My Erasmus Time – A Review

My Erasmus semester ended about two months ago and in my opinion it’s time to reflect my experiences. Obviously, I had a really great time in Helsinki. During this four months abroad I met a lot of interesting people and I’ve seen so much new places. However, it feels like I could have done so much more but the time was running too fast and suddenly four months were over.

I expected to get homesick at some time and to miss Germany, but during the whole time I had so much fun that I never felt bad. In contrast, I got homesick when I got back to Germany. The first one or two weeks are quite hard, it feels strange to be “at home”. You have to get used to your home environment like you got used to be abroad at the beginning of your Erasmus time.

Now back home, I have to do the last organizational things like writing a report or get my courses accepted. I’m afraid that the contact to most of the people got weaker and will eventually break, even in times of Facebook.

Nevertheless, this blog will stay online since I hope to convince some people to do a term abroad in Helsinki. Don’t hesitate to apply because it seems like a lot of work, at the end it’s not that much and it’s nothing compared to what you get back. And if you have any questions please write a comment or send me a mail.

To conclude, I want to thank everyone who read my reports and of course everyone I met for having such a great time. Kiitos paljon!

Oslo – The end of my term abroad

At the end of my stay in Finland I flew to Oslo, Norway, to visit a friend of mine who has done a term abroad there. We had three days for sightseeing and Christmas shopping. We have been to the Christmas market, the Oslo Opera House, the Nobel Peace Center, the Oslo City Hall, the Vigeland Park, the Holmenkollen ski jump, the Munch Museum and the National Museum (wow all in less than three days). So we have seen the most important things in Oslo. It is a very nice city with some amazing heated pedestrian ways.

Then we drove back together to Germany, through Sweden and Denmark. It is a long trip and it was quite slippery on some roads, so we decided to make a break in Flensburg and stayed the night in a hostel. On 21st of December I was “at home” again, even if it didn’t feel like home that days.

Overview of my courses

For everyone who wants to study at the Aalto University School of Science and Technology I want to give a brief overview of some courses I attended:

  • Introduction to Software Business and Venturing P (2 ECTS): Principles of business models especially in the context of the web. Four individual assignments have to be written.
  • New Venture Development I (3 ECTS): Interesting course about being an entrepreneur. Graded with some individual assignments and a group assignment.
  • ICT Enabled Service Business and Innovation P (4 ECTS): Basics of services and how they relate to innovation, also touches IT Governance. I have chosen to write an exam only, but you can also write some reports to get 2 more credits.
  • IT Governance P (4 ECTS): Basics of IT Governance and corresponding frameworks. Two assignments and a final report has to be written.
  • Read Effectively (2 ECTS): Very good English course about reading and writing academic papers and articles.

This is just a selection of my courses, but I was quite happy with all of them. Often you can choose if you want to write assignments or an exam. I strongly recommend the assignments. For more questions write me an email.

Sitsit – A crazy Finnish tradition

One of the craziest traditions of Finnish students that I have experienced are probably sitsits. A sitsit is a very special dinner party. Everyone is dressed up. As an appetizer you get sparkling wine. After everybody sat down you will get the starter. Nothing special so far, besides small booklets with lyrics on the table and shot glasses with vodka in front of you.

Before you start eating you will hear a gong and the “director” of the sitsit will stand up to give a small speach and to proclaim the next song. After singing you have to chink glasses with your neighbors and your table avec (person in front of you) and then you can start eating. But just after a couple of minutes you will hear the gong again, and again, and again… This interruptions will continue the whole evening. The Finns say a sitsit with cold food is a good sitsit. So the whole evening is filled with speeches, singing, and drinking, but also some performances like dancing or a band. Together with the main dishes you will get red or white wine and to the desert some kind of cognac. In addition you can buy beer at any time, so you are able to try every kind of alcohol at one evening.

The songs are usually very funny and not often in different languages, not only Finnish. There are also songs with German or Swedish parts in it. Sometimes you have to stand up at certain parts. During my time in Finland I have been on three sitsits. Each one was a little different but very funny. The last one was a big international sitsit and due to the lack of Finns it run a bit out of control. Nevertheless I really recommend everyone to visit a sitsit when you have the chance!

This was only a brief introduction and there are some more rules, but it’s difficult to explain, you have to experience it. Here are some pictures:

Lapland – trip to the cold north

I’m running out of time, only 4 days left, that’s so damn sad. So I will keep this post short.

I was in Lapland last week with about 40 other people “organized” by ESN. These days were one of the most interesting and funniest days I had here in Finland. I have driven a husky sledge in the nature of Inari, I have seen the Arctic Sea in Norway, I have seen reindeer at a reindeer farm and learned a lot about the Sami culture, I have driven a snow mobile on a frozen lake, and I have seen Santa Claus at Santa Claus village (incredible cheesy). Here are the pictures, even if they cannot transport the incredible impressions I got.

Trip to Stockholm

At the beginning of this week I travelled to Stockholm. Unfortunately I just had about 5 hours for sightseeing. The trip was organized by my guild (black overalls) together with the chemistry guild (red overalls) and the bio informatics (brown overalls) guild. It was a trip for the Finnish freshmen, called Phuksicruise. Thus, there were about 150-200 Finnish students on this trip and on the ferry.

Even if I had so little time, I saw most of the Old Town of Stockholm and also some parts of the modern town. In the afternoon I watched the Finnish freshmen playing some games on a square. After that they made a long human chain and went through the city from this square to the Old Town, without taking care about crossing the streets. This game ended, guess what, with a drinking game on another square. So it was all about embarrassing Finnish students 😛

By the way: About one week ago it started snowing and right now we have a lot of snow and around -14° C. Just have a look at the weather widget on the right.

Trip to St. Petersburg

Last weekend was legendary. We made an awesome trip to Saint Petersburg with timetravels. When we arrived we made a guided bus tour through St. Petersburg and visited the Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood (before we could check-in at hotel ibis). The hotel was very good, it was clean and very modern. In the evening be made a night cruise on canals and the River Neva. This was really impressive, everything is lighted and some bridges also change their colour. I’m afraid the pictures are not able to transport the atmosphere. After that we had a Russian Dinner Party with a Folk Music Show. The food was really good, we drank a lot of vodka and the entertainment show was one of the funniest things I have ever seen.

The next day we visited Catherine’s Palace (for those who don’t know: there is the amber room). It was quite impressive to see all these golden rooms and of course the reconstructed amber room (unfortunately photos are not allowed there). After that we went to the St. Isaac’s Cathedral and climbed up about 200 steps to the colonnade, where you have a great view on the city. In the evening we made a limousine tour with a Hummer limousine for 19 people, which was also really awesome (I don’t have pictures of it). Afterwards we have been to a big Russian club and partied till all hours.

The next and last day was the cultural part of our trip. We visited the State Hermitage Museum, which is one of the largest and oldest museums of the world. It is probably amazing for people who are interested in art 😛 Anyway it was quite attractive for me too.

So that’s it. I highly recommend a trip to Saint Petersburg to everyone who has the ability. The trip with timetravels was well organized and if you go by ferry you don’t need a visa.

Btw. I was told to write more personal and to make more pictures of persons and of me. I don’t want to upload photos of other people but I hope this post is an enhancement anyway.

Ice Hockey Match

Last week I was at an ice hockey match, Blues (Espoo) vs. HPK (Hämeenlinna). Usually I never would buy tickets to watch an ice hockey game live, but it is a very typical Finish sports, so I decided to go there. We preferred the Blues of course, it’s the team of Espoo, the city where I study. Fortunately they won 4:0 and thus the atmosphere was very good. It was quite an interesting experience and it’s definitely not boring. Here are the pics:
Oh and by the way: the post about my awesome trip to St. Petersburg will be published on Friday, so stay tuned!