Tag Archives: Italy

Life on the Banks of River Po

Ciao tutti!

Greeting from Torino, Italy!

View from Monte dei Cappuccini panoramic viewpoint, Torino

My exchange period started at a weird time in the world, as COVID-19 was and still is changing many things. Nevertheless, the experience has been rich and totally worth it! I want to write this blog post not only as an account of my shenanigans but also as a sort of quick guide to exchange, studies and life in Italy (or at least in Torino) so prepare for a long read (or just look at the photos, that’s fine too).

Arriving to Torino was an experience itself with armed police ushering passengers to fill in COVID self-declaration forms and instructing where to go and what to do, all in Italian of course. Big tip #1: LEARN ITALIAN AS MUCH AS YOU CAN BEFORE YOU START YOUR EXCHANGE! Trust me, it will make your life so much easier.

I arrived quite a lot earlier than I would have had to, mainly because the university website is a mess and information is really hard to find. Big tip #2: get your registration rolling as early as possible. It takes a lot of time and multiple messages to get all your needed information, so the earlier you start the better off you are. And be patient, Italians tend to have a more vague sense of urgency than Finnish people and they do not respond well to aggressive, threatening or accusative tone. Best way to get things done in Italy is to put on a warm smile, remember your  manners and use humor.

Before I arrived I tried to get as many things done as possible. I found myself an apartment from AirBnB, which I recommend if you like to live alone and have some money saved up for your exchange (which I recommend doing anyways for reasons explained later in this post). If you want to save money get a room in a shared flat, which are fairly easy to find, either on ESN official FB groups for your exchange destination and period, on whatsapp groups (see the ESN FB groups for more info) or on the local online marketplace www.subito.it (be warned there are scammers out there, so make sure to verify the place before paying a dime). If you look for apartments on subito.it search in the category of “Immobili – appartamenti – in affito” and if you’re looking for a furnished apartment look for the key word “arredato”. ‘

Torino is a remarkable Italian big city as it has many parks and green areas in and around the city. It is said to be one of the one greenest cities in Italy!

Nice areas in Torino are:

Lingotto – very calm and has excellent connections to city center with the metro, trams and busses. Also close to the business school campuses.

San Salvario – Close to city center, tends to be more expensive but has everything you need very nearby.

Cit Torino and crocetta – Again close to the city center and the Politecnico campus, nice restaurants (cheaper than San Salvario)

Vanchiglia – Excellent choice if you’re mainly going to study at the Luigi Einaudi main campus. This area is easily accessible and as many areas in Torino it is very close to nature!

There aren’t many areas I have felt unsafe in Torino but I would avoid Barriera Milano, especially during late hours as the area suffers from narcotics trade and petty criminals. During daytime it is ok, but honestly I wouldn’t want to live there (just my personal experience).

Italian phone number has come in handy when registering for some local apps or services (for example Satispay, an app you can pay with and transfer money, it’s widely accepted in smaller shops, comes handy often). With a local number you don’t have to worry about using up your fast data as you can get an adequate data plan for just 10€ a month. If you want an Italian phone number (not necessary, you can manage very well with a foreign number, especially EU numbers as the roaming is fee of charge) you’ll need a tax code aka CODICE FISCALE.

 

Tessera Codice Fiscale (tax number card)

The codice fiscale is not mandatory but as it is free and can come in handy I recommend to apply for it, as soon as you can. You can either spend a whole day in a local tax office waiting to submit your application or then you can apply for the codice fiscale and the card at the Italian embassy (they will even mail the card to you in Italy if you choose so). It cost only a couple of stamps and a few minutes. Oh and if you’re a smoker, you need the codice fiscale card to buy cigarettes from vending machines. Codice fiscale is also needed for the monthly subscription to public transport (Bip card).

Arriving to Torino during COVID was interesting, especially since I was one of the first exchange students to arrive for the semester. I spent almost two weeks without meeting almost anyone as restrictions did not allow for gatherings and events. But luckily the weather was good and Torino is full of wonders you can discover just by walking. One of the biggest parks in Torino, Parco Valentino stretches along the river Po on both banks from fairly south all the way to city center and includes a medieval castle, botanical garden, fountains and much more to see. And in general Torino is an easy city to navigate and discover on foot, I walked at least 10km every day for over a week, trying to familiarize myself with my new home town. If and when museums are open, I recommend getting the Abbonamento dei Musei, a museum card that costs abt 30 euros /year and allows you to visit all the museums in Torino without admission fees. Notable museums include the Egyptian museum (one of the most important and extensive Egyptian collections in the world outside of Egypt), National Cinema museum in the Mole Antonelliana, a landmark and symbol of the city, Royal Palace with many different museums in it, Lavazza coffee museum and many many more.

Museo Nazionale di Risorgimento, Piazza Carlo Alberto, Torino

Life in Italy has a very different pace than life in Finland. I had to learn this the hard way. If you are used to late lunches around 14.00-16.00, you are in for some frustration and disbelief as it is almost impossible to find a restaurant that is open at that time. Same goes for most businesses. Small shops, restaurants, offices and other establishments close their doors for couple of hours for lunch, starting around 13.00 until around 16.00, depending on the place. So keep this in mind when you’re planning your daily errands.

Free time in Torino… I have a very skewed experience of this due to the pandemic. For most of my time here going out with friends usually meant hanging out in Parco Valentino (picture below), enjoying refreshments and trying to get home before the curfew. Now as the restrictions have been loosened I have exploited the opportunity to travel as much as I can to places close and to places further. For this I highly recommend saving as much money as you can, since Italy is full of wonderful places to visit! I’m telling to save money, not because travelling here is expensive (quite the opposite in my opinion), but because the more you have buffer in your budget the more places you can visit, especially if the pandemic is not an issue when you arrive.

Networking with other exchange students, Italian flatmates, tinder matches, your next door neighbor or virtually anyone is an opportunity to start an adventure. Italians especially are very welcoming and open people, you might get invited to a family dinner or a weekend trip just after couple of weeks of knowing someone. Travelling with other exchange students is a lot of fun, it saves costs and you get to enjoy accommodations you couldn’t necessarily afford by yourself. And the train network in Italy is delightfully functional, extensive and affordable! With 20-40 euros from Torino you can reach Venezia, Cinque Terre, Roma, Firenze and a huge number of other destinations in just a few hours. It would be crazy not to take advantage of such an opportunity!

Then the less interesting part: studying. Courses are mostly held in Italian but especially in the School of Management there are some degrees completely in English. I have had all of my classes online, so I haven’t even seen the inside of my campus which makes me inadequate to tell about regular student life in Italy. Courses are very “old school” compared to Finnish pedagogy, meaning that they are mainly just lectures with powerpoint slides and very little group work. Exams for me have been all written, but it is normally more common to have oral exams. There’s almost no obligation to attend lectures (at least for my online courses) as they are recorded. The timetables for courses are published quite late, at least in my degree of Business and Management, so again have patience. Many courses have two implementations called streams, which can be confusing so confirm with your professor whether you need to take both or just one as policies vary from course to course. Different streams can have very different structures and methods, so the upside is that you can choose the one that fits your style of learning the best. The university of Torino provides an intensive Italian course of 5 credits to everyone and you should absolutely attend as you’ll need all the Italian skills you can get to make life easier.

Once you’ve been accepted as an exchange student, you’ll get a “Buddy” assigned to you, a tutor if you will, who helps you with all school related issues as well as getting your day to day life rolling. You share the buddy with other exchange students so it will be an excellent chance to network even before you arrive in Italy.

Prices in Italy are generally lower than in Finland, especially food and drinks but Torino is on the more expensive end as is typical for Northern Italy. The culture is also slightly more Central European which eases the cultural shock a bit. Pro tip for saving money in food is to buy your veggies and fruits at local market places, mercatos, from local small vendors on a daily basis. Vegetables and fruits don’t generally last as long in fridge as they do in Finland and the supermarket stuff has lower quality than than mercatos, so if you buy fresh produce for more than two days at a time you’ll probably end up throwing them away. If you don’t like to cook and want to eat cheap but relatively good quality food, I recommend taking advantage of the school canteens, mensas. For 1,8€ you get a hefty portion of good and tasty food (pizza has good price/quality ratio as they are made on demand on the spot).

I am already dreading the day of my return to Finland as I feel I haven’t experienced enough in this city and in this country. COVID exchange has deprived me of many experiences but on the other hand it has allowed the whole exchange community to weld together in an exceptional way as everyone has been struggling with the same issue. Life in Italy is sweet once you allow yourself to flow within it. Getting past annoyances of bureaucracy, disorganization,  different and sometimes illogical practices and the language barrier (use of hand gestures helps more than you’d think) takes some time but the sooner you relax, embrace and accept your new environment and acknowledge that here things work out if you just let them, you’ll be enjoying yourself in no time.

P.s. If you want to hear more about my experiences and get some tips and tricks under your belt, do not hesitate to contact me at wille.holopainen@tuni.fi

Ciao from Italy

I have been in Italy almost two months now, and I am in love! Here are so many things to learn about the culture and so many new perspectives to gain. I am living in the middle of most beautiful landscapes and I recommend if you are going to visit Italy, you must visit Barolo area.

A little town called Verduno, is where I live now, has 600 habitants with lovely restaurants and wineries. Pelaverga wine is smallest DOCG certificated wine in Italy. This unique wine can be exclusively produced only in this little town!


Luxury villas

There are a many other little villages nearby worth to visit! For example Roddi, La Morra, Serralunga and Barolo.

I am studying Hospitality management in TAMK University of applied sciences. For my last year internship I came to work here in Monvigiliero Vineyard Villas. We have four beautiful luxury villas which can accommodate up to 40 persons, or individually up to 13 persons.

I came here in the beginning May and I will leave in the middle of August. I am sad realizing that my internship is almost over. Even though I love Italian hot summer, I would love to see Italian magical autumn as well. Especially because in the beginning of October starts famous Alba white truffle- season and harvest in the vineyards.

I wanted to come here, because I am interested to work in a hotel business. After I finish my studies, I would love to find a job in a hotel’s reception. On my spare time I am sunbathing, relaxing and spending time with my boss. Usually I have 2 – 3 days off. Everything is doable if I want to travel somewhere; for example, I visited Genova last week and I before spent one night in Torino as well. I have a small apartment at villas, so it doesn’t take a long time for work.

I didn’t have any special expectations for my trip to Italy. The only thing that I considered as a difficulty was the language barrier. I did not speak Italian when I came here, only English. Now that I have been here almost two months, I know some words and I have started to understand some Italian.

In Finland it is quite rare to drink even one glass of wine in a lunch break. Here it is normal to drink one glass of wine while eating. It is actually vice versa; if you don’t order wine, everybody looks at you like you are sick! Of course, it is okay to drink one glass of wine, but I have not never seen that quite often. Overall this trip has been my best thing ever, I have learnt something new every day and I can’t believe that I need to return home so soon!

-Nora

Saluti da Roma!

Greetings from ancient city! This metropolitan is a must see and probably that’s why it´s also one of the most important tourist centers. Among the most famous monuments are the Colosseum, Pantheon, Forum Romanum and the fountain of Trevi. Here you can also find the tiny Vatican state that has amazing museums. Living here is an every-day cultural experience. You can find here nearly 3,000 years of globally influential art, architecture and culture in almost every corner of the street. 2.8 million residents added to all the visiting tourists around the world makes this city very lively and pulsating.

 

First Sundays of the month are the best! It’s great that in this big, touristic city you have the opportunity to visit museums once a month for free. It´s a big deal for a student living on a student budget. This city is one of the world’s most culturally rich sight. For me, Rome is one of the most beautiful cities in the world and is due to historical sites. These sights are a source of inspiration for me. Besides my studies, this was the most important thing when deciding to apply to Rome for studies.

  

I study here composing at Conservatorio di musica Santa Cecilia. More accurately my major is film scoring. In Finland, there is no possibility to study film scoring so that was mostly the reason why I applied to this school.

The range of courses offered by the school is wide, which gives for exchange students plenty of opportunities. But the problem with this school and, to say the least, the Italian schools is the logistics in organizing the courses. Here, many courses might overlap, so you should have many B-plans for different courses. But you also might find some interesting courses that are not in the studying plans. Course lectures last almost every time four hours (at least in composing), so prepare your butt muscles ready for sitting long periods!

   

I like the thing that every composing student no matter which department he/she is in, can make various studies and expand their knowledge in music.

   

I spend a lot of time composing but in my spare time I enjoy walking around the city. Every time you can find new areas and streets full of wonderful things and enjoyable meals. Traveling around Italy is also very easy and quite cheap. There are plenty of bus companies that take you to new cities even with less than 10 euros. Visit Pisa, Firenze, Venezia, Napoli, Bologna…. it´s easy and very affordable. You could get an airplane round-trip ticket to Palermo for under 40euros! Mamma mia!

Go and explore! Have fun and eat a good pizza! Ci vediamo!!!

      

Love from Turin

I chose to do my Erasmus exchange in the University of Turin. Turin is an industrial university city in the north of Italy, near to the Alps and the boarder of France. There are roughly 900,000 inhabitants in the city and it`s well-known for their delicious chocolates. Within the university there is multiple campuses and my courses are luckily in just two of them, which makes going between the campuses a little bit easier.

I arrived here on September and now it`s already December and time to leave. The has gone by so fast by getting to know to a new country and most importantly to a new city. I had already visited a lot places in Italy but I have never been in Turin before I moved here to do my Erasmus. The city is full of historical things and me as an historic enthusiast, enjoy the view of the old buildings and museums I see every day, on my way to the university.

 

When someone says Italy, people usually think of a sunny country with people being happy all the time and eating a lot of pizza and pasta. People are eating pizza here for sure but the climate is totally different in Turin than you would think. It has been raining 90% of the time since I arrived here. A couple weeks ago the river was floating so badly that some of the restaurant next to the river had to be shut down due to water damage inside and making sure no one would get hurt. Being a runner myself, it has been real interesting to run in the rain for the last couple months to put it nicely.

In addition, of doing sports like already mentioned, I`ve visited some historical and cultural sights like Villa Della Regina which is a beautiful castle on top of a hill.

Villa Della Regina from the top of the hill

Villa Della Regina`s beautiful inside decor.

The city had some really nice sunsets which I was lucky enough to see from my own window and also got to admire when I took a walk next to the river Po.

Living in Turin was really different than in Finland and especially studying. The school system is not exactly the best one, so bending the rules and being really creative was something I had to learn. When you are used of things working pretty smoothly in a Finnish school, adapting the “rhythm” of an Italian school was not the easiest task first but little by living I got the hang of it.

 

Until next time Torino

Tanti saluti dalla città eterna!

Many greetings from Rome – the eternal city where every road leads to. I’ve had the amazing chance to spend my year studying music at one of the most famous conservatoires of the world; Conservatorio di musica Santa Cecilia di Roma. It’s been utterly an educational experience and I’ve learned so much about myself, the italian culture and some useful common coping skills of life.

The idea of coming here felt quite good, because it had been a dream of mine for a long time and I had studied the language earlier in life and knew it already pretty well. I had also travelled to Italy quite many times, so I knew what to expect. Or so I thought. Very quickly it turned out that arranging your life in Italy is very different to being a tourist in this paradise of food, wine and historical monuments. As a tourist you can embrace the relaxed attitude and feel free, but as a resident and a student it really hits you that NOTHING works. It takes a lot of patience to accept that everything takes time and nothing is clear. When school starts, such things as a ready study plan or a calendar don’t exist. But whatever… This is how it rolls here and there’s nothing else you can do about it but try and embrace the culture and make the most of it.

But to better things: when I really got to studying, it was great. The level of the education is so high, my singing teacher has been amazingly good and my correpetitor as well. I’ve gotten to study vocal chamber music, scene work, classical piano and even took a couple of choir classes. I’ve also managed quite well in my final exams. It’s so nice to know that whatever comes on your way, you can always find a solution. You get the feeling that your wings actually do carry. You start to feel strong and independent, which I think is one of the main goals of a student exchange.

My journey has also taken me to Venice, Bologna, Padova, Nemi, Naples and many other exciting places. (Exploring your grounds is the best part of living abroad.) I’ve listened to amazing concerts, seen some of the nightlife, eaten divine food (and lots of it!!) and had the best coffee ever.

And let’s not forget the most important part…

All the friends I’ve met. Old and new ones. Amazing people.

Sending lots of love,

Katarina

Saluti dall´ Italia

I´ve studied music in the Conservatorio di Santa Cecilia in Rome. It has been a great pleasure to work with such a talented people and having the opportunity to perform with all different groups of musicians. Big part of my studies is contained of different kind of singing classes: Italian opera, French music, chamber music, choir music etc. There is also possibility to learn for example Italian language, some instrument or history of music.

I´ve had the opportunity to get to know to wonderful people from all over the world and we´ve spent time together by going to different museums, concerts, restaurants, travelling all over Italy and having movie nights and picnics. When I´m not with my friends I go jogging, for a walk and practice at home. I´ve also started to learn how to cook proper Italian food especially pasta and it has been really interesting to compare the cooking habits between Italy and Finland.

When I first entered the Conservatory I did not realise how many different status the institution consists of. There are headmaster, assistents, masters, professors, janitors and lounge hostesses and of course us students. They all have different kind of mission and status in the surrounding society and it took some time for me to understand my place. In Finland we have equal rights and responsibilities at the Conservatory and we are able to have educational conversations with each other.  We also have a possibility and actually we´re obligated to give feed back to one another. In Italy there are still quite a lot of hierarchy in the institutions which is as much as a problem as a positive thing. From positive point of view hierarchy demands individuals to pay attention to the advices given by the author and teaches to respect elder/professionals but it also diminsh the possibility to have an influence to the action made in the institute. The biggest problem for the student is that the masters/professors do not have any kind of responsibility to compensate the lessons which they cancel and this way the students wont get the lessons that they are supposed to have. In worst case that might mean that if the master gets sick for longer time or has to cancel teaching often when it´s your turn to go to the class you have no rights as a student to have for example a replacement for the subject. I´m so relieved that in Finland there´s no such a possibility and the studying is well planned and equal.

Ragazze mie, questo è Italia!

The Spring in Udine

If I should describe the scenery of Italy with different sounds, the soundtrack would consist of chiming of church bells, birdsong, honking of cars and some Italians speaking loudly to one another. Mix this with the scent of flowers and maybe some freshly baked pizza, interaction with friendly locals plus unbelievable views, and here you go, you’re in the heart of Italy!

Beauty of Verona

We spent our three-month exchange in Northern Italy, in a small city called Udine with my classmate Noora working in the field of physiotherapy. During the exchange we did three traineeships in different departments of the rehabilitation hospital Gervasutta. First practice was in children’s policlinic, the second one was with adults in a department called Biomeccanica, where the patients had had partial spinal cord injuries. The third one was general rehabilitation department where there was patients with brain injuries.

In all the departments we got to practice physiotherapy independently, but there was also some bystanding when we observed physiotherapists to do the work. We didn’t know almost any Italian so there was some difficulties with teachers and patients who didn’t speak English. In those situations either the Italian students translated us the important things or if that wasn’t possible, we managed to translate some things by ourselves and to speak simple words and sentences to patients and teachers. Oh boy you learn a lot of Italian in three months if you must! The teachers and Italian students were really friendly and despite the language barrier you could understand and get to know each other well and have fun.

One of the palestras in the hospital of Gervasutta

The courses of physiotherapy are also held in the hospital of Gervasutta and the teachers of physiotherapy are besides teaching working in the different departments of the hospital. All the students do practical training in the morning and in the afternoon they have lectures. The schoolday can last from 8am to 6pm (there is two-hour break at noon) and there is many tests during the year so it’s a lot of work. The students seem to appreciate the education very much and they’re very motivated and hard-working. It shows in the results: The level of skill and knowledge is high. I guess is partly because in Italy you must pay for the higher education. The Gervasutta is one of the best physiotherapy schools in Northern Italy.

The rush hour in Venice

Compared to Finnish hospitals, the working culture is a bit different in Italy, at least here in Udine. There is a lot less coffee breaks (depending for the department, of course) but more communality. People greet everyone, also the strangers, and everyone are working together and helping each other if needed. People do something all the time and often many things are done at the same time. Also in some departments there is this huge working area, “palestra”, where many patients are treated at the same time, so it’s a lot of hustling and bustling and noises. In the hospital where we were, there was also a lot of paper work: in Finland about all the information of patients is on computer, here all the documents were paper versions. And that is a lot of paper and files!

Naples, what a view!

Although there are less coffee breaks and lots of things been done, there is sometimes a lot of waiting too and you’ll get used to not to know what happens next, especially if you’re not that good in Italian. All the equipment might not work as you would expect them to do and things might not always happen in the minute you have agreed. But as one of our tutors once said “Ragazze mie, questo è Italia!” (free translation: “Oh my dear girls, this is Italia!”), it’s a part of Italian culture.

The best pizza I’ve ever had!

In my spare time, I have been doing lots of traveling, taking part of events and parties with other Erasmus students and enjoying the atmosphere, food, drinks (very affordable wine and Aperol Spritz) and the culture of Italy. For example in the Easter we went to Naples for a few days and it was such an experience! The city of Naples was unbelievable: So much crazy traffic, cars honking and scooters speeding pass you in the narrow streets, so much trash and splittered glass everywhere and a bit obscure people in the dark alleys! But on the other hand so helpful and kind locals and very beautiful views of the sea and the volcano Vesuvio. And the pizza was so delicious! I ate the best pizza margherita after visiting the archeological site of Pompeii, in a nice pizzeria in the beautiful center of the village of Pompeii. Also I miss the small pizzettas you can buy for 1€ from the street booths – yum! When in Naples you could really understand the differences of northern and southern Italy. After that trip I was kind of relieved to not to get hit by a car get to do the internship in the Northern part of Italy in a safe and peaceful Udine.

One of the piazzas in Udine (It’s Aperol time!)

As I write this I have only three weeks left of my internship. The time has flown so fast! During these months I have learned much about myself and the Italian culture. I have seen unbelievable places and met so many new, friendly people. Udine is a great base to explore the Northern Italy (and also Slovenia and Croatia). I’ve really enjoyed my time here in Italy! At times there has been difficulties but as one famous American artist sings: What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. If you have the chance to spent your exchange here in Italy, don’t hesitate! Go for it, it’ll be worth it.

Magical mountain scenery in the Fusine lakes

Saluti a tutti!

Greetings from Udine, a small city in northern Italy. Udine is a not so typical Italian city because this Friuli-Venezia-Giulia region has a lot of influences for example from Slovenia and Austria. This university city is beautiful and quiet with great possibilities to travel. It takes just a couple of hours to reach the mountains or the seaside and there are some nice small towns and bigger cities near. In fact, I have spent my weekends travelling around. For example, I have visited Trieste and Grado, which have pretty sea views.

Duomo di Milano
Pompeii

Of course, I’ve also travelled to Venice which was my absolute favourite place here in Italy. Also, Milano with its stylish atmosphere and stunning sightseeing locations was great. I have seen small Italian towns and Kanin mountains. During the Easter holiday me and my classmate travelled to Napoli to see the difference between North- and South-Italy. The difference was huge. Napoli was everything you would think of when speaking of stereotypical Italians. Their way to talk and the usage of hand gestures while communicating is a very distinctive feature. They also drive scooters a lot. But it was great to see Pompeii and Vesuvio!

Venezia
Laghi di Fusine

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vesuvio
Grado

 

 

 

 

I’m doing my physiotherapy internship here with my classmate from Finland so I’m working every day at the local hospital. Hospital “Gervasutta” is specialised in rehabilitation so I have learned a lot. My friend and I have been working at three different areas of the hospital. The first practical training was with children so it was my favourite. The second training was with patients who had spinal cord injuries and with amputation patients. Now we are working at a department where people with different types of brain injuries are treated. I have seen so much during my stay here and neurological physiotherapy has become familiar. Some of the teachers/physiotherapists speak English. With the patients I must speak Italian language. When I came here I didn’t know the language but the practical training has taught me so many words and phrases. Also, working here has tested my manual and visual skills constantly. The biggest difference between Finnish and Italian way of doing physiotherapy in a hospital is that here you must wait everything because things happen so slowly. They also do loads of paperwork here which amazes me. It seems like they don’t use so much softwares to keep record of patients and treatments. Also, students must give every assignment in paper. Physiotherapy education also takes place in Gervasutta. The students have practical training at the units every morning and afternoon they have classes. I think that practical training at the hospital is a great way to improve students’ skills. For me as an exchange student it has also been a wonderful opportunity to get to know local students because I’m not at the University of Udine at all.

 

 

 

 

During my free time I like to get familiar with the city of Udine and do some sports. I have also taken part in nice events arranged by the ESN of Udine (Erasmus student network). I have spent my time with other Erasmus students and of course tasted a variety of Italian food and drinks. For example, here in Udine they serve a typical dish called frico. And tiramisù is from this region! And what would my time in Italy be without tasting plenty of pizzas, gelatos and wines.

      

Oh, how time has flown. It’s hard to believe that I have already lived here for over two months. Now I will enjoy my last month in Italy. Luckily, the weather is finally great (around +26 degrees) and the nature has blossomed. It’s like the best of Finnish summer here even though it’s only spring and some people are still using their winter jackets. See you soon Finland! Ciao!

Piazza Libertà

 

 

Belissimo Torino, ti voglio bene!

Ciao tutti! Hi everyone 🙂

I am studying Business Administration at Università degli studi di Torino. My journey here is almost finished and I feel both sad and relieved. Next week I am travelling back home and I will see my family and friends again – too excited about it! Then again I feel sad that I can’t spend time with these people that I have hanged out with the last four months, and that’s going to be weird.

Something about our University: Our university is one of the oldest universities in Italy. It was found in 1404 and most its buildings are old. Sometimes even the style of teaching feels like from that century- just kidding. We had this Irish professor that said that Italian teaching method is so old fashioned and should be changed. This is because the professors just sit in front of the class and speak from the slides. There were two professors standing up, but their bad skills of English blew it. The style of the lectures are very university like, but there were also some group tasks and case-studies. For me the case-studies worked the best. In TAMK the teaching method is more from practical point of view and that’s why I missed more of case-studying kind of method to the lectures. But it’s an old university, can’t forget that.

Torinoview
View from Monte di Capuchini – me and my flatmate

Now something about my spare time. At first I attended the Erasmus parties and other events for exchange students. I liked to go to this Tandem Linguisticoevery week- the idea of it was to practice different languages. In Torino there’s also a party called Baila Conmigo, where’s a free dance lesson about latin dances in the beginning and afterwards you can set your new skills free on the dance floor. Now that it’s summer I like to spend my time in the big park of Torino called Parco del’ Valentino. We also like to have apericena, which is a combo of aperitivo and dinner.

Bailaconmigo

Baila Conmigo in LAB

I have also done a lot of travelling while being in here, mostly in Italy. I have seen Rome, Naples, Bari, Aosta, Alba, Ivrea, Verona, Venice, Genova and Paestum. Outside of Italy I have travelled to Nice, Monaco and Athens. If your wondering how I had the time to do all that, it’s because our courses are held one at a time. Then after every course there’s always been a long enough vacation to travel. I’m so happy about this journey and all of the people I have met here. I’ve got to know people from so many different countries but after all I have to say- we are not that different from each other. 🙂

verona

I wish all of the other exchange students the best time! Enjoy :):)

Summer Perfetto!

Alrighty! Now I’m already in Switzerland completing my exchange studies and I will tell you guys more about how’s everything been here in a couple of months. But first let’s start by summarizing my summer in Italy and the practical training I did there.

I’ve got to admit – I can still remember how it felt when I arrived to Genoa Airport after spending the night on the floor at Copenhagen Airport; very tired but extremely excited. I received a phone call from my colleague that he is on his way to pick me up. And luckily he was picking me up, since my luggage was still on its way from Copenhagen to Italy and I was able to get some translation assistance. We managed to sort things out and eventually I received my stuff in a couple of days.

I started my journey in Genoa as a business intern in a worldwide known company Outokumpu. This Finnish stainless steel giant has a lot of business operations in Italy, since Italy is the second biggest market in stainless steel sales in Europe.

Hopefully some day I don’t have to fake entering a Ferrari, haha!

In Genoa, Outokumpu has their Italy’s head office. During the first month I was circulated between for example HR, Direct sales, Credit and Technical Department. With direct sales I was able to visit a lot of different customers all around the Northern area of Italy. Business negotiating, seeing their factories including machinery processes and having lunch with them afterwards were experiences that opened my eyes a lot. Theory and practice are different from each other, but they are still connected and go hand in hand. Without the theory I had sucked in like a sponge during office days, I would not have understood all the stuff I was able to see in practice and vice versa.

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It was impossible to be disappointed with the delicious food and dishes served during lunches and dinners.

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I spent one week at the Treviso office, which is very close to Venice. My Trevisian colleagues took me there one night and we did an awesome pub tour and laughed a lot!

After the first month I moved to Castelleone, where Outokumpu has a service centre. Long story short, Castelleone service center has mainly two purposes. First one is to produce from the heavy stainless steel coils smaller pieces called sheets. They also have a plasma cutter to work enormous quarto plates into the desired shapes. The second purpose is to work as a smaller warehouse to provide stainless steel for distributors etc. when they’re in a hurry. In Castelleone I spent two months. I travelled all around Northern Italy meeting customers and their factories with different sales managers and field sales people (Also in Castelleone I traveled around the Northern Italy since Outokumpu has agents in the South). I counted that I met more or less 65 different customers and also factories with most of them. If I compare how I did at the first customer and how I did at the last, the difference is huge. I opened myself so much and the knowledge I gathered regarding customer policies and stainless steel industry through those visits is remarkable.

My leisure time was mostly all about relaxing, exploring the nearby places, sun tanning, reading books and spending time with a few close colleagues. After a rough week touring around Northern Italy you just wanted to charge the batteries and give some time for yourself.

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I had also visitors during my stay in Genoa and Castelleone! My sister and her boyfriend came to see me in Genoa and we had a blast! I showed them the city and during the evenings we watched the Hockey World Championship games and chilled.

Me & Milla

Me and my girlfriend Milla. We arranged an extended weekend in Milan where we did a lot of shopping, went to Museo Civico di Storia Naturale di Milano, walked around the beautiful Milan streets, fine and dined and just enjoyed the short, but fantastic time together.

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My last visitors to see me were my parents, who came by motorcycle all the way from Tornio to Castelleone. We spent a nice and lovely week together by chilling the evenings around the poolside, visiting a nearby city Crema and also Milan. In Milan we did of course a little bit of shopping, haha.

There were many similarities but also differences compared to the Finnish working culture. We have to remember that the company is indeed Finnish, but the blue- and white-collar workers in Italy were Italian (excluding a few employees). From the very beginning I felt very welcomed and people seemed very happy all the time. In Finland I have felt myself welcomed too in different jobs, but the Italian culture makes it slightly more warm. In the attitude of the employees I saw similarities – hard working people with a certain goal to approach. Is the punctuality in Outokumpu Italy inherited from the Finnish culture or is there a natural tendency for it, I could not say. Nevertheless, all the people I met during those 3 months, colleagues and customers, they all made my stay one of the best experiences I’ve had so far.