Monthly Archives: November 2014

School

Since this is, after all, a school blog, i thought it would be reasonable to write one post only about my school here in Zagreb.

The school I go to is Zagreb School of Economics and Management or shortly just ZSEM. It is a private school so the “normal” students who go there, pay for their tuition. Zagreb has a public university too where you don’t have to pay for the tuition.

Most of our courses have midterm- and final exams. The exams are, in my opinion, quite old fashioned. In Finland, if there are exams, they are for testing that he student has a deep understanding about the subject. Here the exams test that you memorize dates and terms, things that you will just forget after the test. It makes you wonder, why do we study? To pass the course or to learn, to know things? We also have group-works and papers to do but if there’s an exam, the majority of the grade is based on the exam.

I haven’t been doing so well in school and this isn’t because I haven’t tried. I guess that I just study “the wrong way”. I have been blaming myself and really struggling because I’m the “stupidest person in the classroom”. But I’m really not. The school I go to is just somewhere in the last century and I don’t want to be. I’m truly interested about the things and here it doesn’t matter.

Not everything is from the last century, there are a couple of courses that are really good and useful. One of my favorite subjects in school is E-business. There’s no exams, we get to do our own website there and the teacher speaks really good English. Majority of the teachers speak good English though. Introduction to EU and Social Psychology are maybe the most interesting subjects but they have exams so I basically suck at them. The EU course already ended and I didn’t pass the exams so I have to go to some final exam which will be even harder I guess. In Social Psychology I passed the first test but the next is yet to come. We are also doing a group presentation which will make for a small part of the final grade.

Another interesting course is Management of Arts which is a more intensive course. The course gives a different perspective into the subject I have studied a lot about. And the perspective is the one that art students in Finland really should be focusing in: how to get people to buy art and how to get money to be able to continue. With Management of Arts I had some stress first because I couldn’t find a group. Now, fortunately, I found a teammate to do the project with so I can stop worrying. In the course we have to invent a sponsorship or marketing related idea for the Museum of Contemporary Art. Last week we went for a visit to the museum. Some of the things in the museum were really interesting. The museum is a huge building in Novi Zagreb, a little bit further from the city center. The picture below is from the permanent exhibition.

bosnian girl

In Croatian Language and Culture we learned the numbers only this week because it’s so hard. I didn’t think it was hard at all because it’s almost like Russian and having gone to the shops and marketplaces for two months now I start to learn them just by listening. We don’t have any books in Croatian language and Culture. We also don’t really study the culture at all. We go to the class, the teacher writes some Croatian words and sentences down like “How are you?” “Good/ Very good/ Bad” “How is the weather today?” “It’s cold/ It’s raining” “What do you like?” “I like football/ going to a café/ going to the gym”. Then we repeat the sentences for two hours and the same thing continues the next week. We never have homework, we never have to do anything creative like write small texts or something like that.

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Finally learning the numbers.

The biggest disappointment for me is Promotion. The lectures are very late on Wednesdays and none of the students have energy to pay attention to anything the teacher says. I cannot say that I have learned anything new either. The examples that the teacher makes are from the time when internet wasn’t invented so most of what he says is badly outdated. We have a small test coming from Promotion too, I guess it will be terms and numbers again. We will also do a promotion plan as a group assignment and we’re starting to do that next week.

So in conclusion, what going to school here has taught me is that Finland really has an excellent school system. It’s great that no-one has to pay and that being discriminated based on your wealth is harder. The things you learn normally in JAMK is up to date and useful. Complaining about the small number of computers or complaining about any technical thing really in JAMK seems funny. Complaining about Optima work space seems funny. I’m not saying that JAMK is the best school in the world, but it is a good school and I’ve learned to value that.

A trip around Balkan (almost)

No that I finally have some time, I’ll tell you all about our trip around Balkans (well just Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Montenegro). Maybe later I’ll do the rest. 😀

First we went to Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia-Herzegovina. We spent two nights in Sarajevo and I fell in love with the city so much I felt bad about leaving. Sarajevo is a mix of everything: east and west, different religions, beauty and sadness. There are about 400 000 inhabitants in Sarajevo so it’s however quite a small city. You can still see the marks of the 90s’ four-year-siege on the streets. The city has really gone through a lot through the history but it’s still a modern city, a lot of work has been done after the war. Anyway, here are some pictures from Sarajevo:

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I fell in love with Bosnian food. These are stuffed peppers. The price of the meal was 3 euros

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A kid playing at the monument made to honor the children killed in the siege of Sarajevo.

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The Bazaar/ Baščaršija

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A Sarajevo rose – a scar in the ground caused by an explosion which has killed people is filled with red. You can find these everywhere in Sarajevo.

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A stall that sells fresh squeezed pomegranate juice. Refreshing. 

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The bobsled from the winter Olympics in 1984.

Then after Sarajevo we drove through the narrow mountain streets to Montenegro and ended up in Budva for the night. Budva is something completely different compared to Sarajevo. Expensive boats and cars, sunshine and beach. It was very deserted since the tourist season had ended and Budva isn’t that big city. But it was beautiful.

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Big boats in Budva.

From Budva we went to Dubrovnik and spent two nights there. Dubrovnik was really nice and there were some other people too in the city – that was a nice change after Budva. Compared to Zagreb Dubrovnik’s a lot more expensive. But the people were nice, weather was good, the city was really really beautiful and overall the atmosphere was welcoming. I would definitely recommend the place for everyone. One of the most interesting places in Croatia and nicer then Split in my opinion.

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A little romance in Dubrovnik.

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Breakfast from our own tree.

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Nice views from the city wall.

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Mysterious streets of Dubrovnik.

After Dubrovnik we started to get a little bit tired of the traveling. We decided to go to Šibenik and just relax there before the final ride back to Zagreb. The city seemed nice but really deserted too after the tourist season. There were a lot of churches everywhere. Finally we just decided to have a pizza and go to sleep.

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A church in Šibenik.

The trip through half of Balkan was unforgettable but it was nice to come back home. After Sarajevo and Bosnia-Herzegovina nothing felt quite as amazing and I want to go back there already. It also left a spark to go to Serbia. If I have time before Christmas I will go to Belgrade. At this point the school stuff is really starting to take a lot of my time though so we’ll see… Therefore my next post, coming really soon, is going to be 100 % about school and studying which is different from Finland, I must say.