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.


4 comments:

  1. For your university it´s ok but... don´t you think you should add more information about the repport for your blog? You can say which cities have you visited, food... Come on Juho! make it nicer :P

    PS: Of course social life was good :D

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  2. You can find out much more if you read some previous posts. I did not try to write about everything.

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