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: School

Only one week to go in B’ham!

This is it! The last week! Feelings are mixed.

I’m stress to get everything done before leaving (still 2 assignments to hand in). I’m not so happy to go back to my personal work+school hell, but i miss my dog,friends,home and family so bad. After all, i’m kind of relieved that soon everyone speak finnish and I don’t need to write assignments in english… It took so much more time and motivation than writing in finnish. 😀 So I’m starting to be excited to go home 🙂

Something how i did over here: I pass both spanish test successfully! Got an A+ from first one, and the second one went good as well, if not an A+, close at least. =) First assignment wasn’t that great: lot’s of spelling mistakes, and I did write little bit out of the concept… Stupid mistake, but I pass. That enough. I hope that others went better.

I suppose to be part of one assignment but that’s a group work… We havn’t even start yet, so I have no idea how I can be part of that. Need to find out on friday.

I’m also wondering, do I need to apply again student support form Kela, or does it continue automatically? I really need those moneys on January…


Successfully pass!

Huh, I pass the second spanish exam. It’s so scary situation to end up alone with professor to take a speaking test. First of all, instructions are in english, of course, and then you have so little time to translate those in your mind in finnish, and the figure out what to say in spanish…  That is a challenge! But i made it and get a good grade again 🙂

And last saturday we had pre christmas party. Girls had made finnish food like Karelian pies and roast. Was sooooo GOOD! =) And everyone else liked that as well. We had really fun night, but i don’t recommended drinking games to anyone 😀

I can’t belive that I only have two weeks time over  here 🙁 If i have more money, I would definitely stay!

…And i had one problem whit my dog. I needed to find a new place for her for these two weeks. What a nightmare to try to do it from here!!! But thanks god I have really good friends. I don’t know what I would do without them. They make this exchange possible for me, by taking care of my dog. I know that many people wouldn’t understand how important that animal is for me, but they do! 🙂

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.

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?