Category Archives: Culture

Culture and Arts, Film and Television, Music, Music Pedagogy, Media Production

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!

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

 

Grüße aus Stuttgart!

People hiking on a snowy mountain
Hiking on Feldberg, Black Forest in April

Because of Covid, I almost passed on the whole Erasmus experience. I’m so glad I took the leap of faith and went anyway! Back in March when I came to Stuttgart, the whole city was closed. I became friends with some people from my apartment building and together we took this time to explore the city and surrounding areas outside. Some weeks later everything started opening and we could finally visit the museums, restaurants and shops with a negative Covid-test result.

 

 

 

Screen printing tote bags at school

I have been one of the fortunate ones who still get to go to campus (or has to go – it depends). Here I study print media technologies in Hochschule der Medien, and could not really do much from home. I have classes about campaign management, bookbinding, preparing files for printing, and different printing methods. These courses have been fun and useful, as they are sort of a natural continuation to my studies at TAMK (Interactive Media). The campus, teachers and classmates are all very nice, but I’m sure open cafeterias and events could have made the school experience even better.

 

What I could not do at the campus, I made up for outside of it. In addition to hanging out at the dorms, my friends and I have made countless trips inside and outside of the city. Southern Germany has so many beautiful towns, natural parks and mountains! You can see some of them in the picture collage below. These trips are definitely one the most cherished memories I will keep from the Erasmus exchange.

Picture collage of towns and nature in Germany
Some of the places I have visited

I have learned a lot during my time in Germany – professionally and culturally. The German students in my classes seem to be prepared to compete for jobs. They are generally driven, precice and demanding. They will suggest a group zoom meeting even on a Sunday morning, which is unheard of in Finland. I got used to their habits as we were only two Finns and one Turkish girl among 50 Germans. Sometimes I had to remind my group that I was just being polite, not uninterested, by not pushing my opinions all the time. Despite the cultural differences, everything went well in the end and I enjoyed the classes.

-Anna

Hilsen fra Bergen!

After many Covid-19 tests and 10 days in a quarantine hotel I was finally able to start my exchange period at The Grieg Academy in Bergen. There were a lot of other exchange students starting the spring semester with me, including over 20 Finnish exchange students from different faculties. At the Grieg Academy there were two other music exchange students (both had started their exchange year already in the autumn). I fell in love with Bergen the moment I entered the city. It was just amazingly beautiful and the atmosphere was warm and welcoming . We started doing hikes to the mountains right after the semester started and it became a hobby for me for the whole exchange period.

 

My studies were mostly at the campus but some lessons were held online. My normal study week included practicing (my instrument), flute lessons, an accompaniment lesson, chamber music, a contemporary music lecture, orchestral studies, Norwegian language course lessons and  Zoom lessons to Finland held by my home university. I also attended to a folk music intensive week. It was so much fun and also very interesting! Compared to Finland people took studying and exams more seriously. The Norwegian school system was similar to the Finnish one apart from some minor differences.

In my spare time I was hanging out and exploring the city with my school friends and other exchange students. I am very grateful that I met so many amazing people during my time in Bergen.

I was jogging a lot in the amazing nature of Bergen and hiking to the mountains often as well. The Covid-19 situation was mostly under control in Bergen and the restrictions were fair. We traveled a lot during the spring. We visited for example Myrkdalen, Folgefonna, Stavanger and the Lofoten Islands.

 

I am sure I am going back to Norway at some point!

<3 Lotta

Greetings from Berlin, the beautiful capital of Germany!

I have been here as an exchange student since March, studying Film and Motion Design at the University of Europe for Applied Sciences. My studies have been almost entirely distance learning due to the pandemic, but even so, I consider the experience to have been quite unique. The courses are focused on different aspects of the filmmaking and the modules were structured in a way that the courses support each other which I thought was a very good thing. An example I can give is that one course was focused on technique, one on storytelling, one on sound design and one on editing. This way we were well prepared for the final project, which was the final project for two courses at the same time – so we had to put all our effort into it.

For the final project (for the main courses) we made a documentary film, for which our group chose a farmer as a protagonist. She was living outside Berlin. We spent two days shooting in the countryside near the small town called Rathenow. I think this project was a very unique experience in the sense that we finally got to work as a team and at the same time I got to see life outside Berlin. This is what I had been waiting for during all that distance learning. My team was great and I made some really good friends – and also some potential contacts in my field. I think this was the most important and significant project of my whole academic year. 

When it comes to studies, the thing that I found important was how professors was able to give me new perspectives for the things that I already knew. I got a new angle from which to look at things and I think this is learning at it’s best!In my spare time, I wanted to find out what Berlin is all about. Towards the end of the exchange – when restrictions were lifted and I had a bit more time – I visited pretty much in every place that I could in Berlin. It’s much to say but I did a lot! With friends we visited the TV Tower, the observation deck of the French Church, the Berliner Dom, the Sony Center media museum and of course the East Side Gallery and Checkpoint Charlie – only to name few. I think we covered almost all the sights – and there are plenty!On top of that, we took a two-day trip to the nearby city of Potsdam with my Bavarian friend and I fell in love with this small city. While being there, we had a quick visit to the world famous Babelsberg Studios and its adjoining film park. It was an amazing experience – and particularly inspiring in my own field! We also visited the old film museum in the city.

In general, I didn’t notice much differences in the study culture between Finland and Germany – just as I didn’t really see any cultural differences between Finns and Germans. The only thing that I noticed was the higher appreciation and respect towards teachers and the fact that studying in Germany is perhaps a bit more demanding than in Finland – more is required of students. But I think the teachers were very professional and supportive of the students – I actually liked the fact that the students were expected to produce a bit more. The experience during this exchange has been rich and definitely worth it to go here!

Greetings from Leuven, Belgium

I came to Leuven in February and have been enjoying seeing how the city has come to life again during these five months. These are peculiar times defined by social distancing. However, I’m happy to tell it’s been a wonderful spring for me anyway. My studies in LUCA School of Arts have been great and I think I’m very lucky cause most of the lessons have been organised live at campus.

          

In Leuven you can find Belgium’s biggest university – KU Leuven, which makes Leuven a true student city. Most students move around by bikes and it didn’t take long for me to rent my own bike as well. Exploring the city and other areas nearby by biking became one of my favourite things to do outside of campus.

        

In the beginning of May the city started to open up again and the view was completely different. Bars and restaurants could have customers again outside, so the streets were filled with tables, chairs and people. The lifting-up of the measures also made it possible to start planning concerts again and I still can’t quite believe we actually managed to have one. The 9th of June was the first day concerts could happen again so our lovely piccolo class organised a concert together with organ players. We went to a church in Kortessem and played a full program to a live audience. I have to say after a year of silence it felt amazing to share live music again.

         

Now it’s the end of the academic year and students are focusing on their exams. In Belgium the exam period lasts all June and for me it feels much more intense than the exams in Finland. Also, in the meantime, everyone is going crazy about the EUROCUP and you can spot the Belgium flags on balconies and all over the city.

I’m excited to see if I can catch another side of the city after the exams are done and everyone will get the summer-break vibes.

Doei!

Greetings from Stuttgart, Germany

Hallo, wie geht’s?

Greetings from Stuttgart, Southern Germany!

I have been here as an exchange student since March in Hochschule der Medien. I am a student in the Print Media Technologies minor, and I have really enjoyed the studies here. In my studies at TAMK in the interactive media path I have been able to study how to make design with Adobe programs, but here I have been able to widen my knowledge about printing technologies and how to prepare files better for print. I have also participated in a project course, where we made an Image book for das Kaufhaus, a second hand store in Stuttgart. The project has been so cool and I have been able to work with different people and to work on the layout for the Image book. Another course I have really enjoyed is the practical training class, where we have in practice worked and learned about printing techniques. I have been able to work in a book bindery and to try out different printing machines. I have also learned new things about inks, and how many different kinds of inks there are with various abilities. For example some inks glow in the dark after absorbing light and some inks you can make smell like coffee for example. The studies in Germany have been quite similar to the studies in Finland. The differences I think has much to do with resources. Hochschule der Medien has state of the art printing machines for the use of teaching, which the students can use. But a difference I have noticed is that generally I feel that more is required out of students to perform and some teachers are quite demanding. Also more work is required to achieve credits compared to TAMK. But it also depends a lot on the type of course as well. But all in all I have really enjoyed the studies and the study pace and the way of studying has worked well for me. 

The picture shows one of the big printing machines. The other picture shows an ink that glows in the dark after being exposed to light.

In my free time I have tried to do as much as possible taking to account all the Corona restrictions. The first three months of the exchange has had a lot of restrictions and places have been closed for a long time, but in the end of May more shops and restaurants started to open and you could go to most places if you had taken a negative corona test. But now the situation is much better and most places, like bars and restaurants are open longer and you don’t need a negative corona test anymore to most places. During my stay here I have been travelling to other cities, such as Heidelberg, Esslingen and Tübingen. I have done a lot of hiking in the nature with my friends and I have also gone to many museums, such as the Mercedes Benz museum, Porsche museum and the Art museum. I am looking forward to travel more at the end of my studies when the exams are over. I will go to a concert in Dresden next week and later hopefully travel to other cities and maybe neighbouring countries as well. I have been able to get friends from other countries, everyone lives in the same buildings here and my flatmates are very nice. I live with five other people. They come from Colombia, Chile, China, India and Pakistan so we are a vey international bunch of people.

   

City of Heidelberg to the left and Chile and Santiago-de-Chile-Platz at night in Stuttgart city centre and the inside of the Mercedes Benz museum

At the moment the EURO football tournament is going on, and in addition to Finland I have been cheering for Germany as well. We bought Germany hats with my friends that we wear to the games, which is really fun. I am looking forward to the rest of my exchange here in Stuttgart and I really recommend to come here for an exchange in the future.

Grüße,

Annika

 

Creetings from Central Belt Scotland!

 

Arthur’s Seat with clouds hanging low. Arthur’s Seat is 251 metre tall extinct ancient volcano in the middle of Edinburgh.  It get’s the name from a legend that tells this hill would have been the place where Knights of Round-table used to do their gatherings. UK has several “Arthur’s Seats” with same type of origins for their name.

Moved to Scotland in Summer 2019 and have been finishing my studies at TAMK from here. Did my practical training for a video game company located in Edinburgh during the covid lock-down from the beginning of April to the end of July 2020. At my time in Haiku Interactive Ltd. I composed and produced music and created sound design for a video game called Dwerg Saga. There is not too much to tell of that time. Obviously, I worked from home via internet and saw no one else face to face but my family members. Had daily Zoom meetings with my boss though. Groceries were delivered to our door weekly. Spent most of my free time with my family in our back garden.

The Flat Earth center in Inverness.

At the beginning of August things eased up a bit and we took a holiday at Highlands. Saw Loch Ness but not the monster though. According to news there has been more Nessie sightings this year than usual. I guess these times brings out the freaks from some of us who are not used to have this much time in their hands and nothing to do…

Seal swimming up the River Ness in Inverness.

 

 

Restrictions has hit harder again in UK in October. Especially in Scotland’s Central Belt, reaching from Edinburgh in the east coast to Glasgow in the west coast of Scotland. For example, the pubs are not allowed to serve alcohol after six o’clock, no more than six persons can gather from maximum of two households, and you are not allowed to visit anyone at their home. At least for now day-care and schools are open, but the autumn holiday was extended in Scotland to two weeks to kill off maximum amount of sleeping covid cases.

 

 

It would be nice to see a band live once more or maybe even travel to Finland to meet friends and family. So, skip the student parties and tell your friends to skip them too. Stay safe and stay smart everybody!

Covid-19 in Utrecht, The Netherlands

I had a chance to spend four months in Utrecht, a city in the Netherlands. The Netherlands presented itself as a land of great cheese and bicycles. During my spare time, I rented a bicycle and went to explore everyday life in Utrecht.

When COVID-19 took over Europe, Netherlands closed its schools quite quickly. After schools were closed and everything went online, I started to spend a lot of time with the exchange students who I shared an apartment. We made dinners together, watch movies, talk about a lot of stuff, so I had opportunities to learn how to make Greek or Czech food.

What’s up Seoul,#RepublicofKorea

I arrived at Incheon Airport on the 29th of February, when the coronavirus was blowing up and spreading uncontrollably in South Korea. Therefore, before coming to Korea, I expected a chaotic scenario at the airport, but everything was organized logically, and seeing everyone wearing masks was a relief. Seyoon is one of my most close friends in Mediapolis. When I just arrived at the airport, Seyoon’s father was there to pick me up and he drove me to my dormitory in Seoul. Thanks to him, I reached my dorm safe and sound.
I struggled a bit on the first day of figuring out how to charge the T-money card known as the public transportation card. Because that card can only recharge by cash, and I didn’t have any cash with me at that time either.

I was lucky that I have my old friend who has been living and studying in Seoul for 3 years. She helped me a lot with getting a new SIM card at a reasonable price, learning basic Korean language, and taking me around Seoul.

After I got the admission from Sungkyungkwan University (SKKU), I was added to a Kakao group with all the upcoming exchange students. Before coming to SKKU, my buddy (tutor) Yewon already contacted me to help me prepare everything documents and essential things for my exchange period. Because of the pandemic, we hadn’t had time to hang out with each other at first. But later, when the situation in Korea was controlled much better, we finally had a chance to meet up and catching up with each other about how everything was going on.

I’m always a big fan of the Korean concept and visual arts, so right after the art gallery and exhibition were allowed to open again, I went to some with my friends and my tutor. They were so well organized and mesmerizing. Sometimes, I didn’t need to go to any exhibition, because they exhibited some artworks everywhere, specifically, in the subway station

    
             (Inside Magritte exhibition)                             (subway exhibition)


                                                      (subway exhibition)

Because of the pandemic, I had online classes for the whole semester. Enrollment in Korea is much more competitive than in Finland. And to be honest, I couldn’t enroll in one course I like because I was late only a few seconds on the first enrollment day. I had to email the professor for letting me enroll in that course if there was any vacant slot for me. Luckily I finally got in. There was another story on my enrollment day. As I was so hustling to enroll in the course, I made a mistake in typing the course code, so BAAM! I enrolled in one course I thought I would never do which requires a lot of coding. I struggled a lot with that course, but thanks to that, now I got a new skill in coding with processing which I think I already forgot 70% of it. The learning system in SKKU is not that different compared to Mediapolis since we all studied online and had daily, weekly tasks after every lecture. In the last 2 weeks, we had some group meeting at SKKU campus with the professor for getting some instruction for the final project.

As normal, the spring semester would end on the 19th of June. However, this year there were a lot of things happened, so my semester ended much later (5th of July). After finishing the semester, I went to Busan which is a beach city in Korea with my friend as a short summer vacation.

Back in March, when I didn’t have many assignments and projects to do, I had a day hanging out around Seoul with my friend in Itaewon and Hongdae, and I also filmed it. You can check the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zW9ZYyY98jY

Photos were taken by Hy