Category Archives: feelings about my exchange

With bittersweet regards

I am now back in Finland and I don`t know what to think about it. I have to admit that I am having a culture shock. Although I haven`t ever been really excited to meet foreign and strange people in Finland I see that I have changed my mind after this trip. I loved to live three months in a big strange place in where you never knew what is going to happen and who you will meet.  Of course in a big city you will meet not so nice people but I met also really nice and interesting people who I never would have met if I have staid studying only in Finland. I will definitely encourage all to go on exchange and be opening their minds on their trips. I realized that we Finns are really (or too) wary on meeting new people. Of course you have to have common sense in a both Finland and foreign countries. But I learned about myself that I am sometimes too on alert when I meet new people.

Although Shanghai felt sometimes too big and crowded, I noticed that it wasn`t necessary bad thing. If something bad would have happen, there was always someone to help you. Two days after I came back to Finland I went to my hometown`s city center by car and it felted like only two cars would have driven in the streets. When I was crossing the street by walk, I noticed that I was checking where the all people are. So it is definitely strange to be now in city of 100 000 people than city of 20 million people. It is funny that the change is stranger in this scale than before I went to Shanghai.

My exchange period definitely helped to improve my English and international skills. I learned much about China`s culture which you cannot experience only from books. I realized how big China`s economy is and how good valuable my trip is for my future career as a business women. I liked a lot of Shanghai so I will encourage going on exchange there! I am already waiting for getting back to Shanghai.

Here are some tips for people who are thinking of going Shanghai:

  • Dormitory is not the most fanciest accommodation, but you can survive with right motivation
  • Although many Chinese don`t speak English and communication feels difficult, you noticed that you will manage there well! Remember to have address on Chinese language (or call English helpline which is very easy to use and helpful)!
  • Chinese language is not difficult with right attitude!  Pronunciation is only difficult but practice, practice, practice
  • Travel in China! Shanghai is not the most Chinese place in China.
  • Be open minded and meet lots of interesting people
  • Visit many interesting restaurants and bars (there are thousands of them)

Too Cool For School (?)

The last week starts and my blog has been in quite bad shape for previous 2 months. Partly the reason is in myself but also I can blame this school`s Internet about that (it is too slow!). Three months has gone so quickly and I almost forgot my whole blog. These last seven days I really try to best to help you explore all the things what I have experienced in last three months.

Now as I am here on EXCHANGE is should maybe write something about school here in China. Although school is already ended. I passed my all courses, which where Chinese language, Chinese economics, Chinese culture& history and E-commerce (or everyone passed all courses that they took).  I changed my learning agreement and took little more credits than I should have to take. I have to be honest that some courses` information where quite unnecessary but in the other hand the other courses where so interesting. Here is some in list a little bit information about the courses which I have taken and what I think about it after school is finished.

Chinese language: The horror course which everyone was so afraid of. After all Chinese is not so difficult language if you pronunciation is right. There are not hard grammar rules in Chinese language. This was our biggest course by credits (9 etc) which basically meant that we studied Chinese almost 9 hours per week. In the middle of course the participation started to decrease a lot! I have to admit that the most of Finns were lazy students and as a result the international office made up this rule that people have to participate 2/3 of classes in order to get grades (is was a new rule for all the courses). Our teacher was called Lana. After we get to know her better we found out that she was a very good teacher and nice woman also.

I have to clarify that we studied Chinese spoken language not the written one! Three months was also too short time to really learn how to speak Chinese. Everyone passed our Chinese test because actual exam situation was epic (I am not going to write more about that…). But I am still proud of myself that I almost learned to spoke Chinese. I also think that if I stayed here for more I would have really learned it.  Now I can surprise Chinese exchange students in Finland and for example ask how they are and if I come back to China I can discuss about some prices and weather. In the other words I can speak Chinese small talk and I think that is helpful in my future business career.

Chinese economics: I really loved our economics teacher. He was a big surprise for us. He talked very straightforward about China, it`s past and it`s government. This course was for me the most interesting one! His English wash also very good and it was easily shown that he knew what he was talking about. Sometimes he was too excited and we was not talking about economical topic but he taught me the most about the Republic of China and maybe little bit also about Chinese culture.

Chinese culture and history: I hoped that this course would have been interesting but it was not. In this course I really understood what propaganda is in China. Subjects of this course were quite boring. We were taught how good things are in China and how everything is so wise and beautiful. Arght! Only thinking of this course makes me irritated. I have learned more about Chinese culture and history in school in Finland.

E-commerce: This course was also a little bit unnecessary but I liked a lot about our teacher. He was trying so hard to satisfy our information needs about this subjects but he almost all the time talked about 3 D technologies. After all we discovered that he was actual selling them by professional. His English was quite poor but I still give him blessing about trying and also teaching to us something about Chinese E-commerce.

Don’t waste your time or time will waste you

I thought that it would be quite easy to update the blog daily but it`s so hard when you want to see all things in Shanghai and don`t want to miss happenings. But I really try to uppgrade my blogging habits now!

In this week weatP3260113her has been quite warm on daytime and flowers have start to blossom. It`s a spring! It`s funny to see how much energy you will get when the sun shines and you start to dress up more lightly. I have been so happy on this week. I really am glad that I am here! Some Finns have started to ask the question what you miss about Finland and complain quite much almost about everything. I am so proud of myself how well I have managed allthough I am picky concerning food, company, toilets and sleeping places I have to admid! Maybe I am coming to be more and more grown up (?) Hopefully… Now when I started to talk about what things I am proud  and happy about I have to tell that I found new set-ups on camera! Taddatadaa! I thought my new camera was bad but flaw was probadly in the user! I am so bad with everything that is technical… But there is just one way to go up and learn more! So my pictures are not YET perfect but I let you enjoy my photographing education.

Inside JianMao Tower

Inside JinMao Tower

In the end I think I have to put list about things what I miss (just a little bit…)

* of course family and the dearest friends

* clean water and fresh air

* Dad`s food and dark bread (limppu)

* and so bad I miss dry apple cider (or any cider!) It unfear for all the girls (or for a girl who drinks almost only dry apple cider) that they sell beer and strong booze in every shop and bars but NO CIDERS!!! Luckily Lonely Planet`s Shanghai city guide tells that there is some pub who sells that! I have too check the place on next week because i need my cider…

Okey that`s all for now! Hopefully you will get my moans and as you can see I have managed quite well in Shanghai, the Republic of China.


This funny building with three baubles is more fancier in the evenings with all glinting lights

The tallest building in Shanghai

Very big building! It has said that the best view of the city is from deck 88 (almost 500 meters). There it is really seen how big this city is.

The last day

Tomorrow it finally comes, the day when I go to Shanghai. I am waited this moment so long but I cannot still believe that from tomorrow to end of May I am living in China. It is very difficult to express my feelings today because I have still so much to do for example to start PACKING and printing all different documents (not surprise for me, I always left important things to do on last minute…)!  But during this week I have done so much unnecessary things for example hard inventory on my clothes, painted all my nails with different colors (I do not know why?), read some homepages about Shanghai and I have been also EXTRA emotional to everyone…  I cannot believe my behavior! Hopefully tomorrow all this tension goes away.  It is just about 24 hours and I am on the plain. Thank god, it is straight flight. I think that I would be so lost if I now should fumble in some big airport alone.

I should now write something about practical arrangements before the exchange period. I do not even know have I done all but hopefully yes! I applied to exchange in last autumn. I remembered that I made my final decision about the destination on the last day. Many my friends have asked why did I chose Shanghai and I cannot answer them  straight because I really do not know the ultimate reason my choose. I knew absolutely where I did not want to go and was not sure where I wanted to go. Shanghai just sounded interesting place ( to where I probably will not get another chance to go for three months) and Chinese culture is so different so I want to experience something about that.

I took part on group flight and ordered my Visa through same travel agency. It was more expensive than I would have arranged them myself but definitely it was easier! I took travel insurance which was not so expensive than I thought because my trip last just little bit under 3 three months and my other insurances are from same company. What else practical things I have done… Off course handled Kela and school (learning agreement, grant application) things straight away when I heard that I have been chosen for exchange period in Shanghai. AND I ALSO  GOT MY FIRST CREDIT CARD! Wuhuu!

I arranged or tried to arrange my life in Finland to right condition. I try to get my practical training done in next summer so I have applied to some places and hopefully get one of them! I found very nice subtenant who lives next three months with my roommate. This was very nice relief that we did not have to move from our lovely home before my exchange period.

Here are some things what I want to achieve from my exchange :

–          Try to get out my pickiness about food (everyone who knows me little better knows how challenge full this is for me)

–          Try to control my shopping ( I have heard from my Chinese classmate that I will go crazy in there)

–          Learn some Chinese

–          Meet interesting people

–          Try to not get lost ( I promise to keep map with me all the time)

–          Be open minded to new cultures (little bit cliché but I had to write that)

Now, I have to really start packing (spring clothes and light shoes) and taking care of other last preparations. Bye Finland and HELLO SHANGHAI!