TSE Students Abroad: Greetings from Birmingham!

I have now lived here in Birmingham for two and a half months, and already quite a few stereotypes of British people have proved right: they do call you sweetheart in corner shops, they are as polite as they are said to be, and they do apologize a lot. Even though I have always loved the British accent, the culture itself wasn’t the main reason why I chose to apply to the UK. I wanted to improve my studies during the exchange and to be honest, even though I knew how to speak English I was quite jealous of people who were really fluent and natural with it. So I thought that maybe an exchange semester in the UK would provide interesting courses and give me more courage to speak English at the same time. So far I have been happy with my choice; lecturers are really engaged in the subjects they are teaching and assignments that we are given are interesting and close to practice. There are many discussions held within lectures and I have found it easy to be part of those discussions as well – even though I’m often the only exchange student there. My English is also more fluent now, but unfortunately I am not yet able to grasp the strong British accent.

Campus

Campus.

Birmingham itself wasn’t so familiar to me before I came here. It is actually the second largest city in the UK with almost two million residents. Almost half of its residents are migrants and you can really notice the ethnic diversity everywhere you go. It surprised me as well that there are more canals in Birmingham than in Venice.  However, the canals are less of a prominent feature than they are in Venice, since Birmingham is much larger than Venice. Birmingham is often said to be the ugliest city in the UK but it has its beautiful places as well, and in my opinion this is really a compact and nice city to spend an exchange semester. You get the feeling that you are living in a big city but at the same time distances are not too long. I am particularly happy to live here at this time of the year as they have the Frankfurt Christmas market in the city centre. Almost the whole city centre turned into a Christmas wonderland in the middle of November with beautiful Christmas lights and lovely stalls selling food, drink and Christmas ornaments.

Birmigham city centre canals.

Birmigham city centre canals.

The location of Birmingham is also perfect for exploring England. Public transportation is fairly cheap and as Birmingham is located in the middle of England the distances are not long. Most of the exchange students here prefer organising trips on their own but the Student Union organises trips to other cities in and outside of England as well. I’ve myself visited London, Liverpool and Oxford and we are planning a trip to Manchester.

People from Birmingham are called ”Brummies” and they have this really strong ”Brummie accent” here which caused some problems in communication during the first weeks. Even though I still sometimes struggle to understand what some students say in lectures or what people say to me in the street my overall picture of people here is a really positive one; for example one Sunday I went for a run in the morning and some nice old man shouted good morning to me as if it had been the most normal thing to say to some random girl.. That really made my day! People might also start a chat with  you in cafes or in a library.

My home street

My home street

The application process went smoothly and I found the personnel of the university very helpful – they answered to all my emails very quickly and were willing to help me with all my questions. Birmingham City University guarantees accommodation for exchange students, which was quite relieving information when I first got accepted to the university. In other words I didn’t have to worry about the flat, I just registered on the university’s website and ticked a few boxes and that was it – after a few weeks I received an email from my university offering an accommodation. I live next to my campus so it takes five minutes to get to the lecture and two minutes to the university’s gym. I share my flat with five other exchange students. Even though I was used to living alone in Finland I have been more than happy to share a flat with other exchange students. It is one of the easiest ways to meet new people and to get used to living abroad as you are all quite lost at the beginning.

Aston Hall

Aston Hall

All in all I have had a splendid time in Birmingham and I can warmly recommend an exchange in the UK. Especially if you’re a friend of tea, love good music (no matter where you are, at the gym or in a bar, it’s always surprisingly good) and want to spend you’re exchange in a lively city and explore England at the same time.

 Mira Rantatupa
Birmingham City University (Management and Organization, 9/14-12/14)
 
 
 

CIA TuKY in 2014 – Hyvä, paha jaostotoiminta – minäkö mukaan?

KaupSu

KaupSu 2014 fiilistelyä.

Ensimmäiset hallitustenvaihdokset käynnistyvät tällä viikolla. HALVA-hypetyksen kiihtyessä monella varmasti käy mielessä niinkin hullu ajatus kuin oma ehdolle asettuminen.

Mielessä pyörii lukuisia kysymyksiä. Mitä annettavaa hallituskokemuksella on minulle? Oppisinko jotain uutta? Onko se hauskaa? Vai mahtaako ylimääräisten tehtävien ottaminen olla puhdas rikos mielenterveyttä vastaan? Mitä jos minua ei valita? Noloa…

Näitä samoja asioita pyörittelin pupuna mielessäni tasan vuosi sitten, kun CIA TuKY haki uusia jäseniä hallitukseensa. Päätin kuitenkin ottaa härkää sarvista ja hakea. Mitä kävikään? No ei meikäläistä valittu. Eikä se maailma siihen kaatunut.

Jostain kumman syystä kuitenkin päivittelen nytkin tätä blogia. Viime keväänä hallitukseemme tarvittiin uusi jäsen korvaamaan vaihtoon karannutta koulutuspoliittista vastaajaa. Syksyn hakukirjeeni ansiosta minulle soitettiin, ja otin ilomielin pestin vastaan. Hallituksemme uusimpana jäsenenä minusta tuntuu, että voisin olla sopiva kertomaan tuoreimpia fiiliksiä siitä, millaista puuhaa hallituksessa duunaaminen oikeastaan on ja mitä se tekijälleen antaa.

Puoli vuotta CIA TuKYn miehistössä on hujahtanut hurjaa vauhtia. Alkuun kaikki tuntui hirveän vieraalta, ja minulla oli lievästi sanoen pallo hukassa. Ensimmäisenä tehtävänäni sain hankkia André Chakerin, Veikkauksen neuvonantajan koulullemme kansainvälisyys-viikon avauspuhujaksi. Shokki. Mikä herranisä on KV-viikko, kuinka isoja pamppuja saadaan puhumaan koululle ja hitto miksi minun piti pistää lusikkani tähän soppaan.

Viikottaiset kokoukset pöytäkirjoineen, tapahtumien perinpohjainen suunnittelu ja omien vastuutehtävien ottaminen, muun muassa Kaupsu-rastin ja sitsien suunnittelu ja Language cafen organisointi olivat yhtä kaikki minulle uutta. Valehtelematta voin sanoa, että tämä aiheutti harmaita hiuksia. Mutta arvatkaa mitä! Se kannatta.

Puolen vuoden aikana olen oppinut mielettömän paljon. Taskusta löytyy tapahtumien järjestämisen ABC, uskallusta ottaa vastuuta ja enemmän tarmoa tarttua ennestään tuntemattomien asioiden hoitoon. Enkä todellakaan ole unohtanut kirjata tätä CV:hen.

Hallitushommiin ryhtyminen ei ole kannattavaa pelkästään järkisyistä. Se on myös hauskaa. Olen tutustunut mahtaviin tyyppeihin, joiden kanssa tiet eivät välttämättä olisi koskaan törmänneet. Viimeisinmpänä mielessä on onnistunut kansainvälisyysviikko; paljon stressattu André Chakerin puhe oli menestys. Kirsikkana kakun päällä keikkuu täydellisesti onnistuneet supersankari-sitsit. Olo on ylpeä. Mahtavaa katsoa taaksepäin kaikkea sitä, mitä on saanut aikaan. Tämä fiilis voittaa kevyesti pienen matkan varrella kohdatun stressin.

Kannattaa siis ihan ehdottomasti olla aktiivinen, ja hakea mukaan toimintaan! CIA TuKYn hallituksen vaihdos muiden mukana häämöttää edessä, joten on jännä nähdä, millaiset mahtavat tyypit tarttuvat ruoriin seuraavaksi vuodeksi.

Emma Vuorenmaa
Coordinator for Educational Affairs
Committee for International Affairs
The Association of the Economics Students of Turku
 
 

TSE Students Abroad: Zigzagging through Zürich

Grüezi miteinand!

Greetings from beautiful Zürich, where I am currently attending my exciting exchange semester. The main reason for me to apply to Zürich was the German language. Someone might roll their eyes for this – why wouldn’t I go to Germany if I wished to improve my German? I didn’t actually have any reasonable excuse for this; I just knew I wanted to do my exchange in a German-speaking country but not in Germany. After arriving here I haven’t regretted my choice for a second.

Zürich's beautiful city center.

Zürich’s beautiful city center.

Of course Switzerland is a special case when it comes to German language. Switzerland has its own, very confusing Swiss German dialect with for example different pronunciation and many own words. However, in school and in all official situations, people use High German, which is the one I have learned. In a store, the cashier doesn’t say ”danke schön” but ”tanke vilmal”, but for example all the courses at the university are taught in High German. In my experience Swiss people also really like speaking German with foreigners, and they don’t mind switching to High German as soon as they realize you are not a Swiss.

Before my actual courses started, I attended a pre-semester language course. There I also met people who were in the same situation as I was with my language skills; we all knew German well enough to have conversations, but were so insecure that we didn’t feel comfortable doing so. With each other it has been easier to improve since none of us is a native speaker. For example, I have a group of friends with a French, a Dane and a Finn, and we often speak German with each other. After only two months I am much more fluent and don’t stress about grammar anymore when I speak. It’s more important that people just understand me, anyway.

Celebrating a friend's birthday over a dinner

Celebrating a friend’s birthday over a dinner

For many parts, Switzerland is quite similar with Finland – I haven’t really experienced any big culture shocks. Swiss price level might of course be a worrying factor for those, who consider Switzerland for an exchange destination, but that didn’t really shock me, either. For most things the prices are pretty much the same as in Finland, and after all, you can’t really come to Switzerland and expect things to be cheap.

Travelling, however, is extremely easy here. The public transportation both inside Switzerland and to abroad works like a well oiled machine. Zürich is a city where they apologize, if the train is two minutes late! Switzerland is also so small a country, that with just two hours by train you can get to completely different sceneries. I am still utterly amazed every time I get to see the Alps from close by.

Stunning view next morning at lake Oeschinen

Stunning view next morning at lake Oeschinen

Exchange is a thrilling adventure, but it does, however, also improve your patience. Things don’t always go as planned; international office might lose your scholarship, Kreisbüro might require the weirdest things, or you have to drastically change your original course plan. I, for one, am not so good with unexpected surprises, and exchange has helped me to work with that.

I have noticed that on an exchange, for some reason, it’s also easier to act more spontaneously. Maybe back home I am safely settled to my routines, but in here, in a new environment and on an once-in-a-lifetime adventure it’s better to just go with the flow. That’s how you might for example find yourself on a sauna-roadtrip with a couple of other Finns, because a Swiss magazine wants to make a big article about that – yep, that really happened.

Exchange semester opens your eyes to new cultures, adventures and people, but also makes you appreciate home more. So if you are considering an exchange or maybe an internship abroad, I can recommend it most warmly. CIA TuKY’s International Week 2014 is approaching and if you wish to hear more experiences from TSE students, they will be telling their stories and answering questions on the 6th of November.

Uf Widerluege!

Liisa Välkkynen
University of Zürich (Accounting and Finance, 9/2014-12/2014)
 
 
 

CIA TuKY in 2014 – Kv-viikko lähestyy!

IW2014 logo edit2_big

 

TuKYn kansainvälisyysviikko on aivan kulman takana. Jokaisena päivänä 3.-6.11. on ohjelmassa puhujia, infotilaisuuksia, esittelyständejä, iltatapahtumia ym. liittyen kansainvälisyyteen yleisesti, työskentelyyn ulkomailla, vaihto-opiskeluun ja kehitysyhteistyöhön. Viikon highlighteina ovat avajaispäivän puhujamme Eurooppa- ja ulkomaankauppaministeri Lenita Toivakka sekä Speakersforumin Vuoden Puhujaksi 2012 valittu André Noël Chaker.

Lenita Toivakka on toiminut Eurooppa- ja ulkomaankauppaministerinä viime kesäkuusta lähtien ja Eduskuntaan hänet valittiin ensimmäisen kerran vuonna 2007. Hän on toiminut aiemmin mm. yrittäjänä Mikkelin K-Citymarketin kauppiaana yhdessä miehensä kanssa. Erilaisia luottamustoimia Toivakalla on myös pitkä lista hyvin monipuolisesti eri aiheista ja aloilta. Lenita Toivakka tulee puhumaan meille aiheesta ”Suomi, EU ja muuttuva maailma”, mikä on hyvin ajankohtaista ja varmasti koskee jokaista Turun kauppakorkeakoulun opiskelijaa.

Kanadanranskalainen André Noël Chaker on asunut Suomessa nyt parikymmentä vuotta. Hän on muun muassa urheilujuridiikkaan erikoistunut juristi, Veikkaus Oy:n johdon neuvonantaja, juontaja, puhuja ja muusikko. Vuonna 2011 hän julkaisi suuren menestyksen saaneen suomalaista elämäntapaa kuvaavan ”The Finnish Miracle”-kirjan, ja on tutkinut suomalaisuuden ja liike-elämän yhteyttä. Kummatkin puhujamme ovat kauppakorkeakoulusta valmistuneita ja siten myös hyviä esimerkkejä siitä, minkälaiset urat meillä opiskelijoilla on mahdollisuus tulevaisuudessa itsellemme rakentaa.

Avajaispäivän puhujien jälkeen kannattaa tiistaina  käydä tarkistuttamassa englanninkielinen CV:si Rekryn klinikalla, keskiviikkona pyörähtää kehitysyhteistyöaiheisilla messuilla ja torstaina kuunnella opiskelijoiden omakohtaisia kokemuksia ulkomaanvaihdoista. Äläkä unohda torstain kv-sitsejä, joilla pääsemme yhdessä näyttämään ulkomaalaisille opiskelijoille miten Suomessa sitsataan supersankarien tyyliin. Lisäinfoa ohjelmasta Facebookista.

Nähdään kv-viikolla!

Maria Helle
Projektikoordinaattori
Kansainvälisten asioiden jaosto
Turun kauppatieteiden ylioppilaat ry
 
 
 

TSE Students Abroad: Life is GOT in Gothenburg

Hälsningar från Sverige!

I started my exchange semester in Gothenburg at the end of August and the timing seemed to be perfect – we were lucky enough to do all the sightseeing before the allegedly inevitable rainy season started. So far Sweden has treated me well!

Swedish flag

Swedish flag

In Gothenburg everything appears to be within walking distance. The university buildings are located in the very heart of the city but so are two football stadiums, an ice stadium, a huge exhibition centre, the biggest amusement park in the Nordic countries…just to name a few examples.  There’s nothing impressive in having stadiums and amusement parks, but the fact that they are all located within a 2 kilometre radius without making the city centre congested – well, that’s something.  The secret behind that is, in addition to the short distances and plentiful cycle lanes, the well-organized public transportation.

It goes without saying that I haven’t experienced any cultural shock after arriving in Sweden. Gothenburg is in many ways similar to Turku, only a bit bigger with the population of over 500 000 people. Both cities are located on the west coast, by the sea. The nature here, including the archipelago, reminds me of Turku. I can even buy bread made by Fazer when I go to the grocery store! So why choose a country located so near Finland?

University main building

Main building of the Gothenburg University

The choice I made was, of course, a combination of several factors. Learning the language was an obvious one and so was the course selection offered by Handelshögskolan vid Göteborgs universitet. Not all universities offer courses in logistics or supply chain management, so I was more than happy to find some in Gothenburg. In Sweden it is typical to have a maximum of two courses running at the same time – either one full-time or two part-time courses. On one hand it is useful to focus on one thing at a time, but as it happened to me, I chose a course that turned out to be too easy and was stuck with it for a month. Hopefully my next courses will be a bit more challenging!

When it comes to learning the language, I have already managed to round up a group of people who share the same problem – knowing (almost) all the possible grammatical rules but lacking in confidence to speak. So far we have had dinner and quite a few cups of coffee together while speaking Swedish only. In addition to Finns, some of the group members are immigrants from Asia, some are exchange students from other European countries who have at some point decided to start studying Swedish just for fun. So not only am I practicing Swedish but doing it with a bunch of interesting people from all over the world – that is, of course, one of the best things about studying abroad.

Liseberg amusement park

Liseberg Amusement Park 

Other than that, Gothenburg is an excellent choice if you want to explore Scandinavia – both Norway and Denmark are just around the corner. In my case, I am actually more familiar with most of the countries located in Central Europe than with those two but that’s about to change during the semester.

I guess cosy would be a good word to describe Gothenburg with its countless cafés and the delicious cinnamon buns they offer. In a way I’m already looking forward to wintertime and the excuse to explore all the cafés when it’s too dark and cold to stay outside. One month down, three to go!

 

Leena Virtanen
Handelshögskolan vid Göteborgs universitet (Operations & Supply Chain Management, 9/2014-1/2015)