Tag Archives: United States of America

Living the camp dream

Hi everyone! I’m studying business administration in TAMK. Currently I’m doing a part of my practical training in the United States in New Hampshire as the business manager for a Girl Scouts camp. I came to Camp Wabasso for the first time last year as a general counselor. I had the best time of my life and really wanted to come back but I also needed to do a practical training over the summer. So being the business manager for camp was the ideal deal for me.

Working at a camp is a lot of fun, and no two days are ever the same. Being the business manager my daily duties might be a bit more boring than the other counselors, as I work in the office for the mostpart and only rarely get to participate the camp activities. But I would not change a thing, I have loved being able to combine camp and my field of study.

My daily jobs include going to the post office to deliver outgoing mail and get mail for the campers and staff. Compared to Finland Americans are very big on sending care packages, some kids get more mail in a week than I do in a month at home. On daily basis I also print out emails from parents to the campers. My other duties vary between days. Some days I have the trading post open, where the kids can buy souvenirs and camp gear, I go to the bank to deposit or withdraw trading post money, I do supply runs and answer the parents’ phone calls in the office. Once a week I have a proper office only day, when I do weekly expense reports for everything we’ve used money for.

It is hard to compare the exact job I have to the way it would be in Finland, because I don’t think it really exists in back home. Summer camp culture is very unique to the States. Work culture itself is different in Finland in the USA. Finnish people are generally really hard working, and a lot is expected from every employee. In Finland, we have less people doing the same amount of jobs especially in the service industry. For me this has meant that I’ve taken more initiative and been more proactive than my employer would have expected of me in the beginning. I feel that hierarchy is more important in the States than in Finland. At camp, it is very clear who your supervisor is, and you should always only report any concerns or questions to your supervisor directly, and not anyone else. The upside of this is, that you get a lot of support from your supervisor, as it very clear for them to know who they are supposed to be supporting.

Because camp life is very different to normal life, I also get to do lots of fun things. I’m lifeguard certified, so sometimes I get to cover someone’s free time at the waterfront. We have lots of campfires and cookouts as well. Camp staff is one big community of forty women living and working together in a small area for the whole summer. While it gets hard sometimes, I have never regretted my decision to come back and am already trying to figure out a plan to come back next year.

 

 

Greetings from MSU, United States

I have been studying in Michigan State University in East-Lansing. This is a great place, you could say that the campus is a town itself. If you compare a regular Finnish campus to the campus in MSU it couldn’t be more different!

Michigan State University Main Campus PDF Graphic

https://maps.msu.edu/

As you can see the campus area is a lot bigger than for example the campus area in TAMK. Since I am writing my thesis, big and important difference for me is the library. It is open basically 24 hours a day and there is a cafeteria.

In addition to doing my thesis I have also visited in different social services provided by the university. First of all in the US there is different education system which, in my case, means that in here I would graduate as a Bachelor of Social Work in stead of Bachelor of Social Services. Since in Finland we make difference between social workers and Bachelors of Social Services and in the US they don’t, it is obvious that there are also differences on job descriptions.

If the education system is different so is the social service system. For example MSU offers a lot of services on it’s own for students but there are also community programs which you can read more about in here: http://socialwork.msu.edu/Programs/Community-Outreach/Community-Programs

As I mentioned, the campus is a town itself and there are different activities like student groups or activities organized by OISS (Office for International Students and Scholars). Since we are in America, you can guess that foot ball is a big deal. “Go green, go white!” echoes in the streets of East-Lansing when Spartans play. Underneath there is a photo of Spartan Statue.

Aiheeseen liittyvä kuva

http://testimages.tourtheten.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/SpartyStatueFront-300×260.jpg

So there is a lot to see in MSU! I am so grateful for this experience and if someone asked, I would definitely recommend MSU for a place to study.

Best,

Sini

Greetings from NC State University!

Studying here in NC State has been very different compared to Tamk. Here we have only few hours of lectures in a week. For one class there is only about 2-3 hours of lectures but there is way more homework than in Tamk. Also in here they give us lot of midterms during the year and also final exams in the end. I study engineering and engineering professors do give a lot of homework every week.

 

I have been living in international dorm called Alexander hall on main campus. It has been great experience because I got to meet lot of people all over the world. We have had lot of trips with people of Alexander hall for example we have been hiking in mountains, we have been travelling to Chicago and Washington. There has been lot of events on campus too like every few weeks we have this thing called cups of culture where group of people from same country makes some traditional food for everyone and they also tell about their culture. We have coffee talks every two weeks where people just gather drink coffee and talk about some interesting/important topics. Living with these people has been so nice and interesting.

Kuvahaun tulos haulle alexander hall nc state

Here is a picture of Alexander hall

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This picture is taken from Chicago and these are some of the people of Alexaner hall

Greetings from NC, US

Greetings from North Carolina!

Semester here is getting close to the end, which is sad, but I have enjoyed every single day in here. I think there is a lot of difference in studying here than back in Finland, at least in engineering. First of all I have to say that I study in North Carolina State University and it has very good engineering programs for undergraduate students as a public state school.

As most people probably know already, there is a lot more homework in US schools compared to Finland. The grades are constructed (in most cases) from you homework, projects, midterms and finals. In Finland we usually have only one or two exams per semester. Both has their pros and cons, but there is no denying that studying all the time the whole semester helps you to learn. But as a exchange student, I have to say that sometimes there is too much work, since I would like to travel and have a social life etc.

Compared to the Finnish university life, the American students take studying way more seriously and are much more concerned about their grades than Finnish students.

THE CITY AND SPORTS

Okay, enough of studying, lets talk about the city and sports.

raleigh

Raleigh is the capital of the state of North Carolina. There is about 400 000 people living in Raleigh and about 40 000 people studying at NC State. The campus is about four miles away from downtown, which is not too far away at all if you ask me. The downtown area in Raleigh has a quite few bars and nightclubs which offer live music and things to do for college students.

SPORTS

The school of course has it’s own football and basketball teams and it is a huge deal.

stadium

The Carter Finley stadium has a capacity for almost 60 000 people. It is free for students to go watch the football games. Also what I personally liked a lot it the tailgating before the games. People arrive to the parking lots few hours before the game and have a barbeque, play corn hole, throw football and play many other games and socialize.

Close to the campus there is also the PNC arena where the NHL ice hockey team Carolina Hurricanes play.

arena

As a Finnish person I was very happy to see few NHL games and that the arena was so close to the campus.

LIVING ON CAMPUS

Most students here live on campus which is good idea if you ask me. You are close to your classes and don’t have to commute too much (well depends where you live on campus). Since the campus is quite big, there is a free bus lines going around the campus all day and most of the night too.

ncsu

Since NC State is a public state school the classrooms can (especially in the freshman level) get quite crowded (about 300 people max). But on junior and senior level classes the size drops to a reasonable level (about 20 – 30 people in a classroom).

To sum it up, I really enjoyed the time I have spent here in NC State, especially the student life and all the trips we did with other exchange students and Americans.

Greetings from the US

Hello, how is everyone doing?

My studies are going great. It is a lot different from Finland, but actually in a way that I like. What I have noticed about the US education system in the Universities at least is that in a lot of the courses you actually have to read books and write a lot of essays (not so common in project management studies in Finland). I actually enjoy it quite a bit since you are forced to know stuff or just be simply left behind. Even if there is a lot work, I still feel that I have more free time here than I have ever had in Finland.

Football is fun to watch on spare time, especially the home team's matches, Bemidji Beavers
Football is fun to watch on spare time, especially the home team’s matches, Bemidji Beavers

I have taken courses like Leadership studies, bowling, engineer problem solving and I have loved them all. The teachers are nice, the teachings and even the homework is quite interesting. Even studying feels like free time most of the time.

About the spare time, I’ve had it plenty. I have had the time to travel to Chicago and Miami (I am studying in Minnesota Bemidji, very up in the North). It was good taking a break from the snowy look of  Minnesota to the sunny beaches of Miami

Miami beach, one of my favorite places that I have been to
Miami beach, one of my favorite places that I have been to

But thats about my short update, I have had some very interesting experiences here and I can say that I do not regret any of my time spent here.

Home Away From Home – Life Back in The U.S.

After living and studying in Finland for 2 years I decided that I would do an internship back home so that I could see my family and friends at the same time! It was exciting to be able to take the knowledge and skills I have learned from studying at TAMK and apply them in real work environments and situations.downtown-madison-wi-arts-entertainment-and-politics-1

Unlike many people who are doing their exchange or practical training  I already knew the culture and exactly what to expect when I got there. This had both positive and negative aspects. For example, it was nice that I could focus on working without having to be nervous about making cultural mistakes or having language barriers, but I also understand that sometimes it is good to be put in difficult situations like that  because it forces us to solve problems and become more comfortable with being in uncomfortable situations. These situations make us grow and better understand ourselves.

Even though I was back in my home country for my internship as a marketing assistant I still had to get used to a different city from where I lived as well as a new work environment, but I quickly discovered how to avoid traffic on the way to work and behave in this new work place. I was working quite a lot so I did not have much free time but when I did I visited with my family, and friends from high school. It was nice to be able to go to my old gym to workout and play basketball with my friends.

Madison, Wisconsin at Sunset
Madison, Wisconsin at Sunset

Overall I enjoyed my practical training back home, but I think doing a practical training in a foreign country would be more exciting next time!

 

Loving life in LA

Greetings from sunny California!

Los Angeles is an incredible city, and it is such a privilege to get to live and work here. I am doing my practical trainings for the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, and thus working for the Consulate General of Finland in Los Angeles. I work with passports, residence permits and Schengen visas, and it has been super interesting. Working for the Ministry is just as interesting and great as I always thought it would be, and I am actually looking forward to going to work every day, as funny as that sounds.

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My spare time has, unsurprisingly, been even cooler than work. I adore California climate (hot and sunny), and even more the relaxed and fun LA lifestyle. US has been a great country to live in, and LA is just such a special city. Going out in Hollywood, hiking in Malibu, tanning in Santa Monica,  watching LA Galaxy games in StubHub Center, chilling on Venice Beach, dining in Brentwood – it is just incredible my weeks consist of cool things like these, and that I get to do them on a daily basis. It seems unreal!

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I have truly enjoyed California and the LA life. People are so nice, and there is always something to do or somewhere to go. I also have some holidays, and get to spend them travelling. I am so looking forward to seeing New York, Chicago, Las Vegas and Grand Canyon, seeing how this is my first time in the States.

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All in all it’s been a blast, and I’ve just fallen it love with LA. It is definitely a city I want to move back to at some point in my life.

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Love from LA,

Meri

Life, or to be honest, no life in Bemidji, Minnesota, USA

_aEm6kxd1X-_0gh3V3cICM1wimLwK1sS0zXf3DewpDoHello people!

When I saw Bemidji name in my exchange acceptance letter I was pretty sure I am going to Thailand. Few hours later I decided to check where actually that Bemidji is. Imagine my face when I saw a dot in a middle of North America.  Bemidji did not sound American at all and as I put Thailand as my second and third choice I thought that there is where I am going to. However, I did put USA as my first choice but just because everyone was saying that it is almost impossible to get in I was just trying my luck. And, oh boy,  I was the lucky (???) one!

2014-08-27 18.07.26I have been to the States before and I loved it but I have never been in a middle of Minnesota where the closest city is five hours away by car. In the middle of nowhere, surrounded by nature. Sounds romantic? Well, at least not for four months.

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Some important things need to be mentioned:

1. Wild night life. Everything close at 1:30-2 AM. Dresscode: Crocks, woolen socks and oversized sports shorts.

 

 

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2. Teachers are the ones who phisically are not there. Welcome to the future.

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3. Library is full of booksbut but those you need for your classes you have to buy yourself.

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4. Many rules, like quiet hours, no alcohol on campus.

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5. God is also there and he is in everyone’s heart.

 

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6. Proper food.   IMAG3432

Do not understand me wrong, I love the States but the things that I love are few hours away by plane from Bemidji.
2014-11-23 23.47.21To sum up, Bemidji itself is a great place to be if you are under aged or someone middle age.

God bless you!

Vainora