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

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At home…

I got my assignments returned on time and finnish UCB smile on my face. It was great to be there, good school, nice professors, quality courses….

Now I have been home in Finland about a month. I’m still waiting for results form UCB. I have no idea did I pass all the courses. When I get the results, I can apply the second part of Erasmus support money. I could really use those moneys, so hopefully results are ready soon!

Everyone says that this return is going to be a cultural shock. I don’t think so…I wasn’t  gone that long. But, what is bothering me: Those same problems what are the reasons for me going to UCB from the beginning. Those issues aren’t change… I’m still broke, have no motivation to study, study wrong subject…


Last two assignments

Tomorrow is also my last day in UCB. I can not believe how fast time has pass… I just arrived!

I needed to buy another luggage 😀  I haven’t shop that much.. Althoug, that what i believed! 😉 Hey, I’m a girl, I need clothes and shoes 😉

*sight* I have spend a lot of time in a school library. I need to return last two assignments tomorrow and still I’m not ready yet….

I got back my first and second assignments. First one went nearly pass (C-), but i was aware that it sucks. Second one went a little bit better: B-, still full of spelling mistakes and other silly mistakes. I didn’t have a time to get them check in language center, even that I’m aware that my grammar is poor. Why I don’t learn to do assignments EARLY enough?

OK… back to work. This is going to be a looooooong evening!

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.

Cultural differences

Now than I have time to think this: This post is mostly about Cultural differences.

First thing was the peoples friendliness and helpfulness, but I have told already couple times, so let get to some other things:

Buildings: I knew that here is lots of whole floor carpets, but seriosly: in a bathroom? How well that will work!?! I think that’s disgusting and unhygienic. Those kind of bathrooms are probably a full of mold! And in corridors they have those carpets also. Crazy. I’m really happy that in my appartment has ceramic tiles in a bathroom.

Food: Hamburgers, pizzas and fries in School and lots of take away ads. And this crappy food is much cheaper than proper food. Now I’m not suprised why people here are overweight! We try to find healty stuff in supermarkets, and that was challenging. So much convenience food! And my landlady clearly isn’t cheff-kind of person at all: she doesn’t even own cheese slicer or knives. (those are in my shopping list!).

But there is something similar here than in Finland. I don’t know if that is a good thing (I know, it isn’t!): People, especially students DRINK a LOT! We went to a one nightclub, and it was crazy. Way too much people in it, WAY too LOUD music and so much drunk people whom has just turn 18 or something like that. I didn’t like it at all. I usually stay out until nightclubs are closed, because I love dancing but now I didin’t. We probably need to find places where is more mature people, these new student are way too… umpf… how to say this nicely??? way too young? Seem thay have their first experience of freedom and living without their parents. I’m too old for this kind of partying!

Getting to know other Erasmus-students is little bit tricy as well, because it’s all about the partying, and if it’s not, they do something in a group of people who lives in students halls. But I will keep trying to, I won’t give up!

I’m really looking for to school to start! Monday it really starts! Am I going crazy? Me? Waiting for School to start? Yep, I must be ill! But there is so many interesting courses coming up, and I can’t wait to get to know older local student as well. And I’m starting to learn spanish, so i hope I can practise that skill with those erasmus-student whom are from Spain.

…And I bought my return flight. Depressing! This time is so short. I would love to stay longer, but I don’t have goverment support left after christmas. So no incomes, no fun. Must to go back to work. If I could get my dog with me, I would be so happy to stay.

But I still have lots of time and so many experineces to come! Example tomorrow I’m travelling to LONDON for a weekend! To see my friends from Astralia and Sweden. This is my first trip to there! I’m so exited! 🙂

…Bye the way, I need to say this: Every my friends were laughing to me, that here is going to rain all the time. Yeah right! Sun is shining and it’s more than 20 degrees celsius every day, and this has been lasting whole week now! And it’s raining in Finland. So guess who is laughing now? I AM! 😉 (…although, I konw that this laugh doesn’t lost long, but still! )


WOOOOHOOOOOOO!!!! I’m not homeless anymore!

The biggest issue is solved! I have a new home and I’m moving in tomorrow. My landlady seem very nice and  fair.  Maybe I get a new friend instead of landlady? And rent is reasonable due to the location.

We went to see couble people in one phonecompany, because during sim-shopping they try to help us to find a place. So we went to thank them and we going to take them out for have meal or drinks or something. Just for thanks! And maybe make new friends? 🙂

oh, and school starts today. No much to say about that yet… We have around 80 Erasmus students in our school. We didn’t have time to get to know them yet!


Now I have ticket to Birmingham. Nice.

Me and Maarit ( the another finnish girl whom is going to Birmingham as well….), booked the same flight. Nicer to go together 🙂 We didn’t book returnflight yet, because we don’t know yet, when exactly we are coming back.

And we also make some plans what we like to do in England. London it’s a MUST! And we also like to travel somewhere southern in Europe, because in Birmingham there’s going to be rainy all the time. We like to see some sun as well.. and the flights are so much cheaper from England.

I have take care all the practicalities. I rented my home in Jyväskylä, take care of insurance, changed my addres back to my Mum & Dad, so my post and bills don’t get lost… And all those millions small things what I needed to remember….

…And now I can relax and enjoy my summer holiday. During the next month I’ll be on InterRail in Europe. Nice to go and know that everything (except the appartment thing) is ready for my student exchange experience!

PS: About my biggest fear: My ganny past away 1,5 week ago. 🙁 So I don’t need to be afraid of that anymore. And the funerals are tomorrow so I’m able to take time and can say proper goodbye to Her <3 .


Today we had blog training. I chose blogging instead of traditional reporting, I believe that this is a funnier way to report my exchange period to my school and friends. I would, however, write a blog, now I just have to do it in English…

And for the readers: You are more than welcome to point out my spelling mistakes, because I haven’t written in English for  a long time… And I’m not very good at it. It probably shows —-it’s rusty. Isn’t it??? There is one reason more for me go to England: To learn more English.