Greetings from Porto!

These past three months have gone by so fast. It is almost Christmas and I have already done my first two exams. Porto is an absolutely beautiful and captivating city. The city have become familiar and started to feel like home. It is easy to move around and live everyday life here. I have travelled and seen so many things that it is sometimes overwhelming. I have visted the capital Lisbon and beautiful little cities called Aveiro, Braga and Geres.

   

The school was a little culture shock at the beginning. Mostly because it was strange to do face-to-face studying after two years of distance studies. Now everything is going on smoothly and I have been very satisfied with the courses I have selected. Comparing to Finland the school is little bit more laid-back. Portuguese people are not so strict with timing so it is normal to be late from 5 to 15 minutes. That has been a hard thing for a Finn to learn but actually it is kind of nice that people aren’t in a rush and so punctual all the time.

     

My everyday life here is build of studying, exercising, participating in social events and getting to know the country and the city by traveling and tasting the traditional food for example (and Port wine of course). The traditional Portuguese food haven’t been my favourite, but the famous dessert Pastel de Nata is amazing (if you get it from the right place). The picture above is from my favourite Nata place in Porto called Natas D’Ouro. And for a brunch lover there are so many amazing places here!

     

My three absolute favourite things in Porto are the beautiful sunsets, architecture and the kindness of the natives. I have also learned how to surf. Surfing in here is quite common sport because of the good and big waves at the coast of Portugal. The adrenaline rush has been amazing after successful surfing lesson!

-Milla Haaparanta

Greetings from Madrid!

The exchange is coming to an end. The last month here is going to be super busy with the exams. I study International Business in a private university called Universidad Francisco de Vitoria. The school is located a bit further away from the city but it is a big campus which is super nice. On the campus we have different cafeterias, study areas and you can play a lot of different sports there. The studies are definitely different than at home in Finland but it’s been good so far!

I live right in the center of Madrid, in an area called Sol. The city is very beautiful with its old buildings and cute restaurants & cafes. I literally have everything so close to my apartment that the time after school has been easy to spent exploring the city. Here In Madrid you can walk for hours and the city doesn’t end so it’s super nice. There is also a beautiful, large park nearby where you can get a bit of nature! One thing that I’ve had to get used to is that there is so many people on the streets here. It can be super overwhelming sometimes and it can be hard to get stores or restaurants in the weekends.

  

I came to the exchange alone and I haven’t met any Finnish people yet. I think that it has been nice though since I’ve only spoken English and a little bit of Spanish here as well. I have met so many great people here in my studies and also elsewhere when travelling other places here in Spain. People here are super open and friendly! Most of the Erasmus/international people life in the center so it’s easy to see people outside school as well.

Overall, I love the atmosphere of Madrid. The people are friendly but also super chill and not stressed at all which is super weird but so nice at the same time. The habit of sitting down and eating dinner late in the evening for hours is so nice! You get the chance to really spend time with your friends and eat super good food and drink sangria of course!

Saludo desde Madrid!

Greetings from Madrid! I have enjoyed my studies here since I am a Business Administration student and here it is possible to study business related to tourism which interests me a lot. Also, I think Spain has a lot to offer in studies in tourism since here the tourism industry is one of the world’s biggest.

In my spare time here, I have traveled as much as possible around Spain. On previous trips, before coming here I have organized my excursions, but here in Spain, I have used travel agencies who have mainly targeted their excursions at university students, which is another reason why it has been nice to go on these trips since meeting other fellow students.

Otherwise, I have spent my free time getting to know Madrid, studying Spanish, meeting new people, meeting friends from Uni, and participating in Erasmus Student Network events such as group dinners, museum tours, excursions, and of course bar nights.

At the Uni here in Spain, things seem to go more with the flow, and people don’t take things as seriously in everyday life as in Finland. Going with the flow is reflected in not planning things or stressing about things too much. It’s enjoyable, but also frustrating at times. Also, at Uni there are a lot of tasks and assignments, but it seems that the quantity compensates for the quality compared to Finnish Uni tasks. Maybe one of the weirdest things here at Uni for me is that they are offering wine and beer with school meals.

Altogether I am enjoying my time here in Madrid and wish I could stay a bit longer. Maybe I look my next internship here.

Saludos,
Jan

Góðan dag frá Íslandi

Goðan dag frá Íslandi – Good day from iceland..

What can I say about Iceland and where I live? Its unbelieveable. Iceland seems to be that place on everybodies bucket list where you HAVE to go.. And so you should. This place is a thing of beauty, a gem of a place where I have been privileged enough to visit, let alone live for 5 months. I have loved my experience so far that much that I made the decision to stay and do another semester over here and do my free choice credits and potentially internship.

Coming here has reignited my dream which I thought was impossible. At the age of 28 its hard to start playing ‘professional football’ as its the end of a footballing career for many, but for me I tried out for two teams, one in the top league here, and one in the league below. For the upcoming season, I will be on a paid contract and I am waiting to hear back from the other team, so who knows! Either way, without this Erasmus I would not have had that chance in Finland, especially with the smaller salary over there!

The view outside my house is literally this. Living on a hill provides us with these views 24 hours a day. And its perfect.

The people I have met have been amazing, I have made so many friends, partied, studied, deep talk, disagreements, debates. Everything. Some stand out people, two Spanish fellers, 2 Finns, one who lives in helsinki, Graduated from TAMK in 2019, is friends with Marita Tuomala’s son and somebody who I worked with and also studied in TAMK. A small small world. I am having the best experience, And would recommend this place to everybody. Natural waterfalls, Mountains, warm waterfalls, Fjords, jellyfish, whales, stunning scenery, natural baths, volcanoes and so much more. 

Of course, everything cannot always be great. Its so expensive, but who cares. Erasmus Grants and student loans are there for you to get the most out of your student experience and create memories that you will not be able to create when you get into a full time job. And that is exactly what I am doing. No regrets!

 

 

Akureyri, the place I live. The northern city, 10000 people only. Wouldn’t change it for the world. From the hustle and bustle of London, to the Tampere Mayhem with all of the works going on, this is a nice breather just before I turn 30

 

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Then we have the northern lights, immediately above my student apartment in the picture. AMAZING.

And finally, on the 30 minute flight to Reykjavic, this was as we took off. This mountain range is a 10 minute drive from me. Beautiful.

 

Greetings from Vienna, Austria!


The exchange in Austria in Vienna got off to a great start and I got to know wonderful people from all over the world in the first week. Orientation Week began in February 2020. I admired the beautiful cultural architecture of Austria and the endless offer of the city to experience the most amazing things together with new acquaintances. Studying and celebrating stayed well balanced and I got to know the wonderful city of Vienna.

Unfortunately, the corona pandemic struck a couple of months after leaving for the exchange, as a result of which my friend and I had to return home. Unaware of what Korona is, we said goodbye to each other and to the wonderful Austria. I completed the course at an Austrian school as a distance learning from Finland. In terms of studies, everything went great and the course offer in Austria was something new and we were able to continue running the courses in international teams. It was unfortunate that the experience did not end all the way because of the coronavirus. Still grateful for what it was already two months to deliver! Thank you!

 

Greetings from Malta!

I´m currently here in Malta completing my clinical training in the Mater Dei Hospital, which is the only public hospital in Malta. I´m working in the paediatric accident and emergency department. Our patients are 0-15 years old children who come to the emergency due to many reasons, one thing does compound them all, they are all in need of immediate medical attention. Most days are very busy, also due to the shortage off staff but also for the reason that this is the main emergency department in the whole Island. This is my first paediatric placement during my nursing studies so I think this has been an amazing opportunity for me to learn more from paediatric nursing. I have learned a lot from many most common paediatric illnesses and their treatments and also learned how things are done in an emergency settings. In addition to that, it has been great to see how nursing is carried out abroad and also get to notice some cultural differences in the field. After this experience, I think I have even more appreciation towards Finnish health care system.

Saline intravenous (iv) drip stock photo

I have to admit that spare time is my favorite time in here. I have made some new friends and it´ s really nice to explore the island and just hang out together in these beautiful settings. We like to go out to eat with my friends or just go sit in a nice café or go for a few cocktails. I have also been shopping quite a bit as I´m a crazy shopper. I have already seen most of the tourist attractions here but I still have few places I want to visit. My favorite attraction so far has been the Golden Bay, there was a nice beach and also very nice views from a cliff that we climbed to.

Ilmainen kuvapankkikuva tunnisteilla ihmiset, juoma, käsi

Working here as a nurse differs from Finland in many ways. First of all, nurses work here only 2 shift which means that there is a day shift and a night shift, 12 hours both. All though I have noticed that during this 12-hour shift nurses tend to take a break for a nap one at a time. this was very odd to me first but I have now gotten used to it. I have also noticed that the mentoring of student isn´t quite as convenient as in Finland. I also feel like here the student´s role is more to watch and listen here whereas in Finland students are encouraged to do and practice more with the help of the mentor.

 

Kiisa Kiuasmaa

Greeting from Oita (Tampere), Japan (Finland)

My student exchange in Oita University was an interesting one. Due the current epidemic, the borders to Japan were closed the entire time so I had to do exchange remotely. In fact, there were some hope to visit Japan at the end of the exchange, but the situation didn’t change so we stayed in our home countries instead.

Despite the fact, that I couldn’t visit the country itself, the classes were interesting ones and teachers were talented. The classes focused mainly on Japanese language or learning about Japanese history, culture or society. Some of the courses were quite exhausting, as we progressed fast and there were lot of homework. And it wasn’t helping that I worked full-time during the whole exchange (remotely too). So, I had to make some arrangements to work things out.

My student exchange setup

Compared to Finnish studies, things are a bit different in Japan. In Finnish classes some people will always be late, we tend to multitask something else at the same time (especially during Zoom sessions, I am looking at you :D) and we start the lecture after little ‘warming up’ after 5 minutes or so. In Oita University studies, on the contrary, almost nobody was late, and students had to focus on lectures because the pace was fast (and partly because we were required to have webcam on the whole time). Not to mention, teachers usually went straight to the topic, thus lectures started immediately.

When it comes to spare time activities, it’s unfortunate that we had none, even remotely. The only interactions we had with exchange or Japanese students were during the lectures. Not that I had time for spare time activities, but it would’ve been nice to get to know some people, nevertheless.

Overall, the exchange was nice despite the letdown of never visiting Japan. I learned a lot from the courses and improved my Japanese skills. Therefore, I can recommend their exchange student program. But maybe one day, after this epidemic is over, I will visit Oita for real and jump into the onsen I have so dreamt about:)

Greetings from Hannover, Germany!

Greetings from the promised land of beer and humourless people! Except the people actually have a pretty good sense of humour, but at least the beer stereotype is still accurate.

Even though my studies have been mostly online, I’ve met a lot of interesting new people to hang out with. The more friends I’ve gathered, the less I’ve been studying, however. Studying in German and online is also pretty much a living hell for me. I can’t think of a more harder combination off the top off my head.

The German studying is also a bit different than the studies in Finland. Most courses are given as lectures, instead of courses where you do things while also listening to lectures. Everything is way more theory based here. But I think that has something to do with the fact that here are so many engineering students, compared to Finland.

Free time has been very nice though. As mentioned, I’ve got a lot of new friends and we’ve been sitting around parks, going swimming and in general, enjoyed the summer to the fullest. I was lucky that the German summer was not as hot as it is normally though, since I was already dying of heatstroke during some months this year. The nature is also quite beautiful at times, even though you have to go out of your way to find a place not disturbed by people.

Greetings from sunny Malta!

Hey everyone,

My exchange took place here in Malta. I had been here working in this language school called Sprachcaffe Language Plus. I study hospitality management and in this language school I work in the reception of our campus, we also have option to rent rooms from booking sites like AirBnb and booking.com. I mainly check people in and out and help with all the questions they might have.

I love tanning and beaches. Usually in my spare time I visit sights and chill at the beach or pool. I also spend time with my friends, I have met so many people from all around the world and I have learned a lot about their cultures as well as about maltese culture.

Work ethic here in Malta is quite different than what I have used to in Finland. People don’t care about time that much and sometimes places could be closed even if they should be open and people can be late from work and that is totally okey to everyone, this wouldn’t be okey in Finland. Sometimes there only have to be someone, they don’t have to be even working good just to be there to show that someone is available, so mostly the customer service is not the best.  Payments are usually lower than in Finland which is shocking to me because the cost of living is high in Malta.

山梨 = Yamanashi = Mountain pear = ⛰🍐

Hello from Yamanashi, Japan!

It’s been a good 1,5 years here, I got so comfortable here I almost forgot how to leave. Yamanashi is such a chill city, only 2 hours from Tokyo but totally different world. Few people, surrounded by mountains and a lot of students going to their sports practice was it soccer, swimming or rugby. I would often hear some Japanese martial arts practice noises to my dormitory room.

                     

Due to corona almost everything has been online all the way, but I think that’s been the same everywhere. Actually compared to Finland, Japan’s restrictions weren’t all that strict. Even so I’ve made a lot of friends here, the international environment can make even an unsocial Finn surprisingly social. My days are filled with a bit of studying, hanging out with friends and going to supermarkets.

One of my favorite hobbies here is running by this huge river – the scenery and nature never fail to amaze me! The only tricky thing is the temperature and humidity here, you run out of breath way faster when you’re not used to crazy humidity and 30 degrees. But running at night is an option too!

– Petra