcohol shop assistant should ask your ID if you look like under 25 years but very often they don’t do that. Alcohol is also a bit cheaper here than in Finland.

In Finland, I separate all my wastes. Cartoon, paper, plastic, bio waste, glass, metal.. In the hotel they don’t separate that much and I think that also in general they put all the wastes to the same bin. After a month of my staying here they finally bring another bin for food waste to our kitchen in the hotel.

In London, all the tourist places are very clean, but in Hatfield there are lot’s of waste in streets. Lot more than in Finland. In my opinion because we recycle all the bottles we have less waste in nature but in here they don’t have that same system which cause a lot’s of waste.

I have enjoyed my time here and I have met so many amazing people so it’s gonna be hard to say goodbye to all of them in two weeks. But I am also ready to go back home to see my family and friends and most of all that I can eat Finnish foods.

Love, Maria

Greetings from the Silktown, Macclesfield!

Before we departured, we were told that Macclesfield is in rural area. As a small-town countryside girl, I was expecting fields and cows everywhere. When we had arrived, and did our first walk from our accommodation to town centre, we were a bit shocked by all the traffic. We were scared to go across the road, since people drive very fast in here and very rarely give space to pedestrians. Soon we learned that Macclesfield is a quite small town, but not as small as we imagined.

We started our placements on the very first week. On the first day we had an induction, where we met our University teacher and our contact person in the hospital. Our first glance of British people, and I got a positive feeling that my time here would be amazing. And so it was.

I can’t even describe how grateful I am that I had the opportunity to come to Macclesfield. I have met and worked with so many amazing people. One day, in my first placement with the Community Nursing, we had done all our home visits and we had some spare time. The nurse I was working with decided to show me Prestbury, which is near Macclesfield, and some of the houses in that area cost £4,000,000! I even got to see Wayne Rooney’s house, which was amazing! She also told me that in Prestbury, Wilmslow and Alderley Edge (they call it the “golden triangle”) all together sells more champagne in a year than in London.

Some of our patients in Community had amazing views from their homes.

I started my placements in Community, and my other placements were in the hospital, orthopaedic ward and gastroenterology ward. I can’t really compare all these three placements, and choose which one was the best. That’s because every single one of them were different in their own way, and they had their own best sides. For example, in community, the team I was working with was so amazing and accepting. I really felt like I was part of their team. It was busier in the orthopaedic ward, but I enjoyed it when my mentor asked me some questions which really made me think and concentrate. I learned so much from her and I’m so grateful she was my mentor. In gastroenterology ward, I think I got a change to do more things myself.

The staff has been great in every placement I’ve been, and I’m more than happy that everyone accepted me and was very welcoming. Compared to Finland, I think student’s role is quite different in England. There isn’t that much that you can do while you do your training. Or even after you’ve qualified. When you’re qualified, you must take extra courses to be able to cannulate, catheterise or even do pressure bandaging.

The Beatles Story in Liverpool.

During these three months we’ve had the chance to travel. Which was one of the things I was really looking forward to. We have been to Stoke-On-Trent, Manchester, Liverpool, Chester, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Knutsford and London. I have seen so many beautiful places and felt like the happiest person in the earth, especially when I got to see my all-time favourite band in March. I cried the tears of pure happiness that night.

Fall Out Boy in Manchester, 29th of March.
The beautiful city of Chester
Camera Obscura, the world of illusions in Edinburgh.

These past three months have not been that easy, especially when most of the time has been spent in training. But still, this has been the time of my life. I will always cherish the memories I made here. And I am sure, I will come back to visit Macclesfield. I think I can say, that this town will always have a special space in my heart. Love,

Emmi-Kaisa x

The land of Brexit

England is the love of my life. I have had a long history with this country for years now especially after my father moved to London. This exchange has only strengthened my love for this country and for the people living in it. And the best part of this is that I got to do all of it with my best friend.

I went to Leeds to study web design. I know we have it at TAMK as well but I wanted to see how it would be taught elsewhere and since I had not taken any of the TAMK courses on the topic yet it was a new learning experience. I also did a visual design course since it seemed interesting and they didn’t have any other web design courses that I could have done with my skills.

It was difficult to set everything up to get to the country and start the studies but once we were past that my time in Leeds turned out to be one of the very best. I got to meet so many amazing people, most of them exchange students as well, and some locals. It paid off to be single on exchange, I am just saying, since that way I met way more locals than through the university. But some very good friends were made even from the very beginning and I hope I can continue to keep in touch with them.

We chose not to stay in the student accommodation but got an apartment just for the two of us. It probably made a difference in the exchange experience but to be honest I was not that excited about sharing a bathroom with five other people. The location was good and the place served us well throughout our studies. It was even big enough to host visitors, and we both had our sisters visit us. The only bad thing was the whole floor mats that made me sick and stuffy for a long time.

The teaching was quite different compared to my home university. The teachers in England required a lot more from us and it was much more student oriented. I only had three courses and for each of them two contact lessons in a week that lasted for about an hour to two hours. So, I was at the university for an hour on Mondays from four till five for example. Talk about freedom. The assignments were interesting and we got professional teaching and tutoring. This way I got to enjoy the endless possibilities on my free time and travel a lot more.

The university had made a deal with a localish travel company. For a fee they would take us around England to see some of the most well-known sights such as the Stonehenge, Bath, Whitby, York, the Lake District and we even travelled to Edinburgh. I loved how easy the travelling was made for us who wanted to experience it. One of the best things during my exchange and even though I have been to England multiple times before I got to see many new places. On my free time I travelled to Manchester, London and the nearby cities of Leeds as well as within Leeds as much as I could.

I noticed that we Finnish people are not that different from English people. The sense humour is very similar and we both come from cold, windy and depressing countries and adjust accordingly. Also, the citizens of both countries, England and Finland, like to drink. The pub culture is different but the idea is the same. We love our alcohol. I cannot even count the hours I spend in a pub just doing homework at 12 am because that was the normal thing to do. I could never do that in Finland.

Some differences between England and Finland that I can think of:

  • Alcohol is cheap in England. Like actually cheap. And well cheap for a Finnish person at least. No wonder people spend their free time in pubs.
  • Pub food is amazing. You really don’t have to go to a fancy restaurant to have good food. You can as well find a decent burger and a drink for a total price of one pound if you know where to go.
  • Only white bread in England. Almost. Like why?
  • Because English people must pay tuition the quality of teaching is quite high. That’s how they get people to choose their universities.
  • The public transport is a joke in England. Like overall, not just in Leeds. Compared to Finland, Tampere, where I usually live and where it works fine, this was a nightmare. But then again, no way I would have gotten a bike and rode it in the traffic.
  • The streets are narrow in England.
  • The whole floor mats are disgusting. So hard to clean and just make you stuffy. One of the worst things about living in England.
  • People are friendlier, in a way at least, in England. So weird getting called “love” by strangers.
  • Oh, and don’t forget your manners or you will hear about it in England. Always say thank to everything, literally to everything, and don’t forget to add please if you’re asking for something.
  • Having tattoos and piercings is quite common in England. So, I fit in quite well. Almost everyone had at least one of either. And it was so cheap to get one done as well. Well at least cheaper than it would in Finland.

I loved almost every second of staying in Leeds. Good food, nice people, great teachers and most importantly amazing friends. I will leave my heart in England.

Living in the UK

I have spent my spring as an exchange student in Univeristy of Portsmouth in the United Kingdom. I participated in three courses and those we had to choose from five possible course options. I was not that pleased in the end of the course options since if I were to have gone to Portsmouth in the fall period, I would have had over 20 course options. I found that the courses I chose had similarities to the courses I have had at TAMK even though the courses description didn’t sound similar to TAMK’s courses. Despite the similarities I can say that I learned new information that I can use in working life in the future. The biggest learning points has been adapting into diverse groups and studying how other students from all over the world study and what kind is their education culture.

During the exchange I had school weekly from Monday to Wednesday – so I had a lot of time to travel around the UK and Europe. The courses that I participated into had quite a lot of reports etc. to write so I couldn’t travel every single weekend – but almost every second weekend I spent in Brighton, London or somewhere in Europe. The train ride from Portsmouth to London took less than 2 hours so as London being my favorite city in the world – I travelled there quite often. Brighton is only 1 hour way from Portsmouth and I really loved that city too. We had a 1 month easter break in April where I interrailed for 2 and a half weeks. The interrail trip started from London, then a bullet train to Paris, then a flight to Nice (French railway system was on a strike), then a 40 min train to Monte Carlo, then an overnight train to Rome (and of course I also visited the Vatican City), then a train to Venice, then Bern in Switzerland and then a 12 hour train to the last destination in Amsterdam from where I flew to Finland for the last part of my easter break before returning to Portsmouth. The ultimate best part of the interrail trip was that when I went to the Vatican City and the Pope was there to greet people and I saw him from just a few meters distance.

As for the differences in the ways of teaching and studying at TAMK versus University of Portsmouth i didn’t find that many. The Portsmouth courses were a bit more theoretical but on the other hand I feel like that the course tasks and exams at TAMK have been more difficult than the ones I had at University of Portsmouth. Also the fact that they had over a month of easter break in the middle of the semester was quite strange to me.

  • Reetta Pienimäki