I have spent now 1,5 months in Groningen, Netherlands and I can say that I am starting to get used to this city. Things and people are not so different comparing to Finland so the culture shock hasn´t been too big. I have been quite busy with my studies. A couple of days ago we had a third year student exhibition in our university. I made a new videowork for the exhibition. There is some stills from the video at the end of this message. I had to also make my webpage for this exhibition, which was very good thing to get over with. I have also thought a lot of my artist statement and I think I have made some progress with that subject.
I have used most of my freetime in exploring the city. Thing that got much easier after I got myself a bike couple of weeks ago. I have also seen some good exhibitions and gigs and meet some interesting people.
Hallaien (hello) everyone! I have spent in Bergen two months now and starting to feel like home already. This attractive and cute city is surrounded by seven different mountains and has beatiful scenery even with the rain. Yes rain, and lots of it. I thought it was some kind of joke when reading that approximately 300 days of 365 are rainy here. Now I’m quite convinced it wasn’t. Well, just need to have some guts and work hard on rainy days and maybe have a day off when the sun comes out. Norwegians are used to having proper rain cloathing, even trousers made of rain coat material, but I didn’t even bring my wellies. I regretted that and now I alredy own one pair. We had one day when schools were shut because of the storm. In my opinion the same should happen also on sunny days…
My school Grieg Academy has been such a good place to study until now. Students and teachers have been very welcoming and so friendly right from the beginning. School is still quite small and everyone knows each other so everybody also knew right away when a new face had arrived. It was easy to get to know people, especially pianists of course. And my pianoteacher is also very inspiring! I feel very lucky because he is specialized in period instruments (pianos) and he has atleast five different pianos in his room in addition two grand pianos. On our lessons I got already a chance to try pianos from Chopin’s and Mozart’s time era and that was really eye-opening experience. That is also something you don’t have a chance to do in Finland so often.
I also started to play organs here and have a chance to make chamber music with other students as much as I like. One week for example we had a project week of Northern songs with singers. We have every week also this collaborative piano masterclass that means we can have lessons from every piano professor teaching here which is extremely motivating. And of course it’s nice to hear other students playing also. However, content of studying music doesn’t make big a difference if I compare it to what we have in Finland. In Bergen students have maybe more space to practise, which gives you more possibilities to plan your schedule and have even free time also! I also attended in a Norwegian course and I’m trying to use the language everyday as much as I can.
On my spare time I have explored the city and even got a bus drive to Ikea with amazing views, went to a cabin trip with Norwegians and did some snowboarding too. Bergen has a very nice concert hall Grieghallen just next to Grieg Academy and I listened to concerts many times there. Also student life is active here and I even volunteered as a member of local student organisation which arranges activities and concerts for students. The city has several different kind of cultural events to offer and I’m trying to catch as many of them as I can. I find the surrounding mountains also very attractive and have been hiking several times. Amazing nature of Norway is something you don’t get just by looking a picture. You need to experience it yourself.
I am half way through my Erasmus time here in Athlone Ireland. The time has gone so fast and almost time for Easter break of two weeks! The studies here in Ireland have gone smoothly and learned so much etc. about Irish politics, economy and history. The education system is very much alike in Finland, except few differences. I am really enjoying the HR studies especially. The teacher is strict and demands a lot more from us students than other teachers here. We also have some projects for her that we need to return at the end of April. We also have project in marketing, in which we are suppose to design an ad for some Irish product that we start to import to Finland! I am really looking forward to that, due to in that we can exploit our visual eye and imagination. I prefer doing more projects than reading just to the exams, but the exams are going to be within two months so that is a bit terrifying!
At this point we have travelled many times to Dublin (which is an hour and a half away from here), Galway, Cliffs of Moher, Kilkenny, Ennis here in Ireland and also Scotland few weeks ago. We have seen lots of green (especially on St. Patrick’s Day), sheep, castles and beautiful landscape. The plan is still to go to maybe Cork, Belfast and some few-day trip to Morocco or Madrid.
I also started my internship in the early March. I’m doing it as distant job for a finnish company and while I go for the easter break in Finland, can work then as well.
I would recommend Ireland to all at least visit for a few days, the landscapes are amazing, people are nice and helpful and Dublin is definitely one of the most vibrant cities I’ve ever been to!
Hello from Ljubljana, Slovenia. It’s been a month now since I arrived here and so far it’s been raining most of the time. Me and my friends here tend to joke that even bad things are good ”as long as it’s not raining”. Spring here in Ljubljana is mostly rainy, but later on this country should start blooming when the sun comes out, and we’ve seen a little bit of those days already.
There’s always something going on here so I don’t have problems with finding things to do in my free time. After school days we go to restaurants with my class mates. Slovenia is really like a paradise for students when it comes to eating. Almost every restaurant in town has a special menu for students. It costs 2,5-4 euros including soup, salad, fruit and main course, sometimes even dessert. I will have a hard time when coming back home, it means I have to start cooking again.
In the evenings there’s also a lot of things to do. Concerts, clubs, theatre, international movie nights and so on. There are also two interesting alternative social centres where people hang out and organise all kinds of happenings from jamming sessions to art exhibitions. Metelkova is full of colorful graffitis and interesting people and during the night the main square of the place can be crowded by people gathering together.
Studies have started slowly in our tiny campus of social work. Teachers are very open-minded and friendly towards us students, which I heard is not so common in other faculties here. In addition to lectures I’m doing a practical training in an asylum home, which is very interesting too, to see how organisations work here. Through my work I’ve met a lot of people from different countries.
So far it’s already been amazing to be here so I can’t wait for all the forthcoming experiences.
We have now been in Kenya for 3 weeks and it has really been an adventure! There are seven of us doing a placement in Kenya for Terve Afrikka ry and we are all located in different places according our field of studies and our own interests. There are two of us from TAMK and some other nursing and social services students from other universities of applied sciences. As I will be a public health nurse, I’ve been working in a local health center and I have had a chance to work in child welfare clinic and family planning clinic so far and actually today I started a new placement in antenatal care. As you can imagine things don’t always go same way than we are used to in Finland, but so far I can honestly say, that I have seen or learnt something new every day and gained knowledge and skills that I can also use in Finland.
During our free time we’ve been enjoying hot and sunny weather by the pool and we also did a trip to Maasai Mara national park, where we saw all those animals from the Lion King movie, I am still wondering if the whole trip was just a dream! Kenya is full of beautiful nature, so we are hoping to get a possibility to travel to other national parks as well.
Of course time abroad is never just a dream and the traffic, getting used to the fact that everything is running late and trying to look for daily items from market has given us a headache but so far I couldn’t be happier and I believe this exchange will be a real dream come true-trip! I am also writing a blog in Finnish, so if you would like to know more about our time in Kenya, please visit Kaiken Maailman Matkoja!
Greetings from Benalmádena, Spain! I have been here for over a month now and this city still surprises me every day! Benalmádena is located near Malaga and Fuengirola but I think this small town is much better than any of those bigger cities nearby. Lots of Finnish seniors have moved here to spend their retirement and I don’t even wonder why! Sun shines almost every day, even during the winter and it is so much easier to breath in this humid climate.
I’m working with my live-in partner at this Finnish society, Benalmádenan Suomalaiset Ry and we are this community’s information and communication technology support persons. Our main job is to help customer’s problems about technical devices at their home or at the office. Twice a week we have this clinic-time at the office and there we try to fix little problems and if something takes too long, we schedule a new appointment. Next week we are going to Malaga with a group of our customers to help them find tablets for their needs. After that we are going to give a lecture about how to use tablet and what they should know about different features of tablet. Customers have been really friendly to us and I have learned a lot about technology during this time.
The title “mañana, mañana” means the slow lifestyle here in Spain. Nothing is this day’s job and all the services are out during the siesta. That kind of lifestyle works for me, but it’s still hard to learn to eat at the same time as the locals. They eat dinner so late, that if you try to find a good place to eat for example at five a clock, every restaurant is still closed.
There are lots of sights to see, for example the world’s most beautiful harbor (where is also Jari Sillanpää’s holiday residence) and stunning beach. In Benalmádena you can also visit lively Paloma Park or take the cable car up to the Mount Calamorro. Last weekend we also visited outstanding town of Mijas, which is mountain village near Benalmádena. The views were fabulous and I love to walk on the small beautiful streets.
We have experienced a lot during this time and we have still many things to do. I couldn’t have imagined that this time abroad would be so amazing!
The greeting comes from Munich, Germany. Time is flying and I have stayed at this beautiful city almost one semester. Every day in here is full of surprise and freshness for me.
Munich locates in South of Germany and is the third largest cities in Germany after Berlin and Hamburg. But the rent in Munich is the most expensive in Germany. I did not get a place from student union, so I needed to find a place by myself. That was the only bad thing.
Oktoberfest must be the most famous carnival in Munich, which took place from the end of September to the beginning of October. I was lucky to join in this carnival. At that time, Germans always wore their traditional Bavarian clothes Dirndl and Lederhosen. The tourists who came from all around the world always came here to drink German beer and ate traditional bread Brezel.
In addition to Oktoberfest, Christmas market in Munich also left me a deep impression. There were several sub-Christmas markets in different areas and the biggest one located in Marienplatz. Different shops had various kinds of merchandise. They had special Glühwien for Christmas when Finland had Glögi.
When it comes to study, it has gone quite well. The biggest difference between German UAS and Finnish UAS for me is that German required students have more self-study.
This exchange must be one of the best experiences in my life. I believe I must miss here when I back to Finland!
The time has gone by quickly and I have now spent a month in Cardiff, Wales. My first placement has been in A&E of University Hospital of Wales. The staff in A&E has been very welcoming, they made me feel as part of the team from the first day. I was quite surprised by the lack of hierarchy in the hospital. Everybody are in the first name bases and work as a team. I feel like there are not as big hierarchy gap between doctors and nurses as in Finland. My mentor in A&E is an experienced nurse who also speaks welsh language, cymru. She is lovely and even took me to the countryside to see her horses!
Patients are first triaged as the come to A&E. A&E is divided into areas according to triage classification: Minor Injuries, Ambulatory Care Unit, Streaming and Majors, Resuscitation. In A&E staff works on 12-hour shifts, which I find quite nice. There are approximately three shifts per week. Night shifts don’t really differ from the day shifts, both are equally busy. There isn’t an electronical patient information system, everything is documented on paper. And often you have to look for the patient notes as they can be viewed by a doctor at that moment or been misplaced somewhere.
Before I started I expected to learn more clinical skills. But the role of a student nurse here is different, they aren’t allowed to practice the clinical skills as widely as we’re in Finland. For example, student nurses aren’t allowed to take blood samples, cannulate, participate in intravenous fluid therapy or do male catheterization. Regardless of this, I have learned a lot.
I live in one of the University Residences, Talybont North. I’m sharing the flat with five other people and they have been very friendly. So far I have spent my free time getting to know the city. I have also done some traditional British activities such as had traditional English afternoon tea in Pettigrew Tea Rooms which included toasts with different fillings, scones, piece of cake and pot of tea. It was delicious!
Greetings from Tralee, Ireland. I’m doing my study exchange in University of Technology Tralee and I’m almost halfway through my semester. My time here has been great so far. I’ve made a lot of new friends from other exchange students and school has also been quite okay. Lectures here are not so different compared to Finland and I don’t usually find it hard to understand the lecturers even though the Irish accent is really strong here in county Kerry and people tend to speak really fast. Back in January on my first night here in Tralee, I spoke with an old Irish man and I seriously couldn’t understand a word he was saying. Fortunately most of the people don’t have as strong accent as he did.
All of us exchange students here are anxiously waiting for St. Patricks Day. Most of us are planning to go to Dublin and see the parade and all the celebrations there. I think that will be a day to remember. Also my two week Easter break starts then and I’m going to visit London and Scotland during the break, so lots of fun things in the future for me.
Greetings from Slovenia or as the headline says “Moi”! Pok is a good word for hello to your friends in Slovenia but when you want to be more polite “Dober dan” works better. And well another thing I learned from my Turkish roommate is that in his language it means, well..shit. That’s all about the language studies because I can tell Slovenian is not an easy language for Finnish mouth and learning it wasn’t the main reason to do my exchange there.
Somebody has one time said that Slovenia is like mini-version of Europe because of the nature and I can only agree that. The country is the same size than Kainuu in Finland and population is not much over two million people. Slovenia got the Juulis alps, 45 kilometers of coastline, two beautiful lakes, turquoise green rivers, stalactive gaves, amazing green mountains and vineyards growing all over the hills and forests with huge old trees, historical castles and white churches can be seeing all over the view.
I am doing my studies in University of Maribor which is big old city near by the Austrian border. My faculty is however located in smaller and sympathetic town called Brezice and I study tourism there. Mostly my studies are individual work because all my lectures are held in Slovene but that is fine by me because I got more time to study tourism also in practice way in other neighbor countries. I still got few lectures with every subject and my professors are able to help if I need. We also got few conferences in our town and make field trips in surrounding places to learn about culture and nature. In this post I would like to tell little bit more about our one trip with some pictures in the end.
One of the greatest memories in Slovenia during stay was my field trip to the Alps to place called Logarska Dolina with other classmates and our professors. Trip lasted two days but because the country is not wide the distances are short and that thing is nice when you have used to the travel times in Finland. But yeah we did go few museums and had students presentations on the bus, saw the biggest waterfall in Slovenia, went to tasting local foods and guesthouses in the valley and heard the stories of local people. Our minibus drove us in the top of mountains to see the views, old church and drinking from the mountain creek. We had amazing weather all of the time and because it was early October it was really warm especially to a person who comes from cold snowy Finland 😉 That was the main thing that everybody did know about my country but maybe that is reasonable.
Trip was super and we had good time in the evening and many of the students had brought wines from their own vineyards and some kind of homemade blueberry and plum liquors. Slovenians are extremely friendly and nice people but as same than in Finland you will need to get to know them first that they really show their characteristics. I was surprised how good they speak English in everywhere and other languages but my classmate explained that if they want to speak with other people they need to speak foreign languages because 2 million people really isn’t big group of people.
I love the pictures I got from our trip and I knew that Slovenia was a beautiful country but the views still caught me. For many of people the country is relatively unknown, and in my opinion it is underestimated. For outdoor people I can only recommend to see these mountains in real. Let the pictures speak!