Tag Archives: zagreb

Experience of a lifetime

Now that I’m back in Finland and back in Jyväskylä, it’s time to try to sum up the last few months. I won’t say that I loved every second of my time in Croatia because that isn’t true. But that’s all part of the pattern almost everyone goes through when starting something new.

Step 1: Going for an exchange to Croatia was a big step for me. I have never before traveled alone or had to manage things by myself like that. I was afraid to go and hesitated about leaving. I can’t thank my boyfriend and parents enough for being so supportive and practically forcing me to go.

Step 2: The first month in Croatia was filled with excitement and exploring new things. Even going to a bakery or grocery store felt like an experience.

Step 3: At one point I was so lonely, homesick and sick of studying that I was counting days to get back to Finland. I didn’t want to do anything or go anywhere. I just felt like staying at my moldy apartment and crying.

Step 4: I felt really stupid when I realized the situation I was feeling sorry for myself in. I also got some new energy since I was half way of my trip. I realized there’s really not much time to waste. I went to Ljubljana, Bled, Belgrade and Rijeka. I got to know some amazing people and saw some amazing places.

Step 5: Now, over four months and five countries later I have no regrets. It truly was an experience of a lifetime. There are moments when I find myself looking at pictures from Zagreb, from my home streets. There are even moments when I don’t feel like home in Jyväskylä. “Having to” speak Finnish everywhere feels boring. Everything is the same as it was when I left. It’s just me that’s changed.



I have a final exam tomorrow about Croatian language. That’s why I thought it would be fun to list some words that have been useful for me here. Here goes:

Hvala: Thank you, the most important word.

Dobar dan: Hello/ good day. You have different words in the morning and evening but usually you can use this one if you want to.

Dobro: Good. You can also say super or jako dobro if it’s very good.

Doviđenja (or just đenja): Goodbye. đ is pronounced like ds or dz

Deset jaja: Ten eggs (useful in the marketplace where they don’t always speak English)

Jedan kuhano vino pijelo: One glass of cooked white wine. Kind of like white glögi in Finland, a must have in the Christmas Markets.

Kava s mlijekom: Coffee with milk. It’s basically an espresso with lots of hot milk in it. Going for a cup of coffee here is common every time of year, week or day.


Živeli: Cheers!

Bok (or sometimes bokbokbokbok, which sounds really funny): Hi or bye, informal greeting.

Može (you can repeat this many times too): Okay (the straight translation is can)

Da/ne: Yes/ no.

Ja sam iz Finske: I am from Finland. There aren’t many Finnish people in Zagreb so people are sometimes wondering why does a person from Finland come to Zagreb. Well, why not?

Kebab sa sirom: Kebab with cheese (my appartment is next to the best kebab place in Zagreb). When they ask for the sauce, just say pola pola which means half and half (spicy and mild).

Ne volim kišu (the š here sounds like your sneezing): I don’t like the rain. Because it’s raining a lot in Zagreb.

That’s just something on the top of my mind. Also knowing the numbers from one to ten have come in handy. After tomorrows exam I have only my E-business presentation left and I’m done! Boy does it feel good to have a vacation. I’m still going to Rijeka with a friend for the weekend before going back home for Christmas so kiirettä pitää, as they say in Finland.

Our time is running out

It’s already December, I have less than two weeks of school left and in exactly two weeks from now I’m already in the plane on my way back to Finland. I have to say I’m really happy to go back home. I miss the people and I’m really exited about returning to Jyväskylä. I’m also a bit stressed about going back because there’s so much I want to do before I go.

School is really hectic. Last week was probably the most effective week I’ve had in Croatia so far. Although having an ear infection and probably fever, I managed to hold two group presentations, go to school, go to the Christmas Markets two nights in a row and travel to Belgrade for the weekend. This week is also very busy. I had an exam yesterday, I have to finish doing my website for E-business, there’s one presentation on Wednesday and there’s a really hard exam coming on Monday.

Despite this all, I hope I’ll have some time to hang around the Christmas Markets this week also. Christmas Markets in Zagreb are truly adorable and magical. There’s cooked wine and live music everywhere you go, beautiful lights, little booths selling stuff and an outdoor ice rink! I feel like I’ve fallen in love with this city all over again. I guess it’s normal to feel sad about leaving too…



Recently, I have also used my weekends efficiently. Two weeks ago I went to Ljubljana and Bled in Slovenia. Ljubljana was a wonderful place, smaller than Zagreb, peaceful and beautiful, and colder! That’s where I got a cold and the ear infection. But I had a good time, met some nice people and saw some nice places, here’s some pictures from my trip:




Next weekend two friends came for a visit and we hung around in Zagreb. And this weekend, as I said, I took a bus to Belgrade. The size of the city really surprised me. Belgrade is almost twice the size of Zagreb. Unofficially, there are about 1,8 million people in Belgrade. That’s why just a weekend felt like a too short time to stay there. There were some things I would’ve liked to see, but I just didn’t have the time. Here’s some pictures from Belgrade. In the first pictures, there’s some main sights and in the second pictures, there are some of the buildings that Nato bombed on 1999. I really got the feeling that people don’t want to talk about the war or the recent history otherwise. Only the buildings tell about the history. The people just want to party. It’s actually a tad irritating.



That’s it for now. I started writing this post because I’m trying to avoid school work but now I have to get a grip already. Until next time!


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.


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:


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


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



The Bazaar/ Baščaršija


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.


A stall that sells fresh squeezed pomegranate juice. Refreshing. 


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.


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.


A little romance in Dubrovnik.


Breakfast from our own tree.


Nice views from the city wall.


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.


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.