Closing the blog.

It has now been five months since I arrived to Seville and till this point the journey has brought both joy and tiers. For example it was easy for me to find an apartment because my flatmates came to Seville one week before I did and they found an apartment for us before I even arrived. But after that, we have had a lot of problems with the apartment and dealing with those issues has not been easy because of the language barrier.

At this point, I think most of the problems in our home has been sorted out or at least the landlord is aware of them. But during this repairing process I have noticed that no one likes to take responsibility and it is so easy in this culture just to move everything for the future.

I may start with my University. When I arrived to Seville, I registered in the international office. We had been told that the school needed a copy of our passports and two passport pictures, but funny thing was that nobody had told us that we also need to give a copy of our european health insurance card (Eurooppalainen sairasvakuutuskortti). And because the custom is that you cannot copy or print anything in the school, you must go to a copistería (a shop that is for copying and printing) to do those things. We had to find this kind of copy shop and copy those health insurance cards. We also took more copies of everything else (passport, credit card, photos..) so that we do not have this kind of problem anymore. And because we did not have everyhing needed in the first time, we had to queue twice. Finally I finished with the registration.

From my arrival, we had to wait more than one week until we had an Erasmus meeting. The whole welcomming day was organized badly.. We did not know where the campus was were we where supposed to go, and no one knew how to explain it to us. Well, my roommate had Nokia Map service and she was able to see in which bus stop we should step off.

Immeadiately after arriving to the campus people started giving us flyers and tickets who knows where and never told us what those were. Well, we figured that they are some kind of party tickets. We also put our emails to a list and we were told  that we will receive emails about Erasmus parties etc, but till this point, I have not received any messages. Well, the party issues and get togethers are handled well in Facebook.

After a while, I noticed that we are sitting in a huge auditorium with 1500 other Erasmus students. It was nice to see that we were part of  a huge international University. – We could not have been more wrong. When they started their welcoming speech, me and my friends looked at each other and could not believe that the people were actually talking Spanish! I think most of the 1500 students could not understand the whole speech. That was the first time we realized that Spanish people do not speak English. It was a shock.

Well, we had come to Spain to learn Spanish so we took it as a challenge, but after numerous of times people thinking that I am sutpid because I do not understand what they are saying, I started feeling bad. And one time, our teacher told us that why have we come to Spain if we do not speak Spanish. It was terrible. I know my Spanish has improved during these months, but I think I would be better at this point if teachers and other people would be more couraging.

Well, after the welcomming day, we had to wait for two weeks for the courses to begin. Our classes started on the 26th of September. We had one to two weeks time to go thourgh the courses and then choose in which we would like to participate in. I returned my matricula (chosen courses) in October and after one month I received my student card.

I chose five courses, but quit one (Spanish taxes course), because I all the time was confused how things are handled in Finland an in Spain. The tax systems are so different. During the Autumn semester, I had four courses, two finance courses and two languages; Spanish and English. We did not have that many compulsory classes, but I tried my best to participate in those classes. Two of them (Introduction to Finance and English) were quite easy, but the other two (Spanish and Financial systems and markets) were quite hard to understand.

Beside school, I have travelled a lot. During the Autumn I travelled to Portugal (Albufeira), Morocco (Tanger) and the southern Spain including cities; Cádiz, Tarifa, La Linea, Gibraltar (UK), Marbella, Fuengirola, Mijas, Granada and Trévelez. And because we did not have school during December, I travelled to Finland to relax and returned to Sevilla early January. After returning, I travelled to Barcelona, Madrid, Gran Canary, Córdoba and Paris. So the exchange has been full of international things!

At this point, I have passed the two finance course (together 12 ECTS points), I failed Spanish and I will do the English exam in Finland because I had to fly back home at the same day I should have had the exam. I had booked flights with Spanair for the 3rd of February, but the company bankrupted and all the flights were cancelled. Therefore I had to book another flight, and with a reasonable price I had to leave one day earlier, the day I was supposed to have the exam. But fortunately the teacher was cooperative and let me do the exam after I returned to back home.

All in all the exchange was a positive experience. I met nice people from Spain and other countries and I realized what I want with my future. I think I have had made more friends during the stay, but I did not want to. My original plan was to leave for the exchange one year earlier, but I did not have a chance due to my studies. Partying is required to make new buddies, but at this age I am no longer interested in partying 4 days a week and making acquaintances who I am only going to talk to in Facebook. But I made one good friend from my exchange and I know that will last for lifetime.

Now it is time to leave this part of my life behind and move forward. At this moment I am doing my bachelor´s thesis and then moving to working life.

 

Saludos,

Jenni

 

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Back in Seville – EXAMS!

After a wonderful christmas holiday in Finland I am back in Seville for my exams. I am participating in four courses from which I have final exams.

Introduction to Finance (IF) and Financial Markets & Institutions (FM) courses have a bit different evaluation process. There we do not have to do the final exam if we have passed the small exams we have had during the course. In IF we have had 2/3 exams and the last one is this Thursday and in FM we have had 3/4 exams and the last part is also this Thursday. I have passed all the required exams and I will do my best to past the final parts also so that I do not have to take the final exam.

I also have two language courses: Español and Inglés para el turismo. For those two, we will only have the final exams and for the Spanish we will also have an oral exam. I think the English course will go just fine, the final exam is on the second of February, but the Spanish course is so hard. I really think I am not going to pass it..

I was supposed to have a course concerning the Spanish tax system, but the things were so different to Finnish taxes that I had to quit the course because I all the time got mixed up. Normal course are 6 ECTS points and the Spanish is 4,5 ECTS points so if I pass all my exams, I will be getting 22,5 ECTS points from my exchange. To pass my degree, I need 10 ECTS points from my exchange.

Jen

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My courses

In the University I am participating in four courses, I planned five but the course concerning the Spanish tax system ended up being too difficult to understand. I took courses Introduction to Finance, Financial Markets and Institutions, English for tourism and Spanish for Erasmus students.

Although I am studying Logistics Engineering at Jamk, I wanted to have a different kind of perspective to my studies and there fore I chose to study finance in Seville. I think the most ineresting course I have is the Introduction to Finance. There we found companies and calculate their cash flows, payback periods, liquidations, taxes etc. There we really see how you run a company.

Financial Markets and Institutions course gives knowledge about the financial structure in Spain. There we are talking about the financial crisis, Euro, banks, savings banks, credit entities and everything related to the financial market in Spain and also a bit in the European Union. In my opinion, the Introduction to Finance course supports this course quite well.

Then I have two language courses; I am taking the Spanish course which is obligatory for all Erasmus students. First we had to take a level test and from 1-4, I am in the second group. In Finland I have studied Spanish for 8 courses (6 in High school and 2 at Jamk), but still Spanish is quite difficult for me. It is torture to be in the Spanish classes because our teacher assumes we already know the grammar she is teaching us there. If she asks something and you answer I do not know; she replies ”how come you are in the second group if you do not know an answer to this question?” and if you answer the wrong way; she immeadiately screems ”WRONG! Who wants to correct her/him?” I think part of why I wanted to come home for some time is because at this point I do not have motivation to study Spanish language. I just need some time to change my attitude again.

The other language course is English for tourism. I chose the course because I wanted to have some kind of support for the Spanish course. In the Spanish course we are just talking Spanish, but the English course is taught – of course in English but the teacher is always explaining things in Spanish too. The course is quite easy, but does everything need to be so diffucult?

All other courses have self study period, but the Spanish course. But it is not obligatory to participate in those classes so I can study Spanish at home also. During the holiday, hopefully I will get my motivation back and will have a wonderful January in Seville.

Jen

Ps. Still I cannot understand how relatively fast these past three months have goneJ

 

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Holiday in Finland

After being in Seville for three months, I took a flight back home for five weeks. I wanted to have a holiday in Finland because in our University we do not have classes since we are having self study period and I still need to write my bachelors thesis. I could have travelled, but the thesis is haunting me so it is better to write it now when I have time. ..And also I missed my boyfriend an family so much that I really wanted to go home for some time. In January I will return to Seville for one month.

I was planned to fly from Seville to Helsinki via Barcelona leaving nine am from Seville and arriving to Helsinki half past four in the afternoon. But because of a thick fog, our departure was delayed for two hours. And because I only had one hour to change in Barcelona, of course I did not make it to my next flight.

Two and a half hours after my planned departure from Barcelona was sitting n an aeroplane towards Riga. The flight to Riga was also delayed so I had to run to the flight to Helsinki. We arrived on time to Helsinki, but we were not let out of the plane because they were thinking about changing the gate.. After 10 minutes we got out. At this point I only had 20 minutes time to make it to the bus to Jyväskylä and I did not have my luggage. Well, at this point, finally I had luck. My luggage came very quickly and I ran to the bus. I was there exaclty when the bus was suppodes to leave. I did not see the bus, but thankfully the bus was late and I made it to the bus! I was home 1 am, after traveling for 18 hours.

Now I am starting my holiday in Finland, and also concertrating exams that are held in January/February and also my thesis.

Jen

 


SICAB 2011

Before I will talk about SICAB 2011, I want to tell you about what happened with our flat. Well, the guy (colleague of our contact person), who was supposed to come to our place Monday evening did not show up and I think I wrote earlier that he send a message that our landlord told that we have to pay everything that fails although we have not broken anything.

Well, on Tuesday, we had to skip our classes in order to go to the office of our contact person again and arrange another meeting. Monday evening I had already informed that we do not accept that we need to pay everything. On Tuesday evening the guy came with a repairman and you should have seen the guy´s face when we really saw everything what was wrong (..and now he can tell our landlord how the things are..). They went to pick up some spare parts and fixed almost everything! We were so pleased that now we have for example a working gas machine and toilet!!

..And one other thing; now we are not alone with this issue against the landlord, but I guess when the girls are leaving in June, they will have problems getting the warranty back..

Well, after getting issues sorted out with our apartment, we rewarded ourselves by a night out. An no, I do not mean getting drunk an partying:D Yesterday we got tickets from our Spanish friend for the Salón internacional del Caballo 2011 (SICAB 2011) horseshow. 1,5 hours of fantastic show including tens of horses and performers.

I am not able to download any pictures to this website, but I will promise you the show was incredible. The horses had been taught to do trick, such as standing with their rear legs, hug each other, lay down and other tricks with the performers. It included Spanish and Argentinean performances, Middlle ages with tournament, tango, flamenco etc. We were so happy after the show!:)

Today we are going to see an English movie (original) and last week we saw the Heist Tower dubbed in Spanish. It was a nice experience.

Jen

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Stuck on you my dear apartment!

Today I woke up nine o´clock, I changed clothes, put some make up on and was starting to have a nice breakfast UNTIL I heard a terrible banging noise. My roommate came out of her room and we realized that our second roommate was trying to open her door without any luck. She was stuck in her bedroom and the door does not even have a lock!:D

We tried to get her out of there, but did not succeed. I went to knock on our neighbours´ doors, and finally after knocking on four doors, someone opened. I told him what was wrong and he told me he would come and help us. BUT, it took him almost 30 minutes to arrive to our flat. 30 minutes? – I guess he did not realized that I was telling that a person is stuck and we need to get her out of there fast!

Well, first he tried to remove the handle and then he tried to go through the door – unfortunately he did not succeed. At this point his brother came in and somehow was able to remove the handle and push the tab away from the door and it opened! My roommate – who has claustrophobia was saved and we did not need to call the fire department:D

Earlier I have also told that we have had a lot of problems in our flat. And because we got so mad about what happened this morning, we went to our contact person and told her everything that was wrong in our flat and what did she do – LAUGH!! Luckily we were able to get her colleague/boss to see our apartment this evening. I do not trust that he will be here today, but let´s keep our fingers crossed. We wrote a letter to the person where we told what is wrong so there will not be any mix-up with these issues.

Here is a list of everything that is broken (not our fault):

1. We have mould in our bathroom and it keeps growing and growing..

2. Our toilet is broken; for one week now and although we were promised a repairman, he has not shown up.

3. One door got stuck and now it is broken, because our neighbour had to let my roommate out.

4. My lamp is broken and basically I am living in darkness in my room.

5. Our TV is broken or the socket behind the bookcase is broken and therefore the TV does not work.

6. The lock in our front door is broken. When we put the key inside and try to turn it for the door to open, the key is just rolling inside the lock and we cannot get inside our apartment.

7. Our “gas machine” is not safe. When we try to ignite it, it throws huge flames and a small explosion can also be seen and felt.

8. We cannot wash our dishes with a warm water because the “gas machine” does not warm the water properly. Sometimes we also have cold showers.

BUT, I still love the food and architecture here and flamenco! I just have realized that maybe in the future it is better just to have a holiday in Spain, not live here.

Jen

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7 Finnish girls around a table in Seville!:)

Although I am feeling frustrated because of the toilet and washing machine, I had a wonderful evening on Friday!:)

Our friend Susanna, who lives and works in Seville, invited us to her place to eat and hang out. We bought some wine (not for me since I am not drinking in November), jámon and bread and went to her place about 10 o´clock in the evening, like Spanish do. There we cooked together. We had some chicken, prawns, cheese and salad and of course fantastic company!:)

How is it possible that Finnish people always finds each other when they are abroad? On Friday, there were 7 Finnish girls sitting around one table chatting and laughing with each other. No more home sickness!!:)

Jen

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“Mañana, mañana”

Today the last “pieces” of our toilet broke – nice.

For over a month we have been sending messages to our contact person of our flat telling her our washing machine and toilet does not work properly. Sometimes she does not answer our messages and sometimes se promises to send a repairman in couple of days. Still no one has come.

I am getting to be quite frustrated since it is very hard to live with broken machines that you need in your everyday life. I have tried to think that this is Spain, things work here differently than in Finland, but this is too much!

Just now, I send a message to our contact person that we need the repairman here by tomorrow. I quess we will be living without a toilet for few day, arghh!!

Jen

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Correos

Last week I went to the post office. I wanted to send some postcards and was trying to buy stamps. I went to the queue, took a service number and waited for my turn for 1 hour.

After the painful 1 hour wait, it was finally my turn. I went to the desk and said “veinte sellos a Finlandía, por favor” (20 stamps) in order to hear that they do not have any stamps!:D -what do you mean you do not have any stamps, I thought.. How come a post office does not have any stamps?

Luckily my wait was not for nothing, I had the postcards with me so the lady was able to stamp them anyways. Phiu!

In Finland I have criticized the “assembly line work” where you do not even have time to put your exchange back to your purse when they are calling for the next customer. After last week, I know how to appreciate it:)

Jen

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Español 2

I took the entrance exam which determined my level of Spanish. There are four levels (1-4) and I am in the 2nd level.

I have noticed that I know the grammar, but it is very hard for me to understand when people talk Spanish to me and also because of my small vocabulary I have some trouble talking.

I think in Finland, we concentrate too much to the grammar even though we should talk more in the Spanish classes. Many other Erasmus students from another countries understand and can speak Spanish. They make some mistakes in the grammar, but still they are understood.

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