Dear travelling Diary (and the readers of this blog),
It is time for my very first blog post in here so I want to introduce myself in German.
Hallo! Ich bin Veera und ich spreche ein bisschen Deutsch. Ich bin fünfundzwanzig Jahre alt. Ich studiere Erziehungswissenschaften an der Universität Oulu. Ich wohne dieses Sommersemester in Feldkirch und studiere an der PH Voralrberg. Ich bin Erasmus+ Austauschstudent. Tchüss!
So I am 25 years old Veera from Finland. I came from Oulu, which is located in northern Finland on the coast of Gulf of Bothnia (Pohjanlahti). I have studied in the University of Oulu for four years now and I really like the city and studying there. I am originally from Kuopio, which is located in the middle of Finland (a beautiful city as well). I study to become a primary school teacher. I am studying on my master studies first year so I should graduate at the spring 2023. The school system in Austria and Finland differ much and I will write about it later. My decision to become an exchange student was really spontaneous and it tells of my personality as well. I decided to have your university the first at my SoleMove applications because I have always been interested of Austria's culture and nature. I also thought that Feldkirch's location is really good for travelling in Central Europe.
My first two weeks in Austria have been awesome. I really have fell in love with the mountains. I have also been really happy of all the support and kindness that people have given to me. I am happy that I have been able to travel around the Voralrberg (Feldkirch, Dornbirn, Hohenems, Bludenz, Bregenz) and meet nice people here. I have also visited Zürich and Milano. I have studied a bit German in Oulu last autumn and I am interested to learn more while this spring.
Things I have noticed here in Austria:
- You are really good at sorting of waste
- Mountains are huge and everywhere
- There is also flowers and animals everywhere (love those as well)
- Spring come earlier than in Finland
- Public transport (and the trains) are so good
- People are really friendly
They keep saying that cliché that photos tell more than thousands of words so I will leave here also a few pictures.
See you soon & enjoy the spring time (heute beginnt der Frühling!!).
Dear travelling diary,
today I want to talk about cultural differences between Austria and Finland.
I have noticed some thing so there you go, a list of those:
-Greeting and smiling in the streets is common and polite (in Finland we usually avoid eye contacts with strangers)
-"Mahlzeit" is used even with a strangers. In Finland we don't say "hyvää ruokahalua" that often. It is more unusual than usual.
-Garbage bags are leaved in the streets waiting for the garbage trucks. We have always shared or own garbage sorting points which garbage trucks came and empty a trash.
-In Austria very polite language is used. The titles are important. I n the primary school children call the teacher as a "Ms. Vepsäläinen" and in the university the students call the professors as a "Ms. Proff. Vepsäläinen" for example. Titles and surname must to be used until you have a permission to use their first name. Finns rarely ever use those titles.
-Austrians have own words for woman and men in every professions. Finnish language has usually just one word for different kind of professions that is used with women and men.
-Mensas food is a bit more expensive than in Finland, because in Finland KELA (social insurance institution of Finland) pays a part of our school food. A meal in university's restaurants costs for example in Restaurant Foodoo (University of Oulu) 2,70e for a student.
-Austrians have bakerys, different kind of sausages and cheeses much more than Finns.
-Bakerys and cafés are also much used.
-Austrians seem to respect your local food and have for example "Milchautomaten".
-There is really much animals here in Voralrberg. When you walk or travell around you can easily see chickens, sheeps, cows, horses, dogs and cats wandering around. In Finland animals are usually seen specially in the countryside and in the winter you will not see those often, because they have to stay inside.
-Austrians use pretty much cash and everybody has cash with them. Finns use more often bank cards and don't usually have cash with us. Older people use more often cash.
-People are usually so kind and helpful.
-Austrians use small talk. Finns have bigger personal space and don't use that much small talk.
-Gardening is popular and flower are really everywhere. Finland's growing season is so short so we don't do that much gardening.
-Austrian people really appreciate the nature and our climat. Finns do also, but maybe not that much.
-Arriving on time is popular (even the public transport). It is not that big problem to be a bit late in Finland.
Since my very first day I have made this observations that are different Austria and Finland.
I am looking forward to write here soon!
Dear travelling diary,
today I wanted to write down my tips for travelling in Voralrberg and from Voralrberg.
I found that Voralrbergs location is made for travelling. You can travel of course in Austria and then get easily to visit German, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Italy and Slovekia for example. Travelling is easy by train (from Memmingen, Zürich, München etc.), by bus (Flixbus from Milan) and by train (ÖBB, trainline.com). You can also by card for public transport in the area and it costs something between 100 and 200 euro per year so it is totally wort it. ÖBB also sells ÖBB Jugend salecards that are useful, because you got trains usually for a half price. I have used app called cleVVVer mobil and it is so useful, because it shows every option for public transport (buses, landbuses and trains). If you want to visit Liechtenstein from Voralrberg you get there easily by bus from Feldkirch. You can pay buses with euros. If you have card for public transport you have to by tickets only when entering out of the Voralrbergs borders while travelling (St. Anton am Arlberg, St. Marghareten and Lindau for example).
I wanted to share you one of my travelling routes, so maybe you will get inspired. I went this route in four days and it was totally worth it.
Feldkirch - Lindau - Kaufbeuren (train change) - Füssen - Neuchwanstein (castle) - Buchloe (train change) - München hpf - Salzburg - Königssee (regionalbus 840 or train from hpf to Berchtesgaden and regionalbus 842 to Königssee) - Innsbruck - Feldkirch.
I also want to remember you to be careful with the trains. It is for example possible that the train is splitting in some point so you have to be in the right part of the train. It is also good to carry your passport with you because sometimes they are making controls when entering countries.
I will download pictures later :-)
Take care and have fun while travelling in Voralrberg and from Voralrberg.
Dear travelling diary,
today has been such a funny day.
Pedagogische Höchschule Voralrberg got visitors (at least 32 students + teachers) from USA. I am part of the course where we had two days "excursion" with them. At first we met and ate together at universitys Mensa. It was nice way to get to know with your own group.
Then we had a introduction of our task for Tuesday. We got a task where we were supposed to plan 20min x 2 ”lessons”.
My group got fifth grade. We started planning and US and its states came up to our minds. We planned one session with learning a new song called ”50 nifty United States”. The second short lesson was supposed to be doing bingo of 25 states while we were telling them fun facts about the states.
After planning we met with all of the students and groups and got presentations of lessons we were planning. It was so interesting and inspiring. I was also surprised that students that were following my lesson earlier today were got inspired by my idea of doing lesson with colours with first and second grades. They used it and give credits for me and it felt good.
After that we ate dinner again at Rösslepark and had again fun together.
Right now I am looking forward for tomorrows lessons.
Dear travelling diary,
today we had our planned lessons.
As I told you we planned a lesson to 5th grade.
We went to class and 2 of American students started with singing part. They read out loud all the 50 states and children had to repeat. After that we listened to the song 50 nifty United States. Children got a list of the states and then we sang together. It went really well and children also had a option to answer our questions. They were a bit shy but had also courage to answer our questions. We asked them that is there any states that they want to visit.
Then we had a break and we got to give feedback. The last session was about doing bingo by states and while giving a state we gave also fun facts about those. For example "Ohio - we gave from there. Oregon - has a deepest lake. Wisconsin - a cheese state. Texas - larger than any country in Europe" and so on. Children were so good in it and also really motivated and happy. After this lesson we asked child again that is there any states that they would like to visit some day and they had a loot more states. They also discussed especially with students from US and it was cute. I think that it was a "thank you" for our lesson.
After all of this we got to tell others how our lessons went and got also feedback and questions from US professors.
This excursion was really fun and I really enjoyed it.
The best part was to get to know with students from US and discuss with them.
Until next time!
I wanted to make a list for futures incoming students or even for locals. I have travelled pretty much while my stay so I have places that I can recommend or just tell something important about. I will update this list. Please notice that this list is made from my point of view and from my experiences.
- Nice city, easy to get by train (two train stations, one nearby the centre and one nearby the harbour)
- Bodensee -> The coast is full of beaches. The water is clear and good if you like swimming.
- Sunsets are beautiful by the coast
- Vintage Carla is located in the centre. Please visit! You can find really nice stuff. The best second-hand store I have found from Voralrberg.
- You can walk or take caple car to the Pfänder.
- Just walk around the city. Bregenz Altstadt is my favourite area to walk in.
- Nice little shops
- Cafe21 - nice athmosphere and food
- Nice bookshops with beautiful cards and friendly staff.
- University and its library are really nice and inspiring place to study in.
- Das Stadtbad Dornbirn is fresh swimming hall.
- Really nearby from Feldkirch
- In Val Blu Resort you got an authentic experience of Austrian sauna culture. Highly recommend.
- Cute littel village
- Liechtensteins capital
- Good for day trip
- You got there easily by bus
- Walk from city center to Schloss Vaduz. On the way up you can read information of Liechtenstein.
- A bit more expensive country than Austria.
- If you don't want to spend much money take food with you and make a picnic.
... To be continued.
Hopefully these tips inspire you to travel. :-)
Dear travelling diary,
when I choose my exchange location I didn´t think about language at all.
My main reasons for choosing Feldkirch as my location was the followings: one of my friend from Finland was having a exchange semester in Dornbirn, I was interested of your country, beautiful nature, mountains and travelling all around the Europe from Voralrberg.
When I first noticed, that I will also study while my stay partly in German I got a bit scared.
Then I decieded that I should start studying even a bit of German. I chose a course from my university and how good decision it was. My teacher was incredible. She was so motivating, good at her work and also really interested about Germany in general and its language. I loved to take part of her lessons and it was also a really good preparation, because she was also teaching about cultural differences and things like that.
When I came to Austria I was a bit shocked because I noticed quickly that not everybody speaks English (shouldn’t be suprise). I notices also that I will along with English. I have studied German while my stay (I have one course of German in FH Voralberg etc.) but I have to say that learning a language isn’t that quick process. I have also been part of the lessons that are more or less been taught in German.
Here is my list for good ways of learning new language:
(Maybe you have already noticed, that I love listst..)
- Duolingo (free app, really easy way of learning and you can study whenever you want even for a few minutes)
- Watching movies and videos
- Talking with someone that speaks that language (a bit courage and vocabulary needed)
- Listening to the music
- Reading (anything; signs, newspapers, instagram posts – you name it)
- Don’t be afraid of failing
- If possible spend time with the children: they are so open-minded and helpful language teachers :-)
- And maybe the most powerful: Fall in love with somebody that speaks a language you want to learn (didn’t yet, but somebody gave me that advice)
Have fun while studying new languages!
Dear travelling diary,
today I will publish a text in German :-) While I have been on my exchange I have also taken part of one course in German in FH Voralrberg.
I started studying last autumn in German so I am a beginner. In german course we had final presentations of vacations or holidays in our own countries. I will publish it for you with some pictures.
Halo alle! Ich bin Veera und komme aus Finnland. Hei kaikki! Olen Veera ja olen kotoisin Suomesta. Finnland ist Suomi in Finnisch.
In Finnland gibt es nicht-christliche und christliche Feiertage. Ich habe eine Präsentation über zwei Finnische Feiertagen gemacht. Längere Ferien im Finnland sind: Sommerurlaub (der haben am letzten Samstag mit Schulkinder gebegannt und bis August endauert), Herbsturlaub (eine Woche für Schüler), Weihnachten (über eine Woche), Ostern (vier Tagen) und Vinterurlaub oder Skiurlaub (eine Woche für Schüler). Arbeitende Finnen haben in der Regel 6 Wochen sogenannten Jahresurlaub. Viele haben vier Wochen im Sommer, eine Woche im Herbst und eine Woche im Frühling.
Jetzt spreche ich mit Ihnen über zwei Urlaube oder Ferien in Finnland.
Die erste ist Weihnachten und Weihnachtstraditionen.
Der wichtigste Weihnachtstag in Finnland ist Heiligabend, der 24. Dezember. Es wird normalerweise mit der Familie zu Hause gefeiert. Meine Familie isst morgens Reisbrei, karelische Pasteten, Obst und Lebkuchen. Tagsüber werden Spiele gespielt, das Abendessen zubereitet, viel Schokolade gegessen und die Erklärung des Turkuer Weihnachtsfriedens angesehen. Das ist eine alte Tradition.
Vor dem Essen gehen Sie in die Weihnachtssauna. Auf dem Bild sehen Sie traditionelle finnische Weihnachtsgerichte. Schinken, Karotten- und Kartoffekiste und so weiter. Normalerweise essen die Leute Kartoffeln, aber meine Familie isst zu Weihnachten Pommes Frites und Sahnekartoffeln. Vor dem essen liest meine schwester das weihnachtsevangelium. Abends kommt der Weichnactsmann - Santa claus - Joulupukki und bringt Geschenke. Die Finnen sind nicht sehr religiös, aber am Kirchenabend um 12 Uhr ist die Kirche voller Menschen.
Das nächste Fest in Finnland ist Mittsommer.
In diesem Jahr ist es der 25. Juni. Das ist ein Fest des Lichts und Hochsommers und wir denken, dann beginnt der Sommer. Im Mittsommer gehen wir mit Familien und Freunden in Sommerhäuser und in die Nähe von Seen, Flüssen, Teichen und dem Meer. Im Mittsommar gehen wir in die Sauna und schwimmen. Bei Mittsommer werden natürliche Blumen zur Dekoration und für Blummenkränze gesammelt. Es wird wunderbares Sommeressen gegessen. Frische Beeren, Gemüse, Kartoffeln und Fisch. Viele grillen auch. Mittsommer ist mit alten Traditionen verbunden. Abends wird am See ein Mittsommerfeuer angezündet. Lärm und Alkoholkonsum sind alte Traditionen. Diese sollen Glück bringen und böse Geister vertreiben.
Das war es. Vielen dank fürs Zuhören und herzlichen willkommen in Finnland!
Hopefully you learnt something new.
My dear travel diary,
My exchange period has ended and I returned to Finland a couple of weeks ago. It feels incredible that my long awaited adventure is over and I am back to my everyday life.
The exchange period was a good experience in every way and I grew a lot as a person during it. I went alone and spent four months in a country I knew almost nothing about before and with people I didn't know before. During my exchange, I spent honestly a lot of time in uncomfortable areas and situations where I was alone, different and a bit clueless. It was the hardest thing for me mentally, but also certainly the most teaching.
If you are reading this and have ever considered going on exchange I highly recommend it.
The experience will be educational, rewarding, eye-opening and certainly unforgettable.
I would like to thank Austria, this school and the Austrian people for the moments of kindness and help I experienced.
I will keep your country, those moments and people in my heart forever.
I will be back for sure.