Tag Archives: United Kingdom

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. ❤️

Cheers from Portsmouth, UK!

Life in Portsmouth has been swell. I liked the city the moment I stepped out of the train and it has been a very rewarding exchange destination as it is a nice smaller town close to the sea, where sceneries are beautiful and small-town people are friendly.

Portsmouth

The studies here have been, to say the least, confusing. I had three courses I had to choose, overall and most of them have classes that only last for 60 minutes, while in Finland, I am used to much longer lessons. I have a marketing course, where one has to learn at home by oneself all the case studied, PP slides and online seminars for next class alone and then we go into class just to quickly discuss what we learned at home. I do not think this is a good way fo teaching, as one can fast have confusion or misunderstandings without the support of classmater or the teacher, when learning something new. Another difference here is the obsession with referencing. Of course, in TAMK referencing is important as well, but here it feels like the main thing of learning, whereas I feel like the content of the course should be the thing. The good thing is that I have a lot of freetime, as I only have school three times a week. The bad thing is that I do not like the teaching style here, at all. But it has been a learning experience, me being thankfull I get to study in a school like TAMK, rather than here. Of course, I also did not have as much options of courses to choose from as the students coming here during their autumn exchange, which might also affect the courses and the styles they are taught with! I have enjoyed the marketing course in a sense that it has taught me so much new things about the subject and the teacher is tough, but fair and I like her.

Bath Spa

My spare time has been spent a lof on travelling with my roommates. I was super lucky to have three girls whom I absolute adore to live with and we have travelled England a lot during our freedays. We usually have a trip booked for every week. This has been a wonderful chance to travel and see cities, where I might not take the chance of travelling to otherwise, because they are smaller cities or quite far away from normal travel destinations in England. The furthest I have been to was in Inverness, Scotland. This has been an amazing journey of seeing the country and really experiencing the English culture to its fullest. I feel time is flying way too fast!

me in Oxford, happy to hunt for Harry Potter locations

Compared to Finland, the studying style here is not as good, in my honest opinion. In Finland, I feel more effort has been put into the teaching style and methods and it is easier to learn in class with others, not at home, by yourself. As an international class, I also feel that in TAMK, the english language level has been a bit higher than in the international group here. Still, it has been a nice learning experience personally to live alone in a completely new environment and I have enjoyed the English way of life wholeheartedly. Also, experience with how the teaching in other countries is like is very valuable for me as a student. I will miss the pub culture and the kindness of total strangers, two big parts of the English culture and lifestyle!

Windy day in Portsmouth by the sea

A wee greeting from Glasgow

I actually didn’t know what to expect. I left to this trip without expectations, so I could enjoy it fully and I kinda succeed in that. I had almost a week free before starting the school and that time I used to walk and get known to the city. Glasgow is full of beautiful old buildings and it makes you wonder what kind of life they had before the modern times.

Anyway.

The reason I chose Scotland for my destination was kind straight forward. I wanted to go to a country where I can manage with my own English and is not “too far away” from Finland and there I had it. Country where I can live with english and study environmental engineering.

Lectures started, and it was little different what I would have thought. Students mostly sat and listened and then we headed home, and work needed to be done at your free time, but I got used to it kind quickly.

Days went by day after day and week after week.

Since accommodation was next to the school no public transport was needed. Just crossed the road and there you are but there was a major difference, yes, I mean traffic. It took 2 months to get used to the fact that first you have to check right and then left. Not vice versa.

Free time mostly went just walking around the city but time to time school event team organized day trips to further away with cheap prices. I got to see Edinburg, Stirling, Kelpies and lots of many other things that cannot be seen in Finland. The most breathtaking and mesmerizing event was enchanted forest and it is way beyond describing.

I don’t see much of a difference in studies between Scotland and Finland. Both have lectures and esseys and reports you work at home. One thing you had to do was to “check in” with your student cards which indicates that you are in class.

Time went flying and my exchange studies have almost come to an end and I say you if you got the opportunity to do studies abroad, JUST DO IT.

Everyday life of Wolverhampton Wanderer

Greetings from Wolverhampton, United Kingdom! I’m Veera, construction engineering student from Finland and I’m doing an Erasmus in England.

Picture 1: Part of the campus.

Our campus here is huge. Pretty much half of this (small) town’s buildings belongs to the University.

Here in the University of Wolverhampton we don’t have many lectures and even if we do, we are not required to go there if we don’t want to. However, I work more for the University here than I do in Finland, but mostly cause it takes so much time to read and write in a foreign language.

 

Pictures 2&3. On the left: a silent study area with a nice view. On the right: Mainstream. But yes, we have a Starbucks on campus.

Most of my friends here are also exchange students and we all live in an university accommodation. Everyone has their own tiny room with a bed and a table in it and then you share your kitchen and bathroom with five other people.

Football is a big thing here. Wolverhampton Wanderers F.C. (Wolves) compete in the Premium League and the stadium is between the accommodation and the university, so you cannot miss out a match day. On match days there are a lot of kiosks near to the stadium, and one of my favorite things here is buying some sausage and chips on my way home after a long day at the library!

Yesterday (2 March 2019) I happened to walk beside the stadium when Wolves scored their winning goal against Manchester United. Memorable moment.

 

Picture 4: Molineux stadium.

Wolverhampton is a small but well-connected town. Birmingham International airport is only 30 minutes away and coaches to London leave almost every hour. I’ve been to London four times already and during our winter break we flew from Birmingham to Ireland and tickets were only 60 euros each. Also Manchester and Liverpool are only few hours away. Since lectures here are optional, you can easily travel a lot if you want to.

In conclusion, Wolverhampton has been a good place to do Erasmus. Studying here is pretty much what I excepted and there are a lot of exchange students here so it’s super easy to make friends.

Best,

Veera

Mind the keyframes

I did my practical training with Squeezed Media in London, UK. They are an animation and video production company in central London, with a diverse client base featuring several well-known international brands, some of which I also got to work with.

An illustration of mine in the office kitchen

The five months went incredibly fast and the experience was more than valuable. I helped animating 2D explainers, created some animation assets for use in projects, made small animations for the company’s social media, carved a pumpkin, and studied new softwares in the spare time. With a solid knowledge of animation already, I dived deeper into the world of motion design and learned to apply animation principles in motion graphics work. To sum up the time with Squeezed Media it was only fitting to make a small animation:

Moreover, I got to see how a well functioning creative company works in the UK and noticed some cultural differences too. “Friday beers” is a very common thing on the island which feels a bit strange to a Finn. I learned some new English phrases too. For example, the correct answer to ‘thank you’ is “that’s all right”. Very rarely does one hear ‘you’re welcome’ like they taught in school.

A strange concept to a Finn, having to travel for an hour to see a forest. Picture from Epping Forest.

The UK has some other interesting features too from a foreigner’s perspective, and especially London is overwhelming to someone coming from a small town. As the center of the world – at least historically – it’s incredibly diverse. British cuisine may not be the most famous aside from their fish and chips and I believe they might not even realize it themselves but avocado has totally taken over the island as a work of mine demonstrates:

Traffic in the UK is very smooth and easy. One only has to know from which platform the train departs (it’s usually not announced in advance), some buses have a special smart card to pay for the journey, in some one can pay by debit/credit card, some take cash only, some have change and some only accept exact fares – simple. Of course they drive on the wrong side, but to make that easier there are signs on the road telling pedestrians which way to look.

All in all, Squeezed Media gave me a strong professional skillset and experience for the UK market, and as a result I will keep minding the gap and exploring the island further.

Above a small animation I made for World Kindness Day.

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!!!