Monthly Archives: September 2020

The best city of Germany

I spent the last 6 months of my life in Munich. Ive visited many cities in Germany and liked this one the most!

We were not able to find that much courses related to our studies back home. Because of this I mainly studied Business which was nice for a change. It felt like the studies were a lot more difficult than in Finland. Could be that the remote studies and different language had something to do with it. I got 26 Credits with a gpa of 1.2 (finish 4.8). This was mainly because of boredom in the lockdown.

Ilmainen kuvapankkikuva tunnisteilla aikuinen, akateeminen, asu, copy space

 

There werent that many parties because of covid but i still miss the beer in germany. The best one has to be Augustiner Weissbier. I guess germany wasnt the main target for my exchange and because of that i travelled for almost 2 months of the exchange. I visited for example: Spain,2x Austria, Switzerland, Portugal, Ireland, Czech Republic and (Gibraltar).

 

 

Czech, in the blink of an eye

In the blink of an eye, it is now September when the sky turns greyer and the leaves turn more yellow in Finland, and I somehow still haven’t grasped the fact that I first set foot in the Czech Republic 8 months ago. The time I spent in a little Bohemian town called Pisek was just over 3 months. It was short, but it is meaningful.

I arrived at Prague late evening on a chilly January day and made it to Pisek after quite traveling. The next day I was introduced to the studies at The Film Academy of Miroslav Ondricek (FAMO) by the International Coordinator, Daniel. FAMO campus was not huge, but compact and was ideal to any cinephile, and even had some mini-exhibitions of vintage filmmaking gears. I learned a lot during the time there on traditional filmmaking through not only lectures about Film History, Production, or Scriptwriting but also from the hands-on experiences and through profound discussions with the lecturers. There was movie screening weekly on campus, which went through some of the classics of the Hollywood silence’s golden age to German Expressionism. However, one particular project that has been immensely influencing my vision, and lenses, is to produce from scratch and to direct a short film without any dialogues. Working on the project, I had many opportunities to discuss and to be consulted by the experienced and well-known filmmakers, scriptwriter, and producer. Unfortunately, the filming of the project was later canceled due to the coronavirus and the tough restrictions of the Czech authorities, and thus, the learning was switched to online platforms, and exams were introduced as a replacement. I kept on studying remotely with FAMO teachers even after my challenging journey back to Finland and ultimately decided to keep on finishing my uncompleted project here.

Let’s move on with the fun part: the life in Pisek. The city is small but incredibly scenic with old buildings, a stone bridge that crosses the Vltava river. I usually did some running on the riverbank and enjoyed the view.  The city is not at all touristic, so for me, I was living a very original and local lifestyle. I also realized that most inhabitants did not speak English at all, so I tried practicing my limited Czech vocabulary whenever I could, whether it is just an “Ahoy!” or “Děkuju!”. Living in Pisek was way cheaper than in Tampere, so I took the opportunity to go to some local restaurants sometimes. Besides having many good sausages and cheap beer, I also learned that Vietnamese people are considered a minority in the Czech Republic, and that was how I got to eat my home dishes a lot more frequently here. I have also grabbed the chance to visit Prague before social distancing happened, in which I booked a charity tour from a local and learned the 1600 years of Czech history. It was fun while it lasted.

It was an eye-opening learning experience for me, as I learned a different form and a different approach of moving images from what I learned in TAMK. In TAMK, there is a more contemporary aspect in teaching and there is also more freedom in making video arts than in traditional filmmaking. TAMK students are also independent artists of their own, while in FAMO, students are filmmakers that should follow the written rules and processes to enter the film industry. However, my opinions and ideas were both heard and given constructive comments from the lectures in both institutions.

That’s said, I wholeheartedly appreciate the experiences I gained living in Czech and studying at FAMO, given the extraordinary time that we live in. I will definitely come back to the country to immerse in its culture a bit more, and to learn more from this country of rich history in filmmaking. As an update, I have just finished shooting the project I started at FAMO independently, and as well made a short video of my journey back to Finland from Pisek here: https://youtu.be/-OMioBrBzCI

Enjoy!

Minh Pham

Note: The images and video in this post are taken by the author

 

Schöne Grüße aus München

In March 2020 I went to Munich to do my exchange studies and to enjoy my life. Munich was so great! The city has lots of old architecture and more than 20 churches. The price level in Munich is cheaper than in Finland, and at least beer was really cheap and tasty. I’d recommend to just go to a beer garden in Munich and order a Weißbier, after that you can’t drink Finnish beers anymore.

I was there six months and studied in Hochschule München. I didn’t have to spend time there because worldwide known pandemic came, so my courses were held online. I study electrical building services engineering, but I studied mostly business in Munich because I didn’t find any course which would have been related to electric. I chose 10 different courses which was a very bad idea. I had a lot of work and in the end of the semester, the deadlines were almost at the same time. It felt like I didn’t have time to do anything else than school stuff. But I had to get 25 ECTS so I just pushed myself forward and did it. Many of those courses were just 2 ECTS so I recommend choosing courses where you could get more ECTS points.

When borders opened again, I travelled almost 2 months straight around Europe, for example to Austria, Italy and Portugal. The location of Munich is so perfect that you can just rent a car and drive everywhere. I also travelled a lot by bus and plane. Many places were closed in Europe for example bars, clubs and restaurants but I didn’t care because I was abroad and having still good time.

Even though the pandemic was pain in the ass, I enjoyed my time in Munich. I will go back to Munich for sure in the future. I want to go there to see FC Bayern München football match because all the matches were cancelled during corona situation

Big plans to being back home

I had planned my practical training experience for almost a year. I had everything prepared-found an amazing work place in Vienna, Austria, singed the agreement, had a place to live for the summer, made plans where to travel during the weekends and then a world pandemic happened and my plans took another turn. The company stated they would be working remotely and so my practical training there was postponed. I was disappointed that my hard work to organize the internship in the best way possible was ruined.

 

Anyway, I had to act accordingly, so I started looking for a new place. Ironically, I found one 20 minutes away from my home town in Plovdiv, Bulgaria.

The interview went well and had the opportunity to start immediately. Naturally the first few days were a bit odd, but I still felt like I was at the right place.

My practical training took place in a very hospitable company called Eco Resolve LTD. It is a consultancy company and expert in environmental management with expertise in many spheres including environmental impact assessment, safety work conditions and grassing and planting. The training was in total 2 month during which I had to get used to the atmosphere, to the work habits, had to process a big amount of information and work on tasks assigned to me. One would think that two month is a very short period to get used to a new work environment and I could not agree more but this was a summer experience I will remember for life.

 

 

Every day I was crossing the most beautiful part of Plovdiv, the heart of the city-the Old town. With its paved streets, lovely old houses and street artist preparing for their busy days it made my days start with a big smile and blissful heart.  *

 

 

At work I was reading a lot of documents containing vocabulary I hardly knew but I was absorbing every word and luckily there were my friendly colleagues who were helping me with everything they could. Some days were different to the others. We were not spending all the days in the office buried in documentation but also going on-site to talk with the clients and the views on the way to the sites were stunning. *

In my free time I was traveling with friends to the seaside, hiking in the mountains, attending festivals and other cultural events.

Open sky cinema and a festival in Plovdiv. *

Hiking sites in the Rhodopes.*

I can say I am could not be happier how my “failed” summer developed. The countless new friendships and connections, memorable events and valuable knowledge made this experience one in a lifetime.

*All photos taken by author

Greetings from Munich

I spent two semesters abroad in Germany, Munich. I went there in September 2019. The school life in Munich was not that different from what I have used to in Tampere University of Applied Sciences. Some of the courses I had was though by professors who had enormous experience on the topic from corporate world. It was pretty nice to notice that the professors were enthusiastic in teaching and the topics were made to be interesting through a real life stories.

In my spare time I used to go to the gym, nearby my apartment. It was really easy to get the membership at the gym and the atmosphere there was nice. I used to go a lot into the restaurants  and have a some food and beer with friends. I really enjoyed the food culture in Bavaria.  When I had more time I was spending a day visiting the sights. There was so much to see in Munich only, sadly the COVID-19 situation came later and I wasn’t able to visit in every place I wanted to. At least I went skiing on the Alps.

The studying and working culture doesn’t differ that much between Germany and Finland. Only major thing is that the teachers feel to be more respected in Germany than they are in Finland. I think it might be because of the masculinity aspect of the country. In Germany there are more hierarchies than in Finland and people tend to be more masculine, where Finland is feminine country.

München, Olympiastadion, Olympic Park, Stadion

https://pixabay.com/fi/photos/m%C3%BCnchen-olympiastadion-olympic-park-2516492/

Greeting from Munchen

I spent 6 months in Munchen and had a really great time even during the pandemic. I studied at Hoschule Munchen. Its kinda hard to say how the school operates or how is the student life there since there was the pandemic. Nevertheless the school reacted fast and well to the pandemic and the start of the summer semester only got postponed by 4 weeks approx. The lockdown in April-May lasted about 4-5 weeks.

Initially I was going to take courses that were somehow related to my major, but since they did not have much in English but in German I gave up and took any course that sounded interesting. I ended up taking 10 courses for 27 ECTS points, it was a lot of work but I managed. All of the courses were held by Zoom. The teachers spoke good English but sometimes they would throw some German in there to spice things up.

I took some A1 German language classes and learned somewhat okayish German, I intend to continue studying it in TAMK.

Munchen was really fun and amazing city. It has a lot to offer students for ex. Biergartens, clubs, festivals and much more. Sadly because of the pandemic I did not get to experience the city to the fullest.

The city has a lot of great places to watch the sunset.

The architecture in Munchen is also really cool. Just by strolling around the city square or shopping disctrict you can see really old buildings, churches etc.

Even though a lot of students left back to their home countries because of the pandemic I still managed to meet a lot of other exchange students (which was really great). Also the borders around Europe were closed for a few months but immediately they opened we were able to travel. Its crazy how Germany is so center Europe you can just drive 2 hrs to Austria, Switzerland or Liechtenstein. Of course we took advantage of that and traveleng as much as possible inside the country and outside.

I would still stay that Munchens biergartens are the best palce to be. Cheap beer, great atmosphere and mediocre German food (tbh everyone is there for the beer not the food).