Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Top posts

Last photo with Cervantes

This is the last post of year 2010. I have picked five posts which I like and are worth reading from all my previous posts.

1. Exchange report is a summary of my exchange year in Spain and gives overview of it
2. I made a post how to get started with your exchange year. I hope that this post encourages people to learn a new language.
3. In my opinion Finnish people do not show their feelings as openly as Spanish. This post explains how I see it.
4. My father said that I should not have even published this post but I think that it is funny.
5. Here you can see the video of my team UHK Madrid playing in the floorball final.

I picked just five even I could have picked more but I have to draw line somewhere. It would be nice to hear which are your favorite posts.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Cooking oil

Spain is a big producer of cooking oil. Spanish people use a lot of olive oil and sunflower oil for cooking. You can find even five liter cooking oil bottles in the supermarket which cannot be found in Finland. Finnish people use canola oil for cooking but Spanish people do not use it because in the 80's there was a big tragedy. Over 1000 died and 60 000 got poisoned because of canola oil which was accidentally produced to be toxic and sold for consumers.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Sunflower seeds

Spanish people enjoy to eat sunflower seeds. Peeling them is one part of the fun because they actually prefer to buy seeds which they have to peel by themselves and they do not buy the already peeled seeds. There is some salt added to give you some taste when cracking the peels with your teeth. In Finland you can find sunflower seeds which are meant for birds in the winter time but the people do not eat them.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas holiday

The first semester ended in Finland and that means Christmas holidays. I could notice in the student restaurant today that most of the students had gone to their home cities because it was more empty than normally. Today I came to Kuopio to spend my Christmas here.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Social media

I have been living now a bit more than three years watching very little television. In Finland I do not have a television and in Spain I had a television but I barely watched. it. I am not reading printed news paper or magazines regularly but I read something printed still few times in a week. I listen radio only in the gym and in a car which I do not even own. To conclude it seems that these traditional marketing channels do not reach me.

Now the importance of marketing in social has been highlighted and it makes sense to me. When I think that how I got an idea to ask certain book for Christmas present (by the way I have not asked any other Christmas presents) and how I got an idea that it would nice to have an electronic book reader. I got these both ideas from blogs which I am following regularly. I am using Internet a lot and getting information about new stuff from these social media webpages. Feels like that I am completely ignoring marketing from these traditional channels. Maybe I have not ignored it completely but at least social media effects me already much more.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Eviction cancelled

Last Thursday I wrote that few students got evicted from their flat. Finally the student housing company decided to cancel the eviction because the tenants made a complaint. The housing company claimed that police had a list with the names of tenants because they had been disturbing before. It revealed that the police did not have any list and that housing company had invented it. The police did not even stop the party during the night which caused the eviction in the first place. I wonder why the housing company wanted to kick the tenants out. The next night police came to another party and the host of this party did not get even a warning letter. I thought that in Finland organizations tend to follow the regulations but this case does not make much sense.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Brands

When going to a new country you do not necessarily find the brands what you can find in your home country. When I had to do grocery shopping in Spain mostly I had to choose between unknown brands for me. Always I ended up buying the cheapest product which is a white label. I did not even try the more expensive ones because I was happy with the quality of the white label products. Spanish people even called some products with the name of the brand because those were so well known among Spanish people. For example Spanish people calls cocoa with Cola Cao and handkerchiefs with Clinex. Both have also a correct Spanish translation which are cacao and pañuelo but people use a lot the names of the brands.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Kicked out

The student housing company of Joensuu kicked out three tenants this week because of making too much noise. Housing company did not give a warning letter before sending a letter to move out in seven days. All the tenants were kicked out because the contract says that everyone in the flat is responsible for the party if it is arranged. In this case all the tenants were not in the flat so they got kicked out even they were not participating the party.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Exchange program meeting

Last week we had a meeting with a Campus Europae representative and one another Finnish student who had been in Campus Europae exchange in Hamburg. We were the first Campus Europae exchange students from our university. We discussed about difficulties and good sides in the program. Bad things were that coordinators of our university did not know much about the program. Therefore we had to look for the information by ourselves in the Internet. In Hamburg was not offered a long language course like in Spain. We can though recommend the program because it offers better possibilities to learn a new language and I am planning to use the option to take a second exchange year.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Accent

When speaking in Spanish for the first time with someone I like to ask that where I am from judging by my accent. Usually they do not know the answer because Finnish accent is not known. When speaking with grown up I have not had big understanding problems just with some words but once when I talked to a child and he could not understand me because of my accent. I would like to speak with an accent as close as possible to a native speaker. I should ask some Spanish person to help me to improve my pronunciation.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

El clásico in Finland

Yesterday a lot of Erasmus students got to together to watch a football match between Barcelona and Real Madrid. This time I was able to hear more singing and cheering for Barcelona than in Madrid because the supporters of Barcelona had to be more quiet in Alcalá and of course Barcelona supporters were minority. Erasmus students definitely created a great atmosphere for this match.

Today we had floorball matches of the league of the university. Some Spanish friends came to see one match. We won and lost one match.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Independent

I saw an article where was said that 6% of Finnish students live with their parents. On the contrary in Italy almost 80% and in Spain almost 60% of the students live with their parents. This means that when students from these southern Europe countries go to exchange they can live first time without their parents. Exchange year helps them to be much more independent and many of them have discovered that it is great to be independent.

Exchange year has a reputation of a party year. I think that chance to live without parents makes people more wild. Other reason is that all the universities do not recognize all the studies of the exchange year therefore exchange students are less motivated to complete courses.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Bicycle

In Joensuu it is essential to have a bicycle because it is very practical way to move around the city. Riding a bike on the slippery roads in the winter can be dangerous. This semester several exchange students have injured themselves in a bike accident. The most serious injuries have been broken collarbone and broken ankle. Also some slighter injuries have occurred like sore wrist and bruises. I have never been injured while riding a bike even I have been riding a bike every winter.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The police stops a house party

Exchange students arrange parties in their flats and often the police comes to stop the party because neighbors are disturbed by the noise. The university is trying to deal with the problem by threatening that they will report about the party to the home universities of the exchange students. The housing company sends warning letters for tenants that they can be evicted. Two years ago exchange student party got in Finnish police TV. The police is saying that they can see disco lights and hear loud music. In reality there was not even disco lights neither music. A lot people just make a lot of noise by speaking. The video is below.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Tortilla in Finland

Today student restaurant served Spanish tortilla as a vegetarian option. I decided to give a try for tortilla. Tortilla looked a bit different and it had some green spice but it was recognizable. Probably it was prepared in a oven and not fried like it should be done. The taste was not as strong as in Spain but it was fine. Also one Spanish person tried the tortilla and he liked it though he said that it did not taste like Spanish tortilla.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Swimming hall

I did not go to swimming hall in Spain so I did not know about the differences between Finnish and Spanish swimming halls before Spanish told me. In Spain all the swimmers have to wear a hat and everyone is also wearing flip flops to avoid foot fungus. In Finland anyone does not wear flip flops neither hat. They said that they were not allowed swim in a shorts and that there was not as strong smell of chlorine as in Spain. They did not understand why you have to be naked in sauna but the reason is that the chlorine vaporizes in hot and it is toxic.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Sports of the week

This week I have had a chance to do a lot of sports. I can use the gym of the university for free and all the other activities are also free because those are organized by the student union. Unfortunately there is not organized anything in the weekend. The following you can see the sports I did each day.

Monday: 45min gym and 1h floorball
Tuesday: 1,5h football and 1h floorball
Wednesday: 1h gym
Thursday: 45min gym and 1h floorball
Friday: 2h volleyball and 1h 45min floorball

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Evening of economics

Today I Participated to a event of economics. The event was organized because this year is the 75th birthday of the federation of economics. Event included salad meal, coffee and various lectures. Especially self improvement lecture was interesting. Lecturer taught us how to find what makes you happy in life and how you can improve it. My result was that I am happy with my life and there was not any big things what makes me unsatisfied.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Floorball league

This week started the floorball league of the university. We will have ten matches and after that possible playoff matches. Playing time is two times twelve minutes. I am playing with the theology students because the before active business student organisation did not even sign up a team. We lost the first match against the finalist of the last year and played tie in the other match. On next Thursday we have our next matches.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Plans for the next year

I have been already planning to do an another exchange year. I have thought about going to Turkey. In Campus Europae exchange program it is possible to go exchange twice but in the second time I will not receive Erasmus scolarship like in the first time but I can apply for another scolarship. I have sent already some emails to Turkey and they have wished me welcome to study there next year.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Meeting

Today I went to Kuopio for a meeting. This way I am participating student politics in the University of Eastern Finland. It was my first meeting as a student representative because last year I was in Spain and I could not participate. The meeting took six hours and it was quite tiring. We discussed about the strategy of ISYY, finding two councils, budget for next year and ETC.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Award

This week I received a nice surprise from Campus Europae. They awarded me some money for successfully learning a new language. It was a very nice surprise because I was not expecting anything. I have passed B1 exam in Spanish but I think that my level of Spanish is higher than that. All of Campus Europae students in Alcalá should have taken this language exam but just a few actually did it. There was some problems with organizing it. The professor did not arrive on time because she had problems with her car therefore people who wanted to do the exam missed it. Many students were not even interested in doing the test and did not show up at all.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

All the studies recognized

Time to put together all the studies what have been recognized. I received 49 credits from business courses, 4 credits from sports course and 9 credits from language studies. This means in total 62 credits. At least four courses I can use to put the together my minor studies in management and leadership. Languages studies are part of my bachelor degree. With the rest of the credits I have to see how I can include those to my degree.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Cash counter

In Spain cash counters were much smaller than in Finland from the both ends. Therefore you have to be packing your bag while your products go through the cash counter. The exchange was always counted to your hand to prove that they gave you right amount of money. Also in Russia the exchange was counted. In Finland the money is just slammed to your hand and you can count by yourself how much you received back.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

St. Petersburg

The State Hermitage Museum


Catherine's Palace

I have now returned from Russia. It was great trip even the weather was rainy in the first days. We saw The State Hermitage museum which is so big that it takes seven years to walk it through if you want have a look of each piece of art there. We visited Catherine's palace which was very decorative. We saw also orthodox churches and other architecture in the city center. We explored the city by taking a limousine and boat ride in the canals of the city.

In St. Petersburg we used taxi, subway and our bus for transportation. It was very easy to take a taxi, you just had to stand one minute on the side of a road and unofficial taxi gave you a ride in the center for five euros. To use subway you had to go very deep under the ground. It took several minutes to take escalators down.

Very few people in Russia spoke English. For example the receptionist in our hotel did not speak English.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Trip to Russia

We are going by bus to St. Petersburg with 90 Erasmus students of Joensuu Tomorrow morning. The trip organizer have given us some instructions to survive in St. Petersburg.
1. Be careful with the russian traffic
2. Do not drink tap water
3. Do not move alone in the streets
4. Always carry your Id
5. Be careful with the pickpockets
6. Prices might be more expensive for foreigners

four day trip cost 235 euros which includes visa of 50 euros.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Student restaurant

I have discovered that Spanish people like to reserve their seat in the student restaurant before they go to take food. Finnish people take first the food and then they go to sit. For international students it is also strange that there are everyday boiled potatoes available.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Business studies recognition

My faculty have done recognition of my business studies in Spain. Three of the courses replaced courses what I could have done in Joensuu. These courses were Human resource management, multicultural management and global business and entrepreneurship. Rest of my courses were some other field of application in economics or special issues in management and leadership. In total they gave me 49 ECTS from these business studies. These courses were worth 55,5 credits in the academic certificate which university of Alcalá gave me. Therefore they did not consider them as ECTS credits. I was a bit afraid that they could give me even less credits. I am still waiting recognition of the sports course which I had.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Football tournament

Student union organized the traditional sports afternoon in Joensuu. We participated to the competitive football tournament which was played on a small field with five players and a goalkeeper. We had three group stage matches and won just one therefore we did not qualify. Our team was formed of Erasmus students and they could see that Finnish teams can beat them. Also other activities were organized like relaxed football tournament, trip to Koli, dancing and so on.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Video of the floorball final in Spain

I found a video of the second final match of floorball in Spain. Our team UHK Madrid played against CUF Leganés and I am playing with the number 35 in the yellow team. The highlights starts from 2:53 after the presentations. Now you can make your own opinion of the floorball level in Spain.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Finnish people

I heard some interesting views from a Spanish person about Finnish people. She said that in night clubs all the people are very drunk and added that in Spain you can see few persons like that but in Finland everyone are wasted. Other notice was that Finnish people are very shy. When I was in Spain I expected Spanish to speak more for strangers but they did not speak to me. She explained that in Madrid people do not tend to speak to strangers that much.

My Spanish language studies got recognized and I received nine ECTS. These are obligatory third language studies for Finnish business students and now I have completed those.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Recognizing studies

Finally I received the academic transcript of second semester from Spain. Now my faculty has to recognize my studies which I did in Spain and it will take about one month. There are some ambiguities how many ECTS my studies are worth in Finland. University of Alcalá have not replied for my inquiries about the credits. I assumed that the credits I earned are ECTS but my faculty did not accept them right away as ECTS. One Spanish credit means ten hours of lessons and one ECTS credit means about 37 hour of work. Therefore these credit systems are not very comparable.

Friday, September 24, 2010

ESN Sea battle

ESN organizes a big Erasmus cruise of 2000 students. Erasmus students from all over Finland, Sweden, Latvia and Estonia are participating to the cruise. There were 50 tickets for sale in Joensuu. You had to go to the cue three hours before the sales started to get your ticket. the trip includes visit to Stockholm, Tallin and Helsinki and it costs 110 euros. I am not going this semester but there should a another cruise in the second semester. In Spain I skipped a party cruise to Ibiza with exchange students of all over Spain because I had playoff matches in floorball.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Fail fast

Today I had a meeting with my bachelor thesis supervisor. I proposed her an idea to make my bachelor thesis about failing fast. The idea of failing fast is to launch product or business quickly to see if it fails or successes. You cannot know which idea will success therefore the best option is to try and see what happens. The supervisor said it is a great idea but her co-worker said just that the idea is ok. I am thinking about to write the thesis in English because the source material is probably going to be in English.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Floorball with students

In Spain I played in a floorball team and many of my team mates asked if I will play next season in a Finnish floorball team. My answer was that probably not. Here I can play floorball also with students few times a week and I did not have enough urge to join a team. University will probably organize a floorball league and I can have competitive matches there. Playing is much less organized there but still competition brings different element for playing.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

New words in a foreign language

I have noticed that often in international group when people run out of topics to talk to they start ask other person to teach them their language or saying words and phrases in the other persons language . So far I have not liked much this topic because it is usually teaching bad words and basic "how are you" and so on. I feel like learning few phrases is not very useful but it is always nice to show a foreign person that you can speak their language and he/she will be probably impressed that you can say something. I wondered would it possible to take even more out of these little language learning sessions and learn little by little having a conversation in a new language.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Hard language

I have witnessed many times conversation about different languages. First thing what comes up is that Finnish is a very difficult language to learn. Almost every exchange student comes to Finland to learn English and excuse not to learn Finnish is that it is too difficult. The fame of the difficult language prevents people to learn Finnish. Reasons for this are that words do not resemble any words of any other language they have studied before and the extremely long words. Irish polyglot Benny wrote a post that there are no such thing as a too hard language to learn. I wish that exchange students could get a great attitude to learn a new language like he has.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Get To Know Each Other Party

ESN of Joensuu Organized the traditional Get To Know Each Other Party yesterday in the pub. This time party had to be organized in the pub because last year Erasmus students had released boats to the lake in the previous party place. Therefore They are not allowed to have party there. Party was success also in the pub because about 200 students arrived there. I continued getting to know Spanish people.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Spanish in Joensuu

I have got to know many Spanish exchange students in Joensuu. The fact that I can speak have definitely had a lot of effect to it. Most of them have come to Finland to learn English and some of them want to learn even Finnish. I am wondering that should I speak just English to help them to learn speak better English. On the other hand I would like to continue improving my Spanish. I have had some conversations that I speak in Spanish and the other persons speaks English to me. That way both can practice to speak more fluently.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Welcoming students

This time welcoming exchange students have been different because I have not accompanied any of the students to their flats. Almost everyone have gone to hotel before getting keys to their flat. You can see the close family ties when some students arrive with their mom. I think that no one who is going to exchange from Finland arrives with their mom. On the contrary to the big amount of Italian exchange students in Spain there are not many in Joensuu but Spanish people really seem to like Finland because they are the biggest group and they are staying also the whole year.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Finnish surroundings

It is interesting to see that foreigners pay attention to things what are ordinary things to me in Finland. They are amazed that there is a lot of trees, it is fascinating to see squirrel running or rabbit jumping on the road. For them it looks that everyone is blond in Finland. They are also wondering how the streets are so empty in the evening.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Five tips how to get started with your Exchange year

Exchange students are starting their studies soon in the new country. Based on my experience I made a five point list how to get started with exchange year.

1. Study the language of the destination

It helps a lot if you have studied the language before arriving to the new country. It is not necessary to have studies of five or more years. One year is already enough to have good basics to start speaking and learning the language in the destination.

2. Start speaking the local language right away

Do not speak first in English and then switch to the local language when you have learned it better. Probably you will not ever change to the local language and the faster you start speaking with the local language the faster you will learn it. There are many cases where someone have studied a language ten years but does not speak it. Even after studying a language one year you can easily learn to speak better than them if you start to use the local language right away. It will be hard in the beginning but you just have to fight and you will be speaking a new language fluently if you use it everyday.

3. Find a tutor

In some places you have tutor assigned for you but if you do not have one, Find one from the university. You can ask for example your classmates at the studies. When you have a tutor it means that he/she is eager to show you things of his country. So do not miss the opportunity. Eventually when you spend time together you will be friends.

4. Go out especially in the beginning

When studies start in the beginning there is people who do not know eachother yet. Therefore in the beginning it is easier to find friends because people are more open to meet new people. Friendship circles are not formed yet but they will be formed quite quickly. So be active in the beginning and go out and other gathering what are organized. If there is nothing organized you can invite a bunch of people to join you somewhere. Take a beer, to see some attraction, to go play together something, ETC.

5. Go alone to exchange

It is a bad idea to arrive with friend, boy/girlfriend because it limits your socialization with the new people.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Tutoring starts

I am now in Joensuu. I have taken some of exchange papers to my university for recognizing the studies but I have to still wait for the transcript of second semester from Spain. I will be tutoring exchange students in Joensuu and today I am going to see the first arrivals. Tomorrow we will have tutor meeting to prepare ourselves for the upcoming arrivals.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Flatmates

In Spain I had three girl flatmates in the first semester. When I mentioned about it to other guys almost everyone envied me. In the second semester I had only one flatmate which was also a girl. In Finland I had lived one year with two boys and it is very rare to have flatmates of the opposite sex. I did not see a big difference living with girls compared to boys. When living with girls Bathroom was not always occupied and there was sometimes dirty dishes. In Finland all the students want to live alone on the contrary in Spain I found out that almost everyone preferred living with flatmates. They explained that having company is nice and it feels safer when you are not living alone. In Finland students have fear of bad flatmates and therefore they want to live on their own. Then you can decide when you have company and no one else leaves kitchen dirty.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Parties

Here I am writing some after thoughts about the parties that were organized in Alcalá. In Alcalá there was very tight Erasmus community and always when you went to some party you could be sure that you will meet there many friends. Santi and Esn played big role in forming the community. Both added every Erasmus student to their friend list in Facebook and then invited them to the different places to have a party on every tuesday, wednesday, tuesday and friday. Especially every Thursday was a big Erasmus party. Some people did not like much Santis business because people think he is just making money with the Erasmus students. That is partly true but he also organized parties in his flat. Erasmus students were big part of the night life during the week therefore bars hired Erasmus students to work as a bartender.

Every week parties had some different theme. Themes were for example: White T-shirt party, party in the color of your nation, brazilian party and so on but no one really followed the given dresscode. Parties were marketed through facebook. Bars had their profile or group page and invited people to join them and then sent every week invitations. I joined some groups but later on I unjoined these groups because every week I received a some type of annoying event invitation. After few weeks you knew about the party without the event invitation.

I had an idea about different party what I missed. Before going to Erasmus I thought that there could be a party in a swimming pool because Spain is hot. but There was not never organized such party in a swimming pool. There is a lot of things to organize it but it is possible. Many Erasmus students had party in a swimming pool when they went to Ibiza but it would have been also great to have that kind of party in Alcalá. This idea is for the people who will make the part of the Erasmus next year somewhere where swimming pool is available.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

House

Modern sauna

Living room with fireplace

I went to house exhibition to see brand new Finnish houses in the new block in Kuopio. I thought that what you can find in every Finnish house but is not common in Spain. Typical Finnish house is made of wood. The floor is made of wood, there are fireplace and sauna. On the contrary houses in Spain are made of rock or tiles typically and there is tile floor and air conditioners.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The goals I reached

In August before starting my exchange year I set seven goals for myself. I reached six out of seven. Goals which I reached were: learn fluent Spanish, join Spanish floorball team, see la liga match live, eat churros and octopus, earn at least 50 credits and meet Spanish people who I got to know in Joensuu. I am happy to say that I can speak fluent Spanish now and it gives me change to learn French or Italian more easily in the future. The floorball team where I played was UHK Madrid. I saw la liga match of Real Madrid live. I ate churros and octopus and many other new Spanish food but I did not try for example cocido. I met seven Spanish persons who I had seen before in Joensuu but I did not see them as many and much as I imagined before coming to Spain.

The only goal which I did not reach was to play field hockey. Field hockey was not as popular as I thought. I asked from people do they know any clubs where I could play but they did not know. I just got a chance to hold a children's field hockey stick.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Swimming

Finnish beach

In Spain most of the new houses have a swimming pool. During the summer it is hot and it is very nice to have one. I was surprised that swimming pools are in use just during the summer because I thought pools are used a longer period. Lifeguard is very popular summer job among young people because of the many swimming pools and they get decent salary. In Finland we do not even need swimming pools that much because we have warm water in lakes where we can bath in the summer.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Culture of sharing

In Spain I discovered much stronger culture of sharing. When travelling with my teammates someone always bought some pack of snacks and then shared the whole bag equally with everyone. In Finland the one who bought the bag would have given one or two snacks for his friends and then eaten the rest by himself. When going for a short trip it is necessary to go to the supermartket to buy some food. In Spain we chose together some food for the common basket and then we shared the price. In Finland everyone would take care of their own food and then buy it on their own. I have even sometimes begged someone to share pack of sausages with me but no one wanted to share with me.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Gdansk

The beach

Twisted house

Now I have returned back to Finland from my travel. Two last days of my trip I slept in Gdansk which is city in the northern coast of Poland. Also in Gdansk I got a place to sleep therefor I did not have sleep in a hostel or hotel during my stay in Poland. I am really grateful for everyone who took my to their place to sleep. Travelling is very nice when you know a friend in whose place you can stay.

I had bad luck with the weather in Gdansk. It was raining a lot and therefore sightseeing was not that enjoyable. I saw the landscape of Gdansk, old town, Sopot and the beach. In Gdansk I got a chance to enjoy a great home theater just like what you can see in Music televisions celebrity cribs program. I realized that in Poland everyone has two locks in their door. In Finland two locks is not that common.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Polish wedding

Decoration on the cake

Finally I have Internet connection after celebrating two day Polish wedding. The wedding party was great. The wedding started in the flat of the bribes parents where they gave their blessing to the marriage. After that we came down and bribe threw sweets for people outside and then we continued to a church where we had traditional catholic wedding ceremony. From there we went to the villa where was a lot of food and drinks offered. The whole night people danced for the live music. Also games were played which guests could participate. Party continued the whole night and on the next day we continued the party in the same place with the same catering.

260 people were invited to the wedding and 160 participated. This size of wedding is not considered a big wedding in Poland. Vodka plays very important role in the Polish wedding. There was reserved one half a liter bottle of vodka for each guest and band encouraged people to take shots during the whole night.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Warsaw

Stadium construction going on 24/7 to be ready for the football Euro cup 2012

Shopping center

Warsaw have surprised me positively. I expected that everything would look poorer and more miserable but everything is in good condinition. Here are high new buiildings, renovated old houses, public transportation is working well and so on. In supermarket I noticed that beer is sold only in half an liter cans or bottles and the price level is lower in grocery store but clothes are sold with the same price as in Finland.

While traveling people have always started to speak me in their local language in Danish, Swedish and Polish. Then I have had always to say that sorry I do not understand. That means that in their opinion I look like a local. In my opinion Polish women look different than women and men in Finland or Denmark. They have a particular face and look very similar with russian women and men.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Malmö

Turning torso from the skating park

I have been in Malmö two nights. My next stop is Warsaw in Poland. I saw here Swedish football match in brand new stadium. I was very impressed of the fans of Malmö. I was able to hear them singing the whole match because I was standing right next to them. Football culture is much better in Sweden than in Finland. I saw also the famous sight seeing of Malmö like turning torso. Unfortunately I cannot upload any photos because my laptop is broken.

I am happy to see that I can communicate here in Swedish. I have been speaking almost only Swedish and for Swedish people it have not been problem to speak Swedish with me even I have heard that they would prefer to speak English if the other person does not speak very good Swedish. This gives me a feeling that with a stay of some months I could learn to speak Swedish fluently.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Christianshavn

Christiania

Boats parked

Today we visited block called Christianshavn. The block is old military base and it is surrounded by water. There are several canals, old military buildings and new flats. There you can have your boat parked to your pier in your backyard. While walking around we saw people spending time in their boats.

We saw also zone which is called Cristiania. The zone belongs to hippies who conquered it in the 1971 and formed own community. The area is totally different than the other parts of the city. It is like a slum and there were signs which advised tourists not to take any photos. Buildings looked ragged and there was sand road instead of asphalt. You could see dealers selling openly marijuana from their tables.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Streets of Copenhagen

Streets

Bike taxi

In the streets of Copenhagen you can see downstairs right in front of the entrance like in the first picture, also windows are lower. Here are also bike taxis. I thought that those you can see them only in poorer countries like India. Price level is here even higher than in Finland. Our hotel is right next to the street which was blooming when Denmark first legalized porn in the 1967. You can still see many sex shops and strip clubs there. Even one prostitute proposed her services to me when I walked that street alone.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Copenhagen

Graffiti

Road

Now I am in Copenhagen with my family. After arriving I noticed that Copenhagen is a great city to ride a bike. There are roads for bikes everywhere and a lot people are also riding by bike. Black bikes are very popular and helmets of skateboarders are used more than in Finland. I really would like to ride a bike here but in the rental place was not any bikes left. Metro is here so advanced that driver is not needed. When visiting a cemetery we discovered that people go there to sun bath and for picnic.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Botellón in Finland

Yesterday there was botellón organized in Turku. Seems like this Spanish event is well known also in Finland. Someone just created event in Facebook and then a lot of people found out about it and decided to participate.The event was reported even in the news paper. It was estimated that 5000 people assisted the event. The police was in the park supervising that everything goes peacefully and not giving tickets for drinking public like in Spain. Just the drinks of minors were poured to the ground. This event is just once in a year and seems like it is going to be a tradition.
For people who do not know what is botellón. It is an event where normally just friends gather together to drink in a park. Botellón was invented by young people in Spain who got fed up with the high prices of the bars and quickly it spread all over the country.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Summer cottage

Seaside in the summer cottage

When we come with the family to our summer cottage in the southern Finland we meet various different people who we see once in a year. We do not meet all of them once. We go together to take lunch with someone, coffee with others and other gatherings. I discovered that always the same stories are explained and it is quite boring for me to listen because I already have heard the stories . I have heard my mom explaining at least five times about recent activities.

Now in the airport of Turku ready to go to Copenhagen.



Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Three weeks travelling

Espoo

I am writing this blog post in my brothers student flat in Espoo. Today I began the travel of three weeks with my family. First I will be in Southern Finland, Then I will go to Copenhagen and after Denmark I will go on my own to Malmö and then to Poland where I will also meet some friends. It so hot in Finland that it will be hard to sleep.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Weed

Water pipe

Before going to Spain I had not seen people smoking weed but In Spain you could see people smoking in many places even it is illegal to smoke in public places. Smoking weed and growing it at home is not illegal. You could smell the weed next to the construction in the city in the daytime, in the parks, in the football matches, in the bars and so on. I was also offered to smoke weed by strangers and people who I knew and some people were sure that it was not possible spend one year in Spain without smoking it but I survived without trying it.

Other thing what I had not seen in Finland but in american movies was water pipe. It was common to order water pipe with some taste of fruit and then smoke but I left also smoking water pipe to the other people.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Exchange report

This post is a exchange report which I had to write and give to my university. I translated it from Finnish to English to publish it here.

Leaving and Orientation

I went to the exchange in my third year of studies. I could have completed my bachelor degree in Finland but because of the exchange year I had to delay it with one year. I wanted to go exchange so much that delaying bachelor did not bother me and the exchange period should not delay getting masters degree.

I had prepared myself for studying in Spanish by studuying Spanish two and half years in high school and taking a few month online course before going to exchange. In Joensuu I participated to the leaving orientation which gave some useful general advice for the exchange year. My online course teacher gave me some useful help also because he was from Alcalá and therefore could reply to some of my questions.

I found information from the internet page of the university to write my learning agreement but there was not any description of the courses neither timetables. In alcalá I could attend to the all the courses during the first weeks to find out the contents of the courses and then make the final decision of participating to the courses or not.

The Host university did not organize any orientation program. On the other hand university organized free one day trip to Segovia which is one city nearby. In Alcalá is quite active ESN which organizes trips, events and tutoring. Tutors are not trained, they were good help and made possible to get to know local people. Tutors came to the airport if necessay, helped to find a flat and so on. I did not need much help of my tutor because my friend came to pick me up and I had searched information before hand. Even I did not need much help of my tutor in the beginning we met regurarly and spent time together.


Living

Before arriving the Spain the most stress for me caused finding a flat but after arriving the list of flats in the Erasmus office helped me to find one. In the list was lots of choices in the private market and also on the bulletin boards you could find a lot of announcement of flats. The rent of shared flat were between 200 and 300 euros. Often water, electricity, gas and Internet costs were added to the rent which were between 25 and 50 euros per month. Rent was paid by cash and there was no problem to get back the guarantee.

The university offered also student residences in the campus outside of the city center. The rent of the residences were fairly high compered to the shared flats in the center. The most of the exchange students lived in the center. Student life would have been quite different in the campus but I cannot tell much about it.


Studying

Studying in Spanish was not easy and especially following the lessons in the first semester was difficult. The contents of the courses were not very challangeng even I mainly took courses of the fifth year but because of the foreign language I had plenty of challange. Teaching was in good basic level. Few times professors did not arrive to the classes without warning us but otherwise interaction between professor and students was good. Email and offering studying material in the Internet is not as developed as in Joensuu. In the lessons professor used PowerPoint presentations which were available in the Internet or printable in the copying service in fair price.

The teaching language in the faculty of business and economics was mainly Spanish but there was also few courses in English. The most of the exchange students in Alcalá studied in the Faculty of business and economics. Almost all the subjects included group work ja final examination. Groups for group works were formed by students but professor ordered that every group should have few Erasmus students.


Freetime

In the freetime university offered lot of possibilities in their sprts facilities in the campus for almost everyone. There was Football fields, tennis courts, sports halls, horses and so on but swimming pool and gym were missing. The university organized every semester football league between teams which were formed by students. This league lasted the whole semester and one match was played every week. I played floorball in Spanish leaguen in one club in Madrid and had league matches in the weekends.

You can in Alcalá cinemas and shopping centers but in Madrid you can find much more. Madrid is 35 minutes away from Alcalá by train.


Final words

I did not get culture shock during the exchange period, neither I missed home. I had a lot of things to do and social life was good. I prepared myself for that everything will not go as smoothly as I could imagine therefore I did not get very frustrated in any point if something did not work out in the first time. I am very happy with my exchange year.

I find that getting to know the new culture, getting new friends and learning the language are the most important things what you can get from the exchange year. I hope to get a minor from my exchange studies and I learned fluent third foreign language which is obligary for Finnish business students.


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Back in Finland

Midday in Finland

Midnight in Finland

I have returned to the Finland after being ten months abroad. That was great time but now different kind of life starts with different people. My exchange period is over but I am still going to continue writing.

I snapped these pictures in the midnight and in the midday to show how much light there is in Finland during the whole day. I used the same setting in my camera and did not edit the pictures neither used flash.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Churros

Churros with chocolate

Finally I have eaten typical Spanish breakfast churros with chocolate. I expected them to be sweeter but the taste was not that sweet and some like to add some sugar. Dough of churros is made of flour, water, salt and sugar. Then the dough is prepared by frying in the olive oil. You can get churros early in the morning at seven therefore it is typical to go eat churros for breakfast after the party before going to sleep and wake up next day at two to eat the lunch.

Friday, July 2, 2010

in Spanish family

Machine to make French fries

I am staying my last days in Spain in the house of Chencho. Here I can observe how is Spanish family life and I have tried new Spanish food. Eating French fries is so popular in Spain that people have special machine to prepare them. In Spain olive oil is used for every food what is prepared and the breakfast is sweet. For example bread with chocolate, donuts or cookies.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Round of 16 in the world cup

Fans

We went to see the match between Spain and Portugal from big screen in Madrid. There was great atmosphere and a lot of more people than in the match against Switzerland. Before the kick off atmosphere was raised with various well known Spanish songs and everyone was singing along. During the match middle fingers were shown to Portugal players but Cristiano Ronaldo got some support from the fans of Real Madrid. Normally you cannot see many girls in football matches but in the national team matches almost half of the viewers are girls. After the won match people were singing various songs and playing bull fighting with the cars. Singing echoed in the whole train station while waiting for the train.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Milan

Castle of Sforzesco

This weekend I have been in Milan. We had reunion with the Erasmus friends and we were eight. It was great to see after long time. Everyone else went already home but I am going back to Madrid tomorrow. We walked around Milan and tried some Italian foods. In Italy it is popular to buy hand made Ice cream from gelateria and then enjoy it in the street. I learned interesting things about how italians communicate. It is fine to speak on other people when they are talking and it is not rude it is just sign that the other person is very into the conversation. Another thing is that someone might just start reading a book but still wants to communicate with you. For finnish person it is a sign that the other person is not interested and does not want to be talked to.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Midsummer

Concert

Midsummer was celebrated yesterday in Spain. Here was also big bonfire like in Finland. After the bonfire had almost burned down people jumped over it. Midsummer party is not as important as in Finland and it was here much more peaceful.

Few days ago there was a big free concert and half of the people watched the concert from the screen because there was not enough space to see the stage. The performer was popular Spanish group called Estopa but I did not like it much. In general I do not Spanish rock/pop music. It was great to here Spanish people singing along the must popular songs.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Tourism and experiment in Madrid

Palacio Real

Estanque del parque del Retiro

Today I went to Madrid with Ana to do sight seeing. Madrid is known of pickpockets and I have heard that some Erasmus students have been the robbed. I wanted to make an experiment by putting wallet with no money into my back pocket and see if my wallet would be robbed. We were walking in the touristic places but I was not robbed. I would like to repeat the experiment and use also metro.

Park Retiro is very beautiful and popular among people. People go there to picnic, jogging, rowing into fake lake or take a walk. Palacio Real is the old house of the royal family of Spain. We also saw other parks and sight seeing.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Reply to an invitation

When you ask from someone in Spain that would you like to come to an event next week you will get almost always positive reply. Finally when the event is you will see that the person you invited did not come and did not even advise you for cancelling. You have to always advise also in the same day about the event you told last week. Then it is possible to get a negative reply no matter how excited positive reply you got last time. In Finland yes means yes and you will get reply like I do not know if someone is not 100% sure that he is attending.

I remember that Spanish teacher taught us to reply for questions with excitement even you could not make it. For example like this, "I would love to come but I have to study". On the contrary in Finland it is common and just fine to say just "No, I cannot come because I have to study".

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Fan zone

Fan zone next to the Santiago Bernebéu

Spain played their first world cup match against Switzerland and lost it. We went to see the match to Madrid next to the Santiago Bernabéu. There was two big screens, activities organized, free marketing material given by the organizers and 20 000 people watching the match in the fan zone. Atmosphere was better than in the match of Real Madrid which I saw despite Spain lost and match was not as entertaining as the match in Santiago Bernabéu.

Now you can see more Spanish flags in the street picture than normally. In Spain only one match each day is shown on free television channel. After the group phase all the matches are shown on pay TV. If Spain qualifies their matches will be shown on free TV channel.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Credit earning goal reached

The principal building of the university of Alcalá

I have now reached the goal to earn at least 50 ECTS credits during my exchange period. I have earned now 53,5 ECTS credits and still waiting results of few exams. Campus Europea exchange program promises recognition of studies abroad but I will find out that after showing my transcripts to my university.

In Spain there is a habit to celebrate graduation before you have actually completed the career. Students might still have exams after the graduation party or be waiting still some results. When they do not pass these last exams they have to continue still studying until next exams or even a whole year. For me that seems quite strange and I did not get any explanation for this celebration before you have finished your career.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Holiday

Yesterday I had my last exam which means that now I am on holidays. I had never before made exam on Saturday.

Yesterday my floorball club had 10th birthday. Matches were played between different teams and after the matches we had dinner in a restaurant. These were my last matches and I said good bye to my teammates.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Kiosk

In Spain all the kiosks are held by Chinese people therefore kiosks are called "Chino" which means Chinese. They are open during all the holidays when other places are closed and they keep doors open until midnight. Chinos sell illegally strong alcohol after ten o'clock when supermarkets are not allowed to sell it anymore. Alcohol is hidden so people have to ask it from the counter and then they bring it from the stock. Everyone knows about their illegal business and it seems that the police cannot do nothing about it. Tobacco is not sold in supermarkets you have to buy it from the machines in bars or from shops specialized only for selling smoking products but also Chinese kiosks run little illegal business by selling cigarettes.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Milk

After being nine months without drinking fresh milk I decided to buy one bottle to try it. Instead of fresh milk I have been drinking milk which is kept at room temperature before opening. I did not know before Spain that there is milk which can be kept out of the fridge. Expiration date is two weeks in fresh milk and few months in the other milk. Fresh milk is two times more expensive than the other one. I did not notice big difference in the taste so I will keep on drinking this cheaper milk last month.

Drinking milk is not as popular in Spain as in Finland. Here water is much more popular drink with meal. In Finland all the children drink milk with meal and it is considered unhealthy if children choose water instead of milk.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Special curtains

Persiana

In Spain special curtains called "persiana" are pulled in front of the window to make house dark. I asked from a American guy translation for these special curtains but he did not know any word. I saw also persiana in Italy during my visit. Spanish people have wondered how it is possible to sleep if you do not darken the room with persiana. Before coming to Spain I was used to sleep also in a room which is not very dark but lets see if it is possible after sleeping months in a very dark room.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Volcano

I have ran in to the little conversation few times in the streets. During this year I have been asked few times by strangers about my floorball stick and they always think I play with skates. They can also see that I am a foreigner so they naturally ask where am I from. When I have replied Finland they have said "oh, there is the volcano". Then I have to correct that it is Iceland where the volcanoes are.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Flight booked

Today I booked my flight back to Finland. I will be returning on the 5th of July. First I will take four hour flight from Madrid to Riga, change plane in Riga and fly two and a half hours to Kuopio. My estimated arriving time is 23:00. Price of the flight ticket was 216€.

I could not find anyone to rent my flat in Finland and I do not want to be paying rent of two flats therefore I am returning even I would have enjoyed to stay more time in Spain. 35 days left in Spain.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Living costs

How much does it cost to live in Alcalá de Henares? In the beginning of the month I took 800€ from the ATM and expected it to be enough to live one month. On the last day of the month I have 150€ left. I Spent all the money in cash expect the 25€ monthly payment of Floorball and I have to also include the electricity and water costs which I did not pay this month. This means that living one month costs 700 euros for me. What does this sum of money include? I have not made list of my spending but I am going to tell what I can remember. 300€ for rent, 25€ for costs, 45€ for la liga match entrance, 25€ monthly payment of floorball, 50€ public transportation, 12€ haircut and the rest 243€ mostly for eating.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

City of storks

Storks in their nests

I have not really presented the city of Alcalá de Henares and now I am going to write something about it. The population of Alcalá is about 200 000 habitants and here is especially a lot of Romanian immigrants about 20% of the population. The city is known of the storks which nests you can see on the roofs. The second longest covered street in Europe is in Alcalá. There are many historical buildings but I have not yet visited maybe the most famous one the house of Cervantes. The university Alcalá was founded in 1499 and faculties in the center are still situated in the historical buildings.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Hairy legs

After I mentioned that it has not been hot in Spain since that day it has been actually hot. Because of the weather I have discovered that some men remove the hair from their legs. At least it seems to be much more popular among Spanish men than among Finnish men. Football players are showing example by removing hair from their legs. Then I asked from one woman who prefers legs without hair what she thinks about my legs. She said that my legs look fine because I do not have dark and thigh hair like Spanish men.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Finals

Silver medal

Picture from the first final match

This weekend we played the finals of the floorball. Two victories was needed to win the championship of Spain. Our opponent Leganes have won the title many years in row. We lost the first match 8-0 so there was a lot improve for the second match. The second match we played mucch better and we were fighting for the victory. We had great audience which supported us for the whole match. In the last minutes Leganes offered us chance to win by taking two penalties when the game was 6-4 but we were not able to use our opportunity. Finally we lost the match 8-4 and received silver medals and a trophy.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Exams of the second semester

Lessons have ended and exams are coming up. I am going to have six exams during the following four weeks. In the second semester group work was required in all the subjects. I do not find the content what make in the group works very useful and the listening mostly boring presentations about those. I think that group work is good way to get to know some new people in the class if you do not form the group with the friends you already know.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Hole on the wall

The hole

There is construction work going on right next to my flat which causes sometimes pretty loud noise. When they are hammering the wall on the other side it sounds they might be coming through. Finally they came through by making a small hole which you can see in the picture. Next day they covered the hole and they will come to paint it later on. Destroying of the wall on the other side will still continue. The damage was made by EIC Construcciones.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

It is not hot in Spain

Library of the law faculty

The weather in Spain have been disappointment this year. Lots of rainy days, not many hot days and at the moment it is more hot in Finland than Spain. I thought it was not even possible to have warmer weather in Finland than in Spain. My friends have said that this year it have rained exceptionally lot. There is Spanish saying "nueve meces invierno, tres meces infierno" which means "nine months winter, three months hell".

Yesterday night I went to the library of the law faculty. The library is open now 24/7 because exams are coming up. The photo is taken in the mid night as you can see from the photo, people like to study during the night.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Hello hottie!

Yesterday Atlético Madrid won the Europe league and you were able to here some people celebrating in the streets of Alcalá. Some singing and horns of the cars but it did not disturb too much my sleeping.

People tend to greet in Spain by greeting "Hola guapo/a". The greeting translated to English means "Hello beautiful/handsome". I have heard this greeting in the streets when people greet their friends and in the market when salespersons are greeting their clients. I wanted to point this out because it is said to the people even they are not good looking. I just think that the compliment loses its meaning if you shout it out to the everyone. Well it is not good idea to shout all the good looking people that they are good looking if you do not know them.


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Sports week

Beach volley
Floorball

Students of physical education have organized an even called sports week where students for a team and play five different sports. I joined one with Spanish students who chose Floorball, beach volley, beach hand ball, beach football and prisoner ball unfortunately I could participate playing only beach volley and floorball. The team which collects the most points from all the different sports wins the competition.

Yesterday our team lost all the three matches in beach football, beach handball and prisoner ball. I brought my own stick to play floorball but the organizers did not let me play with my stick because it was not the same color as the stick of my team mates. Then I asked what if I bring a stick with the same color then they said that it is not still equal with the others sticks. They really wanted prevent me playing with better stick and made me angry. Then when the game started I could notice the strange rules they had created for floorball. There was not rink and corner shots were given. As you can see from the photo goals were really small but goalkeepers were still allowed. Goalkeepers were prohibited to touch the ground with knees or hands. Finally I played with bad borrowed stick of the university and we won the match 2-1. I have to say that playing with these sticks and rules was something unexpected. Tomorrow we will have a next match.

We also played beach volley today and won the first match. The next match we lost so we are only continuing in the floorball.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Playoff matches

Floorball field in El escorial

This weekend we had two playoff matches against Fuengirola. With two victories other team could qualify to the final. On Saturday we won the match 5-4 by maintaining the lead what we got for the first time in the match. On Sunday we had one player less because of one injury. In the second game we were leading almost the whole time but the opponent were able to draw even our three goal lead. Finally we won the match 9-7 and scored the last goal to the empty net and reached the place in the final.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Tortilla

I am going to introduce you one typical Spanish dish which is called tortilla. Tortilla is very simple to make and you need only four ingredients to prepare it. The ingredients are eggs, oil, potatoes and salt. Finding these ingredients is not hard therefore you can prepare it almost anywhere. Different versions of tortilla can be made by adding sausage, onion or other ingredients.

Monday, May 3, 2010

La liga Match

Inside the Stadium

Santiago Bernabeu from the Outside

Finally I saw a match of the Spanish League and reached a goal which I had set to myself before starting the exchange year. I went to see the match of Real Madrid against Osasuna with JoseCa and Alex. We paid 45 euros for our tickets. The match was very exciting and entertaining but the atmosphere was not as high as in the match of Spain against Argentina. In the stadium is screen but replays are not shown. It would be good to see replays also at the stadium.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Whining

Center

Street to the market of Alcalá

This week the weather have been really warm. When it got warm I have heard Spanish people whining about the hot weather and before the warm weather it was too cold, just like whining what I can hear also in Finland. I like the weather at the moment.

Inter beat Barcelona on Wednesday in the semi final of champions league. Elimination of Barcelona made supporters of Madrid very happy. Many supporters went to the statue Cibeles where normally victories of Real Madrid are celebrated but this time to celebrate the victory of Inter. The final of Champions League will be played in the home stadium Real Madrid and seeing Barcelona winning there would have been too much for supporters of Real Madrid.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Style of Spanish males

Spanish men do not dress up better than Finnish men in my opinion even the Finnish men have the reputation of dressing very bad on the contrary of the fame of good looking Spanish men. Men tend to have their jeans lowered so you can see their underwear. Maybe it is also fashion in Finland now. Among Spanish men it is quite popular to wear (fake) diamond earrings. Shaping or having sideburns is also more popular in Spain. I could not have the sideburns because my beard is not thigh like the beard of Spanish men. You can also see a lot shaped hairline which leaves stubble and I do not like it. Unfortunately I have not taken photo of anyone who meets all the criteria I mentioned now.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

The last match of the league

Today we had the last match of the league against Zona sur BK from Leganes. We won the match 0-2 and finished second by collecting 24 points in 16 matches. I Played in 15 matches and collected 19 points 11 goals and 8 assists. Next is coming up playoff matches against Fuengirola. We have to play our home matches in Escorial because we could not reserve our regular home arena. It is a pity that we had to change because the whole team prefers playing on the parquet more than on the plastic mat in Escorial. Ball bounces on the plastic mat because it is sticky and it makes passing harder.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Laughing in Spanish

When you are having a conversation for example in Messenger with a Spanish person you will notice that they express laughing differently. Spanish person writes in a chat "jajajajajajaj" when he/she laughs. When much more common way all over the world is to type in "hahahahah". Spanish people laugh with "j" because in Spanish it is pronounced like "h" in English or in Finnish.

I broke my glasses on last Friday when I was playing volleyball. The glasses divided from the middle when those dropped to the floor. I got them now back and repairing cost 18 euros.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Lesson in English

After for a long time I had lesson in other language than in Spanish. The lesson was in English and I realized that following a lesson in English is easier than in Spanish. I have to put more focus on lesson in Spanish to understand what professor is saying. The professor is German and his English good. Few times he switched accidentally to German during the lesson.

On Friday I was invited to a Campus Europea reunion to tell about my experiences of the exchange year. I was in the reunion almost an hour and answered to the presented questions. I hope that solutions were found to improve the program.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Products

Cheese

Ham

I snapped photos of the products which are sold in Spanish supermarkets. You can of course find cheese also in the Finnish supermarket but cheese in Finland does not have a peel. You cannot find the big pieces of ham like in the picture in Finland. When you buy ham from the meat counter the price of one kilo gram varies from ten euros to sixty euros. The best quality ham cut by hand with a knife is very expensive. Strange to see that meat is not stored in cold and lasts eatable.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Mobile phone

My mobile phone

I have not yet mentioned yet that I bought a new mobile phone even it was almost the first thing I bought when I arrived to Spain. It was not possible to get just a sim card and put it to the old phone therefore I bought a new mobile phone. It cost 20 Euros included with 10 euros money for use in the sim card. All companies sell prepaid subscriptions and more talk time can be loaded in many places for example in the supermarkets. Later on I have found out that there are also smaller companies which offer also just sim cards without obligation to buy a new mobile phone. Calls and text messages are more expensive in Spain than in Finalnd. One minute call costs the double price of one text message. In Finland one minute call is the same price as one text message. In Finland telecommunication companies send usually monthly bills which people pay in the Internet bank.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Celebrity spotted

Today we had Floorball match against Adil from Leganés. My friends came to support and other regular supporters said that they were so good supporters that they should come again. We won the match 4-3 and ensured the second place in the league table before the last match.

I spotted Xabi Alonso who is middle fielder of Real Madrid when I went for a walk first time to the park Retiro in Madrid. He was able to walk in peace because people did not go to ask his autographs or take photos with him. Only one paparazzi was hiding from him and taking photos.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Learning more Spanish

To improve my Spanish I Have said to my friends to point out my mistakes which I make. Especially I am trying to focus on pronunciation of 'Z' and 'C' for example in words like zapato and gracioso. I feel a bit annoyed when my mistakes are pointed out even I want them to be pointed out. I just have to get over it and not to get upset. When I write Spanish I forget the articles. Now I feel that I can follow the conversation between Spanish people better than before. I have still a lot to learn to master Spanish.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Surname

Spanish people have two surnames. One they got from their father and other from their mother. When they get married they keep the fathers last name and change their mothers last name to the last name of spouses father. There are some very common last names therefore it is possible to have two times the same surname for example Martinez Martinez.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Procession

Procession

The Catholic church is the most practiced religion in Spain. During this week which is called the holy week there are each day a bit different procession symbolizing the events of the Easter. People gather to see the processions to the roadside. To the procession participate people of all ages some are playing horns and drums. For me everyone looked like members of Ku Klux Klan because I had not seen before that this kind of costumes are part of Christian church.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Peñafiel and Valladolid

Valladolid
View from the castle

Chencho, Me, David and JoDan in Peñafiel

On Monday morning I went to Peñafiel with Chencho, David and JoDan. Region Castilla León is known of wine production and religious people. For example in the town of Peñafiel where is about five thousand habitants are four big churches and the Eastern ceremony in the town is televised to the whole Spain. We took a obligatory guided tour with three euros entrance to the castle in Peñafiel. Castle has a interesting form of a ship.

On Tuesday cousins of David showed us the city center of Valladolid and of course the football stadium. We took a look to a dead little town where you could see the ruins of old houses. In the evening we saw the first Eastern procession and more are coming up later on also in Alcalá.