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This is an archive of our old Students' blog entries. Check out the new blog here: https://www.saimia.fi/blog/en/

Accommodation

Good day to all reading this blog!

I assume that the prevailing part of those following my blog entries, are not yet students, but do consider studying at Saimaa University of Applied Sciences or coming here for an exchange. For this reason, I am doing my best for the entries to be somehow informative, interesting or fun. In this blog today I would like to some extent cover (or at least touch) a subject which could be considered a live issue for all those who get to study at Saimaa University of Applied Sciences.

No matter who you are and for how long you are coming to Lappeenranta - either for one semester as an exchange student or three and a half year as a full-degree student – you will definitely need a roof over your head. Good for you if you already have friends, at the place of whom you can live, or if you are lucky enough to have your own flat. If this is your case, then this blog is not meant for you, but I think you can still find something useful about housing in Lappeenranta. I very much hope so.

If you neither have friends with an apartment, nor your own, then this blog might serve you as an introduction on accommodation. As I see it, there are two options for finding a place for living. The first and the easiest way is applying for housing from the Lappeenranta Area Student Housing Foundation (LOAS), from the Imatra Student Housing service “Tuki”, or Imatra’s “YH-builders” student housing – your choice would largely depend on which campus you are planning to study – Skinnarilan or Imatran. I am not well aware of the two last options, as I have never lived in an apartment there, nor have any friends who were living there to give feedback. These options are, therefore, mostly for you to keep in mind, as there is usually a lot of information about LOAS and hardly anything mentioned about student housing in Imatra. Being honest with you, I haven’t had any idea of how housing is arranged in Imatra by this very moment. Let’s now get back to the topic of this blog. LOAS provides shared (two- and three-room flats) and studio apartments. Depending on the number of rooms, location, condition of an apartment, and whether it is furnished or not – price varies from 260 euros to 500 euros per month. Understandably, studio apartments are more expensive, whereas a room in a three-room shared apartment might cost you just 260 euros per month. The apartment that I used to live in was a shared two bedroom one – it cost me 278 euros/month. The price included all the utilities, usage of furniture and an Internet access. Besides this, a tenant has an access to a laundry room with several washing machines and one-two dryers and an additional room with heating for drying. Adding to this, there are saunas at each dorm, which tenants can book. Another great thing is a club room, which can be booked for a party or a get-together.

I haven’t had any problems or inconveniences for the two year that I have been living in my LOAS apartment. It was in a good condition, clean, and fully-furnished at the day that I moved in. Being honest, I had a pleasant time lining there. When I was moving out, I wasn't charged for the things that I didn't broke, as it happened to me in Seville. My simple advice would be to follow the deadlines and to apply for an apartment on time. If you fail to do it by the due date, you might not get it, or you will get it later, or not according to your preferences. 

Important note! If you are living in a LOAS apartment and are planning to terminate the rent agreement (for instance, if you are leaving to your home country for summer or going for an exchange/practical training), make sure that you fill in the termination form well in advance. Here is the clause from LOAS Intra page: “For the tenant the term of notice of removal is one (1) month, which is counted from the last day of the month when the notice was given.” I accessed this information 29 May 2016. It might change, so check the LOAS official website for the more up-to-date information and do not blindly rely on the information provided by me.

As for the second option, you can rent an apartment from private landlords, who, as far as I know, not so numerous, and not all of them are speaking English, so it might be challenging at times. There are, however, some disadvantages of this. First of all, it will most probably take a lot of your time and effort to find a decent apartment. If it is a shared one, it might happen that you will have to live with the not so pleasant flatmates (I have heard several of such cases). Secondly, it is usually way more expensive compared to student housing. Being more expensive, it might be in not so good condition or not furnished. Thirdly, it is not clear whether you will have laundry, sauna and a parking place or not. Fourthly, you might be missing the lively and lovely student life of huge student dorms. Fifthly, you are very much dependent on your landlord and his willingness to prolong the tenancy agreement. When living in LOAS, you can live as long as you pay a monthly rent, and you can terminate our rent contract at any time. All in all, finding a good apartment for rent from a private landlord very much depends on your persistence and luck.

This is all for today. Wishing you best of luck at your accommodation arrangements!

Have a nice summer and see you soon! J

My favorite mean of transport

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Good day to all!

When two years ago I was assessing the advantages of going for studying at Saimaa UAS, the possibility of leading a healthy lifestyle in a good natural environment was one of them, and not less important than others.

I had already traveled a lot around Finland by that time. From those numerous trips I learned pretty much about the sports culture of Finnish people, wherein bicycle plays a very important role: either as a kind of sport, mean of transport, or as an attribute of a pleasant pastime.

Being devoted to cycling from the early age, I was strongly encouraged by the thought that I will keep this healthy habit in Finland, as an opposite of going to a big city in my homeland, where such free cycling is barely possible. Therefore, when I was moving my things to Lappeenranta, my faithful two-wheeled friend was coming along with me.

Finland does not only cultivates bicycle culture, but creates the necessary conditions for it: broad network of wide asphalted lanes dedicated for cycling and separated from the roads, public bike maintenance and docking stations, low traffic and an exemplary driving etiquette – could a cyclist desire more?

For the two years that I have lived in Finland, bus was never of my first choice, except the days that the weather persistently prompted so.

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Waiting for the snowy winter to pass.

With the spectacular natural scenery of South Karelia, cycling becomes a truly enjoyable experience.

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Do take an evening bike ride along the shore of Saimaa Lake. In doing so, you will most probably be rewarded with even more beautiful views.

As I said before, bicycle is not only an enjoyable and healthy pastime, but also a convenient and fast mean of transport. Distances in Lappeenranta do not seem long at all, if you have a bicycle. For instance, it takes me half an hour to get to the city center, which is approximately six kilometers from my house – it takes about the same to get there by bus, so if the weather is good, why would I choose bus over a more green and healthy mean of transport? Shopping, getting to the university and other stuff becomes three times faster and much more convenient with a bike.

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Why on the world would I choose a bus, when it is like this on the street?

When you study in Finland, you have a great opportunity to lead a healthy lifestyle. Cycling is a lovely addition to it. It does not only make your live easier, but turns everyday exercises into a reality. I am really happy to see that Russians are gradually taking after this ingrained habit of Finns.

This is all for today.

Have a nice day and see you soon!

See you soon.

Good day to all reading this blog, and to all those not reading it too!

I do not cease to admire it: what a truly wonderful weather we have here in Lappeenranta! Could it be the summer season rehearsing before eventually coming into its own?

The month of May, being so lavish with a lovely weather this spring, is coming to an end. Academic year is over for almost all of us, unless the unlucky few, who are not set free yet. May the Force and Patience be with them, as it is a true struggle to study when the others are already off for summer holidays. In my turn, all the courses are finished and all of the exams are successfully passed. What a feeling!

My tenancy agreement terminates in a couple of days. For this reason, I came to Lappeenranta for the weekend to pack my belongings, clean the apartment and move all the treasure back to Russia.

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It fit on the nose.

Being honest with you, I don’t really feel like going away from the cozy apartment of mine. Among all the other friends’ flats that I have seen for the last two years, mine has always been dearer to me – and you can understand why, if you have read the previous articles in this blog – those with the picture of my terrace. Someone once said that I was living in the wood, as the block of flats is surrounded with thick forest, but it was a perfect place for me! Besides this, I would say that almost all the student blocks are in the woods or not so urbanized. I think it is because cities in Finland are generally so prettily and sensibly fitted into the natural context. This is, by the way, one of the things why I adore Finland.

Important note! If you are living in a LOAS apartment and are planning to terminate the rent agreement (for instance, if you are leaving to your home country for summer or going for an exchange/practical training), make sure that you fill in the termination form well in advance. Here is the clause from LOAS Intra page: “For the tenant the term of notice of removal is one (1) month, which is counted from the last day of the month when the notice was given.” I accessed this information 29 May 2016. It might change, so check the LOAS official website for the more up-to-date information and do not blindly rely on the information provided by me.

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My place.

Despite my desire to stay, I have to leave. I won’t be coming to Lappeenranta until the end of August, as my practical training lasts till then. Even then, when I am free from work and studies, I will only be coming shortly to settle some university and exchange stuff. After that, I will be off to Singapore for an exchange for almost 5 months! Isn’t it great?! (I will be telling you more about practical training and exchange to Singapore in the coming articles)

So it is not yet clear when I will come to Lappeenranta again. What I know for sure, is that I will be missing Finland, Lappeenranta, Saimaa UAS, my place at Linnunrata 10 D 4, friends that I made here, people and their friendliness (it is not that we don’t have friendliness in Russia ;), the beautiful nature that I so frequently took pleasure in, the sports, the food, the lifestyle, and numerous others, which would be too long to list. They have won a separate place in my mind.

To sum up, the times I have spent here have been pleasant, and I strongly hope that I will be coming back here soon.

This is all for today. Have an enjoyable summer!

See you soon!

Moments of nightlife

Good day to all!

When you are the lucky one (really not sure if it is sarcasm or not), and you have several fronts in your life, like favorite hobbies, sports, university studies and a part-time job to crown all, you can often find yourself sitting deep into the night and doing things. The post is not to discuss the problem of sleepless nights and how harmful they are, or to advocate the neccessity of following daily regimen. Not in any way, because I am neither your doctor, nor you parent. It might even turn out as we go, that I am for the sleepless nights, rather than against them. Yet there are certain conditions:

1. The night is in some way productive: you either study, do your hobby or having fun (the last one not to be confused with alcoholism);

2. You are not spaced out, not staring at your computer screen or switching between tabs;

3. Your night does not very much resemble dozens of other nights, as it is then very likely contradicting one of the two previous conditions.

Other causes of sleepless nights could be trading Forex in Asia, working night shifts at the pulp mill or contemplating aurora borealis, but I am the fortunate one to be put somewhere in the middle of the extremes.

My time management skills are not beyond praying, yet my day is not that busy for the night to be occupied. Nevertheless, I very often find myself awake well after midnight. Like on the picture below, for instance.

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Guess what time of the day it is. Yes, 4:25 a.m., but I look fresh, aren’t I? I guess this was one of the nights that I started preparing for an exam half a day before. I should have started earlier, but it wouldn’t have been so exciting then…

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…or like here. Yeah, I have once again failed to follow the advice of preparing well in advance. As you see, we eventually find ourselves fooling around.

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Not so much fun here though…

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“they see me rollin

they hatin

Patrolling they tryin to catch me ridin dirty…”

Those who often happen to stay awake late at night, know the feeling. It is totally different from the daytime. When the drowsiness finally passes at some point, you shift into a completely different state. At the state when you are fully relaxed but still focused and sensitive to the outer world. At this moments, I often catch myself thinking that night time is way more productive and creative. For these very reasons, I wouldn't give up night wakefulness, as it allows to look on the surrounding from a different prospective....and also not to fail exam :) Besides these, it gives some memorable moments, and it is sometimes very generous with spectacular views.

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Ok...This is not a spectacular one, but yet something beautiful. Unfortunately, I haven't captured those, which were truly amazing. I was more into contemplating.

This is all for today.

Have a nice day and see you soon!

Can't believe it!

Hello everyone!

Writing here to share the joy of mine! The thing is, I am eventually done with all my studies! ...at least for the summer time… I simply can’t believe it. Com’on! You know the feeling, and it is two times stronger in my case and there is a reason for it.

For those who haven’t read previous blog articles and don’t know: I combine my studies at Saimaa University of Applied Sciences with studying at the Saint Petersburg State University of Economics, degree programme in Management.

Answering to those who might question: No, I am not mentally ill. Neither was I in the heat of passion or threatened, when deciding to apply to the second university. And the last two psychological examination revealed no penchant for sadomasochism.

It was my personal choice (not sure, however, if it was a well-thought one) to apply to a university in Russia. If my will was some kind of steel, then the heavy burden of two unis would be the tempering of it in a figurative sense. Yet my will is not steel, and I only get gray hair and lose nerve cells. Just kidding, but don’t be so upset!

Joking aside. I have noticed that it has become way easier to cope with the ever-rising load of stuff, compared to the previous year, for instance. Not at all burned out or apathetic, but fully charged and ready for the summer. Sounds like an affirmation, but it isn’t – I really feel perfect. Did you know that they have affirmations even for the hair growth, rich harvest and selective conception?!

By the way, here are the fruits of my efforts.

fruits of my efforts 

#advanced_math_in_72_hours … #Phiolosophy#Immanuel_Kant#Plato#Hegel … #IT#Access … #Theory_of_Managenent … #Jurisdiction … #Economic_theory … #Physical_education?! … #English … #8_days_of_torture #Thanks_I_am_alive …

My studies are now over, and I am a third-year student at Saimaa University of Applied Sciences and a second-year at a Saint Petersburg State University of Economics!

Though it is not yet an end to suffering :D I have substituted one evil with the lesser one, as I am going to have my second internship very soon. I will tell you more about my professional practical training in one of the coming articles.

By the way, what is your favorite way to release tension? I have recently discovered mine – it was right after the exam session. The thing is called “Catapult”. It is an attraction. Here is how it works:

 

Photo 1: yet on the ground

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Photo 2: me high up in the sky

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This attraction figuratively sets you to zero. The speed of 19 m/s and the joy of 75 meters of height. It was fantastic, unforgettable. Haven’t tried anything more enjoyable than this for one year. I also tried “Velikolukskiy myasokombinat”. How ironic it was of the creators to call an attraction a “Meat processing plant”? :D

This is all for today.

Have a nice summer time!

See you soon!

Surprise!

Hola! ¿Cómo estás?

Continuing the narrative of my basic practical training at Xtraice in Seville, I would like to tell you about the “surprise” which was waiting me on arrival.

I didn’t have any difficulties finding the place of my residence to-be, as I had my personal bus with a driver – you can read more about this privilege in the article below.

At a designated time, a delivery girl Coralia appeared in front of the house to pass me the keys to my apartment. She handed them in quickly and was about to pass out of sight behind the corner. She was leaving suspiciously too fast. I hailed heracross the street and asked to show me around the apartment.

Seemingly reluctant she returned. I tried to open the entrance door, but it didn’t yield.

Wrong key? – I asked.

Coralia rejected this version, as there was an address badge on it. To show the good condition of the key and the house’s entrance door lock, she demonstrated that it worked, but it didn’t yield at her try either.

Ten minutes after midnight, and I am standing with my luggage trying to open the door. Coralia recalls, that there was one apartment, which was difficult to access due to the lock malfunction. She also adds that it is presumably the one we are trying to open, and that the lock needs a special manipulation. Given that Coralia was leaving so rapidly, it was an awkward admission, wasn’t it? :)

I will not go into the details, but fifteen minutes later we did figure out the special approach to the lock. Coralia promised that the door will be repaired in the coming days, but it wasn’t. Neither in the coming days, nor in the one and a half weeks.

Good, one more door left – the one that opens the apartment itself. No difficulties with the second door. We entered the apartment. It was so dark, that I could barely see anything. Coralia pointed my room, wished me an enjoyable stay, and headed to the exit, explaining that she is badly late. She was once again leaving so suspiciously fast, but I let her go.

It seems to me now that there was some other reason. It didn’t take me long to figure it out. You will understand why.

I turned on the lights everywhere. Having taken a closer look at my apartment, I saw that it was a total mess: dirty dishes, dust, little heaps of food packs, an overflowing rubbish bin, some light bulbs burned out, cracks on the walls, scratches on the furniture, questionably safe old gas stove, spots on the ceiling, dirty toilet. To crown it all, my room was more resembling to a Harry Potter’s closet, rather than an agreed 14 square meters room with a view on the street.

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Is that Peter Parker who was living here before?

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Fantastic view on the street!

Cannot even imagine this could be possible in Finland with the apartments we have there.My Finnish student apartment is below. Feel the difference:

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This is how the real street view should look like, or, I would say, a yard view.

You won’t believe, but the rent prices are nearly the same. The Spanish apartment’s rent is about 20 euros less.

My rent agreement was in Spanish, but I made an effort to translate and read it through before my arrival. Am I an International Business student or what?! According to the contract, I had 24 hours to report on the apartment issues. If I didn’t have these 24 hours, I would not have let Coralia go so easily.

My day was too long, so I didn’t feel like reporting at night, and left it all for the coming day. I made my bed and felt asleep as soon as my head reached the pillow.

I had to report on the issues as soon as possible, so I went down to it early in the morning. Luckily, my practical training was starting only on the next day, so I could solve the problem.

Referring to the “24 hour period of notice” clause in the contract, I send the photos of all the imperfections. Another clause that I referred to in my notice, was that the flat should be passed to the tenant in a “perfecto estado” – perfect condition J I asked for another apartment and a rent discount of 50 euros for the inconvenience. Luckily, after several days of negotiating I got both. Though my new apartment was perfect neither, it was notably much better.

This is what they offered me:

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Though the new apartment had this:

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they tried so hard...

Looking back at that time, I think that this issue with the apartment was an integral part of my basic practical training: I had to read the contract and make use of it, I had to create an evidence base, and I had to negotiate and to write business-like letters. This is when courses from Saimaa UAS proved to be really practically applicable.

Wishing that this would not happen to you, I would strongly advice:

  •  to translate and read the rental agreement before arrival
  • to ask for the photos of the apartment they are going to provide, so that you can compare what you got with what you were agreed to get
  • to inspect the apartment thoroughly on arrival with someone representing the rental firm
  • to make photos and report on all the issues as soon as possible – they can otherwise charge for it later from your deposit
  • to ask for the official notice of utilities consumption
  • to be present at the apartment check when moving out, and to request a written confirmation, that everything is ok in the flat. Otherwise, they might later charge you for the faults that had no place, as they tried on me, but failed.

These simple tips might save you a significant amount of money, as they did in my case, and, more importantly, they helped to maintain my peaceful state of mind.

All in all, this situation gave me some useful experience. Don’t they hope that it spoiled my mood – not for a minute! I continued to enjoy the beautiful city of Seville and to productively learn at my work.

This is all for today.

Have a nice day and see you soonJ

Seville

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Good afternoon!

It is almost one year now that I acquainted to a charming city of Seville. As the one-year anniversary approaches, I catch myself frequently recalling the pleasant memories of the three months that I spend in a hospitable city, lying on the bank of the Guadalquivir River.

Perhaps one of the most popular events in Seville, and even in the whole Andalusia region is the Feria de Sevilla (Seville Fair), also known as Feria de Abril (April Fair). Unfortunately, I was not able to attend the Fair, as my university studies were in the process at that time, but at least I had the fortune to live near the main entrance of the fair, which is very beautiful in itself.

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Seville is the very heart of Andalusia culture, the center of bullfighting and Flamenco music, and I got to see both of them - those are truly authentic experiences! They are absolutely must-see!

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To get the true experience of the joyful culture, you should take yourself time and take life easy. People around you will show you how to do it J For instance, we had a one-hour lunch break at the company I had my internship in. All the office workers gathered together around a big table in a room to have a lunch and to chat. As soon as everyone finished his/her lunch, we slowly headed to a local café to have an iced coffee, tea, soda or even a beer, when there was some special occasion prompting to do so. The atmosphere was lovely. Just look at how joyful we are and do like us.

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…but don’t bring it to the extent that you can no longer observe the sight of the city, with which Sevilla is very rich. Among the most notable landmarks of Seville are the Alcazar, the Cathedral which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

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The Alcazar.

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Hey, Game of Thrones lovers, does this shot above look familiar to you?

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The Cathedral of Saint Mary of the See. I wish I had some decent photos of the interior. My phone camera could barely embrace it.

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If you are persistent enough to climb hundreds of stairs up, you will be rewarded with a view like this. Lovely, isn’t it?

Another spectacular place to visit is the Plaza de España. It is situated in the Parque de Maria Luisa, which is a heavenly place in itself.

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Hey, Star Wars lovers, does this shot look familiar to you? It was made at the Plaza de España.

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One of the many lovely views at the Parque de Maria Luisa.

The temperature sometimes reached the level of 45 degree Celsius during the day and lowered only to a level of 30 by the midnight. It was a little bit of a challenge without air-conditioning. Good that I had this:

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...and this

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...and this

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All in all, I had a great time in Seville. I didn’t only receive a useful experience during my basic practical training, but also got to enjoy the lovely city of Seville. The memories from there are so bright and joyful, that I continue to recall on them again and again. If you ever get an opportunity to visit Seville, do that, but first make sure that you can stand the temperature there.

This is all for today.

Have a nice day and see you soon!

Acquaintance with Seville

¡Buenas tardes!

I would like to share the wonderful experience of mine – the experience of discovering Spain in general, and Seville in particular. My story will be divided into several parts.

In this very blog article I would like to share my first acquaintance with Seville. It took place roughly ten months ago - at the times, when I was having my basic internship.

It is not that I have never been to Spain before – I was lucky enough to spend two weeks on Tenerife Island. What I mean is that Spain has appeared from a different prospective in Seville.

Very little did I know about Seville, when I was sitting in my Lappeenranta - Milan Bergamo – Seville plane and admiring the mountain landscapes from the illuminator.

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It is not that I am indifferent or apathetic to where destiny brings me. No, not at all. When my practical training arrangements started to seem concrete enough, there were only two weeks left until the internship beginning. It very much seemed to me at that time, that having a roof over my head, flights arranged, and luggage packed were the primary things to do, rather than to search the web.

Whenever I told someone, that I am going to Seville, they nodded approvingly, as a sign of being familiar with the city’s name. To my shame, I wasn’t. When I first heard the name of the city, I had no associations in my mind. Only later did I get to know that Seville is most popular with its football club, but I have never been interested in football…

Even though I did read about Seville and its main sights, I was not aware of what a picturesque place I was heading to. To be honest, the destination did not play as important role, as the internship company did. But the stars so agreed, and I could desire neither a better place to work, nor a different place to stay. Though I don’t believe in stars: you might see their light, but they have went out thousands of years ago.  

Our airplane landed shortly before midnight. Seville welcomed me warmly, but I could barely understand what it was saying. It was not silent or speechless, as Spanish culture could not be so, but English was on mute there. No one spoke English there (Intentionally exaggerated). Neither at the airport, nor at the travel center’s info desk. Unbelievable, but true: it did not prevent us from understanding each other. As any foreigner, who does not know the local language, I had a lot of ways to get my thoughts across to the Spaniards: I could repeatedly repeat (sorry for the tautology), I could repeat in a louder voice, I could repeat more slowly, I could put my thoughts in a simpler way, I could make gestures at last! – and I practiced all of it, and it did work out!

Having collected my modest luggage, I found a transfer bus from the airport to the city. I didn’t know the city very well, and I think it could be read in my eyes (not puppy dog eyes). The bus had only one stop – the ending one, so it was easier for me. When I was getting off the bus, I showed my address to the driver and asked how to get there. He must have read that thing in my eyes. He beckoned me back into the bus with his hand, saying something in Spanish and making gestures, from which I understood, that he is going the same way, and he will take me closer to my place. Shortly speaking, I was getting to my apartment in Seville on a personal bus with a personal driver. Like football teams do.

fot the blog

Seville showed off its beauty right in the first day of our acquaintance, and I was charmed.

I arrived to my address safely. Coralia (a delivery girl) passed me the keys. What I saw in my apartment, was totally different from what I expected, but I do not want to mix the pleasant aftertaste of a nice acquaintance with the not so romantic prose of life. Let it be the topic of one of the other articles.

In the coming articles, I will continue narrating about my experience in Seville.

Have a nice day and see you soon!

To be continued.

Basic practical training. Part 3: couldn't desire a better place to work!

Hello everyone!

In this post today I would like to tell more about the work experience I got during my basic practical training in Seville.

As I have repeatedly mentioned in the previous blog articles, I had my basic practical training at a company called Extraice S.L. (Xtraice). It is located in Andalusia region, Seville, Spain. The company was established in 2003. It is a world’s leading manufacturer and distributor of ecological ice for hockey rinks. The company is operating on a wide scale – its products are presented in 75 countries and on 5 continents. There are approximately 30 employees engaged in Management, R&D, Finance, Sales, Marketing, Graphic Design, Technical Supply, Warehouse Management and Logistics. Company has a very multinational staff – it is presented with Spanish, French, Norwegian, German, Ukrainian, Canadian, Italian, American, and Russian and Polish citizens.

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Here we are having coffee in a local cafe after lunch. It was a lovely tradition!

I was employed as an assistant of a sales manager with an orientation to the CIS market. Even though my job title was “sales manager assistant”, I performed a much wider range of tasks during the practical training. As a first thing, I got acquainted with my co-workers to-be, my internship coordinator, company’s daily operations, product range and pricing policy.

As soon as I got to know to the company and the co-workers, my internship coordinator hold a master class of cold-calling for me. Good that I had some previous experience by that time – we did cold-calling in AIESEC, and I had the base to build upon. Right after that I was introduced to the processes of the company’s warehouse, which was really interesting to know. I hadn’t had an opportunity to get to know to the real warehouse operations before that.

Next important thing to do was to get familiar with the company’s Customer Relationship Management system – the core system used in the sales process of the company. I familiarized myself with the system’s interface and created several trial “opportunities”. I later used it when performing cold calls to clients in the CIS region, creating leads/connections in the database and performing low-scale sales and arranging transportation for small parties of goods. Among other things, it presupposed getting to know to the relevant sales and transportation documentation.

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I did not only sell, but assembled once also.

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It was in a beautiful city of Marbella (not the internship, but the assembly). We arrived there early in the morning, when the sun has not yet risen.

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Lovely sunrise!

Besides cold-calling, selling and dealing with the CRM system, I assisted warehouse workers in the revision of stocks. Adding to this, I created catalogs for the Customs and customers. These catalogs included detailed description of goods manufactured and sold by the company: precise sizes, goods nomenclature for the Customs and main technical specifications. I also had to get familiar with Taric and HCDCS databases in order to update all company goods’ codes and customs tariffs. In the process of performing this task, I learned how to use Taric and HCDCS databases and search for the needed goods in them. It gave me a bit deeper insight into the customs process.

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Every employee has to do some manual work for a change every month: packing shipments, sharpening skates, assembling etc.

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Me with the best internship coordinator ever and a good friend Anna!

Aside from CRM, Sales and Logistics, I performed tasks from a marketing sphere. I had to write and translate articles on recently-performed ice-rink installations all over the world and make updates in a Russian social network VK.

Adding to this, I was informing debtors of unsettled payments. It sometimes required to advice with lawyers regarding these issues. Not least useful (and, believe it or not, interesting) was to translate Russian contracts into English. I gave it on a check to a native English speaker from Canada. He couldn’t believe it was me who translated it, and asked several times if I copied my translation from the web :D I must have dealt with it well. My apologies, it seems that I am bragging here badly…

I got to know to the corporate ethics in an international company, which definitely was a very valuable experience. The tutorial on cold-calling technique from my internship coordinator at Extraice S.L. enhanced my skills significantly. Adding to this, I got to know to the real operations in the company’s warehouse and applied my theoretical knowledge in inventory management. Getting to know to the company’s core system of Customer Relationship Management was not least important - it enhanced my proficiency considerably and structured knowledge of customer relationship management. Besides that, I got to know closer to the procedure of resolving debt issues between parties, and familiarized myself with real business contracts.

As a result of performing small scale sales and arranging transportation, I have practiced my selling skills and got acquainted to the transportation-related documentation. Moreover, I had an opportunity to widen my contract vocabulary in the process of translating contracts from Russian into English under the supervision of a native speaker. This task allowed to deepen my knowledge in the content and structure of contracts.

I mention here and there that I have applied knowledge from the courses at Saimaa UAS to the tasks during my internship. I think it would not be superfluous to speak more specifically. I would therefore give just a few examples of how studies correlate with real work: I could practice selling techniques taught during the course of Personal Selling and Customer Service. The course of International Business Law and Contracts made it much easier from me to deal with business contracts. I heavily used IT skills gained from the course of Basic IT Tools and IT Tools for Business. I very frequently applied Incoterms 2010 when working with contracts – it was a part of our Supply Chain Operation and Logistics course. I wrote dozens of business emails and dealt with business correspondence a lot – the skills taught during the course of Business Correspondence, Business English, English Communication at Work and Academic Writing. The course of Global Sourcing and Purchasing familiarized as with the Taric codes, which I mastered when composing catalogs for the customs and customers. I learned it at first hand, that the knowledge obtained at Saimaa UAS is practically applicable in the real business activities.

As a short conclusion, I would say that the internship has brought a very valuable working experience to me, as well as given an opportunity to master skills obtained at Saimaa. My internship coordinator Anna was an ideal supervisor and a very good friend. Working environment in the company couldn’t be better. All of the co-workers were really friendly and helpful. Not only were they nice to each other, but they were also real professionals, and I could learn a lot from them. I really loved it at Xtraice. Our team was like a big family, and I didn’t feel like leaving after three months.

All in all, I couldn’t desire more.

This is all for now. I will tell you more about the beautiful city of Seville in one of the coming articles.

Have a nice day and see you soon!

Long way to work...

Good morning!

I arrived in Seville roughly at the middle of May. Good that I had several days free from work upon my arrival. Thus, I could resolve the matter with the apartment, and take up my internship duties worry-free and with no external distractions.

When I got to know the internship company’s name, I did a little research on the web. It turned out that the company is situated in Parque Empresarial Los Llanos (Business Park Los Llanos), which is outside the city of Seville. The approximate distance between the city center and the Business Park is fifteen kilometers, and the only means of transport are a private car and a public transport. So, when I decided on the internship at Xtraice, I knew what it would be like. It is not that I consider commuting challenge. It was not a challenge at all in Spain, if you had ever got to commute in Saint Petersburg or Moscow.

At the day appointed, I woke up very early in the morning. I always have this huge time reserve, so that I would be at work on time in any case, but the fate had some other plans on me.

I arrived on the bus station almost one hour earlier the necessary bus departs, so that I could spy out the land and react if there we some changes in the schedule. I asked the bus number from my practice coordinator Anna. To make sure that the needed bus arrives on time, I contacted the information desk. I wish I did not do it… Have you ever had situations that the person you need speaks fluent English, whereas others don’t – like in Seville, for instance – it is a mere luck, isn’t it?! So it was absolutely not the case with the information desk officer. She just started to laugh out loud joyfully at me when I tried to speak English with her J I showed her the bus number, and she started to shake her head, from which I suggested, that this bus is not on the route today. She asked me of the “dirección” that I need to go, and I showed her the address. Having looked at it shortly, she gave me some bus timetable and marked a specific departure time. I had half an hour late until the bus arrives and about one and a half hour until the working day beginning. When I was heading to my bus on the station’s platform, I saw an outstanding group of Ladies and Gentlemen, which was for some reason noteworthy. I double-checked the bus number and got on it.

Half an hour less I got off the bus at a presumably right bus stop, but it wasn’t by far. It was some small deserted city outside Seville with vast expanses around it. The streets were empty and people rarely appeared.  I was wandering under the scorching sun for half an hour, when I finally met a passer-by and learned that I was about ten kilometers away from the working place, and that buses do not go from that city back to Seville, and that taking a taxi is the only option, but there were no taxis, and I didn’t have a phone yet. I knew the direction to Seville, and took that road. There were no passing cars even, so when I met one, I stopped it and asked the driver if he could take me to Seville – I explained myself with gestures. With a lively Spanish friendliness and kindness he greeted me and beckoned into his car. Though he was not going to Seville, he took me to a city which was closer to it, but still didn’t have public transportation. From the few passers I inquired of my location – well, I was several kilometers closer to the Business Park.

Believe it or not, but one hour later and two more hitchhike rides, and I was at the doors of my practical training place. All of the three drivers rejected to take money from me, but they were really happy with the Russian souvenirs “Matryoshka doll” that I had with me J What a truly nice people they are!

I was two hours late, but with an extraordinary travelling experience behind me and a strengthened faith in Spanish kindness and friendliness. The start of my practical training could not be better than that J

P.S. The group of Ladies and Gentlemen on the bus station platform turned out to be my co-workers at Xtraice J  

This is all for today.

Have a nice day and see you soon!

Basic practical training. Part 2: arrangements

Hello everyone!

In the first part of my blog article regarding basic practical training, I shared my experience on the internship search, application process, selection, CV/cover letter writing. Following the first part, I am now proceeding to the internship preparation part, meaning flight and housing arrangements, which, I would say, were one of the most exhausting activities involved into the practical training preparation.

Despite the fact that I started to search for an internship well in advance – approximately 4-5 months before the summer time, I eventually found myself being in time shortage. Looking back I think: so good that I set myself to search for an internship that early, as I would have otherwise failed to find something worthwhile. Besides better chances to find a good place for a practical training, it will also most probably save you money. All in all, an early start pays off in all senses.

You might be wondering: Why did it happen in my case, even though I started well in advance? As mentioned in the previous blog article with internship theme, I did have several job offers to work in a hotel, but I didn’t really feel like working there. Those were, of course, lovely resorts in Greece and in Spain, where I could have a warm and sunny summer time – true. Not sure, however, if I would have had much of free time there, as I was an intern, not a resident. Some of the positions implied working night shifts at the bar counter, and others were not so accurate in the description of duties. I guess that the romance of working at night would blur soon after several sleepless nights. Unless you relieve the boredom with some free alcohol? There were clauses close to this: we need a hardworking intern who doesn’t mind working overtime and having night shifts. Besides this, they wrote that 20% of the task would be marketing-related. I wonder what that meant: drawing posters, giving out flyers, email spamming, writing posts in social media?

Thus, I was looking for something different, more closely related to my specialty. It, therefore, took longer to find something worthy. Eventually, fortune smiled on me after the long search. My fortune was in the face of Xtraice Company in a beautiful city of Seville. I applied there for a practical training and was selected. What a feeling that was!

As a matter of fact, all the documents were ready only 3 weeks before the practical training start. I neither had an apartment arranged, not flight tickets bought. It might not sound so challenging, unless you are doing “the field research” from the scratch first time in your live. I had no idea of where to look for an apartment, and whether it would be a reliable agreement and I would have a roof over my head. I had no other way than to search and try.

I first bought myself return ticket for a plane. With Ryanair it was both easy, cheap and convenient, as I had my Euro 150 transfer flight departing right from Lappeenranta. Couldn’t be better!

I then set myself to search for an apartment and numerous questions immediately arose in my head: where should the apartment be located? How furnished should the flat be? How do I make sure that I pay and get what I paid for?

Having searched the web, I found several websites which looked trustworthy and to some degree understandable at least. The seeming trustworthiness had nothing in common with reality. This is the point where the little troubles started. The websites had dozens of offers, but very few of the offers were in English, but this is not the point – I managed to translate it with Google. The interface of the website was the following: the selected room was displayed, as well as its description and the period of availability. Only later I discovered that the information on availability of the room might be completely inconsistent with reality. I didn’t know that and could not even imagine. I might have got used to the normal course of things in Finland, where you can rely on the information J

So I found the apartment that suited me most and booked it. No, it couldn’t be that simple. Waiting for a confirmation, I received something different from what I expected - I got a rejection to my email box in a few minutes stating that my booking was canceled. Face control? I wondered what could be reason.

*At that times I was using PayPal first time in my live, so I wasn’t familiar with the payment return process.

Imagine a situation: your booking is cancelled, but a rent is charged from the bank account. A sensible question arose in my head: Where is my money?J I am contacting the booking secretary – it takes ages. In a calm voice they are answering that the information on the website is not up-to-date, and that the apartment, which I tried to book, is no longer available, and that the money will arrive in two-three weeks. I start to inquire about other apartments. It turns out that most of the apartments presented on the website are not available, and that there are only 3 out of 23 displayed. Great! It is easier to choose now! I choose one of the three, I inquire of the availability, I book it – the same thing again – my booking is canceled, but the rent is charged. I am contacting the booking secretary – it takes ages. The secretary explains that there was some kind of mistake in the system and that booked flat was no longer available. Are they kidding? Not so much time left until the internship begins. I don’t like it that I still don’t have a place to live. I decide to try once more. I inquire about the availability of an apartment. They confirm the availability. I book it. The confirmation arrives. Relief.

The main lesson that I have learned is that starting well in advance makes it all way easier and worry-free. I would also strongly advice to double-check the housing arrangements and the terms of contract.

My summer started at the point, when I received the confirmation. I had absolutely nothing to worry about. One week ahead to rest and pack my stuff. Then I take a plane to a beautiful city of Seville towards new experience, which I will share in one of the coming articles.

This is all for today.

Have a nice day and see you soon!

Basic practical training. Part 1: actively searching

Good day to all!

As promised in the previous post, the subject of the coming article would be about my first (basic) practical training. For those who might not know, practical training - basic and professional - are integral parts of bachelor degree studies at Finnish universities. Whoever is reading this blog, he/she must be having at least some interest in the Finnish education and practical training as a particularly important stage of it.

Following the rule of "first things first", I would like to share with you my path which brought me to a Spanish city of Seville, to a company called Xtraice. It is not that my path is special, exciting or funny. Conversely, it was normal, although with some hardships. I nevertheless find it necessary to tell you about it. I hope that it might be of some use at least to few of those reading it.

First and foremost, I had to find a company which would be willing to take a first-year student as an intern. Who needs one, really? I didn't question myself at that times, but when I look back now, I realize that it was a great piece of luck to find a good internship. Following the advice of our degree manager, I started hunting at an early dawn - somewhere in the the beginning of January. By that time, I had several records in my CV. Those were related to extracurricular projects that I took part during my studies.

I literally spent tens of hours serfing the Internet for internship opportunities, improving my CV, writing cover letters and sending out applications. It was all silent for a month and a half, or even two. It is not that it was totally silent. No, I did receive two or three internhsip offers from hotels, which needed cheap manpower. They were looking for front-desk assistants and tour guides, but I wanted a different kind of internship for myself. I am not saying that those kinds of internships are inattractive or useless. Other way round, learning how to deal with customers is the first and the most important skill to obtain. All the same, I wanted something of more value.

I didn't give up a hope and continued the search despite the continuing silence. After another month of silence, it worked out. I eventually turned my lack around. I received two internship offers about the same time. Those were:

1. CIS market sales specialist at Xtraice. Xtraice is a world's leading manufacturer and distributor of ecological ice. Its products are sold around the globe in more than 80 countries and on 5 continents. Shortly speaking, the duties were to market and sell ecological ice to the CIS market in the B2B format. I found this opportunity at www.spain-internship.com

2. Regional sales specialist at Moscow University for Industry and Finance "Synergy". It is one of the largest modern universities in Russia with approximately 35000 students, 40 regional units and international represantations in London, Singapore and Dubai. The position implied marketing and selling educational services of the university in Moscow. This internship was found with Head Hunter service.

I was first interviewed for the position at Xtraice. There were two rounds: with an intermediary from Spain Internships service, and then with a recruiter at Xtraice. I passed both, and several days later I received an email from Spain Internship, announcing that I was selected!

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As for the second internship, at Synergy University, I had my interview arranged pretty soon. At the appointed day and time I was prepared and waited for their call, as it was agreed. 30 minutes passed. One hour passed. My Skype was silent. I checked if there has been some misunderstanding of the time. No, everything was correct. I wrote them an email. The reply was not long in coming. They were excusing for their forgetfullness and suggesting a new time for the interview. We agreed on the time. At the appointed day and time I was prepared and waited for their call, as it was agreed. 30 minutes passed. One hour passed. My Skype was silent. I wrote them an email. The reply arrived on the next day.  They were apologizing and suggesting a different time, as they have forgotten to infrom that there will be some IT maintanance in their computer network on the appointed day.

I left that email unasnwered. I thought: "No, guys, thank you. It seems that we have different ways :D" Now that I had only one internship opportunity at Xtraice, I accepted it and proceeded with the process.

As mentioned above, the working place for the basic training was found through the Internet service Spain Internships. The given service requires registration. As soon as the registration is completed, an applicant fills in a form with preferences and attaches his/her CV. According to the form and CV, the Spain Internship service offers a few options of a practical training. When one of the options is chosen, the interview for the given position is arranged. If the interview is successful and the applicant is matching the criterias set by an employer, the documents are arranged.

All in all, the process of hunting for an internship was a part of a practical training in itself. It was definitely not least usefull one. I had 4 or 5 interviews in total, which was a really useful experience. I rewrote my CV several times and composed dozens of cover letters. I created my CV's at Europass and CVmaker. These two offer good functionaity and are free of charge.

Looking back on that times, I would have recommed myself to make my CV as rich and full as possible. It was not that easy on the first year of studies, but still there were some possibilities for that: projects, part-time jobs, volunteering etc. It woud have really helped me in job hunting, because employers are very likely to ask about different kinds of experiences.

In one of the coming articles, I will continue telling about the arrangemenets, internship, and my stay in a beautiful city of Seville.

Good luck and see you soon!

Reflections.

Good morning everyone!

Waking up early these lovely days in spring is a must, as you otherwise miss to see the morning quitness and tranqulity. I do not really count myself as an early bird, and waking up early is a real challenge for me, but the early sun and pleasant birdsong simply captivate me. They make it way easier to wake up at sunrise, as I have never practiced before.

No, can't believe it. It seems that I'm once again praising the good weather and the view from my window... It was the last time! ...or the last but one.

The weather being so summer-like, I have recently been reflecting back on the last summer months I spent in a pleasant spanish city called Seville. I had my basic practical training there at a company called Xtraice. It was simply perfect, nearly fantastic there. From the charming Seville's achitecture, travelling and rich night life to the interesting internship and colleagues, who couldn't be more nice, friendly and helpful. It couldn't be better, and I would like to share it woth you.

For this topic is an extensive one, I have decided to break it into several parts. First of all, I would like to tell you about the preparation and arrangements, hoping that it would be of at least some use to you. It would have definitely been of some use to me. If it is of some interest to you, follow the blog updates - the article will not keep you waiting.

Have a nice day!

See you soon!

P.S. There are so many beautiful places on the campus. The view could not be more situating to write. I love it, though it might not seem so special to others.

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Random thoughts.

Buenos días!

Being under pressure of all kinds of deadlines, I nevertheless enjoy every single day spent here in Lappeenranta, as the balance of schooling, rest and sport is finally reached. To be honest with you, the lesson of "maintaining the right balance" has been by far one of the most important learned during the last two years. Failed to learn it, you might find yourself in a slight burnout. Experienced firsthand. I would therefore strongly advise to think twice before taking extra courses, or applying for extramural studies in some other university, or taking a part-time job, or doing it altogether as I did, and at times blamed myself, but never regretted.

As we all know, and as I have come to conclude - it is not all about studying and working. As neither it is about the mere fun. There should time for both, for making friends and schooling, for being light-heartened and meeting deadlines, for doing sports and travelling though not being expelled from school. Luckily, these things are in abundance here.

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Do take an evening bike ride or walk along the shore of Saimaa lake. In doing so, you will most probably be rewarder with an even more beautiful view.

Good luck and see you soon!

An occasional morning.

Hyvää päivää!

The weather is lovely today in Lappeenranta, isn't it? Sun warmth, clear blue sky and 21 °С, but it feels much warmer. I simply can't get enough of sunny days like we have had recently here in a beautiful South Karelia!

Today my morning started at 7.00 am to the sound of tractors' and leaf blowers' engines pleasantly roaring right in front of my terrace. The sound was to such an extent pleasant, that my windows were trembling. It is not that I am complaining: how could a soft melody like this ever disturb someone at seven o'clock in the morning? No, little things like this couldn't disrupt even little baby's sleep. Not mine, for sure, as I have my alarm clock accidentally always set for 06.30.

The live concert lasted for approximately one hour. I was leaving my flat to a shop when it was in a full play, and it very much seemed that they were just making more mess. Believe me or not, when I arrived, the yard was so clean, that professional cleaners would have envied and despair.

My yard now looks this clean and beautiful, and I couldn't desire a different view to contemplate. Oh, pardon me, I have forgotten Canary Islands. Let's be frank, who would have choosen questionable warmth (meaning weather) of homeland over Teneriffe or Gran Canaria? I would have done that.

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(No kidding!) Finally, I would like to say that my stay here in Lappeenranta is made very enjoyable. I give thanks to all those who make it possible. Thank you for your hospitality, Finland!

Have a nice day!

See you soon!

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