Category Archives: Social Services, Health and Sports

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Greetings from Malta!

I´m currently here in Malta completing my clinical training in the Mater Dei Hospital, which is the only public hospital in Malta. I´m working in the paediatric accident and emergency department. Our patients are 0-15 years old children who come to the emergency due to many reasons, one thing does compound them all, they are all in need of immediate medical attention. Most days are very busy, also due to the shortage off staff but also for the reason that this is the main emergency department in the whole Island. This is my first paediatric placement during my nursing studies so I think this has been an amazing opportunity for me to learn more from paediatric nursing. I have learned a lot from many most common paediatric illnesses and their treatments and also learned how things are done in an emergency settings. In addition to that, it has been great to see how nursing is carried out abroad and also get to notice some cultural differences in the field. After this experience, I think I have even more appreciation towards Finnish health care system.

Saline intravenous (iv) drip stock photo

I have to admit that spare time is my favorite time in here. I have made some new friends and it´ s really nice to explore the island and just hang out together in these beautiful settings. We like to go out to eat with my friends or just go sit in a nice café or go for a few cocktails. I have also been shopping quite a bit as I´m a crazy shopper. I have already seen most of the tourist attractions here but I still have few places I want to visit. My favorite attraction so far has been the Golden Bay, there was a nice beach and also very nice views from a cliff that we climbed to.

Ilmainen kuvapankkikuva tunnisteilla ihmiset, juoma, käsi

Working here as a nurse differs from Finland in many ways. First of all, nurses work here only 2 shift which means that there is a day shift and a night shift, 12 hours both. All though I have noticed that during this 12-hour shift nurses tend to take a break for a nap one at a time. this was very odd to me first but I have now gotten used to it. I have also noticed that the mentoring of student isn´t quite as convenient as in Finland. I also feel like here the student´s role is more to watch and listen here whereas in Finland students are encouraged to do and practice more with the help of the mentor.


Kiisa Kiuasmaa

Berlin place to be

I spend my summer 2019 in Berlin Germany. My practical training was in youth social work at UFA Fabrik e.V. which is part of worldwide Settlement neighbourhood houses. During four month living in Berlin with local roommate and only speaking German was a great trip.

Free time was mostly hanging around in parks, fleamarkets, seeing great gigs, going theatre and art exhibitions. Also lots of pubs and club life includes naturally when you live in Berlin.

Working life was more communal in Germany than in Finland. At least in the social field. We spend lots of time together also in our free time some afterwork beers and culture happenings.

My studies at Stoke-On-Trent, UK

Living and studying in Stoke-On-Trent, England for almost 7 months has been one of the best experiences in my life, regardless of the ongoing pandemic. I started my exchange program in January 2020 and returned to Finland halfway through July. Stoke-On-Trent (often just Stoke) is located in Northern Staffordshire which in my opinion is the perfect location for an exchange student in England; it’s not far from London or Manchester and travelling is fairly easy and cheap, especially with the railcard. Stoke has lot to offer such as lovely parks, shopping centre, museums, pubs and restaurants and everything is fairly close. You can easily walk everywhere.

I did my exchange studies in the Staffordshire University. The courses I studied were really interesting and I learned so many new things! In total I did three modules during my studies which meant having lectures 3 days a week leaving me with a lot of spare time for travelling and other activities. I did lots of travelling between Stoke-On-Trent and London. The professors in my chosen modules were so nice and helpful and I could not have asked a better study experience. Studying in a University in England differs a lot from studying in a University in Finland (or at least in TAMK) since the focus was on theoretical learning all the time. We did hardly any practical studies which was a little bit disappointing. Our focus was on theory and assignments and we had to write one essay for each module at the end of the semester. Your final mark depended on how well you did on your essay. For each lecture we had to do some preparatory work; this could be for example reading an article, doing some research or watch a documentary. We would have a discussions, or some sort of group work activity on each lecture based on the given assignment. Most of the study hours in England are meant for studying by yourself and sometimes it did feel like I had no spare time because of the studies taking so much time of my day.

Staffordshire University offered a lot of spare time activities such as social clubs and a gym. The campus area was surrounded with bars, coffee shops, restaurants and grocery stores. I spent good amount of my time during my studies in the library doing research and assignments with my classmates before the lockdown. I am so happy I did not have to cut my exchange studies short because of the lockdown and was able to stay in England. Distance learning on it’s own was an experience as well!

I can’t wait to visit Stoke-On-Trent again one day and look back to all the memories I made during my exchange studies!

Kia Ora!

I did my internship in Wellington, New Zealand. Because of Covid-19 I get chance to be there only little over two weeks. I suppose to be there three months. Anyway, I am happy that I was able to be there even a little while. My internship place was Skylight Trust. They are specialize in grief and support services. I was working on a project. The meaning of the project was help young Maori people.


When I was choosing the place where I will go to do my internship I think that one of my goals were to learn to speak better English. I also think that if it is possible I will go so far away as I could. In Wellington they speak English and yes, it is far away. My trip took over 40 hours to get there. Wellington is the capital of New Zealand. Because I was able to be there only two weeks my English is no so much better than when I left.

Wellington is very beautiful city. The nature is so close even you are in the middle of city. You can smell the ocean and feel the wind everywhere. There are no long distance and you can walk to everywhere.

I was very lucky because the weather was great every day. I have walked so much that my legs was killing me. There was so many beautiful places. I hope pictures can tell about it even a little. There was end of summer but you were ably to wear shorts and t-shirt.

Maybe someday I go back. I can recommend Wellington to everybody who likes nature and enjoy about awesome views. People in New Zealand was very helpful and kind. There were same kind of things than we have here in Finland. For example they do not hug you or stand too close to you.


I arrived in Bangkok on January 25th. 2020 and I had to wait for a 6 hour flight to Phuket with thousands of Chinese who had come to Thailand to celebrate the New Year. The Corona virus threat began to become real to me as well. I bought a protective mask and kept putting the desinfecting agent on my hands. The real panic was not far away.

Phuket I then calmed Korona virus. The virus appears here every day in a way that people use a lot of mask. In fact, I am content with just regular hand washing. The first few weeks, when there were a lot of Chinese, I also avoided going to areas where there were a lot of people.

My job has been awesome. I work for the Asia Foundation Center for Young Children in Phuket. I didn’t know what I was going to do there. I was a little afraid that I would only have to do school assistant work. However, I have to do the work that is meaningful and where I can use all the experience and skills as a physiotherapist and the coming Social Services. My boss, who is a South African woman who really appreciates Finnish education, is interested in how we use different teaching methods in Finland.

I am in daily contact with children for about one hour and observe how I can facilitate the work of teachers through functional methods. My main job has been to develop functional methods that facilitate teaching, such as PECS images and other functional methods to aid teaching. I have also made  home visits to children’s own homes, as well as some of the homes in need of help for the elderly.

Teachers don’t speak English well and the kids don’t speak at all. However, the language problem goes with drawing and gestures. I guide the children with PECS pictures. Besides me there is three Thai and two Swedish social worker students, of which I have been good friends.

The school has 45 children aged between three and seven who are from very poor families. The educational center has been in the area for 20 years and many would like to have their children there, but the criterion for access to the center is poorness. Only the most vulnerable are accepted there. Children are taught to behave, take care of their hygiene, and the basic skills they need to go to school.


The parents of most children are in prison, drug users, prostitutes, or very poor. Most children live with their grandparents because parents are unable to care for them. Most children live a life where no one really cares.

From the Finnish point of view, children’s hygiene is quite horrible. Their clothes are dirty, their skin is dirty and bruised, and their teeth are very broken when they are 4 years old.

However, at the training center, they are loved, washed, given healthy food, taught teeth brushing, hygiene, basic life skills, English, and above all, set boundaries and regularity. The children who are accepted here are very lucky. They have a chance to get out of education and poverty.

The work has been interesting, but also mentally difficult at times. I endure anything that happens to adults with 30 years of work experience, but it has sometimes been difficult to deal with ill-treated children. Some children have had to wipe away tears.

I have always loved painting, and here also I have been able to carry out all the more to love a hobby, which I have not had because of the family, my work and my studies time in years. My boss here first asked me if I wanted to do a mural on the work area of ​​the workplace. I accepted the challenge and my boss agreed to my plan. I will design the mural around the Asia Foundation Center logo. I wanted to take a picture of our four northern times of the year so that the children would learn that there is more to the world than the hot and rainy season. The Autumn Magazines will write down the names and year of the employees who will be leaving, and the Green Magazines of the summer will write the names and dates of the big children, who will stop attending the Center on March 27, 2020. It has been wonderful to do mural painting even though due to the heat I couldn’t do it for an hour in the morning.

There have also been negative things here. Traffic is something horrible and left-handed. I have been forced to drive business trips 4 km direction moped, and every day I have been quite horrified. I’ve so far survived it. The next sad thing has been the heat at work. I like hot weather and sunshine but working 8 hours working without air conditioning has been a real ordeal! I will never get used to it. My job is so poor that only my boss’s room has air conditioning. Each day I sweat for 8 hours and I drink at least 2 liters of mineral water a day. The best moment of the evening is when I get out of work and go to the pool for a swim and return to my air-conditioned apartment.

I have four children and a husband. I’ve never been a week away from them, let alone travel alone. I am proud of myself because I have survived here all alone. I’m here alone, but I have not had been lonely. I have received so many new friends, with whom I spent my free time. I’ll be here a changed, more independent and stronger personality than I had ever before. The words are hard to even explain all the things I have learned about myself here.

The most important thing I want to bring from here to Finland is the kindness of Buddhism. I’ve never encountered something like this. It has really impressed me! I want to strive to do the same for all the people I meet in the future, so it felt good. With small gestures you can make another one very happy. We Finns should care more about each other!

The other thing is greater appreciation of the level of Finnish education. It is the best in the world and it is truly valued in the world. As I have heard many times here. We can be really proud of our Finnish education!

I’ll write the rest of my blog now at home. I was forced to quit working in Thailand for the Korona pandemic. The training center was closed and I went home on my first direct flight. I’m sure I’ll be back there. I want to visit all the places I know and most of all meet all the wonderful people again.



Sunny and hot Australia

Beautiful Australia was my exchange destination. More specifically I stayed in a city call Sydney, which is the capital of the region New South-Wales, located in the east of Australia. The city has old city center and a lot of history behind it. Museums, churches, stores, monuments, market every saturday & sunday as well as many great personal restaurants. Lovely city overall and easy to get around with a bus or a train to everywhere. Although car is essential as they drive everywhere in Australia and even in Sydney, in fact there are only a few bikes in the Sydney overall.


In addition to beautiful view of Australia, Sydney is a great place if you want to see many places during exchange. With extensive railway network and short distances within the city, almost every single tourist attraction is not a far distance away. For example, the Blue Mountains, Bondi Beach and Sydney Eye Tower are close by. Weekend trips are also possible to other sights as well. For example, Brisbane and Manly are possible to visit as weekend trips. These are what I did mostly during my freetime on weekends. When I stayed in Sydney, I visited many restaurants, walked around different beautiful parks with my friends and took part in student activities and parties as well.



I chose Sydney because I wanted to know different paramedicine systems and protocols outside Finland as a part of my studies. My teacher suggested that this kind of exchange is only possible in Sydney so that is the reason why I chose Sydney. I chose four different courses in Sydney, which were held at Western Sydney University Campbelltown. I enjoyed my courses, the new persepective on paramedicine as well as all the driven teachers in the school, both the lectures and other students as well. It’s a real community they have been able to build and the atmosphere at Campbelltown during the studies is very encouraging.

Studying at a Australian University has been really easy. The study methohs are very close to the ones in TAMK, where most of the studies are simulations and team based and the approach is very hands on. I like this since I have never been the kind of person who learns only by reading. I enjoy learning new things and then getting to apply that to practice straight away during simulations. Also the simulations, both in Finland and Australia are done with teachers who are still in the workfield as real-life paramedics. This is a great way to build your relationships with workfield for future and to hear about the latest protocols used in the workfield as well.


Student life in Stoke on Trent

I studied in Stoke on Trent in England for the autumn semester 2019. I did my studies in Staffordshire University. The university was really big and it was only 15 minute walk form my home so it was really nice. The studies were really different than the ones I was used to in Finland. We had some kind of preparation work for every lecture, for example reading some articles or watching a documentary. Some of them were a bit difficult but made the studying interesting. The lectures were shorter than in Finland and we had no exams, only essays and reports to write. The lectures were really interesting and you could focus on the topics that you were interested.

I have spent my spare time travelling. I have been in London, Manchester, Scotland, Ireland and Northern Ireland as well. It has been super interesting to explore the country! I have also met many other students, local English students but international exchange students as well.  Stoke on Trent is famous for the potteries so I have also visited a pottery museum in the city. Sometimes it feels like I have no free time, the studies and essay writings take a lot of my time! I also had my family and my friend visiting me during the exchange which was really nice. Three months is a short time to explore the whole country so I wish to come back in the UK again very soon and visit more places!


Greetings from Stoke-On-Trent

I have been studying in Stoke-On-Trent for almost three months now.  Stoke-On-Trent is a city in Northern Staffordshire that has a population of a bit over 250 000 citizens and is best known from its pottery industry. Even though by its population Stoke-On-Trent is slightly bigger than Tampere, in my opinion, it feels a bit smaller. However, it has a lot of nice things to offer: it has, for example, many beautiful parks, a shopping center, museums, a movie theater, many pubs and restaurants, a shopping village and even a monkey forest.



In my opinion, the best part of the city has been the university where I study, Staffordshire University. The courses I have studied have been very interesting and the professors have been really nice, helpful and good at what they do. The contents and implementations of the courses have been well structured: they have involved both theory and practice, and instead of just listening to lecturers the lessons have involved a lot of discussions and group work. There are a few differences between studying in Staffordshire University and studying in TAMK. For example, in Staffordshire University there are preparatory tasks for each lecture, whereas in TAMK, at least in the courses I have attended, there aren’t. In here, I also have more independent studying and less contact hours. I have lectures only on Tuesdays to Thursdays and only two to four hours per day. Another example of the differences between my host and home universities, is that in the courses I have studied here, the final marks are based on essays or portfolios, whereas in most of the courses I have in TAMK the grade is based on an exam done in the end of each course. In here, we have to write usually one 3000-word essay per course and you can plan and write it whenever you want to, as long as it’s done by the deadline in the end of the semester. For my personally, regarding my learning and development during a course, this way is more suitable. In all, I have been very satisfied with my host university and I have learned a lot during the semester!

My free time I have spent, for instance, hanging out with my new friends, exploring the British culture (including celebrating the local holidays, such as Guy Fawkes Day and Halloween) and enjoying our university’s weekly student happenings.  I have also spent a lot of time travelling. Right in the beginning of my exchange period, before arriving Stoke-On-Trent, I spent a few days in London with my friend, which was a great way to start the student exchange.  In September we also traveled to Dublin and Belfast, in October to Manchester and in November to Scotland. Next week, I will travel to London one more time, and the week after that my destination will be Finland!

Best Regards, Katariina

Small city called Zlín

I am located with my practical training in Tomas Bata Regional Hospital in Zlín. I would say the hospital environment is basically the same compared to Finnish hospitals even though there is a lot of differences. Itself the hospital is large complex of different buildings which all has own departments. So the hospital isn´t just one big building with different sectors and that is what makes the working there little tricky. Whenever you need to go to another department you might need to travel all along to the different side of the hospital area for few minutes easily. Our locker rooms are located in different building and after changing to uniform you have to head outside and find your way to the department. You usually find yourself walking outside depending what weather it is, which doesn´t make it very pleasant. Also, for moving the patients between different departments it´s not very handy system.

Aerial view of the hospital

We have changed the departments almost every week to another. Basically they are not as modern as in Finland. I wouldn´t say that is a surprise. Mostly no one speaks english except the students that we are with. It makes the communication with nurses and patients and other staff little bit difficult. Comparing to practice we had in Finland to practice here, it doesn´t offer that much what we expected. It seems that the students here doesn´t have own mentor and maybe that´s the reason we don´t get to do so much things in the hospital. The days in the hospital can really be boring when there is nothing to do or see. Best things might be those when we had opportunity to see different surgeries.

The architecture in Zlín is called “functionalism”

Even though the Zlín isn´t that big city it has decent amount things to do and easy ways to travel somewhere else to enjoy your time. There is a zoo just nearby where we visited in the first week. The city has also own ice hockey team called PSG Berani Zlín whose matches we have gone to see with other students. Time to time there is country presentation with two different countries against each other where we get to hear history and other information about them and lastly taste the food they have prepared for us. Zlín also has a mall with movie theatre where you can enjoy the new movies. Likewise in Finland there is a lot of parties every week with different themes that contains parties with other students abroad. So the most common way to spend your time is to grab a drink or two of good Czech beer and just hang out with other Erasmus students.

PSG Berani goaltending
The draft beer in Czech Republic

Another option is to travel somewhere in Czech or nearby countries. Zlín is located actually very central place when thinking to travel countries like Hungary, Austria or Slovakia. So when there is time enough in your schedule you can find yourself in places like Budapest or Wien which are really nice. In Bratislava there wasn´t that much to experience though.

Parliament house in Budapest
Christmas market in Vienna

Greetings from Vukovar!

Hello from Vukovar, Croatia!

I’m doing my three month clinical practise here in Vukovar. This is a small and very cozy town situated right near the border of Serbia. Population is around 30 000 on the paper, but the actual number of people is lower. This town has pretty dark history because it was bombed down during the Croatian war in 1991 and some ethnic cleansing was done here by the Serbs during the occupation. You can still see some bullet holes in building walls and one burned down hotel. Nowadays people (especially young people) don’t really care if someone is serb or croatian, they just want to move on and aim for the future.

I’m working in a local hospital as a physiotherapist. Me and my classmates are only exchange students here at the moment, so  everyone here is eager to meet and spend time with us. People in the hospital has been very kind to us and always willing to help in whatever we need, whether it’s a car trip to local supermarket or getting a car to hire for weekends to tour around. I work in two shifts which differs from Finnish working culture, because in Finland physiotherapists usually works in only one shift.

I’m living in a brand new student dormitory 300 meters away from the hospital and 800 from the local university so the distance to work or university ain’t too bad. Other students in the dormitory have been really kind to us and are also willing to help with any problem we face. In spare time we usually hang out with people in the dorm or other people from the university.

All in all this time here has been really enjoyable and I think this gives me tons of good memories to bear with me. And maybe someday I’ll return this place and meet the people I call my friends, or maybe someday some of them will visit Finland! You never know.

Best regards, Iiro