Birling in Birmingham

I'm Mari, a 25 year old student of hospitality management in JAMK. This Blog is about my exchange period in University college Birmingham, England. Autumn semester 2011

Monthly Archives: October 2011

Too much time to think?

Plaaah… I’m starting to suffer homesickness. I don’t miss Finland, people, work, school or my life over there.But I surely miss my dog and my privacy. I miss my home and all my stuff: clothes, tv, bed, silence…

I’m quite used to that my friends and my family aren’t round every day, so keeping touch via internet and phone is normal. I don’t know how to miss them more than usual. I propably wouldn’t see them before christmas anyway. But I so badly miss my dog. It’s always around, feels naked to go for run or walk without it. Feels odd that I don’t need to take it for a walk before school or in a evenings. Next time when I move abroad I’m taking my dog with me. I promise!

And other thing what I badly miss is my home. I havn’t share a flat with a roommate before, so it’s a new experience. And honestly: I don’t like sharing. I like my privacy too much, I don’t know how to relax if I know that someone can come home any minute. I don’t know when she is coming or going, we don’t communicate that much. Childish but true, I hate beeing cleaner than I am… i’m not THAT clean. And here I feel like i’m on my toes all the time: is everything clean enough? I know I would be happier if I had place of my own, unfortunately they didn’t rent apartments for short term stays 🙁

And I miss even my clothes. I have nothing to wear. Everyone who has been an exchange student, said that ”don’t pack too much, you going to bay so much that you have trouble to bring them back to Finland.” Yeah right, I havn’t find so much clothes that I feel i’m wearing the sames all the time. I was thinking that I’m a so bad shopaholic that I find enormously much stuff, but I havn’t… Maybe because everything what I like, is too expensive, and cheap clothes… Well, are so cheap you can actually see that from fabric and model. PTHYI!

One thing what I have learn to appreciate about Finland: Honestly way to trade… My internet is a dongle, because my landlady don’t have internet at home. So i need to organise that by my self. OK, I went to one shop and ask wich are my opportunities, and they sold me a pre paid dongle, they said it’s going to las 30 days. Yeah right. It didn’t. It was 2GB within 30 days. So suddenly my internet just stop working. And it didn’t approve my creadit card (or Maarit’s) so i need to go center to shop top up brochure. I didn’t like the fact that anyone didn’t tell me about the limit! How should I know? Unfair!..And Now I know how lost I would be without the internet: pretty pathetic

This period seems so short that in this point feels quite unlikely that I make long life term friends over here. Sad but true. I need more time to actually start calling someone as my friend. Hard to believe that I need to cry for someone when I leave, I don’t think so…

Maybe all these feelings comes up now, because I have too much time to think? I didn’t go to uni today, because I have flu, and I didn’t feel well in a morning. I spend rather one day in home and feel better tomorrow than suffer longer and try to go to school every day.

FIRE! …or not!

Today we had a Fire alarm in school. So everyone need to get out. I gotta say, I really hope that our school doesn’t really burn, because it takes for a while to get out of there (I was in 6th floor). All staircases were fully blocked in a couple minutes and one emergency exit was locked! And there seems to have alarms so often that people don’t take those seriosly anymore. So, hopefully real FIRE is’nt happening anytime soon.

Back to the other things:

We went to have early dinner with groupe of erasmus students. Apparently we just need to keep trying to get to know them. And on Friday we are going to bowling with other groupe. An idea of bowling was Maarit’s and I organised it. We will get to know them if we just keep trying hard enough.

One new course started today: International tourist operations. It’s kind of similar than adventure tourism, but it more generally focused on package tourism. It’s good to have both courses, those support each others. So good choises for this far. And professor said that they going to give me some other thing to do, because part of this course is group work with a presentation after christmas, so I can’t do that. They were understanding, again.

And I also learn how to use library’s borrowing machine. I borrowed 3 very interesting book about tourism. In our school you can borrow books for 7 days. ONLY 7! I think that is quite short time for reading and doing your assignments. I hope there is possibility to re-borrow those books online, so I wont need to drag those books back to library to do that. Have to find out.

OH YES! I need to tell about two previous nights! We have some kind of construction zone next to our apartment, in a middle of the nights! This is residental area, I don’t understand how they are allowed to do such a noisy thing in middle of the night! (of course because of traffic, but still!) And because of thin walls and simple layed windows: It’s like sitting on top of the street drill. YEAH! I really hope this road work doesn’t continue long.

PS: The Weather started to look like UK eventually. Clouds, possibility of rain and even the temperature is going down. Sunshine was too good to be true! But it’s still warmer than in Finland.

The first day!

Today was my first real day in uni! I like it!

I like the course, Adventure tourism operations, wich started today. I like the teacher and my classmates. And most of all: I like the subject itself. We get basic knowledge what the course going to be, what has to be done and when. Then we learnt what managing of tourism is all about. At the end of lecture we watched an episode of Wallance & Gromit.  My first thought was: “What? Am I in a high school? Or in elementary?” But actually our professor has a really good point to show that to us, so it maked sense after all 😉 Liked his method to get us to think more deeply about that episode of “Cheese trip”: It gave us to good base to discuss how potential costumers get to know opportunities about travells and what is going to effect their decisons, how to manage whole package tour thing and get more profit of that. So it was GREAT lecture! Easy, but great!

A Perfect start for a monday morning. Didin’t feel like Monday to me, until was aftenoon. There was tiny mistake in my timetable: My spanish starts hour earlier than my timetable says. So I was one hour late, but it wasn’t my fault, so that was ok. I was still able to catch up others easily.

Learning Spanish was fun! Our professor of spanish makes us to SPEAK a lot, which is the most important thing when you start to learn new language. And maybe I get to know other students more, because we need to do discussions.

Both professors was ok with the fact that I’m going home for christmas, and don’t come back after that. I can give my assignments earlier and do my exam of Spanish before christmas. Great!

Learning in english isn’t so hard what I was fearing of. For this far: professors speak really proper english, so no hard accents yet in school. And written part: I keep doing my notes in english just to practise, and tomorrow I have support class for academic writing and basic grammar on Friday, so hopefully I will improve!

So everything seems to go really smoothly. Wondering if the reality is going to hit me on a face later?


Being an Erasmus student is not all about the school. As important as school is to get to know country and culture. I havn’t been in London before, so that was new experience for me. You can not live in UK and not to visit in London. Isn’t that right? 😉

London was great. Really good place to visit and because awesome weather and my friends, I really had great time. London is a little bit too big for me, i think, so I’m really glad that I don’t need to live there. I didn’t like the area where my Friend lives, and those areas wich I like, I couldn’t porpably ever live there, because it’s so expensive city to live at. And for my opinion: People in it didn’t seem so satisfies and happy than in Birmingham. So After great weekend over there, I was glad to come back to Birmingham. This is my home now. I made a great choice when I picked Birmingham. I love this city!

But of course in London there was couple good things comparing to Birmingham. Number one: Hyde park. In a center of city you have such a huge park where you can go roller skating, biking, running or just to hang out with your friends. That was so great. In Birmingham, there is no large park in the city center :(. Number two: Tubes: I just love tubes! Number tre: Shopping! Shops are open until 9pm or even in 10pm, here they closed at 7 pm or 8pm. But I can’t have all at the same time, so rather Birmingham than London 😉