All posts by kirsik

Amazon, a biologists’ paradise

As a biologist, exploring tropical rainforests have been my dream as far as I can remember. So, when I heard about a university in the very lap of the great Amazon rainforest, I knew I had to go. As it happened, my University of Eastern Finland (UEF) had a two-way exchange scheme with Universidad Regional Amazónica Ikiam (or just IKIAM for short) with funding from the Erasmus+ program. As I was in my 6th year and nearing my graduation, this was my last chance to go on an exchange. Continue reading Amazon, a biologists’ paradise

Colorful South Korea

Before

The things I had to take care of before exchange were applying to the university on the website of KNU, flying tickets, travel insurance, choosing courses and registering on time on the website. Everything was quite easy as I had support from University of Eastern Finland as well and I got good advices from the both sides, my home university and KNU.

I started searching every possible information about the country and its culture. Even there is a lot of videos and blogs about South Korea and about living there, I felt like this country is still quite unknown for us. I was very curious and excited about going there for 4 months as the experience is always different if you live in the country than only staying there as a tourist.

Campus, dormitory and studying

My university was Kyungpook National University in Daegu. Daegu is only one hour drive away from Busan. I liked Daegu since the beginning as it is interesting, more local than for example Seoul and it had all the facilities I needed.

From the very first day I was amazed by KNU campus. Continue reading Colorful South Korea

Mon échange Erasmus+ au Maroc

Fin 2015, quand on m’a sollicité pour demander si un séjour au Maroc pourrait m’intéresser, je me suis dit : « Pourquoi pas ? » L’année universitaire de 2015–2016 étant très chargée, il fallait seulement fixer, puis aménager un créneau un peu plus avancé dans le temps. Une autre chose à prendre en considération était l’emplacement du Ramadan, les activités dans une société musulmane telle que l’est celle du Maroc se transformant et se ralentissant lors de ce mois de jeûne. Le déplacement a finalement eu lieu du 15 au 22 mai 2017.

Continue reading Mon échange Erasmus+ au Maroc

A return to Finland

I really appreciate the SAT project giving me the opportunity to return Finland, the fairy tale country in my heart.

In this land, I enjoyed the magic power from the great nature. The sun seems never fully set in cool and comfortable summer, while winter comes, thick snow gleams white and the sun seems never raise. What impressed me most was sauna in the Finnish summer cottage, it was really special and could purify both body and mind.

In Finland, environmental protection deeply roots in national consciousness, and I learned a lot when I was there. I also visited many museums which helped me understand Finnish history and culture better. What’s more, I met a number of new friends there and have built deep relationship with some of them. Continue reading A return to Finland

Personal growth through new experiences and diverse ways of learning

I received a unique opportunity to do master studies at Burapha University in Thailand for six months, under the Erasmus Mundus Swap and Transfer project (SAT), which became a life-changing experience for me. During my student exchange, I concluded minor studies from a new academic discipline, which gave me a chance to learn new methodologies and therefore significantly expand my own academic understanding. I also received new wonderful friends and gained many educating experiences, just by openly observing all the new things that were suddenly around me.

We tend to focus on the measurable hard skills that one gains during international mobility, but I would say that the invisible soft skills that one learns are equally – or even more important, than the amount of completed credit points. These soft skills can include achieving a better cultural awareness and tolerance towards new things, understanding various kinds of cross-cultural communication styles and for example endurance in achieving what you wish.  Beforehand I could not imagine how difficult it could be to for example buy a fresh, delicious mango or pineapple from a fruit seller, when you do not have a common language. However, people are people everywhere and by taking a bit of time, we can interact with each other, wherever we are. Continue reading Personal growth through new experiences and diverse ways of learning

A time with microplastic, daphnia and winter in Finland

My name is Napaporn Leadprathom (Meaw). I come from Burapha University Thailand, the small tropical country in Asia. I got post doc research scholarship from Erasmus Mundus action 2 (SWAP and Transfer project) to do the research about microplastic in freshwater ecosystem for 6 months. I’m interested in microplastic because it’s a pollutant with emerging concern and there are many gaps in research about microplastic. I have done many surveys on microplastic in Thai coastal area, but in here I focus on microplastic testing with aquatic animal in laboratory.

I lived in University of Eastern Finland Joensuu Campus from Dec 2015-May 2016. During that time, I tried to feed daphnia with fiber microplastic and observe the uptake and depuration behavior of daphnia. In Aquatic Ecotoxicology lab, it is very easy to do the test with daphnia, because the facility is well preparation. So that it is very convenient to do the thing as I plan, even if I did not have an experience with daphnia before.


I and my colleagues from Aquatic Ecotoxicology lab in University of Eastern Finland Joensuu Campus

Continue reading A time with microplastic, daphnia and winter in Finland

Lapland: Land of Miracles

My March highlight was a very long trip to the land of dancing auroras, snowy horizons and Sami culture: Lapland! And here is why you should definitely, definitelyyyy visit that magical region.  🙂

Lapland is a region that spreads through three countries, namely Norway, Finland and Sweden. I only visited the Finnish part and took a glimpse on the Norwegian one. However, visiting just a part of it was enough to leave me in an “awe”. Lapland is a real heaven. Beauty can be found wherever and whenever the eyes wonder.  Sceneries of endless forests coated in unpolluted white snow, coupled with beautiful reflections of the dim sunlight or curtains of Northern Lights are enough to make anyone forget about the miseries of the world.

I mean look at this view #nofilter (and not a great camera either)!

If you’re not convinced yet, let me take you on a tour of my trip…then maybe you will consider it very seriously 🙂 Continue reading Lapland: Land of Miracles

Old dog learning new tricks

So your postdoctoral research is over – years ago, and you feel that you still want to learn new directions to your research. Well, longish research visits do not have to be past life – it might be time to a new visit to foreign university! That was just what happened to me. I decided to get new skills in chemical ecology, and decided to get it from the University of California Berkeley, just a side of San Francisco. Fulbright Finland has just perfect grant option for this kind of trips: Fulbright Finland grant for research collaboration. The funding is aimed for visits from one week to three months. For me five weeks was possible, and luckily, I got the grant. Continue reading Old dog learning new tricks

A proper winter

One of the worst things during my childhood was the disappointment over mild and wet winters. Living and growing up in Serbia, I had the opportunity to sometimes experience days with heavy snow, but they were not as good as the ones from the early-December Coca Cola commercials. Learning that my application was accepted and that I will spend my next semester as a student of University of Eastern Finland, I was really happy to prove to myself that true winters do exist. And Finland did not disappoint me. The very first seconds I spent here were an argument good enough: exiting the airport door, every person I saw that night, including me, exhaled the shivering “WHUUH!” . . . and those were our first words here. I had the honor my first day in Finland to be a shiny -27o C one. Arriving in Joensuu from Helsinki, I wanted to take pictures of everything, but the low temperature drained my phone battery. It bothered me for a while, but it showed me that the walks to the University can be much more interesting if you just enjoy a nice sunny day, not with your head buried in your phone.

And the thing is, snow and ice look amazing on Joensuu. A simple walk through the forest and over the frozen lake can leave you speechless. One of my most beautiful experiences was actually getting lost in the forest at night…in the middle of the town, and I’m not even joking. Continue reading A proper winter

9 reasons Why You Should Do Your Exchange in Morocco

I am Katja Kivivainio and I spent a semester in Morocco in The University of Al Akhawayn in Ifrane, which is an American style university in Morocco. I was originally planning to go to Germany or South-Korea…However, life works in mysterious ways and I ended up to Morocco, and this turned out to be one of my best decisions ever.  So here are 9 reasons why spending a semester in Morocco was an amazing experience and why I would recommend it.

  1. New culture

Living in different continent has been an amazing opportunity to see how life in a totally different country. As you might know Morocco is a developing country which main religion is Islam. People are similar and different. There are great night clubs (although selling alcohol to Muslims is banned), but also getting married is one of the most important goals of young people.

  1. People

Moroccans are very friendly and hospitable. You are more than likely to be invited to a Moroccan family for dinner and of course you will also get a lot of new friends, both local and international. Continue reading 9 reasons Why You Should Do Your Exchange in Morocco