Tag Archives: Australia

From Winter to Summer – Finland to Australia

I had only a couple of days to decide whether I should go to Australia or not. Some reasons were making it challenging for me to decide. For example, there were bushfires and smoke in many parts of Australia, including Canberra, where my internship would take place. Still, Finally, I booked my tickets and took a flight to Canberra.

Both above Pictures show Canberra city, both are during the bushfires, but the first one is when the fires got close to the town.

My internship was at the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. I was working there as a Financial Assistant. The placement was what I was seeking to get more practical experience.

In my spare time, I visited a lot of places like Hyams Beach, Hyams Beach is surrounded by national and Marine Parks, Hyams Beach has an abundance of native plants and animals, and the crystal clear water is frequently visited by whales and dolphins.

Other than Hyams Beach, I visited some other places as well as Bondi Beach in Sydney, and one of the burned forests called Nerriga. I drove almost one hour within the woods at a speed of 90km/hr, and all I was seeing was burned trees.

In my spare time, I was also reading books and going for a walk at least one time per day to a hill close to my resident place.

And about the Afghans, working culture modernization has resulted in the infiltration of western influences into the Afghani culture, which is most profound in the country’s major cities. The same like that it is possible to find different styles in different Afghan organizations around the world.

It is said that Australians have a unique working culture. There are some similarities between Finnish and Australian working cultures. In both cultures being late to work is not cool at all and there should be a legit reason for that and beside that one should let the office know about the situation. Australia is also similar to Finland and Nordic countries in terms of mentality: both cultures prefer quality over quantity. Both cultures’ highest priorities are wellbeing and healthy lifestyle.

One big match of both cultures is talking on the point, unlike most other cultures. A Finn and an Australian prefer to come to the point without beating around the bush.

The embassy was where most of the employees are Afghan Nationals, But I found some excellent sources on the working culture differences and want to share them here:

Useful links related to working culture in Finland, Australia, and Afghanistan

24 things expats find surprising about Australian working culture


Why Finland leads the world in flexible work


Afghanistan – Guide to Language, Culture, Customs, and Etiquette


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.


G’day mate!

Greetings from sunny Straya!

I am now about halfway through my internship at Schenker Australia working in Product Management Air Freight based in Sydney. My team is responsible for the financial as well as operational results of Air Freight in Australia and New Zealand, including business and product development, budget planning, profit and cost savings and carrier management among other tasks. I have learned a great deal about operational as well as commercial side of air freight and freight forwarding. This experience has definitely confirmed that I’m on the right track and want to continue working in this field in the future.


Our office in Alexandria


Just another day at the office

Working in a multicultural environment has been a great experience, in our office we have people from all over the world and we are in touch with our colleagues in Europe, Asia and America on a daily basis. Australian business culture is somewhat casual, people are called by their first name and general atmosphere is relaxed, yet work is taken seriously and appropriate business attire is expected in the office.

Sydney is a beautiful city full of beaches, parks, attractions, activities and events, and of course friendly and super polite people. No worries –attitude is something I’ve absorbed very quickly, left-hand traffic took a little more time and proper Australian accent and abbreviations still manage to confuse me sometimes.


Sunday chill and chess in Hyde Park


Opera House and Harbour BridgeIMG_4855

Bondi Beach


Blue Mountains National Park

The only bad thing I can think of Sydney are the high living costs. Accommodation is considerably more expensive than in Finland and everyone lives in shared flats or houses, it is common to share even your room with other people. Also life without a car is not made too easy unless you stay in CBD area. The city is huge with over 300 suburbs and almost 5 million inhabitants yet public transportation is not great nor cheap hence everyone has their own car and the traffic is pretty bad on mornings and afternoons.


Cute animals in Australia vs. not so cute…

The winter is on its way this part of the world but so far the temperatures have stayed above 20 Celsius and as a Finn I’m not too worried about the Australian “winter”. Time is flying and there is still heaps to see in this amazing country. I hope to get an opportunity to do some exploring after the internship is over and enjoy the Australian summer as well!

G’Day from Down Under!

Heey it’s Laura from Australia!


I did my practical training in Darwin Australia in an event managing and organizing company called Agentur. I thought I’d share my experience with you since it was quite awesome.

I had never even heard of a place called Darwin before I finally got an internship there. Since it’s so close to the equator there’s only two seasons: dry and wet. I was lucky enough to be there during the dry season when it’s “not so hot and humid”. Coming from Finland it was still pretty hot for me. Temperatures varied between 30°C and 35°C during the day and at night it was between 23°C and 27°C. It took a while to get used to such warm weather but I wasn’t complaining, sun shined everyday! Well the first day I arrived there the wet season had just ended and it was pouring, I got soaked and hoped that that wasn’t the way it was going to be. And luckily it wasn’t, sun shined every day!


On my way to work!

As I said I was working in a company called Agentur. They organize and put together events, galas, awards and conferences. My job was to answer the phone at our office, help out at the events, put together PowerPoint presentations for the events and make drafts of quest lists and run sheets, taking notes and running errands. I also participated in some of the meetings and took part in checking out the sites for the events. We had a little office puppy, little Yorkshire terrier Ares, the God of War, who I took for walks around the beautiful Cullen Bay area.

I  took part in planning four different events: the CEO Sleepout, Territory Day, Northern Territory Literary Awards and the National Indigenous Music Awards. It was great to get to go backstage and behind the scenes of these events and I really enjoyed all of them. Some of them were smaller and some bigger. It was funny to notice that even if the event was quite small it took plenty of effort to put together. There’s so much you need to take in consideration when planning an event! It really got me by surprise and there were things I would’ve never thought.

20160701_185913Territory Day sunset at Mindil Beach

I was staying with a host in her 2 bedroom apartment. She was traveling for six weeks so for that time I had the whole place for my self. The apartment was quite close to the city center and being so, very close to the nightlife! Since I didn’t have a car (even if I did, I don’t think I would’ve been driving that much.. These crazy Aussies are driving on the wrong side of the road!) I didn’t get around as much as I would’ve liked. The 3 months stuck in the city with pretty much nothing else than bars around got a little boring for me. Have to admit though, got my fair share of partying on Mitchell Street.. Luckily I made friends who took me to amazing places. We did a day trip to the Litchfield National Park to see the waterfalls, rock holes, termite mounds and other amazing views. That was definitely one of the highlights of my stay.


Waterfalls & a huge termite mound

20160802_170552at the Litchfield National Park

I also loved the Mindil Markets just down the hill from my place. I really fell in love with the Darwin sunsets and at Mindil they were absolutely amazing. The markets also had food stands from all over the world. It was my Sunday tradition to go to the beach, watch the sunset and get myself some delicious food.

Darwin is located right at the top end of Australia in the Northern Territory. It is called the crocodile state of Australia so you would see all these signs warning about crocodiles where ever there’s water. It wasn’t recommended to swim in the ocean because of the salt water crocodiles. So I didn’t go for a swim. It was a shame because the ocean and the beaches looked so inviting!


I did some traveling down the East Coast (Cairns, Airlie, Whitsundays, Sydney) after my training period and I totally fell in love with Australia. Hopefully I get to come back here one day for a proper backpacking experience!

IMG_20160701_215913No worries mate, cheers!


I am home! – Australia

Moments of NOW

Step One – Getting Grey Hair

The application process or rather called nerve-racking months were… well how should I put it… challenging. 🙂 I first heard about this wonderful opportunity to go on an international exchange to Australia August last year. I could not believe what I heard, since when I applied to my first international exchange the year before, Australia was not on the list to be applied for! Well, after getting over the first shock I was starting to be quite thrilled and already creating images of Australian in my head: sun, ambulances, kangaroos, university and the easy going lifestyle. “Wow Wow Wow, hold your horses…. now you are going a bit too fast!” I tried to control myself. 🙂

Well the first couple of months nothing really exciting happened and it was just about filling in few papers and going through an interview. More information would follow later… time was crawling… Luckily I had something else to think about while waiting for more information to come – practical training in Dumfries, Scotland, United Kingdom for three months. 🙂 The time was flying past and soon I was back in Finland getting more grey hair.

There was quite a significant amount of paper work to be done, filled in, signed and stamped for the application process and after my participation was granted, but knowing that I could help the future students with their application process made my work load all worth it! A huge thanks belongs to my school nurse and Fimlab for efficient and proficient help with my certificates! When I finally got all papers and formalities sorted out, it was only four days to due date but in any case it was time to – FINALLY – book the flight tickets!

Step two – On the Way Home

The few days before departure went super quickly, like always just before leaving. Everybody wants to see you, like I´m going away for the rest of my life -goodbyes… So extremely busy time table to visit everyone and to sort our last minute things concerning my departure like bus to airport, souvenirs from Finland to UWS, snacks for the journey… packing is not a part of my To Do List… packing has its own sector called: panic packing just few hours before “take-off”. But to keep myself sane, it is always better to keep my time table busy otherwise I would just be sitting at home panicking and losing my mind. Well practiced protocols over the years.

Panic packing in the morning went smoothly and I had more time than usually… though I was still able to miss my first local bus to the bus station into Tampere centre. While sitting in the bus to Helsinki-Vantaa airport a feeling of calmness and tranquillity filled me. I was on my way home! Flight and transition time was altogether 29 hours through London Heathrow with 3 hours of spare time spent walking around, a little shopping, people watching and relaxing. In Hong Kong I had only 20 minutes to change the terminal and to find the right gate. I can tell you that I have not been running that fast in a long time especially through the security! Only when I got to the last plane it started to come to me and realize that I was only less than 10 hours away from Australia. Just a little sleep away and few movies.

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Beautiful view over London!

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Flying somewhere over Europe or Asia.

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Sunset in Hongkong.

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I was so grateful to fly with three seats just for me! 🙂

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Already in Sydney and on my way to Campbelltown!

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Stopped for a little lunch in Campbelltown!

After the long journey half across the world and across Sydney suburbs I finally made it to my new home. Home sweet home, a cold shower, food, long chat about my journey and background with my landlord.! The next morning after a great night of sleep I woke up 6 am bright and shine in the sounds of birds chirping and singing. I look out of the window and see a palm tree and a beautiful sun rise. What a wonderful way to wake up in the other side of the world and the 29 hours travel was just a dream. I knew I was where I belonged

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View from my room window 6 am, the sun is starting to rise.

Step three – Life in Australia

The first weekend was for relaxing and getting comfortable in the new place – which for me was just more time in the Paradise. Meeting up in the University with the teachers, fixing last paper work, courses, practical and uniforms and doing some grocery shopping. Exploring the nearby area: Campbelltown and Macarthur and a little further: Bondi beach, Darling Harbour, The Rocks and I also fitted in my friend´s Baby Shower in The Entrance, couple of hours north from Sydney. The Entrance was another piece of Heaven! Such a beautiful and tranquil place!

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Getting burned and becoming a lobster at Bondi Beach

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Sydney was preparing for GayParade Festival and had beautiful lights, music and decorations all around Darling Harbour.

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People enjoying the evening at Darling Harbour.

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Full of Hearts!

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Visited Sydneys oldest brewery – The Lord Nelson Brevery Hotel at The Rocks.

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View from The Rocks to Sydney Opera House.

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The Long Jetty at The Entrance, couple of hours north from Sydney.

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Beautiful sunset in The Entrance.

On Monday the University of Western Sydney (UWS) courses started with lectures and practical: Introduction to Paramedicine, Paramedicine Practise, Obstetrics and Paediatrics, Out of Hospital Medical Care and Culture, Diversity and Health. The standard of the education is extremely high, 2.5 years old university buildings and facilities with library, shops, lunch restaurants and cafes very remarkable but still keeping the atmosphere chilled and open for new encounters, learning and different activities. Absolutely nothing to complain! And even though Australian students have to pay for their education, you can see that it is all worth it!

The courses are mostly during Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, leaving plenty of time for our interviews, collecting information and material for our thesis. And of course independent studying with online material and courses that UWS provides, not to forget studying, exploring and enjoying the target culture, nature, people, surrounding areas, towns and cities of New South Wales and hopefully also other states as well during my short period of time here in lovely Australia. Queensland is checked out from my bucket list since I went up to Sunshine Coast for Easter and I fell in love with the beaches, peacefulness, beautiful nature and sunshine.

I never had the time to visit Manly Beach when I was previously in Sydney couple of times few years ago, so of course I went to explore it and found it very nice, even though a bit touristic but still very calm, relaxing area and a big beach with a lot of activities around including stand up paddle boarding, surfing, beach volley and trekking in the Sydney Harbour National Park, not to forget all the shops, restaurants, cafes, bars and nightlife.

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Views from Circular Quay.

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On a ferry on our way to Manly Beach from Circula Quay.

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Beautiful nature, flowers and views.

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Shark Alert at Manly Beach!

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Art at Manly.

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Great views and nice weather for some trekking in the Sydney Harbour National Park.

I love bush walking, trekking and getting lost in the wilderness, because then you always find something you did not know you were even looking for! I also visited Wentworth Park greyhound races few times with my old bosses from Victoria.

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Koala Alert. & Getting lost in the bushes. Still smiling, but after couple of hours wandering in the same forest…. not so much. 🙂

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Sun goes down very quickly and I better head home while I can still see ahead. 🙂

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Wentworth Park Greyhound races.

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I have found my place!  

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Market City, Haymarket.

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Chinese Garden of Friendship in Darling Harbour.

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Pancake breakfast and a good cup of black coffee in the Paradise of Sunshine Coast.

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Easter Sunday in Sunshine Coast and everybody are so relaxed.

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Wonderful beaches at Sunshine Coast.

Now that I bought a bicycle I can explore the surrounding areas even easier and get some sun and exercise at the same time! Yesterday I took the train to Sydney Central Station and cycle to Bondi beach area with the idea of spending the day under the sun relaxing since the weather forecast promised 30 degrees warm and sunny for the whole day! Though in the end I got lost (like always!) and accidentally cycled over 30 kilometres mostly up hill (well if you go up you always come down so few down hills as well!) and discovered some really stunning and intriguing beaches, gardens, parks, harbours and gorgeous living areas. So I have been keeping myself fairly busy with studying and learning but also enjoying the Australian lifestyle, weather and culture!

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On my way to city centre with cycle.

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Double Bay.

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Blackburn Cove garden and beach.

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Long way with a boat. 🙂

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Gorgeous view over the harbour to city.

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Shark Beach and Nielsen Park.

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In less than a week I will start my 5 weeks of practical in the local ambulances. 4 days in  with 12 hours shifts and 5 days off, which gives me a plenty of time to recover and learn, search more information and explore a bit more, maybe visit my friends in Melbourne and Tasmania! For the last week in Australia just before departing back to Finland I am planning to spend in Perth, Western Australia visiting my old firends and work mates.

I am quite excited and waiting forward learning more about out of hospital medical care in Australia, improve my own clinical skills and expand my knowledge about Australian medicines and administration in the ambulance environment.


Sunny regards from DownUnder,