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

Category Archives: general

The past month…

Oh yes…. This blog! 🙂 I have almost forgat to write this blog, life has just begun to be so normal over here. This has been such a busy month… Assignments, exams, lectures, seminars… U name it!
But I have to be proud that  I have done every assignment on time and I go to lectures. That usually do not happen in Finland. I enjoy my time over here because I can be only student and i don’t need to split my time to work and school. That was (and will be back home) exhausting. This non working –time gives me a time to actually put effort on assignments. Back in Finland I usually just do it and hope i’ll pass… And usually everything is handed in late. I wish I could stay and study over here. Somehow, I just experience studing here more interesting and useful. I don’t know is it because i’m studing in english or what…  And pofessors has such a much real experience of working in tourism industry. We get so many ideas, perspectives and knowledge.
How about results: Well, I got A+ (THE BEST MARK!) on first spanish exam! It was easy, i know, but I’m still proud of my self! And i’m waiting for results of 3 assignments. It is quite hard to do assignments over here, because I have no idea what kind of work professors are expecting. And it also hard to write offical english, because I need to think every word and sentence, and ofcourse check the spelling. It takes a lot of time, much more than writing same assignments in finnish.

I have three more weeks to go in school over here, and I still have lots of things to do! 3 assignments, one group work, one debate, one exam… So I will propably spend lot of time at school library. I can’t belive that i’m actually spending time voluntarely at school. That wouldn’t happen in Finland! Ofcourse back there the biggest reason is that i don’t have time… I need to work and i own a dog. So There is no such much free time during the weeks, and my dog would be too much alone, if i would stay at school more than I need to.
Well, that was about school… What is going on with other general stuff:

Sometimes i still feel homesickness. I don’t miss Finland as a country, but i miss my home,dog, friends and family. But still I hope I could stay, because i’m better student here than back home. If I had my own appartment and i could bring my dog overe here, Why not? Oh yes, because of money! ☹ Unfortunately studying here cost a much, and I don’t have that kind of money… Not even if I find my self a place to work. So have to go back… I hope that I could put some of this motivation in a can and use it back in Finland.

I have get couble new friend also. Not from the erasmus group, but elsewhere. So I don’t feel that lonely anymore. That gives hope for me in a future. I CAN make new friends, even in abroad. It just takes more time of me than I was hoping…
The most annoying thing is that I don’t have money. I realised that i have exceeded my incoming limts for finnish student support money, so I need to pay back a lot to our government. Therfore, I’m penniless. It is a shame because I can’t explore a country, shop, go to clubing or do anything what others are doing. ☹ But I guess that is a part of being a student. I know that I shouldn’t be complaining, because school is free, but still… it still feels bad and feels like i’m beeing left outside from things, because my friends knows that I can’t come, they don’t even ask anymore 🙁
I have only three weeks to go anymore. This period seems so short. Feels that all this time i have been mostly on holiday. I hope that next time when i go abroad, I will go for longer time, to actually build a new life. Now I feel that I have been stressing all the time what will happen when I need to go back to my school-work-hell.

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.


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 😉


UUU, I’m really going!

I have one really booooooring day at spring 2011. I was going to check my e-mail, and noticed that was the last day to apply to student exchange. I was thinking  “Why not? I haven’t live in abroad before and nothing exciting ever happens to me. So this might be a good idea and nice experience”. So I filled up the form and click! Here is the consequences of that boring day: I’m going to Birmingham for next autumn. Exciting!

I have already send my applications for erasmus-exchange, accomondation and orientation week to Univercity college Birmingham. Now I have to wait the answer and confirmation that they approve my application and they have a room for me. I haven’t done my learning agreement yet. It’s kind of difficult to choose courses based only name, without explanation for the contents of those courses. I may have to toss the dice 😉 Then I need to remember to fill out OT-form for Kela and ERASMUS grant application. And??? Oh yes, rent my place here at home, find a good home for my dog, find cheap airline tickets, and so on. Lot’s of things to take care of…

I’m very excited to go, but of course, little bit of scared to. Do I going to enjoy there? Am I really able to study in english? Do I get new friends? How I going to survive without my dog? And so on…