Tag Archives: Ireland

Éirinn go Brách!

I spent nine months in Ireland, more specifically in Tralee.  The town is small, yet it has everything you’ll need: Penneys (Primark) and other shops, lots of pubs ranging from traditional Irish pubs to nightclub-like venues and restaurants. There’s also a beautiful, peaceful park in the middle of the town and it can be used to hang out or for sports.

On the first semester I was an exchange student in Institute of Technology Tralee, studying social care, early childhood education and youth & community work. One semester lasts about 4,5 months, the first semester started in the beginning of September with the orientation week (parties, bbq and all kinds of events every day) and we had some of our final exams in the end of December and the rest of them in the beginning of January. On my second semester in Ireland I was doing an internship at Kerry Parents and Friends Association. KPFA offers residential care and day services for people with intellectual disabilities. Doing an internship in Ireland was also really great, I am happy that I got to experience that.

Sonja Kangas foto.
The famous Blennerville Windmill of Tralee

Tralee is quite small, yet lively town in Kerry. Anyway, without all the other students to spend your time with, you’d be bored. Getting to know other students is easy – IT Tralee has lots of different societies and sport clubs such as rock climbing, surfing and gaelic football, most of them for free. There’s also a water park (Aquadome), cinema and lots of pubs with traditional Irish music.

Sonja Kangas foto.

Kerry is one of the best-known counties there on the southwest of Ireland, with lots of mountains and beautiful nature. The national park in Killarney is definitely worth a visit, for sure. Anyway, Tralee is not such a big city, so even from the town centre, you will be able to see the mountains and the beautiful Irish nature. You don’t have to go too far from the centre if you want to see sheep, mountains, cows and get to know the countryside of Ireland.

Sonja Kangas foto.
Tralee town centre


Sonja Kangas foto.
Ireland certainly has some of the most beautiful landscapes you could wish for. Ring of Kerry is a popular route going through the coast of Kerry.








Institute of Technology Tralee is quite small, but they’ve got a lot of international students from all around the world – there are about 3500 Irish students in ITT and 400 international students. During my Erasmus year in Tralee I got to know people from so many different countries even though you wouldn’t expect that!

Studying in ITT felt more like being back to secondary school again – you need to know lots of things by heart, always attend all the lectures and in the end of the semester you’ll have the final exams. Anyway all my lecturers were nice and extremely helpful, they also helped me a lot with my internship even though they didn’t need to. That’s what Irish people are like – they’re kind, helpful and always up for a good craic (=fun)… and that is exactly the reason why Ireland is such an amazing country.

Sonja Kangas foto.
Kilkee Cliffs

Edge of Europe

Hello folks!

We have been on exchange program in Ireland, County Kerry and Tralee. Time has flown very fast and in a sense it is harmful leave from here, but in other hand it is nice to go back Finland and start summer work in familiar environment. Contradictory, or what you think?

One of the Ireland’s hundreds ruin castle.
The highest peak in Ireland, Carrauntoohil. And surprise! There is sheep on top of the mountain.

Ireland has given very good experiences to me and my wife. We’ve seen amazing places and met great people, locals and foreigners. Irish people are very nice, helpful and they have great sense of humour! Here is only one problem, accent. Kerry’s accent is sometimes crazy. They speak very fast and their lips don’t move, I don’t really understand how anybody can speak like that, but Kerry’s people can.. Too many times I had to rise my hands up and said: “I’m very sorry, I didn’t understand anything.”

But to return amazing places, Ireland has launched at 2014 great travel route called Wild Atlantic Way. It is unbelievable set of peninsulas, gulfs, cliffs, beaches, villages, castles, ruins and history of this great green island. Here is some pics from this 2 500km long way (no, I haven’t driven whole way. No time, no money.), because pictures tells more than thousand words.

Slea Head, County Kerry

I have placement in Kerry University Hospital. It is quite little hospital, but it is enough to me. I don’t need massive hospital complexes.

I have been a little bit surprised about hygiene here. I heard horror stories about large MRSA problems before I came here and I waited something terrible inoperative system. But luckily this system is good and it works! System is quite same than in Finland, but we have computers, Irish has papers.

The time in hospital has been very very good experience to me although I haven’t learn very much like new “tricks” to care patients. But I have learned lots of English, so I have reached my target. But process ends to satisfaction, so keep learning lads!

That’s it guys, Ireland has shown the best side of this beautiful country!

May the road rise to meet you and may the wind always be on your back! (Part of Irish blessing)

Flowers for the summer!



Where the craic is mighty!

Ireland, the land where strange tales begin and happy endings are possible!

They say that times fly when you’re having fun – Which is very true in my case. I was almost five months in Ireland having the most wonderful time in my life and can’t believe it’s over now!

Athlone and river Shannon
Athlone and river Shannon

I lived in a little town Athlone, in the midlands. School where I studied is Athlone Institute of Technology and I liked it very much. Lecturers were very friendly and there was a lot of exchange students from different countries. The courses I chose were about tourism and hotels, also including revenue management and professional/enterprise development and I liked those courses a lot. There was four other erasmus students in my class so it was nice to study also with Irish students.  I took a English for studying skills- course to support my studies and I think those classes were my favourite. The English lecturers were so friendly, always so positive and welcoming and it was nice to learn with so many different nationalities and have interesting conversations during the classes.

Department of Hospitality Tourism and Leisure studies
Department of Hospitality Tourism and Leisure studies
Cliffs of Moher
Cliffs of Moher

One thing I found challenging there. In Finland we do most of the assigments in teams, but here almost everything was individual. First it was hard, but by time it became easier and I found the best ways to study. We had to do different  reports, project, wordbook, essays and at least five different presentations and after submitting the last one, I felt so proud and relieved. Also the final examination weeks were hard trying to read as much as could and exam situations were different compared to Finland.

During the semester, I got so many new friends and spend amazing time with them. Many times when we had free time,  we spend time in a pub next to our apartment playing pool and enjoying Guinness or going to parties organized by International society or other erasmus students.  I think that always people who you meet wherever you go, makes your time there. That semester wouldn’t been the same without all those lovely people.

Cliffs of moher
Cliffs of moher

During that time, I saw a lot of beautiful Ireland. And I  really mean beautiful. Green scenery everywhere, numerous mountains and cliffs, fields with sheeps and the coastal roads with ocean views. Seriously breathtaking country which I fell in love. Definitely going back maybe after few years to experience the whole Wild Atlantic way and other cities I didn’t see.

Wicklow National
Wicklow National
Pub in Dublin
Pub in Dublin
Game of Thrones- tour in Belfast and role playing
Game of Thrones- tour in Belfast and role playing

I made trips when having free time. International society organized few trips to erasmus students to Cliffs of Moher and Wicklow national park. Also in St. Patrick’s day, there was three buses full of exchange students going to Dublin to celebrate. With friends I made trips to Dublin, Galway and to Belfast and all those cities were so nice. Including to our courses, we made fieldtrips to Dublin, Westport and Clonmacnoise visiting different attractions and learning about tourism.  Everywhere was a lot of activities and attractions for tourists and sometimes it was difficult to choose what to do and see.

Celebrating St. Patrick's Day
Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day
Ballintoy Harbour
Ballintoy Harbour

To people who are thinking about going to Ireland, I can only suggest that lovely country! Not only because the scenery, but also because the Irish people, culture and way of living!

Ireland, Sláinte!

Cheers from Tralee!
It has been a amazing adventure I have had here this far and now it is almost time to go home already. Time flies when you are having fun!

Institute of Technology Tralee (IT Tralee) is a bit different than TAMK. The lectures lasts only an hour and the examinations are very strict. The courses’ final examinations are as strict as the matriculation examinations are in high school. There is only two semesters that equals to two periods, not like in TAMK with 4 periods per academic year.

The Starbucks cafeteria in the North campus has a nice view to the mountains, and is has been nice to see the mountains where ever you go in Tralee or how I have noticed, anywhere in Ireland.

View from the North campus of IT Tralee

The courses I had here were mostly marketing courses, but very different that those I had in TAMK. Sometimes the lecturers just did not show up but that happened to me only once. Some other course teachers were gone for most of the time without any note.

I have travelled around Ireland and visited also in Edinburgh, on the holidays and weekends. The nature here is wonderful and yet it amazes me every time how green it is here. Anywhere you go, for example from Tralee to Dublin, when you are sitting in the train, every 30 seconds you see either cows, sheep or horses. The sheep are everywhere, it is true that they can lay anywhere.

Ballyseedy Wood in Tralee
Ballyseedy Wood in Tralee

Ballyseedy wood was only for a 15 minute cycling away from the city centre. If ever going to Ireland, I recommend to rent a car. The public transport is not at the same level what it is in Finland.

Cliffs of Moher, Galway
Cliffs of Moher, Galway

Cliffs of Moher was beautiful and no wonder why it is a known place in Ireland with Giant’s Causeway.

After getting used with the accent of the Irish people it was easy to understand the people. For example our bus driver on the Northern Ireland trip, he was from Kerry, and he had strong Kerry accent, and for awhile it was almost impossible to understand what he was saying, but I got used to to the accent pretty fast.

Dingle Peninsula

The day trip to Dingle was the first one I did and I was impressed about the view there. Definitely worth seeing.

Killarney National park
Killarney National park
Giant's Causeway, Northern Ireland
Giant’s Causeway, Northern Ireland
Blasket Islands
Blasket Islands
Edinburgh Castle
Edinburgh Castle














The people that I have had the chance to get to know here are so great! They have made the studying and the small town Tralee feel like another home.


So as they say cheers in Irish, Sláinte!

Three months of good craic in the green island

It was a grand exchange period in Ireland I had. I met some great people and enjoyed my time fully. I studied in UCD (University College Dublin) and the radiography program was very good there. We had two modules: Irish Culture and Cardiac Imaging. I really liked the lecturers and their English was really easy to understand which I wasn’t expecting. It is amazing how quickly one adapts to another language and culture. The three months felt such a short time and flew by so fast.

fullsizeoutput_9d0For seven weeks I did a clinical placement in St. Vincent’s University Hospital. The people there were extremely nice and welcoming there. I lived with 13 other girls and five of them were also studying radiography so I had loads of support. At the hospital we did one week in each modality: General radiography, CT, MRI, IR, Cath Lab, Theatre and a few days in mammography, nuclear medicine, ultrasound, fluoroscopy and emergency department. It was nice to see the whole range of radiographers work in SVUH. The hospital is moderately modern and has 4 general x-ray rooms, two CT and one MRI.

The health care system in Ireland isn’t as equal in Ireland as we have here in Finland and the poor state of the economy is still effecting the hospitals and the equipment there aren’t as modern as we have in Finland. You can still see handwritten referrals scanned in the computer and huge patient files with handwritten forms. Our Finnish paper-free hospitals seem very modern compared to the computer programs in SVUH. Hand disinfection isn’t used as much in Ireland and almost the entire population carry MRSA in some form. The role of the radiographer is also quite different, they are more like technicians rather than nurses in Ireland and for example in IR (Interventional Radiography) the radiographer is only responsible for the imaging and radiation safety and the radiographic nurses are there to assist the radiologist and take care of the patient.

Cliff walk, Bray – Greystones

The scenery of Ireland is amazing. I love nature and Ireland definitely has a huge amount of beautiful places to visit and see the nature at it’s best. Although the Irish complain a lot about the Irish weather, I beg to disagree and after leaving the -20 degrees Finland in the beginning of January and arriving to the +14 Dublin, it was pretty great. I got to visit a lot of places in Ireland, because it’s a quite small country in size. Besides Dublin, I also visited Galway,  Doolin, Killarney, Belfast, Kilkenny, Wicklow mountains, Greystones, Bray, Howth and Tullamore.

Ring of Kerry
Connemara, Co. Galway







I’m happy that I did the Erasmus exchange and I’m sure to be back to Ireland at least to visit. It has also made me appreciate Finland more and I’m proud to be a Finn. 🙂

– Heta


Having a craic in Ireland, Athlone!


Hello mates!

And so begins our 11th week in Ireland today. Only 4 weeks to go!#!!?

I´ve been asked to tell something about my stay in Ireland as an exchange student. I will be happy to do that.

My studies

I absolutely love my studies in here. I think I´ve learned more in this time here than I learned whole last year in Finland! But there is only one explanation to that and that is time. I have Tuesdays and Fridays off and my classes starts at 11 am at the earliest. Usually even later, like today only at 2 pm.


When we signed up for courses, I was horrified about Management accounting course. I´ve been so pleasantly surprised because I absolutely love that course! Such an interesting calculations and the teacher is so much fun! He absolutely hates our class, because people won´t shut up and some uses their phones, but I´m having a blast fallowing all of this. He also has a humor that gets into me, so yes gonna miss that one.


My other course is Operations & Chain Supply Management. The teacher is such a sweetheart and funny as hell – but sorry to say this out loud, I don´t learn there as much I would like to. Maybe it´s the language barrier but I´m off track a million times whenever I sit in his class. But the subject is new to me so I have found it very interesting. Something I will definately get into more at home as well. Products and services manufacturing process can be quite interesting to my brain 🙂 Also we did a group work about Tesla, which is now all I can think about. I want my own Tesla and I would like to start building a life at Mars with Elon Musk, thank you very much.


I find the teachers here have a bit more time to put into teaching.  What I don´t understand here, is the fact that we only got to know our final exam days like a week ago and got to book our flights back home only then. Prices have been going up all the time but we couldn´t book the flights any earlier. Well I´m glad we have a return ticket now.


My spare time

I could not be happier about this opportunity I had to come and live here in another country. And what a lovely little country it is. Since I am a bit older (I just turned 30!!) than the rest of the exchange students here, I have had more time to just think and rest than at home in my normal life; work-studies-social life mess.


I do love my daily routines here. We eat the most delicious breakfast each day with fress berries  and we cook nearly all of our eatings ourselves. I haven´t cooked this much in years and I absolutely love it! Can´t wait to continue this in Finland.


We have the best gym at school and we like to play badmington. The gym is only couple years old and it has everything! The staff provides you a free programm you can follow and I´ve already had 3 of those from there. Also they make tests to measure progress and check up on you in the gym. All of this is voluntary of course, but I have enjoyed every bit of that! And I´ve also seen some results so yey for those summer-fats gone away!


We´ve also done some trips. I´ve been to Dublin couple of times and Galway one time. We also went to the famous Cliffs of Moher, which was pretty amazing experience. I think I´ll just leave these pictures here to explain what I´m talking about.

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Than I also drove a car here! The steering wheel is on the right side of the car and you drive left side of the road so that was interesting. Truth to be told, it went pretty well! Can´t wait to drive some more, I hope!

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All together, I´m having a craic here! For those of you that don´t know, craic is an Irish way of saying I´m  have so much fun here and we laugh each day with our abs sore! This definately feels like home, even though it is freaking cold inside!! But I love to coming back to our flat after a trip away.

Thanks for visiting this blog and have a good day!



Great craic in Ireland

I’ve been in Ireland for five months and still staying strong. Last of the exams are over and now it is only matter of the results coming in. I came to Tralee in January, when it was windy and raining all the time, just like Finnish winters are now. The first impression I got from this little town that is was quiet and the people living here were very helpful and kindhearted. The accent in Kerry is the thickest I have ever heard, listening and nodding are my greatest strengths.

I mainly chose Ireland by accident, because I had to change my destination to something else, do to the fact I couldn’t leave in autumn. But it is easier to choose an English speaking country and  I’ve always wanted to visit Ireland.

The school has two campuses to facilitate all the fields of study. I had problems choosing courses, because most of the courses I chose weren’t available, for some reasons. At the start I was happy with all of my decisions, but first impressions are deceiving. Quickly I noticed that some of the lecturers don’t fit the standard of educating, but others do. The workload for me was massive and after 80 pages of writing I was exhausted, choose your courses carefully. For some lecturers you could see the passion for their work and it was a motivational factor, but some just demotivate you. I’m lucky I didn’t have any group projects, because I heard some horror stories about the work of the local students, the lack of it. After the crazy amount of studying I’m more convinced I like the system better in Finland, because we actually do something and not just go over theories I’m not going to need.

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Of course we had a lot of free time and most of the Erasmus live in the same place, so it was easy to get to know everyone. The town is small, but everything is close by and you can get easily from town to the next. We used The Irish experience tours services a lot, because they offer cheap tours for students which was grand and you get to see the scenery. Otherwise just see as much as you can and enjoy. I think this doesn’t help my English at all, because the Irish talk a little funny and I’m picking up some bad habits.

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Greetings from Ireland!

Hello from the green Ireland!

It has been about three months since I´ve arrived to Ireland. It wasn´t  that big culture shock to come here because the culture is quite same comparing to Finland. Time has gone by so fast and soon it is time to go back to home.

I had some concerns about the lectures here. I was afraid that the teachers would speak too fast and with a strong accent so that I wouldn´t   understand anything, but luckily that wasn´t the case. Lessons are easy to follow and there hasn´t been any problems with the school for me.

I have traveled a bit around Ireland. I have visited Dublin few times already, Killkenny (we went to see horse race), Galway, Ennis, Clifs of Mohar and some other places. There is still much left to see and me and my friends are planning to go visit at least  some places in the Northern Ireland (most likely Belfast is one of them). There is also a surfing trip to the South of Ireland.


Greetings from Ireland!

Hi everyone!


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!

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Greetings from the land of leprechauns

P2060152Hi Everyone!

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.

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