One term abroad is coming to an end

Yes, now I’m here in Milan and tomorrow evening I’m taking the plane back home to cold Sweden. It has been an amazing experience to leave and “work” in another country, to get to know the culture, the norms and for being able to be a part of the normal day/”vardag”!

Genova really has delivered, it is a wonderful city, really worth a lot of your time, you wan’t get disappointed! First, there where some people who said to me, Genova isn’t really a nice city, but I have to say I love it! There is a lot of culture and history in the city, there is an international atmosphere , it is a port city and very close to smaller cities at the beaches. If you want to take a trip to Florenze, Verona etc. is only maximum four hours away. The longer I lived in the city, the more I realized I had to see, and now the day before departure, I realise I have to go back and discover more in this lovely city!

From the beginning I wasn’t sure there would be such great differences in social work as I discovered. I have been doing my internship mostly in the third sector, which is very usually in Italy. The organisation form cooperative was definitely something new for me and interesting to experience. I also had the opportunity to visit a “assistente sociale”, and the office they were working in.

Now when I look back, Italy and Sweden has some things in common when it comes to social work, but there is also a lot of things in diverse and it is interesting to experience this differences! Even if it doesn’t take long time to travel here, there are a lot of differences!

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Back to Lithuania

Well, yesterday I came back to Lithuania after spending the easter with my family back home in Sweden. I can really say it was nice to be home in Sweden, sleeping in my own bed without earplugs, close the door when I wanted privacy and take good showers!

 

To be home was a good time to think, get knew energy and reflect a little bit over the time I have been in Lithuania. To be home was a good way to get perspectives and to think about all the differences between living in the countries.

When I came to Lithuania it was impossible not to notice the different living conditions, but coming home made it even more clear.

 

To got back to Lithuania was not difficult but I most admit I enjoyed home. I thought that maybe the spring was on its way hear to but when I came it was a lot of rain and storm and I start to think if there really is a spring in Lithuania, but i most be!

It is about midterm right now and I start to think a little bit about the final exams in june, even if it is a long time until then! Right now there is quit a lot to do in school and there is never a time when I can sit back and se “I don’t have anything to study”.
I have so say I am impressed about the quality of the education, in the beginning I was a little bit sceptical but now I really can feel I have learned a lot. And learning is not only about the subject in the classes, it is also about myself. To be abroad really is a time to get to know and develop yourself.

 

Well, I will keep holding my thumbs and wish that the spring soo will be really on its way in Lithuania.

Spring on its way

So, I have been living in Vilnius for over 7 weeks now. Today I went to the rail station because I should fix my visa for my trip to Russia in April. On my way home, searching for the bus stop I took the wrong street so I got lost. But it was actually good to get lost, because I had a chance to explore new parts of the city as I haven’t visit before. I got the opportunity to see new quarters in the old parts of the city, I found a lot of small places to eat and know I now where I will go this weekend!

 

Overall I really enjoy to live in Vilnius. It is a little bit different from other cities in Europa, especially capitals. In Vilnius their lives about 550-600 000 people and the most famous part of the city is the old town with all the beautiful buildings, churches, cafés and so on. There is a lot of history in Vilnius so if you are interest in history, the city is a very good place, both for old history and modern history.

 

If you go outside the old town, you will see a totally opposite side of the city, no colour and everything looks the same. When I took the bus to the city centre, I passed several of buildings, they look all the same and the only difference between them is the house number, written with big numbers at one of the walls. I will later, when not also the sky is grey, post some pictures, because it is quite interesting and different from Sweden.
When I first arrived I had a hard time when I went shopping etc. because Lithuania people normally doesn’t smile when you meet the out walking or when you are doing you groceries etc. It is a lot of exchange student who under lectures has said the same and usually the professors answer them that a Lithuania smile is very nice, but not that usual.

 

For some weeks ago it started to snow and it got really cold, but today, actually I think the spring is on its way even to Vilnius.

Mardi Gras and some good tips if you are thinking about going abroad

Well, To long since a wrote a post so this will be a long one! 🙂
At saturday 14/2, we celebrated Mardi Gras here in Vilnius. A tradition and celebration that the winter is over and spring is coming! I think it was a mix between the swedish easter and Halloween.
I Went out to the old Town and city central with some friends and their was a carnaval and tables were people were Selling home made products, traditional Lithuanian specialties and of course food!
Traditional Lithuanian food is thick panncakes, bean stew, a lot of meat, potatoes, union, beethrow with carrot etc. It is not the easy to be a vegan/vegetarian here because a lot of dishes are based on meat, especially the traditional food.

Later at the evening their were some fire shows at Lithuanian language so we didn’t understood anything but it was really cool. I presume it was a story about the sun defeating the dark and cold, probably the winter.
Over oll a really good day with some good food, nice experience and also a visit to the Cinema.

Well, I have been here in Lithunia over Three weeks now and I really enjoy my time. I live in dorm and share a small room with a girl. We all share bathroom and “kitchen”. It is important not to have any expectations otherwise you may will be disapointed. Now I’m jused to the way we are living here in the dorms but I remember when i first arrived here there were a lot of students who were “chocked” of the living conditions.
I have to say I like it and you get used to it. Even if you not Always want to talk with people, it is very nice to live in dorms because there is Always someone you can talk with if you want, otherwise you just have to smile, be polite and say hello when you see someone.

I’m not that person who likes to hang out with people 24 hours 7 Days a week, I get really exhausted. So a really good tip for you who are concern about living in dorm or go abroad: it is okay to not participate in Everything and just listen to you self. Today I actually were really tired, I had classes until 19:30 and when I came up to my floor there were about 70 persons screaming, dancing etc… Then it is okay to take care of ourself, try to find some minutes for yourself. If you are scared “you will miss something” relax, there will be A LOT of other activities. Here for an example there are every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday party on clubs until 4:30. Over that almost everyday there is something happening so there will be plenty of things to join if you want.

The sun hasn’t been shining since I came almost but now it has been shining for some Days and it is really Lovely, worth the waiting time! But it is SO COLD XD

Better and better!!

What a cliché but I have to admit that time runs fast when you have a great time! There is a lot of things that has happened since Monday.

First of all I have to agree and say sharing a small room with someone and kitchen, bathroom and shower with MANY PEOPLE isn’t easy. Somehow I think I’m doing better for each day.

Today we have been to Trakai, the old capital of Lithuania. It was nice, there was an old castle and lakes, I also tried some traditional Lithuanian food. I thought I was used to the cold from home but I was really wrong. Wind and snow made the trip so cold, still very refreshing!

I have been really tired for some days, for many reasons. I think I start to relax and actually enjoy my dormitory and to be with so many people, in the same time it really takes time to adjust and “accept” things like a really dirty kitchen and people who are screaming and partying 5 a.m. But I say to myself I will get used to it!

I told you about our planned trip to IKEA, well it didn’t went so well… We got lost whit the busses and we ended up somewhere and no one spoke English so instead we went to a nice restaurant. Yesterday we went to a shop called Maxima and bought everything we needed for the kitchen and some things for the room. As you can see in the pictures we try to separate the room to get some privacy. I’m so happy about the results!!!!

Now I’m going to look on some series, good night!!!

DSC00096famous castle in Trakai, 30km from Vilnius

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Only four weeks left…

…until my semester in Australia is over. It has really gone by fast, it feels as if I arrived at Tullamarine Airport just yesterday and I met my house mate Matt for the very first time, when he picked me up. I guess these four weeks that are left will go by even more quicker!

Since I last blogged a few weeks ago a lot of fun stuff have been happening – I have been both to Tasmania and Indonesia, which both were great! I will write more about those trips in another post, but I will devote this post to the academic part of my semester. I don’t think I have written much about the differences between studying in Australia and Sweden and this info might be useful for those of you who consider going on exchange!

The biggest difference between my Malmö uni and my australian one is that I study four subjects and the same time. I have one lecture and one tutorial (what we in Sweden call “seminarium”) for each subject, each week – 8 “activities” all together, per week. Another difference is that you have the exact same schedule for one semester, which made at least me feel that the school became way too much of a routine. Unfortunately enough I also ended up with lectures and tutorials that started at 8 am every day….

Another difference is that you have assignments due almost every single week, where as you in Sweden usually only have a hemtenta or salstenta at the end of a subject and then a few group presentations during a seminarium. Anyway, at ACU I have had assignments due almost every week. They consist of reading responses or commentaries, which means that you in about 180-220 words should summarize the key points of one of the required readings for that week but also provide a bit of analyze yourself. My experience is that word limits are pretty rare in Sweden, we mostly use pages, but at ACU word limits are what guides your writing! I thought it sounded really hard at the beginning, getting to say all of the things I wanted to say AND draw conclusions on top of that, but now I like having to adjust to a word limit, it makes my points and ideas much more clearer and straight forward and I actually feel that the things I write holds a high quality even if it’s only 200 words.

So, reading responses/commentaries are one form of assignment. Another one I’ve had was a mid-semester test in philosophy, which consisted of 20 multiple choice questions, which I’ve never had before in Sweden. It went really well – sorry for bragging but I was the only one in the whole class to get 20 out of 20! It was my first test of the semester so I was really happy about that. My studies are paying off…

Yet another assignment type is an annotated bibliography. This one was for my Global change & development subject and we had to choose from around 10 different topics provided by our lecturer and then find four peer reviewed articles. We then had to write around 1200 words which should include why that article is valuable for our research essay (which will be based upon the topic and articles you chose for your annotated bibliography), which theories the author uses, which key points the author makes and so on. This assignment also went really well for me and I was so proud of myself since I haven’t had any experience of writing academic papers in english before my semester in Melbourne.

I have had to do research essays in two different subjects. One was for the Global change subject, which meant that you used the articles from the annotated bibliography for your research essay. I chose a topic where I had to discuss how neoliberalism has affected volunteer tourism as a development practice, which was really interesting to write about. In the essay I had to argue for my position, but of course always with support from the articles I had chosen. The research essay was more like a normal paper that I am used to in Sweden, but the annotated bibliography was useful to have done as well, since that really is what you do when you write a B- or C-uppsats in Sweden – arguing for why the literature you have chosen for your essay are valuable and how it is related to your own position.

The other assignments I’ve had are essays, which were around 500 words each. You got a few questions to answer and it was pretty straightforward as usual – always support your own thoughts with the arguments found in the literature for that subject.

This friday I have a philosophy essay due, which is 1200 words. You had to choose between different topics such as sexual freedom, abortion, punishment and so on, and develop your own ideas of why the arguments provided by a specific philosophical branch are, or are not, valid arguments, which was really interesting.

As you might tell, the assignments are always very short in regards of the word limit but I really find that you get a lot said with a low word limit.

Puh, now I’m done with this essay/blog post and I will treat myself to some wine and movie in bed! This is my last week of lectures, before my three final exams in june 2nd, 16th and 18th. Wish me luck…

Wine tour in Mornington Peninsula.

Hello!
Yesterday I went on a wine tour in Mornington Peninsula with three of my american friends. We found the deal on Groupon and for 70 dollars you got picked up by a mini bus in the city (with seven other people that were also going on the tour) and then taken to five different vineyards in the Mornington Peninsula region. We started off at a dairy farm where they made different types of goat cheese, from the goats that lived at the farm. Then we drove to our first vineyard – we got to taste about six different wines at every vineyard and you could, of course, also buy some wine if you found something special – which I did! I bought a sweet moscato that I tried last night after getting back from the tour, along with the two goat cheeses I bought at the dairy farm. The wines and cheeses were pretty fancy but I thought that I would treat myself since I’m going home to Sweden soon. Anyway, one of the wine bottles I bought is perfect for saving a few years, so I really hope bringing alcohol back to Sweden is legal and that it will survive the almost 25 hour flight back home…

Here are some pictures from the tour! The tour guide Jason was really nice also and having a good tour guide is really important to fully appreciate a tour, so if you’re going on exchange to Melbourne, I can highly recommend this tour! We booked through Groupon for a special price, but you can also book straight through the company here.

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Easter break in Australia.

It’s been a while since I posted something here, I keep forgetting about the blog. Anyway, my easter break is just finished and tomorrow it’s time to face reality – back to uni! I have four essays due in the next couple of weeks as well as several minor assignments. Then I have three final exams in june and this exchange semester is over. I already feel that the time has gone by super quickly here.

However, back to my easter break! My american friend Paige and I booked flights to Alice Springs in Northern Territory about a month ago. On tuesday we left Melbourne on our five hour delayed flight with Tiger air, which is a budget airline. I guess you get what you pay for… We got to Alice Springs safe and sound anyway and Miles from Toddy’s hostel picked us up. We had booked a three day tour with The Rock Tour, which included one night at a hostel before leaving at 5.30 am on wednesday for our first tour day. I keep forgetting how huge Australia is – we sat several hours each tour day in the van going to different places. This was part of the experience, meeting people from different parts of the world (we were around 20 people in the van taking the tour) and seeing almost no other people or cars on the road. The desert was the only surroundings and it was truly beautiful even if it became a bit hard to figure out where we were sometimes!

On tour day one we went to beautiful Kings Canyon for a three hour hike. It might not sound that hard but keep in mind that it was 30 degrees and no shadow anywhere… It was a good hike anyway and during the tour we got information about aboriginals and their history. It was very interesting and I would like to more about it since it is such a big part of Australia’s history and I feel a bit ashamed coming to Australia without having any deeper understanding of how of an impact this has had on the Australian society. I guess it is a good thing that I at least feel encouraged to read more about this now.

After our hike we had lunch in the sun and then went for a drive to Curtain Springs where we set up our bush camp. We made dinner over the camp fire and then we slept in sleeping bags underneath the stars, it was really beautiful and a great experience!

On day two we had to get up at 5.15 am – we were driving to Kata Tjuta to go on another hike. Our tour guide lied when he said that day one was the hardest part of the tour… However, it felt really good being outdoors for three whole days and sleeping underneath the stars. On the last day we saw the sunrise over Uluru and then we went for our last hike.

I had such a great time and I really recommend future exchange students in Australia to do this tour. However, a major critic of this trips is that it is based on the history of aboriginal culture but almost no money goes back to the aboriginal community, which I think is a great problem.

 

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Melbourne on bike!

Hi!
A few weeks ago I got a bike from my friend’s mother, to use during my exchange. Besides saving tram money it’s a nice way of seeing the city through a different perspective. The first time I biked to school I discovered many things along the streets which I hadn’t seen before. Also, having a bike means that you’re able to go anywhere, not having to rely on the tram (even if the tram actually is pretty comfortable and fast).

It’s about 9 kilometers one way to my uni – I get some good exercise every day, no doubt about that. The first days of biking back and forth between my house and uni my legs were pretty sore… Also, you are required by law to wear a helmet. It makes you look pretty geeky, which you can tell from the picture below. There’s also a picture from the bike path to uni – it’s just straight ahead for 9 km and you can see all the way down to the CBD and the tall buildings, since the bike path begins from a small hill.

 

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