Tag Archives: United Kingdom

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

Greetings from Macclesfield!

Just unbelievable how fast time has passed, I’m almost (When finally posted already finished)  finishing my final placement here and only a week and I will fly back to home. And guess what? All of the “During exchange” -tasks still not done. Oops!

Like a typical for me before take-off I was hoping much: A lot of new friends, parties, travelling, my prince of charming (Maybe successful placements as well)… Just a wonderful life without any problems. Basically I was hoping all of my dreams come true at once. Although I was expecting a lot of problems, home sickness and break downs. I was sure that I had done a big mistake when I decided to do that exchange. I thought that there is no way to manage with my English skills and all of that experience will just end up to totally disaster. How you can probably guess neither of those scenarios didn’t happened. Instead of those I have been living a normal everyday life here. I have done my placements in hospital and community, went to the gym (and lost a bit weight, Yippee!) and stuff like that. But you know what? I  have enjoyed it, I really have. And of course I had have a bit time to just enjoy the country as well.

Wonderful how country changes the person. (I just walked with all of those bags 1,5 kilometers.)

 

My two first placements were in the hospital. (Orthopedic ward and Gastroenterology ward.) At the beginning just understanding what’s going on in the busy ward insisted my full concentration and on the side of that I had to do couple of mandatory training as well. So my first week contained 51 hours dealing with my rubbish English in totally new environment.  You can just imagine how exhausted I was when I finally got home after 13 hours day. However I settled very well right from the beginning and I knew that the decision of coming here was correct. Before I came here I was little worried if I can’t learn anything because of the language barrier. But how wrong I was, I learnt so much!  Nursing skills like IV’s, injections, understanding of isolation, drugs, early warning scores… Facing the patients and family felt hard sometimes but most of them were really kind and understanding. And however when there was a language barrier, specially at the beginning, between us I had to concentrate my nonverbal communication even more. I tried to show with my body language and facial expressions that I really am  interested in to be in there and learn things. I also learned that it’s more important how I say things than what I actually say. And I think this is something what I could’t have learnt in Finland using my own language.

Currently I’m doing my final placement in community (last couple days also), with District Nurses. So now I’m facing people in their own houses and I still can’t use my own language. Wow, what a combination. Now I have to respect their home as well, not only the person. So difficult but at the same time so teaching. With District nurses there has been a little different things what I have done and seen than in hospital. A lot of different kind of wounds, injections, drains, diabetics. And just patients supporting through the hard times or situations in their life. So yes, community is totally different than hospital so it’s really nice to see it as well. And to be honest it’s nice to see sun light during the working day instead of being inside from 7am to 8pm.

Differences between nursing in UK and Finland:
1. Training: When you are a qualified nurse in Finland you can do almost everything. In UK you have to have extra-training for doing bloods, cannulation, catheters, pressure bandages… And probably many other things what I can’t remember even.
2. Breaks: During 13 hours shift they have totally 1 hour break and it’s unpaid.
3. Hurry: Totally different here than what I have used to in Finland. Some days nurses didn’t even sit down or eat. They just drank strong juice to keep their blood sugar up and mind focused.
So I have to say that in my opinion we are quite lucky in Finland.

 

Although both of us, me and my room mate Emmi, have done full hours, 39-40 hours/week, with our placements we had done a lot of travelling and experiences as well. We have seen a lot of beautiful places and interesting things.

SNOWING!!! Felt like a home in Stoke-on-Trent in March.

“When your friend is a super-fan and you are not even sure who you are going to see” But thank you Fall Out Boy I still enjoyed! @Manchester

@Liverpool and Beatles Story

 

Almost as dirty water as in Aurajoki @Chester! Sometimes expectations and reality doesn’t face each other… And I’m talking about the picture, Chester was amazing!

 

4D-movie (or 3D? Whatever!) in Sea Life @Birmingham

Getting those fishes to the same picture with us wasn’t so easy thing to do…

@Edinburgh and Edinburgh Castle

Playing in Camera Obscura @Edinburgh

Still alive after Underground City Of The Dead Tour @Edinburgh!!!

May Day Carnival @Knutsford
There I was brave enough to face one of my biggest fears and I went to the swing carousel which went high! Wow, It was amazing feeling after that!

 

Although those cities has been amazing and I have enjoyed about visiting there I’m so happy that we have been living in here, our own love Macclesfield. Just a right size town where I can walk around wearing pink raincoat and wellies.

 

Originally I applied for an exchange on my own and I didn’t have a friend to come with me. But thank you Tamk so much that you didn’t send me here alone, I am really grateful for that! Exchange is an experience what you can’t explain or tell to anyone so it’s amazing that I could share it with someone. Although we didn’t know each other before exchange process now we necessarily do. We have lived together almost 3 months, shared a kitchen and bathroom, done travelling together, sort out problems together, got drunk together, laughed together (Not cried together because Emmi doesn’t cry) and done an amazing experience together. Of course Emmi has been really annoying sometimes and I could have send her back home with next flight but I’m still sure that I have done it better – Annoying I mean. And after all I’m quite sparkling and hot-tempered person so it has been nice that someone had reassure me a little when I have needed it.

For example sorting out this heating problem at the beginning of our exchange was a bit easier (and funnier) together.

 

While doing my placements I met a lot of wonderful people who made me feel welcome. My mentors in Gastroenterology ward and Community were brilliant! They got to know me and let me do and see a lot of different things. I always felt that I can question them as a mentor and say if I’m not confident of doing something or if I need more supervision. In Orthopedic ward I didn’t have a mentor so it was a little different there but anyway I always got someone to look after me.

And when talking about great mentors I want to introduce you my mentor in Community, Fiona who wants to be famous in Finland.

 

I just can’t to resist the temptation of sharing couple of highlights of our restaurant foods. Sorry, if you weren’t hungry yet, soon you probably are.

 

Although experience has been amazing and I’m super happy that I was brave enough to came here. I’m really excited of going home as well. I can’t wait to see all of those important people who I haven’t seen for a while. Speaking Finnish in grocery, doing Finnish things with my Finnish friends… Oh, I really miss those things. And those working internet and telephone connections what we have in Finland!! I can’t even count how many times I have thought to throw my laptop or phone through the window because of the poor connection. But not long to go anymore so see you soon Finland! (But before that see you London!!! Uuu, Excited!) 

 

Love, Laura xxx

 

Ps. I spend something like 15 hours by doing that one blog post but I did it alone, nobody correct it for me. That’s something what I wouldn’t do before the exchange so I’m more than brave about that blog post.

Greetings from Wolverhampton

Greetings from the United Kingdom.

I’m now having my last month in the UK, just need to finish my assignments and exams and then my Erasmus exchange comes to its end.

I’m studying at the University of Wolverhampton, and here I’m taking a Construction Management course. First weeks I had problems with understanding the teachers, because the local accent is quite difficult to understand. With time understanding them became easier and I started to remember words related to construction industry so I didn’t need to translate everything I read or heard. I was the only exchange student on my modules and the teachers took it into account, for example they were often asking if I was able to understand them because of the accent.
At my exchange university there are not many lectures and tutorials for a module. There are four hours of classroom teaching per a module in a week, but students are expected to study a lot on their free time. Often after the lectures I go to the university library to work on my assignments.
What I like about the teaching style in here is that the teachers tell about their own experiences at lectures, which keeps them interesting. They also often bring up current topics from the construction news.

    

I have lectures only on three days a week, so I have quite a lot spare time here. Usually during the weekdays I spent my free time at the gym and with my friends. There are not that much to do in Wolverhampton, so we usually just hang together with our Erasmus group.

When weekend comes I usually do something more ” special ”, for example travelling. Only twenty minutes by train and we are in Birmingham, which has many thing to do. I’ve travelled a lot on my own, but also the university arranges trips for students to different cities in the UK. I think the trips arranged by the university have been great, we take a bus together but we can spent the time on the cities as we want. Because of these trips I’ve seen many amazing places where I wouldn’t have thought about going by myself.

Studying culture in here is quite different compared to Finland, studying here is much more relaxed. For example a student being half an hour late from lecture is normal here, and the teachers usually don’t mind.
In here they don’t have mandatory attendance, and there are usually a lot fewer students at the lectures at the end of the semester than at the beginning.

I’m really glad that I decide to have an exchange year, because this has been one of the best experiences of my life.

You alright, mate?

Hiya!

I spent three months in the surprisingly warm and sunny Portsmouth in the south coast of England. Who knew there are palm trees in the English seaside? Portsmouth is a coastal city, slightly smaller than Tampere, and the main part of the city is actually located on an island, although I only realised this about halfway through my stay there. People always say that the English weather is horrible but I was actually surprised by how warm it was. Even though Portsmouth is on the south coast, I didn’t expect to have 14 degree temperatures in November. Maybe the weather is horrible in everyone else’s mind, but for a Finn it actually feels very nice?

I study International Business and I specialise in marketing. Unfortunately, there weren’t many marketing courses, or units, as the English call them, on offer at Portsmouth. Since most of the units last a full year there were only a few options for those spending only half a year. Most of the units offered to exchange students are actually shortened versions of the whole year units, so almost all of the other students are exchange students as well, which was nice in a way, because at the beginning of the year everyone was in the same situation. Still, it would have been nice to get to know some of the local students as well. Despite that, I enjoyed most of my studies, and found them in someway relevant or interesting. I also enjoyed working with the other exchange students, and since everyone was foreign, the classes were quite diverse.

In England, or at least in Portsmouth, there are only a few classes every week. I had 5 units, and most of them only had two hours of class every week. One hour lecture for everyone in the unit, and then one hour seminar in smaller groups. I found this to be a quite good way of learning, although it meant that my timetable was quite scattered. Attendance was mandatory for all classes, although no one checked for attendance in the lectures. In the seminars, however, if you miss 3 consecutive lessons, you’d essentially fail the class.

In my free time, I’d hang out in the city. There are three main “city” areas to Portsmouth. There’s Commercial Street, which is right by the University and is the actual city centre, with all the shops and things like that. Then there’s Gunwharf Quays, which is a more fancy, touristy, high end shopping and restaurant area, right by the sea and the harbor. The third one, which I liked best, is Southsea, which is where all the good bars and restaurants are. It’s on the southern side of the city, although almost everything in is within walking distance. Southsea is, in my opinion, the most beautiful area of Portsmouth, and it is the area of Portsmouth that looks the most like a stereotypical English coast city.

Southsea might be my favorite area in the city, but what I really loved doing in Portsmouth, was walking on the seaside. Being a Finn, I’m used to there being water around me all the time, and I’m not going to lie, the sea was a big reason for me when choosing Portsmouth as my exchange destination.

Since Portsmouth isn’t a very big city, I also visited the bigger cities around it, like Brighton, Southampton, and Bornmouth, as well as the absolutely beautiful Isle of Wight. Portsmouth is also only a 90 minute train drive away from London, when the trains are running that is, so I visited London quite a few times. On the last week of my stay, my boyfriend and I flew to Scotland, which was absolutely amazing and quite possibly my favorite part of my stay. We rented a car and drove around the Scottish highlands for a day, and I’m not lying when I say I’ve never seen anything so beautiful. Coming back to Portsmouth was almost a disappointment, since it was so close to Christmas and there was no snow in England, unlike in Scotland.

Compared to Finland, studying in England was quite different. There were fewer classes every week, but that meant you were expected to do more reading at home. Based on some of the teachers’ comments, I was slightly intimidated of the workload, but after receiving my grades, I can happily say that I managed just as well as at TAMK, with pretty much the same amount of work.

The grading of the units was based on an essay, a presentation, or an exam. The exchange students, however, didn’t have any exams, since those take place in January, and the autumn semester ended on the 15th of December. Most of my units were graded based on an essay, which I had never written in TAMK, only reports, so I found this quite challenging, and had to spend a lot of time in the library. This was another difference to TAMK. Students actually hang out in the library a lot, and the library is open 24/7. I liked it though. When doing groupworks, or writing essays, the library was a good place to gather in, since most of the exchange students lived in student housing, so there wasn’t enough room in anyone’s apartment to hang out it. All in all, student life is much more inclusive compared to Finland. There are different clubs for students, for different sports, different ethnicities, different diets, different political orientations etc. There’s even a Quidditch club, which is quite possibly the awesomest and most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard of. Every week is a student night in the city, with different events in different venues. Basically, if you’re a student, your whole life revolves around the university.

Portsmouth to me was quite an ideal destination. I love the city, I had great flatmates and I met amazing people from all around the world. I love the seaside, and the short distance to London. I don’t just miss the people I met there, I also miss the city itself and I’m very happy I chose to go there. It’s one of my favorite places in the world, like a home away from home, and I’m definitely going back there.

Leeds, UK

I can’t say I had heard of Leeds before my studies there. Kind of weird, since it is the third biggest city in England, with a whopping 2,4 million residents in its metropolitan area. The truth is that I never even applied there; I got to find out during my application process that in order for me to study in the UK, I need to take a spot in Leeds. And so I did.

Leeds city centre

What I really applaud Leeds for, is that as a small town girl who thinks even Tampere is big, Leeds never felt overwhelming. The city centre is big compared to Tampere, for sure, but it’s also oddly compact. If you leave the central area you will quickly find yourself in the suburbs and more sparsely populated areas. Our campus was not in the centre either, but in an area called Headingley, which I really liked despite having to travel a bit more to get there.

Kirkstall Abbey, monastery ruins and park in Leeds

I felt like the studies in Leeds more or less matched with what they are in Finland. I had three modules (that’s what the Brits call their courses), and I think it was just the right amount for an exchange student, since you really don’t want to spend your whole time just studying. Even though my schedule felt quite empty, the modules did require a lot of time and effort, so it was a good balance. I really enjoyed the lectures and the assignments we got, so could have not been better in my opinion.

Headingley campus library

I think the biggest difference to Finland is just the sheer size of the campuses. They are absolutely massive! Headingley campus alone had over ten buildings you might have your lecture in, there’s a huge library that’s literally open 24/7 (I mean how cool is that?), the campus cafeteria had three restaurants to choose from, and each campus has its own bar. Yeah, a real bar you can get a drink at. Oh, and campus shops. Reasonably priced campus shops. Definitely miss that.

On my free time I did quite a bit of travelling around UK with my flatmate and classmate Tiia. We visited York, Whitby, Alnwick, Durham, Edinburh (twice!), Bath, Stonehenge, Lake District and London. I also visited Glasgow and Manchester. Dublin is definitely something I would have liked to see as well, but we only had so much time and resources. I have so many memories from this entire journey, so many pictures, so many people I met, I wouldn’t change it for the world.

 

The Southampton Times

My studies in Southampton have been constructed by different units from different courses. I am studying Music Production in TAMK, but wanted to add a little bit of visual media studies while I was over at Solent University. In the end my studies in Solent included Studio recording and mixing, music video production and practicing a live set with a university band. It turned out to be a nice and balanced combo of units. A big percentage of the studies was working with groups, but we also had some little individual assignments to go with it.

Southampton is not exactly the place one would like to go visit on the holidays. Though it is a coastal town it does´t really have the coastal feeling that most would maybe hope for. Most of the shoreline is covered with ports with big ships importing and exporting goods, and the beach is no where to be seen because there isn´t one. Though it´s not the most idyllic coastal city, it has a certain rough romantic touch to it. If it so happens that you´ll get bored with Southampton, there´s a lot of great places to visit by just spending a little of your time on a public transportation system. Bournemouth and Brighton for example; do have the idyllic beaches and would be the kind of place to visit for a summer holiday.

There is a good music scene in Southampton, with cool venues and open mics all day. I have got to know some of the locals involved in music, and through them I have found myself in some house parties/music events that I would have otherwise missed completely. There is a lot of activities to choose from, if you want to activate yourself and get involved in stuff. There is even surfing and scuba diving if you want to go all in. I myself settled to start a little climbing hobby which included a weekly climb at The Boulder Shack , social nights of drinking and chatter, and an occasional trip to a climbing destination. All in all my stay in the UK has been a blast and there will be a lot of friendly faces missed, though I think I will not be settling down in Southampton for longer. Been there, done that, got the hat.

Mail from the United Kingdom

Greetings!

A full year exchange in Southampton Solent University, UK, has been an amazing journey. I major game art in TAMK and I was looking for some more in-depth teaching in that area, so I found out Solent offers great courses taught by game art professionals, I truly recommend it!

As I took courses from both first year and second year to get as much practical experience as possible I had to work harder than I had used to in TAMK. I got lots of honest feedback and support from classmates who all were friendly and great to hang around, so even as practically the only exchange student in the class I didn’t feel out of place and it was great to work in such an inspiring environment. I gained new skills and leveled up in so many areas!

Marathon watching in the town center.

The town was invaded by 100 art zebras last summer!

Southampton itself is not much larger than Tampere, so I felt pretty comfortable living there. Most of my weekends I would work on school projects, but there was plenty of time to do fun stuff as well. We explored the town with my exchange friends and classmates after school and weekends; it has no beach but an active harbour, two large shopping centres, many pretty parks, Sprinkles (the best waffle & ice cream place!), and all kinds of events during weekends, like marathons, concerts, art exhibitions, street music and so on. If you wish to go shopping, go before midday, because places get pretty crowded after school/work, as if the whole town is out there! They also have four movie theaters there like Odeon IMAX or the school’s own Sonar theater which has an amazing quality of sound.

Southampton in full bloom in May.

Sprinkles, mmmm…

I also visited London once or twice a month as my close relative lives in Northern London. For that reason I had already familiarised myself with the metropolis, and I find coaches, trains and the underground easy to use. There I attended a Halloween party held by their neighbours, visited the Winter Wonderland, National History museum and Science museum (with a robot exhibition), and attended London Comic Con and EGX Rezzed (game convention). Good times! This exchange adventure has given me courage, wisdom and power more than I could have imagined!

Have an awesome exchange!

Julia

Greeting from the UK!

Hello everyone!

I was doing my exchange in Southampton Solent University, United Kingdom, the last semester (2016-2017). I took courses from both game art and graphic design, but mainly focusing in graphic design. The studies were a lot different when compared to the ones I had done in TAMK; I felt that the level of teaching was excellent in Solent University, both in game art and graphic design units. The tasks were more challenging yet I felt that I learned so much more although I was there only for a year. There were a lot of feedback sessions in small groups, which helped everyone to progress in the right direction with their tasks.

During my exchange most of my time was taken by school because of the amount of tasks and how much research you had to do for them, but on weekends I usually had a day or two to hang out with my new friends. I was also able to do couple trips while staying in the UK, for example in Oxford, Warwick Castle, Brighton and of course many many times in London. It only takes one and a half hour by train to London, and if you booked your tickets in advance you could get them pretty cheap!

Warwick castle

There were peacocks in the Warwick castle, just wandering around among the visitors.

Brighton had beautiful beaches and of course Mr. Whippies!

Southampton was a nice place to study and it reminded me a lot of Tampere, where I’m currently studying in Finland. There were a lot of coffee shops and restaurants where to hang out with your friends, and my university had clubs for almost every hobby there is. The city wasn’t too big or small, and it had lots of beautiful parks which I wish we had here in Finland!

Cheers, Inka

Missing Leeds

It’s been soon three months since I arrived back from my exchange semester in the city of Leeds, UK. I can say that it was one of the best experiences in my life. During that time I travelled more than ever before, met a bunch of fantastic people, and gathered tons of new impressions. I’ve been also struck by wanderlust, and since the end of exchange period I’ve already visited four different countries!

The first morning of school.

Regarding my studies… I can’t say that I learned a lot (at least in my main field of interest). I study film making and specialize on sound design, but unfortunately didn’t really gain any new knowledge in that area in Leeds Beckett University. But I did return with my own film, which I didn’t expect. Never could have I realized an experimental short film as a part of my studies back in Tampere. I had a wonderful tutor who was excited about the idea and helped me to find my style.

Making of the animation bit for my short film”The House”.

All exchange students were so keen on making new friends at the beginning of the exchange period that there was never lack of activity during spare time. Leeds is a very cool city for students. It has it all: pubs, clubs, music venues, festivals, cinemas… You name it. But I wanted to see more – through a travel company aimed for students, and also by our own, we maid numerous weekend trips to different places in England, from Brighton to Edinburgh.

Leeds city centre.
Man United – Wigan, FA Cup Playoffs match.
Probably my favorite place in Leeds and a block away from my house, a cinema built in 1914, Hyde Park Picture House.

I don’t know when will I be back in UK again (hopefully while it’s still a part of EU…), but I do know I already miss living in Leeds.

My home street, Brudenell Avenue.

Slinging cocktails in London

I came to London for two reasons, I wanted to work in a cocktail bar in the city which has the best bars in the world and secondly I wanted to visit those bars and see why they are the best.

Nine to five

I started work at the end of May in Bethnal Green, area in East London. The bar is called London Cocktail Club and it has eight venues all over the city. The venue I work in is the only one above ground and it has a terrace, which means I don’t have to rot the whole summer in a cellar bar without seeing the sun. We were also the only bar without air con, which meant lot of sweating during busy days. Luckily the those times are over, because now we have a cool breeze coming from the brand new air con -machine.

LCC Bethnal Green, my workplace

This year this company was nominated in top 10 of Tales of the cocktail’s  Spirited Awards “best international high volume cocktail bar”-list.(https://talesofthecocktail.com/news/tales-cocktail-announces-top-10-nominees-2017-spirited-awards ). Which should look good on my CV.

For the customers the bar is kind kind of a party place, like the company’s motto says: “… a bartenders paradise! A bar that parties like the best of them, and mixes the worlds greatest drinks to perfection. A place where you can dance on the tables whilst singing to AC/DC, sipping on the perfect dry Martini!” And it gets crazy during the weekends, customers are literally dancing on tables and everyone is having fun, including the staff.

But as we work there, we can’t just party all the time, we also work and train ourselves to be better. Lots of prepping and cleaning to do also, I’ve had to juice lemons, limes, grapefruits, make sugar syrup, pre-batch liquors, wash glasses by hand (we don’t have a dish washer) and break down stations after closing time. So basically just normal bar work, what I’ve used to do. But I have also learned a lot new things and skills during my time here.

For example I’ve had to learn a completely new way of pouring, free pouring, which means you can’t use a jigger and you have to count the amounts in your head while you make the drinks. That took a lot of practice and I still have to practice it daily, but I’ve become quite good at it now. I also had to memorize the whole menu and specs for the cocktails, which includes about 70 different drinks. That took me couple of weeks before I passed the spec test and pour test, so I could start bartending.

We also do training with the whole company on Thursdays, the subjects vary from different spirits to opening your own bar, so they have been very interesting and educational.

Bartenders weekend

At the beginning, when I had more spare time, I spent a lot of time seeing things and going to places. Because I live kind of in the middle of the city, it’s not too far to walk anywhere, so I like to do it a lot, which is weird according to my work mates, even though the buses and tube are very easy to use as well.

I’ve visited many museums, like Tate modern and British museum, which is five minute walk away from my flat. My goal is to see everything in the British Museum before I leave, don’t know if I have time to finish that though.  Another hobby of mine has been walking around looking for street art, especially Banksy’s.

Otherwise I have been kind of a bad tourist, because I have been here for almost three months and I still haven’t gone to see the Big Ben, and it took me almost two months before I even saw Thames.

Banksy street art
Andy Warhol in Tate Modern

My touristic sight seeing has been more of  going to the bars which I’ve read a lot online and heard so much about, like Dandelyan, the top-3 bar in the world, The Gibson, bar that serves the weirdest looking cocktails what I’ve seen, and my personal favourite: Happiness Forgets, a small cellar bar with very good atmosphere and minimalistic cocktails.

Cocktails in Dandelyan
Napue cocktail in Nightjar

I’ve also spent time with my work mates, we’ve been out couple of times together, seen movies and just hanged around, we even went to a festival in Victoria Park with everyone in the company.

On the other hand, I’ve spent a lot of my spare time at home watching Netflix and doing chores like laundry and washing dishes, because nowdays I work much more than in the beginning so it’s nice to relax and do nothing during the days off.

staff night out
Mighty Hoopla -festival
I had a chance to visit Imbibe Live, a exhibition for bar professionals
Differences to Finland

I see a lot of same in the working culture over here that we have in Finland. The British people like punctuality and precision like we do in Finland.  The wages are about the same in both countries.

The biggest differences what I see is the customer service, because it is more personal in here, it is the most important thing what you have to do, little bit of small talk, making guests feel comfortable etc. Here it’s been taken to an another level compared to Finland. And that is one of the thing what I came here to learn. Partly customer service is on that level here is probably because of the general culture, like the small talk, and partly because some of the restaurants and bars have a service charge added to the bill, which goes directly to the staff, and if you don’t serve guests well, they don’t want to pay it. But still there is the certain something that makes you feel comfortable when you walk in to a venue with good service.

Here the alcohol industry is very close to you when you work here, there’s lot of different events, competitions, exhibitions and lot of leg work by brand ambassadors coming to showcase their products to you. And that brings you closer to professionals and industry leaders, and gives you more possibilities to advance in your career.

Stoli Elit martini competition

But all in all bar industry is pretty much the same everywhere and there is similar working cultures around the world and at the same time two bars on the same street might have totally different ways of working and doing things compared to each other.