– by Nico Mayer
The following posts and the different sites give an overview about my studies abroad at Tampere University of Technology (TUT) in Tampere, Finland from August until December 2014.
There will be some Information about the preparation, the courses, leisure time and other helpful things.
I hope you will enjoy it.
The preparation for my semester abroad was very easy and well organized. Here you can find the application documents and nearly everything that is important. Therefore select the semester you are going to visit TUT in the navigation bar.
The next step was to look for appropriate courses. You have to confer with your professor which courses you can attend in exchange for the courses in Germany.
After I have been accepted to TUT, I got an email with all the important information for the next steps (Application at TUT and Residence).
The last step until now was to finish the Learning Agreement and get signatures from my coordinator, AAA and TUT.
Applying to TOAS
The important information about my residence was sent to me within the acceptance letter. In my opinion the easiest way is to apply at Tampere Student Housing Foundation (TOAS). To have the best of it you should apply to TOAS immediately after receiving the acceptance letter.
At the moment I am waiting for an acceptance letter from TOAS.
On Wednesday the 13th of August I arrived in Tampere. It was five days before the beginning of the orientation week. When I arrived in Tampere by plane I could admire the beautiful landscape right from the start. Everywhere I looked were trees and lakes.
I was very lucky to meet a finish student on the plane who had to go to Hervanta as well. He told me the right busses and brought me directly to my apartment building. There I called my tutor who brought me my key and showed me briefly the apartment.
If you are more lucky with you tutor he will pick you up at the airport or the city center and he will show you the whole building.
I would recommend to every future student to arrive some days earlier. In that way you have time for your registration and other stuff I will explain in another post before everybody else arrives. So you can spend the orientation week without standing in line and concentrate on meeting new people.
In case you have to go alone to Hervanta you can either take the bus from Ryanair directly to the city center (6€) or take bus no. 1 to “Itsenäisyydenkatu 16” (2,60€). In both cases you switch to bus no. 3 (2,60€) to Hervanta. (Number 4, 5 and 13 are also going there)
My apartment is located in Mikontalo (“Miko’s House”). It’s the biggest dwelling building in Finland with more than 750 dwellings.
My apartment is a 3-room shared apartment with French balcony in my room, a kitchen and 2 bathrooms.
If you are lucky (like me ;-)) there is already someone living in your apartment. In that case you already have some stuff in the kitchen or for cleaning. Normally there is nothing inside, even any pillows, blankets or towels.
You have different facilities in the basement. There are some washing and drying machines which everyone can book for free. Also some drying rooms with a heater inside. There is a gym which you can use for free the whole day until 10 p.m. with different machines for every purpose. And last but not least you can use the sauna for free. There are open sauna times separated by gender 3 times a week and each building has 3 saunas which you can book with your room number for private saunas.
Pyynikki park and observation tower is definitely worth a trip. You can see both big lakes (Näsijärvi in the north and Pyhäjärvi in the south), the amusement park, the city center and the skyline of Hervanta from the top of the tower. They serve delicious donuts, coffee and tea in the basement of the tower. The tower is surround by a park. After we went to the top of the tower we took a nice trail to Pyhäjärvi and walked along the lake back to the city center. We arrived at the harbor in the south of the city. There you can find also the stadium and the famous Mustamakkara sausage.
The Tampere amusement park (Sarkanniemi) is located directly at Näsijärvi. In the park you can find the biggest observation tower in the region with a restaurant on the top. Besides there are a lot of rides and other nice attractions. Half pipe and Tornado are the best attractions. The park is not very big but worth going in my opinion. We went there shortly before the rides close (End of August) and there were not a lot of people inside. Therefore we waited 10 minutes at the maximum for one ride. You can buy a daily ticket for 36€ or one ride tickets (10€ for big attractions, 5€ for smaller ones).
We visited Tallinn one Weekend in September. The city has a very beautiful old town and that’s why we spent all our time there. J Also every party location is located in this area. We started every evening in a bar called “Shooters”. As the name suggests this is a good and cheap possibility to drink exotic shots. I don’t remember exactly but I think it was something like 8€ for 10 Shots in the Happy Hour. On Saturday we walked around the old town with nice little places in between old buildings. There also some nice spots with a beautiful view over the city.
All in all it was a very cheap trip. We paid 32€ for the fairy (both ways) and maybe 10€ for the onnibus to Helsinki. You can find cheap hostels in the old town of Tallinn. We stayed in the “ALUR Hostel Tallinn Old Town”. It was cheap but not very clean.
If you want to drink some hard liquor in Finland I would recommend to buy it in Tallinn. It’s much cheaper than the Alko store.
The landscape especially around Tampere and in the North of Finland is very beautiful. Here you can see almost only forest and many, many lakes. It doesn’t matter where you go, you can always find nice little spots in the nature where it is quit and just awesome. In the south of Finland the nature is similar to Koblenz. There are some trees everywhere but also a lot of fields and agriculture.
Especially one lake in Hervanta is really nice to go to. It’s called Suolijärvi. There you can walk around in round about 2 hours and it has also some nice places to make a campfire or barbecue. Also you can lie on some kind of landing stage to chill in the sun or go for swim (mostly in summertime ;-)).
Rauma – Lahti – Hanko – Turku
Rauma is a small city at the west coast of Finland. We went there to see the old town, which is part of the world culture heritage. The small streets and houses look very nice and are a welcome change to the “new” and ugly building in Hervanta.
The nicest thing to see in Lahti is the ski jumping park. There are a lot of different heights and degree of difficulties. We went there in the end of October and were lucky that there was a training and we could see some jumpers. Normally you are not allowed to enter the area or the ski jumps. But in the end of October nobody stop us to go there. It’s a nice view from the top of the highest ski jump. Some jumpers even waved at us instead of sending us away.
Besides that there is a nice opportunity to walk around the city with parts of the trails in the forest and other parts through the city. We came across the Sibelius hall, some old radio towers and other interesting stuff.
Hanko is the most southern point of Finland. There are beautiful beaches and nice beach houses. You should go to a nice café on a peninsula with a view on two long beaches and on the sea.
Turku is the fourth biggest city in Finland directly after Tampere. The nicest part of the city is to walk along the river. We started at the Cathedral and walked, with short deviation across the marked square, along the river until we arrived at the castle next to the harbor.
All the cities have in common, that almost everything is closed after August. After that the summertime is over for the Finns and tourism is not profitable anymore. You can still visit the cities but be prepared that for example most museums are closed.
If you need something for your apartment after arriving, because there is nothing in it. You can either go to DUO, have a look in the store called “Tokmanni” or take bus number 5 to Ikea.
If you have no bus card, you have to pay 2.60€ to travel for 1 hour by bus in Tampere. You can buy your personal bus card for 5€ in the city center and reload it with money in the book shop in the university or every R-Kioski. When you are under 25 one ride is 1.26€ and after 25 1.76€. It doesn’t matter how old you are, but at night (after 12 p.m.) you have to pay 2.50€ extra.
Here you can have a look at the different busses and there travel times.
Duo is a shopping center with finish supermarkets, Alko (Liquor store), Lidl and some other shops in the middle of Hervanta.
For all kind of stuff you can have a look in the Facebookgroup “Hervanta Sales”.
ESN INTO is the Erasmus student network organization auf TUT. The can help you in all kind of situations and organize a lot of stuff like the orientation week, student trips to Russia or Lapland and many parties.
In the beginning of the semester you can borrow stuff for your apartment from them for a deposit.
You should definitely join their guild for 3€. Therefore you have coffee for free in their club room in the main building, get their newsletter to stay informed for all of the events and get sometimes a discount for different activities.
For cheap travelling between the bigger cities you can use the onnibus. Normally you get for example tickets to Helsinki between 1 and 10€ depending on the time you book. So book in advance to have really cheap prizes.
The university provides you a finish SIM card for free. At the beginning you have 8€ for your mobile phone and you can reload it at the R-Kioski or online for at least 10€. After the first reload you get a 5€ bonus. I think one unit is 10 cents.
The library has really nice interior and cozy places where you can read or study. There are some couches and beanbags. Furthermore you can use scanners and printers basically for free.
You can use your student card to pay your lunch (2,60€), coffee or other snacks in the university.
Furthermore it works as key card to enter the university with your own pin code after the opening hours.
To do some sports at the university you have to pay the sports fee (38€ for winter semester). After that you can use 2 gyms at the university and participate in different fitness courses, ball games or whatever is offered.
There are 3 different restaurants with different meals which offer lunch during the week. On Saturdays only one is open and on Sunday all are closed.
Every Thursday you can eat pea soup with pancake in one of them. This is a typical finish meal and every university serves it on Thursdays.
Information and Knowledge Management
Topic of the courses is the information society and the role of information and knowledge management as an important asset in today’s corporate world. Different concepts and theories are presented and illuminated from a business perspective as well as form a technology perspective.
The grade consists out of a research paper written in a group of 3 and a final exam. Material was partly provided for the paper and you had to answer 3 open questions. The exam counts 70% of the final grade.
Basics of Wireless Communications
Topic of the course were structures, principles and applications of various radio communication systems. Especially the phenomena which influence the design process are important.
This course is graded with a written exam. You could get bonus points during weekly exercises.
Computer Networking I
Content of the course was the design, development, configuration and maintenance of a small network. Therefore we learned introductory concepts and the basics of computer communications. This knowledge was discussed in theory and applied in practice.
The final grade of this course was also determined by a written exam.
During the course we had to complete 2 online tests. One gave us bonus points for the exam and the other one was necessary for the participation in a laboratory work. This 3 hour session was also mandatory for the completion of the course.
There are no Ryanair flights during winter time from Tampere to Frankfurt Hahn.
Therefore i had to go to Helsinki and took a plane to Frankfurt. Luckily a friend went by car and took me along, but there are also nice buses which go directly to the airport.