Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Winter Wonderland!

Since arriving back in Tampere this is the first day of constant snow fall and since this morning about another 3 inches has fell meaning that the paths aren't as icy to walk on and it makes walking more enjoyable! My friend went ice skating on the lake yesterday and said it was so magical and everything in the distance is just white. I bought some ice skates from a flea market in the summer for 4 euros and i'm so excited to try them out! So I headed down to the lake today to have a look but the sky was so white and you couldn't see anything in the distance so I really don't think i would have found my way back as well as there being loads of  snow on top of the frozen lake so I didn't want to take a chance !
Lake Nasijarvi, where it leads no one knows...
The opening in the lake for the users of the Rauhniema sauna
Again Lake Nasijarvi

Anyway from my pictures you can see how beautiful it looks and I went for a walk along one of the trails by the lake and there was no one about and all you could hear was snow falling and I couldn't think of a better place to be in the world. I really am so lucky to have a chance to live in this beautiful country!
A walk along the trail,it felt like Narnia

As for the lake there has been people even skiing on it this week which is crazy!!! I love cross country skiing but I don't think i'm quite ready to try it out on the lake haha. There was also a few Finns dotted about doing ice fishing, how there would be any fish in the cold temperatures I don't know!
A Finn ice fishing

Who else likes cross country skiing? Would love to hear from you :)

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Moi Moi Nicole xo

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Helsinki Company visits - Nokia & Aditro

Last year for my course Tools For Organisational Change we went to Helsinki for the day to visit two companies Aditro which is a consulting company and the headquarters of Nokia.
Only until recently I even found out that The company Nokia was from Finland!This was the first visit of the day and as you can see from my pictures the building was amazing ! It was built with practically all glass as the outer face and the inside was just as impressing with spiral staircases, wooden floors,a view of the sea and various floors of offices built with glass! we all got our own name badges as we entered and we were led to a conference room where are host led us a talk about driving change within their company. The whole point of the talk was linked to our studies in this course and it was how the company drives changes with their projects. They provided us with tea and coffee and the BEST Finnish pastries, they certainly taste nicer than English ones anyway!
My name badge
The amazing architecture inside the Nokia building
The topic in our lecture at Nokia
After this we had a short time to get lunch from a local shopping centre in Helsinki. I really would have liked a longer time to spend in Helsinki but it was a tight turn around because we had to go from company to company.  But i shall definitely be spending a day or two in Helsinki to properly look around the city!

We then went to our last stop for the day which was the Aditro consultancy company, not as impressive by any means but it was still nice to see another Finnish company and how it works. This talk was taken by two male employees and this was about Lean management which also complimented my studies in Operations Management. We were put into groups and we had to watch a video of their boss making a cup of coffee, we had to list all of the processes into a value stream map and then we had to see which ones were waste and could be eliminated to make it a quicker process. It was nice to do something interactive in the day and dare I say It I think I learnt more about lean management in 1 hour than I have in 8 weeks of classes of operations management!

So that was the end of our trip which I thoroughly enjoyed! It was nice to see some Finnish companies and makes me want to aspire to maybe do something like that when I finish my degree ! I just wish I was fluent in Finnish :( 

Moi Moi Nicole xo

Stockholm or booze cruise?

I went to Stockholm on a trip back in September but I thought I would share and look back on the time there.The first organised exchange trip for last year was a boat trip to Stockholm,3 days in total. But we would technically Spend more time on the boat than in the city!

There were about 100 students on this trip and we took the coach from Tampere to the dock in Helsinki. As expected, on the boat we would all be staying in the economy cabins which are in the bowels of the ship beneath the cars even! Our cabins were for 4 people and we were mixed with people we had never met before on exchange but my cabin were all really nice luckily!

The small cabin for 4

The duty free shop on the boat at 5pm and all the students were queued up waiting to get their alcohol for the journey. As soon as some of them had purchased their drink people who hadn't already started drinking on the coach to Helsinki started at 5pm!!! It was so crazy,I certainly didn't  In the evening there was various entertainment on the ship including and ABBA tribute in the nightclub,bingo and a guitarist in the Irish bar. But I think everyone had the idea of just drinking in the corridors of the ship and annoying other people on the boat. I felt so sea sick so I retired to my cabin to 'try' and sleep....so that didn't happen,everyone was so rowdy. I just thought it was ridiculous that the majority of the other exchange students are ages 25 plus and they were all behaving like under aged teenagers,I like to think I'm more classy than drinking on the floor of the ships corridors anyway. I think most peoples morals for the trip were 'its all about the journey, not the destination' But This part of the trip I did not enjoy...

Corridor drinking,so much fun....

Anyway, we arrived at Stockholm the following day at 10am and we had to be back to the ship by 4pm meaning that we only had 6 hours in the city. However, by the time we got the bus into town this only left us with 5 hours which is not enough time to do anything! No one really had a plan as to what to do so we headed straight into the centre where all the shops were. The city really reminds me of a French city, it really was so beautiful. The shops were very upmarket and I was surprised to see shops such as American Apparel and Urban Outfitters! After walking through the shops we found a local market selling fruits and vegetables which was a refreshing change from the shops.
Gorgeous fruit market

Beautiful Cathedral

In the afternoon we headed into the old town and had a look around a cathedral which had gorgeous design work  inside. The weather was so gorgeous on the day so we spent some time sat in the sun also by a water feature in the old town. Sadly this is all we managed to do in our few hours time that we had in Stockholm! The trip only cost 55 euros so I got what I expected, but I shall definitely be visiting this beautiful city again but perhaps by air this time! The next exchange trip that i went on was  St Petersburg which was for 5 days and i will be getting a post up on that soon! Thanks for reading :)

Sat by the water feature in the sun :)

Moi Moi Nicole xo

Half way there, spring semester

Well I am half of the way through the year now studying as an exchange student in Tampere, Finland. Everything feels completely different to when i first arrived here back in the summer. The corridors in Lapinkaari which used to be noisy and where there was always someone to chat to are now deadly quiet and since I have arrived back I haven't seen one person here. Hopefully some more people will start to move in in the following weeks. Because I have been so bored I thought it would be best to be productive with my time and start my blog up again!

The weather here now is cold but I thought it would be a lot colder as it is only just reaching into the minus temperatures again. However, there is still a lot of snow on the ground and there is forecast to be more on the way for the rest of the week. Because the temperatures have slowly risen a bit its meant that the ground outside it pretty slippery and even with the best grips on my snow boots i'm still at a risk of slipping over. My mum gave me some spikes that can be fitted onto shoes so i'm going to definitely try those out. Has anyone else used this and do they work?!

The snow in December in Tampere
Also in my accommodation there is no freezer space at all so last year I really struggled with cooking a variety of foods but because the temperature is freezing now I have put up a make shift freezer outside which is working brilliantly! So easy to use and its right outside my window!

Freezer complete with a Stockmann bag-you don't get more Finnish than that!

My classes aren't due to start until next week either so I have a free week to myself so i'm hoping to get right up to date with my blogging and also start going to the swimming pool a few times a week again. The only thing so annoying about swimming in this weather is if you go outside with wet hair after it freezes straight away, its pretty funny but must be awfully damaging for your hair I can imagine!

Feeling sorry for myself in bed writing this after picking up a horrible cold while at home in England for Christmas,typical really as I haven't been ill once since living in Finland.I really do think the air is so much fresher and healthier here, I don't suspect any viruses would be able to spread in this cold weather anyway!

Would love to hear from fellow bloggers out there about any winter survival tips!

Moi Moi  Nicole xo
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