The study exchange in Portoroz, Slovenia has started hotly. The place is great and beautiful, next to the sea.
If you are a fan of the summer you would definitely enjoy this place. When I left Finland it was approximately 10C, I am living summer all over again.
So far we haven’t had so many lectures, however the first week started straight away with a guest lecturer from the US. It has been inspiring and motivated to be surrounded by people who are motivated to study and by professionals who know what they are doing and are passionate about their fields and sharing their wisdom with us.
The language is very different compared to Finnish, however I did have a small laughter when I heard that juha, which in Finland is a very common name for a man, means soup in Slovenian. Now you will be able to order some soup in Slovenia.
The climate and surrounded ares are very different compared to my hometown. In the mornings when the sun is out and I am on my way to university I always have company by these little fellows, lizards.
This was probably the biggest shock I have had so far. If you are lucky you can meet these fellows on your way as well or pump into a rooster!
Time flies like an arrow. I’ve been here in The Netherlands almost two months. I live and study in a beautiful and cozy city called Utrecht. I fell in love in this city at the first sight – it really feels like home. I’m glad it will be my home for these five months.
A few words about my studies. My study program in University of Applied Sciences Utrecht (Hogeschool Utrecht) is Minor Music Marketing and Management which contains four courses: Music Marketing, Music Management, Music Events and the big project. I also have Dutch for beginners -course where I can learn the basics of the Dutch language. I will (hopefully) get total of 30 EC’s in this exchange period.
I have classes three days a week and the school days usually takes just a couple of hours. Almost all of my Minors class mates are Dutch – there’s only one exchange student besides me. We have a lot of group work and projects but also fun challenges, i.e. in September we had to go to the Appelpop – the biggest free festival in The Netherlands – and make a video blog. In fact when we were there and a well-known Dutch artist, VanVelzen played, we saw our teachers on the stage! Our Music Management teacher was VanVelzen’s sound engineer and Music Marketing teacher was his guitarist. That was kind of awesome. Alongside of teaching my teachers are rock-hard professionals of music industry.
Hogeschool Utrecht campus area.
On my spare time I hang out with my friends. Here are a lot of parties and other activities for international students where all exchange students can meet each other and have some fun. Many of them are organized by ESN (Erasmus Student Network). Utrecht is a great place to hang out on a daytime and on the evening. I also like to go for a bike ride. In The Netherlands everyone has a bike because it’s the easiest way to travel. Beautiful canals, cute little houses, green parks, functional cycle paths and cozy bars and restaurants are keys to fall in love with Utrecht.
Crazy friends from Italy, Denmark, Holland, Lebanon and Finland.
The time has gone so fast and the chilly autumn weather is slowly taking over Seoul as well. So the time has come to take out your autumn jackets if you wish to spend time outdoors after the sun sets.
I arrived in Seoul already in the beginning of June and had the chance to enjoy the extremely warm weather conditions as well! I arrived here with a pretty much empty suitcase and during the summer months took advantage of the lower price level and ended up buying a looooot of clothes and cosmetics and so on. At the moment it seems like I will return to Finland with at least two suitcases. I also got a chance to explore the old and new Korean culture and taste a lot of delicious food! (Will add pictures later because the blog won’t let me upload them now for some reason)
On the way i also found a little piece of home in a form of a “Moomin Store” with the Moomin dolls with the original Silja Line’s price tags still on.
Somehow I miss the days when I could go outside in a t-shirt and shorts and putting on long sleeved shirts and jeans after such a long time feels somehow depressing…
Along with the autumn season arrives also the much feared MIDTERM EXAMS!!!! Many of the western students have heard horror stories of the Asian-style-exam-season where you have no time to sleep for the 2 weeks before the exams and you can say your social life goodbye. Well, this much feared week is upon us starting from next week, and we will see how the Finnish “sisu” in a small Finnish girl will help me get through this. WISH ME LUCK!
Until now the studying phase has been a little bit more relaxed and the assignments smaller than the ones back in TAMK, which is a little bit surprising for me after hearing all those horror stories about Asian student life, so there is still a little bit of hope that i will survive the exam season as well! I will continue to enjoy my exchange student life and hopefully continue to make a lot of new friends as well : )
I came to Malta 13th of september and my practical training in surgical ward started on 17th of september. I have never lived in a dormitory, and first it was uncomfortable to share toilet, shower and kitchen with others. In my flat lives now 8 peoples; from Germany, Italy, Hong Kong, Palestine, Poland, New Zealand and Australia. We have our own rooms and some of them share to room. I have a single room, and I´m very happy about that; I need my privacy 🙂 NowI’m usedto live inthe dormitory, and this feels like home <3
I had surgical ward training and coordinator organized so that I went for one week in the ICU also. I learn there a lot! Differences between Finnish and Maltese medical care is a major, such as the level of hygiene. First I was really in shock. Is not easy to bring Finnish ways to care, when you are in totally different culture. But I try my best, at least with hygiene.
I have toured the island almost entirely and I have to say, it is really beutiful! First thing to learn in here, is how the bus system works and it is quite good and simple. Traffic is in here left-hand and first it was very hard to understand that you have to get to bus in the ”wrong” side of the road.
I went to ride with my flat mates and it was really extreme to me. we went really high cliff to watch the sunset. We had also boat party for Erasmus students. Boat went Malta – Gozo – Comino, so we saw three different island.
My boyfriend will come on this week in here and I will have two weeks holiday. We will go to Sicily for seven days. We will fly to Catania, and we are going to see mount Etna. We will rent a car and travel to Taormina, where the Godfather movies has been filmed.
The autumn semester of Korean universities started on 1st of September. The start was really easy to say the least, as this year one of the biggest holidays in Korea, the Korean thanksgiving, took place on the first weekend. I have most of my lectures on Mondays and Wednesdays which means that all these classes were cancelled on the 2nd week because of the Korean thanksgiving.
During the 4-day holiday I went hiking on a mountain with my friends. We got lost pretty soon but managed to get back to the subway station without much panic after seeing some very beautiful scenery and a path that reminded us of some of the filming scenes in the Lord of the Rings movies. On another day we went to Korean karaoke and experienced some hospitality from the owner who gave us free drinks and free singing time more than usually.
After the holiday the real university life at Kyung Hee University started and I could also start making friends with my classmates. It has been a lot of fun here even though the assignments and presentation styles are completely different from TAMK’s. Still, it is a very interesting experience to work with different kind of people for different kind of projects and papers. It is also interesting to find similarities between the tourism department of TAMK and Kyung Hee. For example, some classes focus more on making presentations instead of on writing papers which is something I am used to in TAMK. I expected Kyung Hee to focus more on writing papers but I guess I was wrong in that.
I’m living off the campus in a single room apartment. This means that I do not know the other exchange students that well and do not know that much about the things that are happening in their circles but to be honest, I am glad that I can concentrate more on making friends with the local students.
Besides studying and socializing with new people most of my free time has been spent by shopping. Prices in Korea are lower than in Finland so it is easy to just shop a lot of things without thinking. There are also a lot of delicious things one can use a lot of money on… I think I should stop shopping and start studying as the midterm will start in one week.
So I arrived to UK on 11th of September. To be honest it was probably the worst day of life – or it at least felt like it. I was a bit sick and the landing was horrible, my ears and head hurt so much that I literally cried. When you add that to the anxiety and nervousness that I had already because of this journey my feeling was very bad. At the airport I needed to wait six hours the next train to Derby so it didn’t really help the case.
When I finally arrived to Derby on Saturday 12th September I did not know what to think. The shared flat was OK but most importantly I had the most amazing flatmates who welcomed me and made me feel like I was at home. I think that was the key point when I understood that actually this would probably be an excellent journey and experience.
First weeks were mostly about partying and traveling here in England – so pretty awesome. What I value so much that here I’ve truly get to know so different people and from so different cultures. But what was a bit shock – English people! I mean I had my stereotypes when I came here and some of them were quite right but then.. For example their driving habits are just nuts. They certainly don’t care about other people (especially pedestrians) when driving. We’ve had few -so close- accidents due to their irresponsible driving behavior. What I’ve also noticed (and sort of like knew) that the eating habits here are just way different than in Finland. It is all about fish and chips or just chips – and I mean for lunch, snack, dinner..
School here is kind of the same as in Finland I think. The biggest difference to TAMK is that I need to write loads of essays and reports whereas in TAMK you don’t need to do that that often. Also sometimes I feel some of the professors forget that we are in Uni and not in kindergarten.. But mostly it has been nice and quite challenging when everything is in English. They have some different ways to reference and so on but I try not stress about it because I know I will learn it.
What I am really looking forward to is my trips to Ireland and Scotland. I’ve already traveled a bit in England and me and my friends decided to travel as much as possible while we are staying here. Three months is a pretty short time and in fact there is only two left now! But for all the hesitaters who struggle between yes or no – should I go to an exchange? Well certainly YES! I mean I do have homesickness etc. but most of the time I am so happy and proud of myself that I had the courage to do this. So take the chance if you are given one!
I had a quite mixed feelings about this exchange period before leaving home. At the previous day when I was packing my things I just realized that this is true and happening. Same feeling continued on the way to the airport and the first night in Hotel, before I got access to student dormitories.
Quite like everything changed after that, and I haven´t discovered same feeling that I got before. First weeks I was alone in dormitories without my roommates (they were germans and their school was starting after me), but when they arrived, I was glad that they were a “decent persons”, clean and all.. I have heard a stories of another kind of starts with the roommates too, I think I´m lucky in this situation.
At now first 5 weeks of studies is behind, and there has been also trips and stories to be told (with photos on my way). But if I would summary my feelings in here: I don´t regret a single second that I have spend here as a exchange student. At first I didn´t know what to expect from this trip and the lack of knowledge what is coming in the future was a bit strange, but one thing is changed in me: I actually don´t want to know about the future as much as before, it´s very nice and suprising to see what kind of situations drop in front of you.
At the end, if there is a reader who´s thinking to go on exchange, but you are still not sure: Don´t think too much, just go. That´s what I did and my journey has been amazing so far (still going on). A lot has been seen, and there is a lot to discover, one semester seems to be like a short time. 🙂
I have now stayed nearly three weeks in Glasgow. I haven’t had that much classes yet, but I can tell that studying here will be difficult. Studying, reading and doing presentations is a lot harder in English than I imagined it would be not to mention that I get stage fright when having presentations even in Finnish. But I’m glad that I’m here to have new experiences.
Also other thing that has been a problem for me is the Scottish accent. Some people I understand really well but others sound like they’re holding a tiny meatball under their tongue while speaking. This is making it difficult to understand what the teacher is saying in classes. It’s good that I have a few Scottish friends so I’ll learn the accent eventually by talking with them.
By my spare time I’ve been exploring Glasgow or spending time with my roommates. Last week we visited the Kelvingrove Museum. It was really interesting and I was surprised it was free.