Experiencing Braga

Exchange blog from Braga, Portugal

Dear next one, who are going to Portugal…

Here’s some tips for next the person, who’s going to do exchange in Portugal. Perhaps in Braga!

Weather: Note, that in northern Portugal it is raining quite a lot during winter. Prepare yourself with water-proof –clothes. I didn’t manage to find waterproof-trousers during my stay there. Take those from Finland. Instead you could drop some party-clothes away. You could easily find those from Braga. And shoes as well. But, take really comfortable shoes with you. Most of the streets there are very slippery when it rains. Summer and autumn time is very sunny and hot!! In early autumn, there is rarely rain and temperature can be around 35 degrees. At least when I took my language course in a local university, classrooms didn’t were air-conditioned. I can say it was really hot!

 

Housing: Isave has a dormitory, but it is not located in Braga. It is located near their university, what is located around 15km from Braga. At least my practices were in Braga, so it would have been difficult to travel every day from there. During my language course, people searched announcements from streets. It was easy to find apartment, if you spoke Spanish or something roman-language. For me, it was not so easy. People didn’t spoke English so well, so I had to ask my room-mate to call people. I managed to find a room, from an apartment. Apartment was not luxurious, far from it. For me, it was only place to sleep. Rent was 150 € /month and it included electricity, gas and water. It is really common, that people rent apartments/rooms without contract. My room was located right behind of big shopping mall and near the hospital.  When you live in Portugal during winter time, houses are really cold. I had to sleep my nights wearing wool socks and thermal underwear and still I was freezing. And when I moved to my room in middle of September, I thought I could survive without real quilt. Yeah right, I went to Primark in October and bought one quit.

Language: Study Portuguese or Spanish beforehand. It will be much easier for you to survive from practices. Spanish is very similar than Portuguese. It is like Norwegian and Swedish. For me, EILC-languagecourse helped a lot, but it was not enough.

City: Braga is 3rd biggest city in Portugal. It is almost same size than Jyväskylä, according to Wikipedia (yes, very reliable source!) a bit bigger. It is really old city, lot of history from the Roman Empire and churches in almost every corner. Buildings vary from shack-houses to luxury-houses, everything can be found. City itself is quite safe, but there are some neighborhoods that would be safe to avoid. Robberies happen sometimes, but use a common sense. Traffic is chaotic, use the pedestrian bridges to cross streets. Make sure that you will visit at Bom Jesus and Sameiro. You could get awesome view to the city.

Partying: Visit bars near the university. There will be everyone. Especially Stephane-bar is highly recommended. Pint of beer will cost 2€. 😉 And it is student’s living room, almost.

My time with this blog is come to its end and I should start to fill grant-papers again and apply my 2nd part of grant. Remember to ask letter of confirmation from the host university! I thought I had that one, but turned out that I don’t have it… Oops!

I had really nice time in Braga and Portugal. I hope that, you get enough information from this blog to your own exchange! I will absolutely travel there again and again.

With best regards,

Anitta

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Searching the real Portugal

During my stay in Portugal I made many trips. Mostly those trips headed to nearby big city, Porto. Porto is 2nd biggest city in Portugal. It can be reached in 1, 5 hour by train and ticket costs about 3€ so it was quite cheap. Trains will departure every hour and in rush-hours twice in an hour. I liked steep river banks of Douro and Ribeiro – an old town. Sâo Bento –railway stations’ blue tiles (azulejos) are impressing, you could easily spent half an hour just looking for walls! Do not miss Rua Santa Catarina –shopping street and walk towards Atlantic Ocean from Ribeiro.

Lisbon is the city I love. I visited there first time in October. It was still warm there, could walk with ballerina-shoes and wear t-shirts. City itself is relatively small, but the atmosphere is really warm. I stayed both my trips in a same hostel, what is located right next to Lisbon’s best nightlife in Bairro Alto (upper town). Trip to Lisbon from Braga costs about 60€ by high-speed train. I surely will visit there again, after I get some money for tickets. If you are going to Lisbon, I could recommend you to start your trip from praca commercial and head towards shopping streets Rua Augusta and other streets in Baixo. Also famous tram 28 –trip is nice, but keep your bags on eye! Viewpoint’s (miradouro’s) all over the city were amazing, by tram 28 you could easily reach most of those, but make sure you have a good shoes. You cannot avoid climbing. In Alfama, Lisbon’s oldest neighborhood that survived from earthquake, is like a step to past. There you can’t hear any car voices, just people’s talking and birds singing. And go and taste famous home-made ginja : There’s one place, where an old lady is selling ginja for 1 euro. Right from her livingrooms window!

If you have some time, go to Sintra and visit European-continents most westernmost point, Capo da Rocha. Sintra is really nice little city or town near Lisbon. You can buy a train ticket from Rossio-station and hop on a train. Trains departure quite often almost in every 15min. Even though Sintra is a real tourist-trap, in November it was still very touristic. If you passed a restaurant or just stopped to look for daily menu, waitress came out and tried to get you in. Sintra is well-known for its castles. I tried to get in to Moor’s castle, I walked right up in the really steep hill and walked those paths all a way to gates, until I saw how much entry is. No way, that I’m not going in. 20€! Well, with that price you could get entrance for another castle as well, but for me it was really expensive. I came to Sintra just for visit in a Capo da Rocha and I had some time, before buss would cdeparture. Buss trip was experience as well, really curvy and narrow streets. If I would get easily sick, I would have thrown up. Up and down, up and down and those curves! Oh my.  I would recommend everyone who is visiting in Lisbon to get one afternoon at least to make a trip to Sintra and Capo da Rocha. It was amazing place to see sun set down. Just sit there in a rock, 30m drop to ocean right under your feet and see the sun set.

        

        

Why to go Portugal, without visiting in neighbor-country? I made also a trip to Madrid, capital city of Spain. I chose Madrid, because it’s not so familiar city for me and flights from Finland would be more expensive than to Barcelona, what was my second choice. I would describe Madrid really huge city and a lot of people. I was there in beginning of December. I took Ryanair’s flight from Porto to Madrid and it cost around 30€, not bad at all! about Madrid I don’t have so much to say about, than its huge and so was Royal Palace. Of course I tasted some tapas, but it didn’t blow my mind. Beer was cheap, but food was more expensive than in Portugal. And in restaurant, I spoke Portuguese. Not English. What is wrong with me?! Returning from Madrid wasn’t so relaxing. I almost missed a plane back to Portugal. But I had fun in a previous night there and it is proved, that Spanish taxi driver takes finnish girl from city to airport under 20 minutes, when it normally takes around 30-40 minutes…

    

 

My last and perhaps best trip was made in my last weekend in Portugal. I and Maria, who was in exchange at Jamk in last winter, made a trip to town, where she was grown. It was really small village and everyone knew each other. Village was surrounded by mountains and vineyards. We made some sightseeing tours to nearby cities and eat good traditional food. Too bad, I don’t have any pictures to upload to this post. 🙁

When I didn’t travel anywhere, I walked around the city or did some shopping or went to few beers at Stephane. Sometimes I felt myself a bit lonely, because I didn’t know any other students and those Erasmus-people that I met in language course had their own timetables and I had my own. So the timing didn’t succeed. In my second practice I didn’t know my schedule in first 2 weeks. After one sift I get to know the next shift. That was not so good, if you wanted to schedule life a bit further.

Luckily I met Mariona in my last practice. After work shift we went for a cup of coffee and shared a chocolate croissant, made food together and in my last day in Portugal we spent a whole day together. And yes, in the evening we both cried. 😀 I will absolutely see her again somewhere in a future and I have a place to go in Bacelona and she will have place here, if she handle the snow-issue what she was afraid.

 

 

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Mental health in Braga

I did my 3rd and last practice in psychiatric ward in Braga hospital. My ward was divided between men and women. I did my practice on men’s side. Together there were 41 patients and on one sift there was 2 nurses working in each side. Most men there had come there because of alcohol. Few of them had schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or depression. On women’s side there were quite many young women, who had anorexia nervosa -symptoms.

During my time there, I had 4 own patients. Two of them didn’t speak English at all, so it was not easy to communicate with them. Or try to find out their feelings! Both were alcoholics. I had to try find someone, who would translate what I wanted to say. Usually it was one of my own patient’s or my coworker. Two other my patient’s were there because of depression and one with bipolar disorder. Communicating with those two was easy, though with the patient who had bipolar disorder I had some difficulties. Sometimes he didn’t had “time” or “understanding”, that I’m not speaking Portuguese.

I wasn’t only one student in that ward. There were 10 other nursing student’s and me and one Spanish Erasmus. I made quite good friends with this Spanish Erasmus. Mostly we were hanging together there in a ward and she tried to help me with communicate. I think these local students didn’t quite understand how it is to work in abroad and they kept asking why I came to Portugal, because I’m not speaking Portuguese. I only can amaze how these students’s can’t speak English at all! Only two of them spoke some English. And my mentors didn’t spoke English at all. And somehow they managed to evaluate my time there in a ward! 😀

We started our day at 8:30, we had around 30 minutes report, how night is gone and who had received extra-medication. After that, two of us stayed in nurse’s office and prepared Tiamin (B1-vitamin)-injections to alcoholics and we measured blood pressure from almost all of our patients. It was quite nice to see how intra muscular –injection is differing from the way I have used to give it. In Portugal, they give it very differently: First they put the needle, connect it with syringe and inject the medicine into muscle. They were a bit amazed the way I injected and their opinion was that it was more painful for the patient in my way. Then I spent few minutes searching official instructions from internet. Well, afterwards we admit that perhaps official instructions are different in each country.

During the month I was there, we noticed with my Spanish friend how differently Portuguese students behave in their practice. If in Finland (and in Spain) mentors want student’s to keep asking questions, there they don’t ask questions and mentors doesn’t want to answer their questions. Every student called our mentor as a teacher, what was a bit weird for me. Mentor is mentor, not a teacher! Portuguese students know very much about medications, diseases and if mentor asked something they knew the answer immediately. Also they knew all the different trade-names of medicines. Even though they know so much theory, there was some lacks like hygiene. At least I’m happy, that we have been taught about hospital infections and hygiene.

 

And now here are my points:

Positive:

+ There was something to do in the mornings, well some mornings.

+ I was not the only Erasmus-student in a ward.

+ My patients, who spoke English. I think I gave them something to think about!

+ Lunch breaks with my Spanish coworker.

+ Playing domino with patients.

 

Negative:

– Lack of language skills. Both mine and hospital staff’s.

– Sometimes it was really boring, sitting there and watching other ones playing card.

– Continued complaining about my lack of Portuguese.

– There was not so much to do for 10 students, maybe it would have been easier just for one or two students? But it was not in my decision.

 

Also there I noticed how differently Portuguese nursing students work, compared to Finnish or Spanish students. They never ask anything from the nurse and they calledour mentor as a teacher. Yes, somehow she was a teacher. We discussed about this issue with my spanish coworker and she had noticed the same. Always in Finland, nurse keep saying that ask anything – even the most dummies things. But in Braga, nurse was asking from the students and students answered mostly correct. If not, nurse only said that you should study this for the next time. No correct answer. Studyculture and working culture seemed to different.

 

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Urgency pediatric – all together

I know. I’m lazy. During my first practice I wrote quite regularly my blog, but the second and third practice were a bit exhausting and I had difficulties finding time and place, where I can reach wifi. So let’s turn our heads 2 months back:

I did my 2nd practice in Urgency pediatrics, Hospital of Braga. This practice was my first practice in a hospital. I haven’t done any practice in hospital environment before, not even in Jyväskylä! Normally in hospital – at least in Portugal, People are doing 12 hour shifts, around 3 days in a week. For me, it was really tiring, never thought that these people are working like a crazy! Perhaps I should stick in my notes, what I wrote in Frankfurt airport, where I was waiting connecting flight to Helsinki.

My idea was make some listing, what was good and what was not so good:

Good things:

+ Never experienced emergency. What it was from the other side.

+ Interesting, I was able to recognize what symptoms were worth of yellow, green or orange bracelet. Perhaps I improved my observation –skills.

+ Possibility to see, how demanding nursing is on emergency. Even though I didn’t see any “code red” –situations, there were plenty of situations what needed quick reaction.

+ For me, improving my Portuguese. At least, I learned new Portuguese words. 😀 Like Tosse – cough

+ During night shift, possibility to sleep 2 hours.

 

Negative things:

–  Language difficulties. It was really hard to communicate with patient’s family, with patient and with other nurses. My mentor spoke very difficult English and even her Portuguese was clearer than English. Because of language difficulties, some mistakes were happened because of language. Nothing serious though.

– For me, not so much to do. Mostly observation, setting some infusion lines and oxygenations, placing urine collecting packs.

– Long work shifts. Sometimes it was really tiring, when there was nothing to do.

– For me, working in acute was a learning experience. I learned, that I’m not such a good worker in acute.

All in all, I had some difficulties, but I survived alive. I think my mentor and even I were hoping that I would speak better Portuguese. Or English. There was also some differences in hygiene, what would have been absolute “no-no’s” in Finland: Nurses were wearing bracelets, rings, nail polish, long nails, clocks and long hair was open. I talked about the differences between Portugal and Finland, and they were amazed that it could be a risk for a nurse and also for the patient and we are not allowed to wear nail polish or rings in hospital work! Also they didn’t use gloves, when they took some blood samples or did cannulations.

After this practice, I was happy that ended and eagerly waiting what is coming next. I heard that in next practice I would not be alone and I could ask help with language from other students. At the same time, I was a bit sad, because there was working some really nice people, who were helpful to me! and they were really interested to hear my studies and life in Finland.

 

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Time in urgency pediatrics

As many of you know, I’m doing my pediatrics practice in urgency here in Braga. First I was really excited, now I have my opportunity to see what is going on in urgency. Is it really like such busy and children come there, when they have strange objects in a throat and they are life-threatening situations and need really urgent help?

My mentor there is French woman, speaks Portuguese with French accent and same thing with English. Sometimes it is hard to find out what she is meaning. Also we use a lot of google translate. Sometimes it is correct, but sometimes it is far too way for a correct translation. Mostly nurses there have been kind to me, especially one who had have 2 Finnish students before, seems to understand me much better than my own mentor.

Sometimes I feel, like I’m in a way and sometimes it feels like I have to do everything by myself. Handle the worried parents, crying kid and all those who are waiting for their time to see a doctor. I would like to speak more with the children, parents and everyone. Teach them, ask important things. In a beginning of every shift, nurses get report from previous shift and start to work. Mostly it happens so, that I sit there paper in my hand waiting that I would get information about those, who are in observation. Well, previous shift goes and I ask can I get some information. Well, one of the nurses says to my “Anitta, go work!” Ok, yes I’ll go to work, but it’s hard to work without any information about the patients: Why they are in observation. Yes, I can go and take vital signs, but I would like to know more. Is bed number 1 had seizures or is it just because diarrhea, vomiting and fever or what? With knowing those small facts, it would be easier to work.

In a day, there are only 2 shifts. One for day and one for night. One shift is lasting 12 hours, what seems to me like forever! I have thinking there, is it really safe to have such a long shifts? Nurses get tired and patient safety can suffer.  Luckily in night shifts, we have possibility to rest 3 hours in a night. Somehow it is good, but resting time is disturbed with voices coming from operation room and observation room. Children crying and triage is calling people in. Night sifts tend to be more peaceful than days, but still it is long time to be sharp 12 hours.  In a night there is 2 nurses working and in a day there are 3 nurses.

In a day, one nurse is taking care of triage, other one is in children’s observation room and 3rd one is in adolescents. And if there is need to do some operations, like taking blood samples or setting infusion or nebulization (breathing through the mask) it is done, who have time to do it. Nurses are doing almost everything. Doctors are doing the lumbar punctures and removing nails.

What I have done in the UP. Being in triage, yes I can understand written text somehow and that way I can guess what is wrong with the children. During my time there, I recognize if someone has difficulties in breathing, when to give orange armband and when to give green armband. Sometimes I just can’t understand the parents: Bringing a child with such a small things to urgency in a middle of night. I have seen parents bringing their kids to urgency just because they might have fever and they might have some strange red marks in their body. And it is common, that if kid has a fever we ask that are they give medication to it, that parents answer no. I have also done some nebulizations, setting infusion lines and set urine collection bags and see the results of urine tests.

What differences I see in hygiene is there every single nurse is wearing rings, nail polish and hair are open. Well, catheterizations are handled with rules of aseptic, but still they wear rings! It was a very first notice about hygiene difference. Also when taking blood samples, I was learned to wipe with disinfected cloth the skin, before puncture. Here, they can swipe with the same cloth over 5 times and it is no need to use gloves and it doesn’t matter, if the needle touches the bed protective cloth. You can still use it. At least I had learned to keep my hair closed, no nail polish, no long nails and no rings at work. Once I asked, why they are not using gloves when taking blood samples and the answer was its bothering the touch. You can’t get the same feeling, when you do it without gloves. Hmm, interesting.

It is hard to work in pediatrics urgency without knowing the language. There is so much that needs to be take into notice and discussion with the families, that I wouldn’t recommend that kind of place to Erasmus-student. And it can get very busy in a second, so there is always no time to explain. I have said this also to my mentor and she’s agreeing it as well. Somehow, I feel relieved that my time there is almost gone to its end and can have my holiday week with writing thesis. I don’t want to say that I didn’t enjoy my time there. It was difficult, but I learned quite many things about nursing and about myself. It was a growing experience and I was lucky to see it.

 

ps. And sorry about this huuuuge post! 🙂

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Memories from september

– Sometimes it was nice to study outside. Do homeworks on the roof, listen some people’s chatting, enjoy the heath…

– Castle in Guimarães, nearby Braga. One of the EILC’s objectives was get to know portuguese culture, so we visited in Guimarães, where the culture has been born. And it was a woman, who wanted to built this castle. 😉

One of the fountains in Braga city square. At nights, people usually gather around this square, drink whatever they are drinking and be with their friends. At daytime there are usually some small market-huts, where you can buy

– Few of my EILC-friends rented a real “casa” with garden. Lemon trees, everything! Renting a casa is common among students. Price level is cheap and if you just find 4-5 friends living with it’s cheaper than rent an apartment or room. Bad thing is, that houses (and apartments as well) are getting quite cold during winter. And you need to pay bills by yourself.

– Visit to Porto was the moment, that everyone had waited. Porto is 2nd biggest city in Portugal, after Lisbon. City feels much more lively than Braga. During our trip there, we visited in Contemporary art museum, what I could recommend for everyone. We got a small tour there and now I’m thinking when to go next.

– A little bit of England. 😉 Portwine chambers in Porto. We had an opportunity to taste two flawours: One was cheaper and one was more expensive. Guess which was mine favorite one? Cheaper or expensive one? 😉 And folks in Finland: Be prepare that I’ll bring maybe some portwine or vinho verde to you! Both are just yam!

During september I started my practice in home nursing. I worked with a team, who were specialiced to the wound care. I saw diabetic wounds, pressure ulcers and venous ulcers. Propably I’m not going to see similar size wounds in Finland. Had an opportunity to see how people are living here and how good position I and other finns are. Some people are just living such a poor conditions: Someone had just a blanket in a window, no glass at all. Someone had to eat just white bread, because she had not money to buy proper food. Now I’m going to see some hospital life and going to be on childrens emergency. It’s really different place and can’t wait for it!

Ps. 2 months and I’ll be back! 😉

 

 

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One saturday evening

It’s saturday night here in Braga. And what I do: just be here in my apartment. Drink local wine, candles are burning, book is opened, knit sock and view frim my window is showing full moon and view to churches at the mountain. There I will be tomorrow.

It’s around 4km to reach Bom Jesus and 4km to Sameiro from Bom Jesus. Straight to the upphill whole time! Luckily I found Salomon’s hiking shoes quite cheaply at sports outlet. Had to buy some shoes, because earlier this week we had a nice rain fall. About 40ml’s in a one day, my shoes didn’t liked that kind of weather. More my experiences about my practice will be coming later.

Next week there will be a national holiday at friday, been planning a trip to Lisbon to spend a longer weekend. Have to see, can I take a train there (a strike is coming)Or do I just spend it here.

Have to say: All the locals, who I have met during my practice are just awesome. Yesterday I got flowers from clients wife. She always sings sime song about my name. I really can recommend this practice at abroad. And my mentors: Enfermeiros locas – hullut hoitajat. And I have teached them to say good morning, nurse and portuguese in finnish. So far, they just remember good morning and a crazy nurse. 😀

 

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First days of home nursing in Braga

O meu dio or something like that. Oh my god. I was supposed to start my practice on monday, but I got a message from my local international coordinator, that enjoy your holiday one more day. You’ll going to start on tuesday. Well, I got my one day holiday then. I left my working shoes in Finland, so I went to buy new ones. That was my one day holiday. And, I get stuck in my appartment. One of the guys left right before me and lock the door outside. I wasn’t able to open a lock with my key. Or I didn’t know how to open it. I already called to my landlord, that come and let me out of here, I want to go shopping! Later on, one of those portuguese guys arrive and let me out. Afterwards, we tried yo open the door with my keys and everything went smoothly. So, the problem was in the user. Not in the door or keys. Well, he tried to be nice and said that the door is a bit stiff, but I don’t believe it.

So the practice. Yesterday and today, the international coordinator took me to the Caránda health center, where is the meeting point with this home nursing team. Good service, have to admit. I met my mentor(s) there and we left to first place. I was really amazed how far it was! We had to drive like 30km to reach the client.Roads are really small, very steep ones and lot of curves. And my mentor is driving like a crazy! All these clients have had some kind of stroke or/and they have huge wounds. I have never, ever, seen anything like that. Our first client has a 3 big wounds in her lower body: Wounds in both sides of a hip and one in a sacral area. I don’t want to tell you, what kind of those wounds are, but I think you can really imagine those. In Finland, I have only seen really small ones, but these wounds are like size of an adult mans hand. My mentors said, that it is really common to have wounds here and this first wound that I saw, was already getting better and not even a bad one. Perhaps, I will be specializing to wound care in future. Here I have really good mentors for learning everything about those. These first two days I have only looked, how they are treating those wounds, but tomorrow I start to treat them with help of my mentor!

Working in Portugal is not so strickly ruled as in Finland. In my first day, I was told that we’ll you can just have a day off whenever you want so and you can leave whenever you want to leave. They will start working around 8 o’clock and I really mean around. It can be 8:15 or 8:40, you never know! After 2-3 clients they will have a “small” coffee break some cafe/bakery. And time could be about 12 when we continue again. Then we have about 4 clients and then is lunch break. Yesterday, we stopped to lunch break, because another team is going to continue after it. Today, they asked if I want to finish my day to lunch and it would have been ok for them. For me, it wasn’t ok. I wanted to work, see more. So we continued working ’til 5 o’clock. And it was like a one shift for me! Maybe got my daily working hours. And during the day, we had to visit in a headquarter, because of one the big heads there is going to be more bigger head so went to drink a glass of sparkling wine and a piece of cake there. They really don’t have a hurry anywhere! People that I have met here, where they clients or their relatives are really interested of me. Why I’m coming there and why I’m in Portugal. How do I like it and things like that. And they are really pleased, that I can speak few words/sentences of portuguese and understand at least something. And relatives are really taking care of the patient, doing lot of work with everything and they are so cheerful! In this job, I can see the difference between countryside and the city. Difference is really huge. And what is behind of all those fancy gates and inside of those tiny huts, what you can’t even call a house.

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The EILC and how it was?

The languagecourse is finally over and done. We’re supposed tohave some kind of idea, what kind of language portuguese is. It was fun to learn, but did it gave me knowledge to survive normal-daily routine? I don’t think so. Vocabulary we learned, wasn’t so useful. Still, I haveto walk dictionary in my hand (almost), when I go eat out. Menu’s are totally strange for me, so I’ve went to restaurant and ordered the weirdest -sounding  dish I can find on menu. And what I get, something what is almost a hot dog, but it’s not really a hot dog. Have to try everything at least once.

Course gave me some kind of vocabulary, that I understand at least something what people are saying. It gave me basic knowledge of grammar and how people pronoun words. It’s really hard to figure out what the word really is. Through this course, I had an opportunity to get know other people from different countries. Well, some of the people wasn’t so nice and worth of knowing. Some were really nice. Especially one spanish boy, who really wanted to speak more better english than he speaks now. Still have to amaze, how every single spanish and italian wants to be with their own people, not the others! One of my teachers said after the last class, that they are really lazy to learn any other language. They think, that their own language is the best and everyone should study it. And also italian and spanish languages are so similar than portuguese, that they really think that they don’t need to study portuguese at all. Because of that similarity.

One good thing with this language course was the thing, that we have to know something about the culture. We had several field trips to nearby cities. We visited in Guimarães (European youth city 2012 or something like that), Viano do Castelo (and went to the bach there!) and to the Portugal’s 2nd or 3rd biggest city Porto, which is quite near to Braga. Have to go there again and get to know city a bit better. In Porto, we visited in portwine-cellar and got an opportunity to taste few.

I would really recommend everyone to participate EILC, if it is possible. For me, it was organized really good time. I learned a bit and now I’m continueing to my practices. And yes,we had conclucion ceremony. Really small one, but we got our certificates and our language skills were examed. Now I have reached my A1-level, and going higher during my time here. 🙂

Photos are coming, as soon as I can take them out in my camera. And by the way, I’m living with 3 portuguese men. One is already senior citizen and 2 others are working: One is nurse as well and the other one is engineer. They don’t really speak english, but we communicate by hands and pictures.

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Being an Erasmus

After having so many conversations with so many people about this same topic, I decided to make it a post. Some of you might know me, better or maybe you don’t know me at all. I’m 26 years old, not single neither married. I’m engaged. Maybe I’m not like your imagine of typical Erasmus student?

Many people here ask me, why I even came here? Am I just gone crazy and leave my family to Finland and come here to have free and wild sex with other Erasmus students? Do I want cheat my fiancé?  I can answer -no- to both questions. I didn’t came here to have free and wild sex with other Erasmus-students. I didn’t came here to cheat my fiancé. I came here because I want to understand world better, get to know other people outside my own country. Get to know, what kind is nursing in Portugal! When I tell this answer to everyone who ask why I came here, some understands but some doesn’t. Someone will keep me as a brave. Someone doesn’t believe that I can do this. What I have learned during this week and my first week, I scare people away. Few have already openly said to me, that they don’t want to be with me or discuss with me, because I’m never going to have sex with them and I’m too old. Discussing with me doesn’t lead to anything. Pity for them! Ha?

If describe the typical Erasmus-student here in Braga would be around 20 years old, maybe median is 22. Absolutely a single and wants to party every single night (no matter is there school next morning or not), because he/she is just an Erasmus and Erasmus peoplecan do what ever they want to do. I don’t belong this image. Our EILC-group is divided into 2 groups: 1st group is for those, who are speaking some romanic-language as their mothertongue and we, who aren’t speaking romanic language as mother tongue, have a basic knowledge of some romanic language or like me, doesn’t have any skills of any romanic-language. At least our group is divided to few sub-groups if I can say so. People, who doesn’t like to have parties every single night and people, who wants to have parties every single night. Those, who doesn’t want to have parties every single night are mostly people, who are in a relationship or just don’t want to drink alcohol so much. Spanish and italians are normally with each others, because they don’t need to speak english and normally they will hang out with people in my group, who like party. The rest ones are weirdos. Anyway, this was a quite rough-division.

But anyway, I’m happy because I’m a weirdo. I’m too old to have parties every night and maybe that is the reason, that I want to find my own apartment without noisy student parties. I’m here for practices, not partying. Working in a hospital and it’s totally different than studying something more or less important in a class. Of course I want to go out and meet other people, but I don’t want to do that every night.

With this post, I don’t want to scare anyone away, who would like to go to Erasmus. Just go! This is once in a lifetime experience.I would not change this possibility for any price. I’m happy that I’m old. I’m happy that there in Finland is people, who likes me as myself and welcome me back before christmas. I have seen so much more in my life and I can have fun without any alcohol as well. I doesn’t matter for me at least what other people think about me. I’m me and I don’t want to be someone else.


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