Nursing in Northampton

The adventures of 3 Finnish nursing students in Britain

Thoughts After Exchange

Overall our exchange period was a positive experience. We met lots of new, lovely people and got to experience what it is like to go to a University in England. We also got a taste of working in an English hospital and see how things were different compared to Finland. We all want to go back! I’m already planning my next trip to London and I’m sure the other girls are too.

However, there are a few things that need a little fine-tuning. Firstly, we got our acceptance letters quite late, (I think less than a month before we were due to move) which made it difficult to find cheap flights and prepare for the trip. We ended up having two lay-overs.

Second, we had some unexpected costs that we hadn’t prepared for. Obviously, there are going to be expenses that can’t be anticipated. For us, we had to pay for all our travel costs to our placements, which were in the Milton Keynes University Hospital. To get to the hospital from Northampton, we had to take a train and then a bus. Travelling by train in the UK is quite expensive. At first, we were told that we’d get our travel costs reimbursed, but it turned out we wouldn’t get a penny. In the end, we spent about £600 each, to get to our placements, which was stressful.

On a positive note, the teachers were nice and welcoming and enthusiastic about their jobs. We definitely learned a lot! It was interesting to see how things work in an English University. We also found that our mentors at the hospital were nice and eager to teach us. It was also a good experience for me, since I’m planning on moving back to the UK once I graduate. Good to know what to expect!



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About Accommodation

Right-o. Here’s the third girl posting! Been a lazy little bugger…
So, I thought I’d talk a little more extensively about the accommodation and why we ended up going with the halls.

In terms of accommodation here in Northampton, the only two options really are the halls of residence provided by the University of Northampton (UoN) or private letting. At least those were the options we looked into. We ended up going with halls as it was the easiest, if not the cheapest, way to ensure we actually have a place to stay when we arrive.

The process was fairly straightforward as we received an accommodation application form at the same time we got our acceptance emails. Through the University website, we were able to apply for different types of housing. Most of the halls have a shared kitchen, common rooms and bathrooms, and private bedrooms with beds, desks, wardrobes etc provided. Some have their own bathrooms and some are studio type of rooms with small kitchenettes and private bathrooms. Depending on the halls, you could end up living with up to 8-12 people.

Most of the halls are near or on the University campus, but we felt that they were too far from the centre. We wanted easy access to the shops and, more importantly, the public transportation and train station. We wanted to make sure we could take the train or the bus without too much hassle and go on trips to other cities (London for me mostly). That’s why we applied for St. John’s Halls right at the centre. Turns out, we made the right decision, as we were having to travel to our placement by train AND a bus, which takes about an hour each way…

When applying for halls, (specifically St. John’s) you could choose between two types of rooms – single or a shared double. In a single room, you get a bed, a desk and chair, a wardrobe, another chair and a sink. In a double, you’d get the same things, but there’d be two single beds instead and you’d be sharing the room with another person. We opted for the single rooms.

When we were applying for housing, the pictures online let us believe we would be staying in St. John’s Halls, which is a fairly new building and looks all nice and new. Imagine our surprise when we arrived in Northampton and were led to a smaller building next to the Halls and we find out we’ll be living in St. John’s HOUSE for the next six months! The House is an older building which looks a bit dingy and aged inside and houses almost exclusively exchange students. We were a bit miffed by the false advertising online, but as we had lived there for a while, we realised it wasn’t so bad.

Because we were international students, we had to pay three months’ rent on one go, plus deposit. The deposit was £300 and it was returned once we had moved out and they had checked the room. The rent wasn’t super expensive, especially since we lived right at the centre of Northampton. However, since we had to pay three months at a time, it felt expensive. If I remember right, one month was about £400 and included everything from cleaning of the common rooms to wi-fi. We received our deposits pretty promptly once we had moved out.

My experience living in student halls was mostly positive. We got along with the other housemates and even made a couple of friends. We did have to leave instructions on the toilet doors as some people clearly hadn’t been toilet-trained… Some problems that we had, were the heating of the building and the Halls next to us. From January, I had my window open 24/7. It was so hot inside and apparently there was only two settings – on and off. In the first two months, the Halls next to us had a fire alarm in the middle of the night at least once a week. On top of that, they also had very loud parties most nights. I’m not one to get bothered by noise, but that was something else. The staff at the reception were very nice though, if you called the middle of the night to shut the party down.

The kitchen in our Halls was pretty disgusting when we first got in. All the surfaces were sticky and dirty. We didn’t even want to go to the kitchen without shoes or slippers. It also seemed that not everybody cleaned after themselves. Funnily enough, after months of living there, we got used to it.

Overall, living in the halls wasn’t so bad, but I certainly prefer my own place here in Finland!


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England vs Finland – are they different?

Hello everyone!

I’ve started this post maybe two months ago but never actually finished it! Here I’ve written down some differences ¨(and similarities) between England and Finland. These are just my thoughts, someone else might see things differently. I absolutely love England and have enjoyed my time here! So no hate! 😉

Being polite – whole new level

British people are polite in a way that doesn’t happen Finland. I don’t say we Finns aren’t polite, we just have our own ways. Here in England using ‘please’, ‘sorry’, ‘excuse me’ and ‘thank you’ in every moment is super important. I’ve noticed English people say ‘sorry’ even though there’s not much to be sorry for. In addition to using these polite words they ask a lot ‘how are you?’ or ‘you all right?’ when they meet each others. In Finland we do ask ‘how are you?’ but we expect to get and give honest answers instead of ‘I’m fine thank you’.

“Hello my dear!”

Words like ‘dear’, ‘darling’, ‘love’ and ‘sweetheart’ in Finland are preserved for the people who are meaningful to you. Here in England you call even random people with these words. For example my some of my colleagues might say ‘hello my love’ or patients might say ‘thank you darling’. I almost bumped into an old man at the street and after saying ‘I’m sorry’ he said ‘it’s ok my love’. For me this seemed very odd at the beginning but I got used to it. I think it makes communication with other people a bit more nicer. To be honest I haven’t started to use these words myself and probably never will.

The traffic = crazy

As you know these English people drive the wrong side of the road (read: the left-hand-side). At the beginning it took some time to get used to it. The streets are narrow and they park both sides or the road. In addition to driving left side, these people drive like crazy. I’ve been in car several times and I have to admit every time I’ve been a bit frightened. In Finland people drive quite carefully compared to England.

Everyday food

British people don’t seem to eat as healthy as Finnish people do. Finnish kids have somewhat healthy school lunches and they eat vegetables. Even universities and upper secondary school provide healthy food with vegetables. Here a lot of people eat sandwich and crisps for lunch, which is so weird to me. They also drink a lots of soda drinks because it’s usually part of the meal deal (sandwich + drink + crisps). In Finland crisps and soda drinks are usually something to drink on special occasions, not on daily basis.

Planning and scheduling

In Finland it’s very important that things actually happen on time. For example if we’ve agreed to be somewhere at 9a.m. we’ll be there. We Finns like to organize things efficiently. Sometimes the British way of doing things seems a bit slow and is frustrating.

Health Care System

In the UK they have public health care system free for everyone. The NHS (National Health Services) gives care for free to everyone. In Finland we like to say that we have free public health care system, but actually we need to pay small charges every time we see a doctor or go to hospital. However, I think it’s ok to pay small charges since it helps us provide the services. In my opinion they should have small charges here in England too, especially when their NHS has it’s problems.

Culture and History

England is an amazing place to explore historical and culturally remarkable places. This country has long and very versatile history. I love to see old architecture and learn about the history. For example London is a beautiful city with a lots to provide. The opportunities are endless. There really aren’t that many towns or cities in Finland that provide the same level of culture and history to enjoy.

The money

They have same currency in the whole UK (pounds) but still you can have money that some local entrepreneuer might refuse to accept. I had £5 note that was from Scotland and local bus here in Northampton refused to accept it. Why on earth do you have same currency but you can’t use English money in Scotland or Scottish money in England? That sounds just ridiculous. They also still use 1 and 2 pence coins which isn’t very functional. They should start rounding the prices as we do in Finland.


There are so many people of different ethnic backgrounds, people from many countries, people of colour, people with different religions and backgrounds. I think this is a great thing and I truly enjoy seeing different people and getting to know them! People here seem to be more acceptable than in Finland. It’s been interesting experience couple times going home from university and realising after couple minutes that I’m the only white person in the bus. That definitely doesn’t happen in Finland.

Schools and education

Most of the (primary) schools have locked doors or gates so that people can’t get in and out without supervision. For me that sounds so weird but it’s for safety here. Luckily we don’t have to do that in Finland. They also have very posh private schools where only the rich kids can go. I’ve visited a private school that was in old mansion and it was impressive. Studying at university here costs a lots of money, in Finland it’s free. Also living in university dormitory is pretty expensive I would say. I don’t know how the students make it here. (Well I do know: their parent’s pay or they take massive debts but you get the point.)


There you have it guys! If I remember any other differences I’ll make a new post.

Enjoy the summer days! It’s been lovely here in England!

Here are some photos. Twish your head please because this WordPress platform still doesn’t like pictures.

Becket’s Park in Northampton

Northampton Market place

Kew Gardens in London


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two months left in here in Northampton and I really wouldn’t want to go back to Finland. Can someone just give couple months more! Well, I shouldn’t worry that about now. I wanted to write a little bit about my town and our living conditions.

Northampton is county town of Northamptonshire and it takes less than 2 hours to London from here. By train it will be about 35 mins. Northampton’s population is about 222,500, so a bit more than in Jyväskylä (138 700). Northampton is known of it’s shoe and leather factory. It has lot of notable buildings and areas such as Guild Hall which is build in 1860s (picture above). That building always brings me memories of my first day in Northampton when everything was so new and this whole adventure was ahead of me. Also All Saints Church is really beautiful place to visit which offers the only postcards in the town that has painting of Northampton. And I searched them reaaaally long time 😀 All these buildings are in the centre of Northampton.

We live in accomodation that our University has offered to us. We have roommates from many countries such as China, Taiwan and Denmark. We all have our own rooms and we share kitchen and bathrooms together. It costs 110 pounds per week (518 euros per month). My personal opinion is that I’m glad that I don’t live in St John’s Halls (we live in St John’s House) which is next to our building. All the first year student live there for one year and after that they have to find some other place to stay. Almost every night these students party all night long causing fire alarms and when it goes on, everyone in the building has to be evacuate from the building (thank god not our building). It makes so much noise that I keep my windows closed overnight even though it’s boiling in the morning because the windows has been closed. But yeah.. After having 13 hour shift (7-20) in Milton Keynes (32km away from Northampton) I really wouldn’t be happy to go outside just because someone has set the alarm by mistake. But that’s student life! 😀 Now this room feels really comfortable and cosy after I have done some decorations in here.

  • Meini

All Saints Church

Guild Hall

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What’s going on ? – Update

Hello Everyone!

Maybe someone has been wondering what’s going on here since we haven’t posted anything for a long time. This blog has been sleeping for two months because simply we were so busy with studying and forgot to write or just didn’t seem to find time for writing a post.

Because none of us had been posting anything for a long time, I decided to tell what’s been going since the very first blog posts.

In January and February we all three have mainly been focusing on studying. We had two modules at university and quite a lot to do. We had one assignment (essay of 2,500 words) and an exam. We had couple days a week at the uni and then spent a lot of time studying. As I wrote earlier, the module we are having started last year before we came here, so we had a lot to catch up for the exam. Most of our time in January and February was just about studying. Exchange isn’t just fun, cool and fancy as it might seem, we definitely need to work hard! 😀

The assignment and exam are over now and we finished uni lectures at the end of February. At the beginning of March we have started our placements in hospital. We’re going to write more about that later. What I can say from my experience so far is that the work in hospital here in England differs quite much from Finland. It’s been interesting experience so far!

Even though I’ve bee focusing on studying quite a lot, I’ve had also time to visit Cambridge and London. I might write a post about it later. Also, I’ve had time to look around our home town Northampton. We all three have enjoyed the sunny and sometimes quite warm summer days!

Here are some nice spring pictures for you all. The Word Press image tool is still my enemy. These pictures aren’t taken sideways. But it shows them sideways to you because it doesn’t let me flip them. 🙁 I’m not happy with this at all.

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Studying: challenges and busy days

Hello there!

Meini already started our blog few days back. 🙂 It’s been crazy two weeks since we arrived 3rd January. I’m sure you people are curious to know how it is to live and study in England. I’ll tell you about it right now.

As Meini mentioned we arrived late in the evening 3rd January. 4th January we went to university for the first time. We had to complete our enrollments and we also met our teachers that day. Since then we have been studying a lot. It felt a bit crazy to start studying right away.

Studying nursing here at University of Northampton isn’t very much different from studying at JAMK. We also have lectures, assignments, group assignments and presentations here. A lot of the classes are not lectures where a teacher speaks. Instead, we have to often do something ourselves. Once we were told to make a web page of Asthma for children/adolescent. We had two hours time and in that given time we did the research and built the website. That was something we have never done at JAMK.

We go to school by bus and it takes about 30 minutes. We live five minutes walk away from the city centre and the bus station where we take the bus to Uni. The bus costs £1 for Uni students. Our classes start 10 a.m. and and end 12:30. At that point we have a lunch break for one hour. The classes continue 1:30 p.m. and end 4 p.m. The days are quite long. Sometimes we don’t have the classes in afternoon. We often have so called VLEs (Virtual learning environment) which basically means that we have to study the subject on our own at NILE. That’s not a problem though because we have a lot of independent studying at JAMK, too. NILE is their Optima. We actually think that NILE is so much better and simpler than Optima at JAMK.

The two modules we have here have started on October last year, so we have quite a lot to catch up. We have to study these subjects the students have learned at autumn and also study the new subjects we’re having now. At least for me it’s quite stressful and challenging since English definitely isn’t my first language and the medical terminology can be tricky. We also have to write an essay of 2,500 words and at least for me that is a huge challenge. But I’ll go for it.

These two weeks we have mostly been going to school and coming back home. We have been quite tired in the evenings and also we’ve had a lot to study. We haven’t seen the city much at all. We have been at the shops at city centre but actually we didn’t have much time or energy to see the city more. After we have studied the ones that we’ve missed I think we’ll have more time to see the city. Also, we have no lectures next week. Of course we’re going to spent quite a lot of time studying, but Meini and Elisa also have plans to go visit London. I’ve not yet made other plans for the week than studying, but I will maybe visit some city near Northampton.

The weathers here have been quite great. We’ve had many sunny days and it doesn’t feel like January! We also had a snowfall one day and the British people were quite upset. 😉 Snowfall seemed to cause a lot of worrying. Well, the British love to complain about weather. I think Finns do it too, but not as much as British people. 😀 Here are some pictures from here! Looks quite spring-like already! 🙂

(I have serious fight going on with this blog image tool. It doesn’t let me scale that second picture as I want it to be. So I’m sorry you have to look at such a small picture. :/ Not happy. )

Thanks for reading! 🙂





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Goodbye Finland, hello England!

Hello everyone and welcome to follow our journey in Northampton, England! Me and two other Finnish girls had this great opportunity to experience mixed studies abroad. In Erasmus exchange year you have to be minimum 3 months, so usually people go to practice for 3 months. We are going to be here for 7 months. Our exchange year includes studies in school and 11 week practice. We have 2 modules in school which are “Recognizing and managing acute childhood illness” and “Childhood mental wellbeing”.

So, let me tell little about applying to school and our first days (we have been here for 2 weeks now). Why I applied to this school? I wanted to be somewhere quite similar than Finland. High-quality school and hospital tempted me. It was Finlands Independence  Day 6.12. when I got email from Northampton University that they are offering me a place to study. It was real relief because I have waited impatiently some information of my exchange year! Same week I booked my flights to London and applied my accommodation.

On 3rd January, we left from Tampere Airport to London. Even though we had two connecting flights in Stockholm and Copenhagen, exchange year started to feel like real! We were at Heathrow Airport about 8pm and we had already a taxi waiting for us. On that trip we noticed the left-hand traffic (Still haven’t used to it) and the traffic was craaaazy! The cars were driving about 140km/h!! But, we got “home” safely. Finally at 10pm, we arrived to St John’s Halls of Residence and one lovely lady from reception guide us to our rooms. Each has their own room which includes bed, wardrobe, table with a chair, armchair and own sink. I’ve really got used to this in 2 weeks! Starting to feel like home.. 🙂

  • Meini

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