In Desperate Need Of Adventure

Blog about student exchange in Holland.

Once the dust has settled

It’s over, I’m home.

I was supposed to update this blog more often, but it seemed that every time I was about to do so, something else came up.

I’ve been back in Finland for one week now and the last half year now feels like a strange dream. I believe that it takes some time to my mind set in being back.

But now that I start to think about the last half year, we really did a lot of stuff. Road trips, visits to other cities, school projects, lots of fun nights with dear friends, picnics, bike trips, days on the beach… Now it feels that there was things we did each day!

Netherlands as an exchange place proved out to be a safe, a bit familiar but still exotic. The culture had similarities to a Finn so that there weren’t any major cultural shocks on arrival, but as time went by, the diversities became more clear. The Dutch people are relaxed, welcoming and very internationally oriented. Everyone talks good English, even the smallest kids, and aren’t afraid to use it. Also, when compared to Finns, the Dutch are more open minded when it comes to communication with people from different cultures. It is easy to go talk to them and they seem to welcome you as you are.

I would recommend the exchange experience to everyone. Even though things might not be easy in the beginning, you learn a lot of yourself, your capabilities and start to believe in yourself more. Once you have lived abroad, you know you can do it and you get more self-confidence. This happened to me and now traveling seems like one of the best ways to develop personal leadership. I think that I also appreciate my own culture more and see it in a different light. It’s a cliché, yes, but that is what has happened. More perspectives, more good friends, more cultural knowledge and more knowledge of yourself. Seems like a good experience in paper, doesn’t it?

Now I think I’ll raise a toast for the Finnish summer, my family and friends. And what makes things easier, is to know that I will also see many of my exchange friends in one month.

Thank you for following this blog, I hope it is able to give something back. And I would to end this by saying: live, experience, learn and just go for it. It only matters if you tried and you appreciate it after you’ve done so.

Love

Jonas

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Leva loppan

Hey!

Haven’t written in ages, sorry I’ve been lazy.

Let’s see what have we’ve been up to. Hmm. Well first of all, it’s full summer now. Green leaves, grass, +20•C,  flies in the air. The basic. Couldn’t be better. I’m loving my balcony now. Then my first minor is over and the other one has started. I’m satisfied with my work, good grades given the content of the minor.

Other things: school, concerts and gigs, playing (music) on the streets, parties, beach, barbecues on the balcony (we bought our own for 20€), visits from friends and family, GAME OF THRONES STARTED!!!,  bike trips, walks in the nature, eating outside, caféterias, ice-cream, Cormac McCarthy books (hox), hanging out with nice people, tan?. Next up Queen’s Day (the biggest party of the year, so I’ve heard) and a holiday for one whole week! Life is pretty good. I try to remember to update the feelings after Queen’s Day.

Here’s some photos from the road (this website messes them up, just so you know):

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Am 11 in Amsterdam

I hate to admit it, but today was the first time I properly visited Amsterdam the first time. Sure I’ve been there, but the first time I was so cold, that I didn’t get anything out of it. And the other times have always been during the early evening to watch a concert or hanging out in pubs, so I haven’t really seen the city in daylight.

But now I decided to dedicate my whole free day just to Amsterdam!

So I woke up “early” and took a train into the city from Overveen station. I had a clear plan consisting of second hand shopping, browsing through market places, finding a nice cafeteria and just walking, walking and more walking.

I’ve been to Amsterdam, so I pretty much knew where I should head and walked straight through the older part of the city with all the crooked houses, canals and lovely houses. I fell again in love with the architecture of the old houses that combine colorful paintwork with warm materials such as tile and wood and old fashioned gable roofs. I found more places that I can count where I pictured myself living in.

The second hand shop district proved to be quite satisfying. But the prices in many places were a bit too high for my taste. Of course all the items were good quality, but still 25€ for a t-shirt is in my opinion too much. But you can find really great clothing items, just be strict with the quality. The market places had a fascinating selection of stuff from different decades and I’m sure you can find pure treasures if you just take the time. I have had a good training to be patient in shopping (thanks mom and sis) and after a few hours I nailed to jack pot and found a leather jacket that fit perfectly (manufactured in USA 1980). And that is really really hard. Especially for someone as skinny and tall as me. The quality was worth the price so I first tried to walk away, but eventually I found myself giving the money to the store-girl with a smile on my face.  So yeah, success! Also found a nice vintage flannel-shirt for only 10€.

Now that I felt satisfied I decided to look for the nice cafeteria and found it quite nearby! Bagels and Beans. It was full of people, looked cute and had a really nice and cozy atmosphere. Good bagels and coffee with reasonable price. Recommendations!

Then I just walked and walked as I had planned. Im starting to like it in here. When it gets a bit warmer I’ll get my bike and make a goal to cycle all the streets in Amsterdam. Good stuff!

This evening’s plan: carnival. Will be fun to see what kind of costumes people come up with.

Cheers!

Np: Bright Eyes – Jejune Stars

Here’s some photos:

View from the train

View from the train

Amsterdam central station

Amsterdam central station

Bagels and Beans

Bagels and Beans

Logistic solutions

Logistical solutions

Catch of the day. Oh yeah, with spring also came allergies. That's the reason for the large amount of tissues. And who doesn't need string?

Catch of the day. Oh yeah, with spring also came allergies. That's the reason for the large amount of paper tissues. And come on, who doesn't need string?

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I am in Saint Bavo cathedral

Evening,

it’s been a while since a last scribbled something into this. Sorry about that, I’ll try to make more effort.

Let’s see, what has been going on.

Just yesterday I talked with Lauri, a good Finnish friend of mine, that it has started to feel like we are not on a vacation anymore. The first two weeks were packed with a lot of new things and everything was so unfamiliar that I really didn’t have the time to settle down and process the idea of an exchange. But now that almost a month has passed since my arrival, I’m starting to realize that I’ll be actually spending half a year here. Lauri had a good point, once you know what to buy in the local supermarket, that’s when you are settled in. So I surely am settled in.

School is now a part of the daily basis. Even though I don’t have that many contact lessons, the tasks have kept me busy for now. First feelings of my first minor, global media perspectives, are that it’s a lot different than I expected. Some good things and some bad things. But I’m sure that I have learned something new when the minor is finished. And my fellow students are nice, so it’s cool.

Besides school I’ve been doing some sports, got accustomed with the nice cafeterias in Haarlem,  some cool trips to Amsterdam and I’m really happy I brought my guitar with me. The creativity seems to flow better here. Weird. I’ve seen some awesome gigs. Going to concerts is a lot cheaper in here than in Finland. And there is a lot to choose from. For now I’ve seen 22-Pistepirkko, The National, Efterklang and some other really good acts for half the price I would pay in Finland. Still to see is for example Bright Eyes next Monday. Ought to be good.

The National live England @ Cross-Linx, Utrecht 17.02.2011 (Filmed by me! Watch in HD, for your own good.)

Duwo has shown it’s good and bad sides as a place to stay. As far as the maintenance, you really have to be strict if you want something done. I had my sink stuck for one week and I called every day for the janitor to come fix it. Eventually I got frustrated and just fixed it myself. I’ve been hearing some other similar things from other residents. I’m not trying to diss Duwo, I’m just being realistic. That’s how things are in here. But there is a lot of good sides also! I’ve met some really really great people and it’s awesome that I can easily spend time with them, because everyone lives here. We’ve been playing basketball, watched movies, made food, and partied. Good times.

Sushi night!

Sushi night!

Next week is holiday! We rented a car with Lauri, Tina and Jonas and I are planning to hit the high way.  Euro road trip! Were thinking of driving down south to Antwerpen and then go west, to the French coast. The distances are so small here, that you can see a lot in 4 days. Whoop!

Today we went out on the streets to play with Lauri. Just to get some pocket money. Success. Once the weather gets a bit warmer, we”ll be making a fortune.

Allrighty. That’s all for know! Catch you laterz.

Np: The National – England

Ps. the cathedral in the topic is the center cathedral of Haarlem. Listen to the song I linked. You’ll get what I’m referring to.

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“Anybody who rides a bike is a friend of mine.” – Gary Fisher

Hi ya’ll!

The school started yesterday with the introductions. And I’m now settled into my own room in the student apartment. And I got a bike. Life is good.

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My room. Stuff still unpacked.

InHolland Hogechool seems very modern and nice. There’s a various amount of different sized and equipped studios for music and media related education and all the facilities offer great possibilities for us music and media management / entertainment students to execute our projects. It’s a big university with a very international feeling, just the way you would expect from a Dutch education system. The introduction period is on the way at the moment and the proper school starts on Monday. Can’t wait!

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InHolland Haarlem main reception

Past days have been full of new people and an impressive set of different nationalities. I’m really hard trying to connect all the faces with all the names. With my memory it isn’t an easy task, trust me. But I’m learning slow and steady. But a lot of nice people and I bet I’ll have a bunch of good friends when half year has passed.

Yesterday evening we went ice skating with the ESN (Erasmus Student Network).Nailed it. I really wasn’t thatTina and Esthersureabout my skills, because it’s been about 6 years since I last put on a pare of ice skates. But it was fun and nobody hurtthemselves. Which was impressive, after all there were a few people who tried skating for the first time. Nicely done! (Yun,especially. A natural talent from Korea.)

The Duwo apartment is an easy choice for people like me, who are staying for half a year. The school is 20 meters away and each room has its own toilet and refrigerator. We’re paying high rent, but everything seems to be working fine. At least for now. Can’t complain really, the first week is running smoothly and my fellow apartment residents are fun company. I still have my own privacy in my room and got lucky by having a balcony. There’s a place to leave your bike in the ground floor and the train station is 150m away, from where you can go for example to Amsterdam or Zandvoort (the beach) for 5€. It takes 10 minutes to cycle to centre of Haarlem and a five minute walk to the nearest food stores.
Liking it.

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Oh, this is my bike! Unfortunately it’s not red, but I bet it’s a beast inside. It’s a Peugeot, viva la France! We’ll be spending a lot of time together during the next half year. After all spring in Holland is just around the corner.

Take care and try to keep warm! Catching a cold is always a bummer.

‘Till the next time

Np: Brand New – Me vs. Maradona vs. Elvis


Haarlem

Goede avend!

Greetings from Haarlem. We made it.

Our flight left at 08:30 in the morning, so the wake up call was at about half past four. Kind of rough, but the night wasn’t that full of sleep after all, so no biggie. But we arrived to the airport on good time and had time to drink our morning coffees.

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Me, Lauri and morning coffees in Helsinki

Next up was Riga. The flight between Helsinki and Riga is quite short, so I barely managed to open my book and read a few pages before we landed. After a good hour and a half of waiting we were in the air again on our way to Amsterdam.


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Survival package during flights

We arrived at 12.30 local time. A nice surprise was that the air company had lost our acoustic guitars. We had even PAID EXTRA for them to arrive safely and unharmed to Amsterdam. So I went to the baggage info and had a nice conversation with the air line’s representative. The truth is, that she was really nice and she reassured me that we would get the guitars within a few days.

Well, no harm done. Our friends and fellow exchange students, Linda and Heikki, picked us from the airport. Big thanks to them, it was a really big help and it was of course nice to see them. Haarlem is situated very close to the Amsterdam airport, so it only took us 10 minutes by car to our destination.

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On the road to Haarlem

I’m writing this post now on Heikki’s couch. They we’re kind enough to give us a shelter and company to get accustomed. The apartment seems very nice. There’s six rooms with a shared kitchen, which of course means that if you are afraid of social interference, you have to face your fears. Everybody has been very nice and welcoming and the rooms are big and have their own toilet, shower and refrigerator. There’s nothing to complain about really. We’ll be moving into our own rooms on Monday, just one store above Heikki and Linda.

We’ve been making a few trips to Haarlem already with a traditional Ducth logistic solution, a bicycle. I’ll brief you into the town in depth later on. All I can say now is that I like it a lot. It’s very beautiful with its moody side alleys, canals and Central-Europe-styled wooden houses. An amazing cathedral works as a center point. Very very cute and comfortable town. And if you’re in need of a change, Amsterdam is just a 15 minute train ride away. The train station is located 500 meters from the place we are staying. Sounds good doesn’t it?

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I wish I'll get a bike as sweet as this one

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Heikki and Lauri on the streets of Haarlem

All is well!

Warm thoughts to everyone in Finland. Take care, we’ll meet in the summer the latest.


Last day in Finland

Cheerio!

Today’s the final day before departure! Bags are packed (it was easier than I thought). Didn’t have to use the plan B after all, which was to break off from all the material chains and take off with just a leather jacket, a backpack and an acoustic guitar. Have to do it some day ‘though. It would be awesome.

Yesterday evening was the last “get togethering” with our friends, which turned out to be a boys night out! I guess girls would have been invited too, but somehow they never managed to be present.. or something. Sad, really.

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Nevertheless! Good times. The evening consisted of a fierce board game-session in a local restaurant. The game in question was quite untraditional. A Finnish soap opera trivia game. Manly stuff. But the teams worked, because we had both, experts and novices among the players. I don’t want to brag, but I think my team won. (My team-mate was the expert, but without my successful managemet we wouldn’t have done it!)

The evidence can be found below. Some teams were happier than others, as you can see.

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I’m glad that I can soon get out of my so called room here in Finland. It’s so full of stuff, that I have a one meter wide pathP1000320way from my room door to my bed, that I’ve been moving along. Now that I’ve packed my bag, it’s positioned right in front of my room door, because it doesn’t fit anywhere else. I have to leap over it every time I enter or exit my room. But it works as a nice obstacle for the dogs not to enter, as you can see.

Our flight to Amsterdam leaves tomorrow morning. So the next post will be written on foreign soil.

For infinity, and beyond!

Now playing: Funeral For A Friend – Into Oblivion (Reunion)


5 Days

Veera enjoying the snow

Hi ya’ll!

Welcome to my blog. Im a student studying Music and Media Management in JAMK University of Applied Sciences in Jyväskylä, Finland and into this blog I will update my experiences of my half-year student exchange in InHolland University in Haarlem. My goal is to keep the blogging fun and exciting, both for me, and all you readers!

This is my first post. At the moment I’m in snowy Hollola, Finland spending a lazy Sunday. Departure for exchange lurks 5 days away. My things are still unpacked, but besides that everything should be under control. Next week I’ll spend with my family and friends. After all I won’t be seeing them for quite a while.

I just came back from visiting my little brother who started his military service a week ago. The short haired little guy seems to fit in fine with all the other short haired guys. He has a few days left (about a year) so it was nice to see that he was taking the experience positively. Thumbs up bro!

Private Ryan and I

Allrighty, I guess that’s all for now. Keep checking as things start to take off!

Psyched!

Jonas

Now playing: Magenta Skycode – We\’re Going To Climb


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