Monthly Archives: January 2015

Sain baina uu? Mongolia

I have done my practical training in my home country Mongolia. Known by its broad pristine nature and nomadic culture, Mongolia is the second largest landlocked country in the world, populated with 3 million people.

Back in 13th century Mongolian great khaan Chinggis (or Genghis) had conquered half of the world on the back of his horse and marked his name in history. Since then, too many things have changed in Mongolia, but also too little has changed in the ways of Nomadic people’s living.

Genghis Khaan statue outside the capital city
Ulan Bator skyline

Today, one third of the population reside in urban areas, but almost half (45%) of the working age people are employed in agricultural sector, dominantly livestock herding. Because of this culture, traditional cuisine is rich with beef and lamb servings. Fresh, organic dairy products and meat are the highlights of traditional Mongolian food. This way it is a heaven to meat lovers! but vegans or vegetarians shouldn’t be discouraged, businesses have already found their ways to deliver the best services for everyone.

Travel Mongolia Food
Bit of traditional food with non traditional fresh vegetable salad

Maybe because the nature is preserved so well and the people are aiming to keep it that way, tourism practices in Mongolia are ecologically friendly in general.  Well, who would not want to freely wander in beautiful wild nature and experience the nomadic culture that is unlike any other? Below are some pictures of the “Khuvsgul” lake area where I have done my practical training. Photo credits goes to my supervisor Khongorzul Batdelger .

Morning dew glittering in sunshine
Tourist lodge accommodation in style of Tsaatan (reindeer herding ethnic group)
Clear morning
Town where I have created many precious memories
One of the many days having good time with co-workers/friends
My workplace on the left of three buildings in center

Mongolia is a vast country and it features many different natural environment such as Gobi desert in the southern side,  plain steppes in the central and eastern sides, snow capped Altai mountains in the western side, and evergreen forests in the northern sides. Thus my photos here are illustrating too little of what is in reserve for those who want to explore. It is an amazing destination for tourism and other visits, where there’s no environmental or political threats, all religions and races are welcomed and people treat you with the traditional hospitality ethics.

By the end of my internship I have gained invaluable experience, unforgettable memories, great networking contacts and a good research data I could use for my thesis. Most importantly, I am more confident now about where I would lead my professional career and what I will be doing in my future.

I hope all your exchanges would be fruitful and wonderful to you, as it was for me 🙂

– Eku

Greetings from Thailand!

Hello! Its been a great time here in Thailand. I work in a Finnish diving company Raya Divers.  I am living in the small island, Racha Yai. It is about 6 km long and it is absolutely like a paradise. Here lives only 100 local people.

This is a Muslim island so here is not any dogs or you cant order any pork dishes.  Blue water, white beach and sun, what else could i wish for. Most of the time the weather is perfect and heat is sufficient. People are so warm and helpful. Smile is a big part of this country and I am not surprised why it is called a land of smiles.


First time in my life i got a change to try diving. And it was awesome. I did open water diver and Advanced open water diver courses. All my work tasks related to diving. I do also different kind of office works, selling, diving equipment’s washing and preparing and working as a snorkeling guide. Days are long about 9-11 h per day, but it is not always so hectic and i get a change to take it easy sometimes so it is not that hard. So I could say I feel good in here.



Cześć :)


I still can’t believe it has been already 4 months since the first time I came to Sopot, Poland.

At first, luckily,  I did not have any difficulties in finding my dorminitory – 2 years living in Finland helps me know how to manage not to get lost :D. The life in dorm is fine; currently I am living with a lovely and friendly Turkish girl. The dorm still has some inconvenient things:  all of the dorm managers cannot speak English, one kitchen and 2 bathrooms for 25 rooms (approximately 50 people :D), the laundry task is much more difficult to do than in Finland and too loud noise at nights when there are parties. However, I got used to it and started to enjoy the dormitory life; which brings me many good friends from different countries.











My dorm is quite far from city centre and the university; however, I love walking along the seaside everyday so I don’t mind walking a long way to go to the university. It only took me about 5 minutes to go to the beach; and I love the fact that because it is winter now, the beach is not too crowded.  It is not very cold in winter here compared to in Finland (of course!); and I’m get used to Finland winter so the weather here is okay for me. There is a peer near city centre where I can walk towards the sea, too. The city centre is also very nice; I’ve already had my favourite restaurants in Sopot. I thought there will be huge number of Asian shops here, but it seems like Sopot is only a small city so I only ended up finding one small Asian shop to buy special ingredients and food from my hometown. I have not met any Vietnamese people here, either. However, it is also a great chance because now I have to speak English everyday to enable to communicate with other people.




Although I still think I didn’t get a lot of useful information regarding the studying during the orientation week but anyway, the orientation week at the university was quite fun.  We even received a Poland travel book, notebooks, pens and sim card from the university; I really appreciate this. My most favourite moment during the orientation week is the trip to Kolibki adventure park in Gdynia – I have never tried adrenaline jump and zip wire before; and I don’t mind feeling a little bit dizzy after all. I went to see a volleyball match between Gdansk team and Olsztyn team with my friends, too and this was also my first time ever.



My studying is not so stressful. There are not so many differences in teaching style between Poland and Finland; therefore, I don’t have any difficulties in studying here. The university facility is modern and there is a separate medium library near Economic faculty with many different economic books. All the courses are easier than I thought; and honestly, some courses are quite boring. The good thing is that we only have one lesson per week for each course; therefore I have time to enjoy the life in Poland. One frustrated thing that I still cannot get over is the “name system” in the university – they only accept the names with 2 or maximum 3 words. My full name is Le Thi Minh Trang with my first name: Trang but I ended up becoming “Thi” afterall. Now my student card is Thi Le; and even I tried to explain to the university officer, they said they cannot change it. One more thing is that each person was given a “Exam paper”, which we have to present to our lecturers at the end of the courses so the lecturers will give grades for the courses; then submit it to the university officer to enable to have final credits. There is no online grading system and it is quite inconvenient to me,  especially when I have to book flight ticket to return to my hometown beforehand. Besides that, everything is okay.


Honestly, I was not too excited at first when I know my exchange destination is Poland (it is not my first choice, and well, not my second and third choice either). However, now I think I love this small peaceful city with beautiful seaside and I’m sure I won’t regret to decide to come here in the end. I’m preparing to leave it soon; and I feel missing this city already :).

Greetings from Austria! :)


So I have been studying music and flute here in Austria since 17th of September 2014. The city where I’m staying is called Graz and it’s the second biggest city in Austria after Vienna. It’s a bit funny though because compared to Vienna it’s really small. I haven’t even bought a public transport ticket because I’m walking everywhere. It’s so small.

I arrived to Graz one week before the school started  so I had some time to go around and get to know the city a bit. There has been a lot to see and hear and now I’ll try to share some of it with you.

One of the first things I experienced was Schlossberg in the middle of the city of Graz. It was a nice start because from there I could see the whole city.


Graz is a city with a mix of old and new. There is the old Schlossberg and then the modern “Friendly alien” modern art museum that you might also spot from the previous photo.

The same way is with our school. Our school has many different buildings. For example in the next photo there is MUMUTH (red building) which is a Place for all our orchestra rehearsals and some concerts. Inside there is also the most modern concert hall in the world. On it’s right side is Palais Meran which is one of the older buildings of our university. The second photo is taken from a concert saal, Florentinersaal, inside the Palais Meran.


This is the main street of Graz, Herrengasse, where the shopping happens. There is also a huge amount of smaller and bigger cafeterias and restaurants. 🙂 This photo was taken in December and it reminded me of Tampere with all the christmas lights above the street.


Also the theme cafe for the traditional sachertorte can be found in Herrengasse.


I feel like Graz is a city of music. There is all kinds of music everywhere. There is the amazing operahouse and then so many small music cafes and one of my favourites is the Theater cafe which is really a meeting Place for the music students. Every thursday there is a late night jam in this Place and everybody who wants can go on stage, play some jazz and show what they’ve got. The atmosphere in this Place is just awesome! The jazz culture is important in Graz and the music school is here was the first school ever where people could really study jazz music.


It’s been great in here beeing surrounded By all the music and culture. Time has gone really fast and now I will concentrate on getting the most of the last weeks in here.



Hälsningar från Malmö!


Greetings from Malmö, Sweden!

The weather here is terrible most of the time but luckily good friends always save the day! I’m living in a student house and I’m sharing a kitchen with 27 other people from all over the world. Sometimes it’s getting on the nerves when there’s so many people sharing the kitchen but on the other hand that’s where you get to know people. These are the people I’m spending most of my time with.

At school people have been really nice too but the program I’m studying in is not so good. I have learned a lot of Swedish which was my main goal. But I haven’t learned so much new stuff when it comes to light design or theatre production. Practically everything we do here is group work with instruction “do something in the group and we’ll see on Friday what you have done”.

Around 0:58 you can see “the Swedish way of groupworking”. First it was a bit hard to adapt this method but I’m slowly getting used to it…


I use my spare time with my new friends and in the gym. It was a good idea to get the gym card because it’s keeping me active and I can go to sauna whenever I want! In the beginning it was also a really good way to learn to know my new friends better when we had something to do together. And of course one great plus is what regular exercising does to one’s body!

I still have few weeks left and I’m going to enjoy it as much as I can! I’m already dreaming of another exchange period which hopefully would be somewhere bit further than Sweden. I really hope the weather is getting better for my last weeks!

Puss och kram,

Spanglish and tapas

Greetings from sunny Spain, Madrid!

Madrid is very full of life, all the local people have returned from holidays and everywhere is crowded! Even metro trips to university and back go by quick watching all the people chatting in different languages and reading books. Everyone reads books in metro in Madrid!

University is keeping us students very busy with many projects and midterm exams. All my classes are in English but on lunch breaks we practice our Spanglish with other students. There are students from all over the world and it has been interesting to hear from everyone’s cultures and home universities.

Madrid is full of things to see and full of foods to try! There is so many restaurants and all of them full of groups of friends and families enjoying dinner or lunch or just having drinks. When ever we have time with other students, we try to go to new places to try tapas or sightseeing, sometimes joining some tourist groups and snapping few photos.

There are also many organisations, like ESN for example, taking care of us students, trying to show us the local culture and other cities and activities. We have visited already few small cities, one amusement park and participated some student events. We also got to try local tapas on tapas round and eat giant paella in the former capital of Spain, Toledo.

Too bad there isn’t enough time to see and experience everything in Madrid.. Looks like I have to come back for a visit later! Even though it is sunny in Madrid and many good friends, it is nice to come back home to see the Finnish winter, to see real Finnish nature and go to sauna!


(ps. attached few photos of the Vicalvaro university and tapas places)



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Greetings from The Hague


Time flies weeks go by as I’m enjoying my life here in the Netherlands. I’m living in The Hague which is the third biggest city in the Netherlands and the seat of the government. But as I found out in the first week here, I’ve been actually studying in Zoetermeer which is small city near The Hague. But when the school is located in different city it means quite a lot travelling, but that’s fine because public transportation is really good here in the Netherlands. And because I love my neighbourhood and new friends here I wouldn’t change a thing. My studies are going well and only thing I’m feeling bad about is the amount of time that I have left in this beautiful country.


From Eindhoven

10836557_10205000648228475_1843501690_nMy international internship takes place in Eindhoven, the Netherlands. Eindhoven is the birth place of Philips and it shows. Asks anyone what they do for a living and it has something to do with Philips and/or engineering. It’s the city of light. Even my internship was about Philips lighting products.

The city is about the size of Tampere but with a lot more people and a lot more foreigners. I was lucky enough to get a room just in the city center. Even though me and my room mate spotted a mouse once, I am pretty happy about the location.10933062_10205000648108472_1042899734_n

Eindhoven doesn’t offer much for tourists (expect a Philips museum…) but I’ve enjoyed my time here and I would recommend visiting the city. Plus, if you get bored, Amsterdam is only 1 hour 20 minutes away!

Doe doei!



I have improved my German language skills here even though I’m using English all the time. The lectures are all in German so I haven’t understood much of anything. Luckily, I have an ArchiCAD course and learning through the software is a bit easier.

I have been curious of checking the local construction sites. It’s interesting to see them develop. From what I have seen the construction is done way more on site than in Finland. But I have also seen some prefabricated units been lifted up with not so safe equipment. Sometimes I try to detect safety failures such as missing hard hats when passing construction sites.

In the English language courses I have met first year students from civil engineering. There is surprisingly many women which is really nice since I’m used to having just one female classmate in TAMK.

I have met lot of really polite and very good mannered men in here. Poor guys, since it seems many young women are arrogant idiots. One cultural difference that seems weird to a Finn is that everybody is rushing into trains and trams and busses instead of waiting peacefully and letting e.g. seniors and children go first.

CAM00223[1]Grünkohl mit Kohlwurst

The city of the future

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I spent some of the most amazing time of my life this fall in one of the world’s busiest cities: Shanghai. Since I was a little girl, I have develop a deep fascination towards the Chinese culture through the countless stories I’ve heard from family members who have travelled there for business, so I really can’t put in words how excited I was to finally explore the way of life on the other side of the world myself.


And I’m happy I did it. During the 3 month period that the China Program lasted I learned to get through sticky situations with a big silly smily on my face and by only using sign language, not to mention some essential Mandarin for everyday use that I picked up. I got lost in the city more than once, travelled a bit around China, spend a weekend with the NBA organization and met a bunch of interesting people from around the world. I got used to the massive crowds during the rush hours in the metro, teared up a little when I first saw the Great Wall and a lot more once hiking up the never-ending stairs. And of course, lived the regular day-to-day life including lots of rice dishes, taxies, Nihao’s, practicing Chinese characters and pronunciation, misunderstandings and steady flow of glittery champagne. And that’s not even half of it. It’s easy to say that life in Shanghai was a dream: everyday we learned something new and saw things that either amazed or amused us.


I also want to especially mention how kind,helpful and understanding the Chinese were to us strangers. Even though we didn’t have a common language and we might have made some etiquette mistakes along the way, the Shanghainese always took their time to guide us with a big smile on their faces. The professors at the University, especially our Chinese teacher, became a good friend to the group during our stay and was a big support through out the entire stay. I feel so lucky to have met such incredible people as I did in Shanghai!!


I want to encourage anyone who considers Shanghai as a exchange destination to DO IT!!! Go and you won’t regret choosing the exciting city that has something different to offer for each day of your stay there.

Have a great year of 2015 everyone!! 

Oona Vitikainen