Mot Saskatoon!

Vilka är Elin och Amanda?

Elin studerar Civilingenjör inriktning Interaktion och Design och Amanda studerar till Civilekonom vid Umeå universitet.

Hur lärde vi känna varandra?

Båda skulle åka till Saskatoon för att studera och bestämde därför att mötas i New York under en vecka innan för att ha kul och utforska The Big Apple.

Hur gick veckan i New York?

Den gick riktigt bra och vi hade otroligt trevligt! Hotellet Yotel kan rekommenderas om man vill leva nära varandra. Liten säng, gemensamt täcke och endast ett draperi till toaletten (vilket vi inte visste innan). Men annars riktigt bra standard och supertrevlig personal.


Men nu är vi i alla fall framme i Saskatoon och har flyttat in i College Quarter, Aspen Hall, där vi ska bo under hösten. Elin har fått tre kanadensiska 18-åringar som roomies medan Amanda bor lite mer internationellt med en Norska, Mexikan och en Kanadensare. Nedan ser ni ett litet collage av hur vi bor! Väldigt fint tycker vi!!


Första dagen med orientation är avklarad och ikväll ska vi utforska Walmart och inhandla ALLT som behövs för att överleva. Mer uppdateringar följer!

//Elin & Amanda

First days in Macau

Expectations are usually different than reality. To minimize a cultural shock, I checked several videos, browsed the internet and tourist guides about Macau. I also met two students from Macau in Sweden before my exchange. However, a lot of things surprised me immediately after arrival to this former Portuguese colony.

First, cars are going on the left. I don’t know if I was blind or there were no cars in the videos about Macau but I overlooked this detail. I was quite surprised when a car almost bumped into me on the first zebra crossing.


Second, I read that it is not advisable to swim in the ocean because it is dirty. I thought this claim was exaggerated but it is true unfortunately. Macau lies in the delta of the river Pearl which brings a lot of mud. I would say that the river Morava in my city Olomouc in the time of floods is as comparably “clean” as the ocean in Macau. It seems I will not enjoy swimming in the ocean as I looked forward. Image

Third, weather is not that bad. After I was accepted to the exchange, I added Macau to my weather app on my mobile to check it regularly. During the whole holidays, the app showed the same picture. So does it now.Image

The monsoon period is supposed to end at the end of September and it usually brings around 200 mm of precipitation that month (compared to 40 mm in Prague) so I expected a non stop rain. However, it is quite ok. It usually rains every day but just around 3-4 hours. In the rest of the time, it is cloudy or sunny and you can go out. Anyway, weather is very changeable. I would compare it with British weather but here are storms instead of light rains. Temperature is stable around +30, 90% moisture during the day and also the night. Local people are ready for this climate. They wear umbrella all the time against both rain and the Sun.


Fourth, our dormitory is amazing. I was scared we would be living in some typical tiny Chinese flat in the 50th floor. ImageI was also said that Macau dormitory is pretty strict. You can’t enter the dormitory after 11 and internet is turned off at midnight. However, my disconcertion was unnecessary. Our campus is situated in the main casino area. To enter the largest casino in the world “Venetian”, we just have to take a five-minute walk. ImageI live in a corridor with all other Erasmus students in the first floor and I entered into a large room which is well equipped. We live in pairs. We have our own toilet and shower. Later, I found out that our room usually serves visitors as a hotel. It is nice to be a worthy visit from Europe. In addition, there are no rules for us. We can go out anytime we want and internet works all the time. (Note: Facebook and other “dangerous” pages are working here normally. The firewall is only in mainland China, not in Macau).

The dormitory from outside


A part of our roomImage

Fifth, people don’t speak English. That’s what I really haven’t expected from a European colony. It is pretty cheap to eat out so I often go with my new friends to a restaurant or in the university canteen. As nobody understands us any single English word, we use here a picture language to order something to eat. We just take a picture with our smartphones of a food in the offer which we regard as the least dangerous and we show the picture to the waiters. ImageAnyway, the picture communication together with mime often brings very funny situations. I am glad this works for now but I look forward to the beginning of Chinese language course and I hope I will be able to order something myself.

These five things surprised me mostly. It is important for me that it looks safely here. Here are no insects or other animals which we should be scared of. You can find just a lot of snails here as they like rainy weather. Image

Chinese people are very kind. After we get used to Chinese cuisine, everything will be alright. To sum up all the first impressions, I think it will be a very interesting five-month stay here.

NTU Summer+ Program: The Asian Adventure Begins!

So, for the first time ever, I arrived to Taipei a month early to start my exchange (from 4th August 2013), with the purpose of learning Chinese in mind, as well as to learn of the unique culture that exists in Taiwan.

So how can one put the first month into words? I’m not sure words could do justice to describe this vibrant experience so far. But I know for sure I have met many firends for life, with hugely diverse backrounds, at the same time seeing surroundings that leaves one only in awe. With my following posts (mainly being pictures), I hope that what my eyes have witnessed can better describe Taiwan so far, during what has been an intense month, but certainly the most fun in my life so far!

So here’s a first taste of the summer cultural adventure, starting with the caligraphy 🙂


Leaving Europe

Without any previous experience outside of our European continent, I drank up the last Czech Pilsner, went through the gate and suddenly left the Prague airport on the 27th August 2013 at 4 p.m.ImageAlthough I usually hate flights choosing Emirates airlines showed up to be a great choice. Instead of inconvenient seats, a jumping plane and listening to advertisements during the whole flight to which I was used from budget airlines, flying with Emirates was a pleasant experience. The  food was tasty, beverages were served for free and the personal computer was full of movies, TV series, games, music so I did not get bored. Besides, I was full of expectations and thinking a lot about next days. Many questions occurred to me and actually, I asked to myself: Why did I decide to go to Macau? ImageThat’s an interesting question 🙂 When I finished my Bachelor in Prague, I wanted to move on to recognize different culture, different way of studying, to experience and see something new. As I am a fan of winters and pure nature, I was led to the north, Umea, Sweden. This international experience changed my life but that would be a different story 🙂 I met there so many people from all around the world. The world showed up to be much smaller and everything seemed to be so close. That’s the reason why I wanted to see more. Looking at the possible exchange places from Umea university, Macau seemed to be one of the most interesting ones. I wanted to move outside of the Europe but it is a European colony so I didn’t expect it to be a dangerous jungle. I thought people will speak English there. Also, it is well situated for travelling. I’ve heard you can get from Macao easily to Hong Kong, Taiwan, mainland China and also to the south eastern Asia. Lastly, I thought about weather. Despite Swedish beautiful snowy winters and white nights in the summer, the autumn is not the best there :/ I wanted to avoid rainy and dark October and November. In addition, I read that the best time to visit Hong Kong and Macau is autumn so I just have to survive the last month of the monsoon season (May-September) and then, it will be amazing there 🙂 After I was accepted to the exchange, I found out Macau is considered to be “Las Vegas of Asia” which is just a another plus 😀 But let’s get back to my journey. ImageI was flying via Dubai and Emirates offer a nice bargain packages. If you book a room in a hotel, you get also transport to and from the airport, breakfast and visa for free so I chose the cheapest one and stayed one day in Dubai 🙂 Dubai is really worth visiting. There is both interesting historical and modern city centre. My first steps led to Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world. ImageIt is 830 m high but the touristic viewpoint is just at 452 m. Anyway, it is a beautiful view. You can see from there Dubai Skyscrapers, desert, Persian Gulf, Burj Al Arab hotel, the World islands and other stuff and staff as well haha 😀ImageThe only problem is you feel like in a sauna. The observation place is made from wood which absorbs sunrays very well so imagine how it could be like there when it is +40 C in the shadow.

There is the second biggest shopping mall in the world- Dubai Mall next to the Burj Khalifa. Besides thousands of shops, there are other attractions such as a huge aquarium, ice rink or a waterfall.ImageFor lovers of shopping, it must be the best experience. I think especially some girls could spend there a week without any problem 😀 I didn’t have so much time and money so I moved to the old city. Finally, I could see the Arabic architecture- the Mosques, the old quarter Bestakiya or traditional markets. ImageImageIt was pretty difficult to get rid off merchants with souvenirs. Not only once I got the traditional headscarf on my head and I was forced to take a picture. I really didn’t want to buy it. My luggage was already oversized and I couldn’t afford to bring something more but negotiation was really fun 😀 Starting at 150 dirhams finished at 20 dirhams (they claim the normal price is 50 dirhams in the guide so I am really good 😀 ) ImageBut anyway, they were so sad afterwards when I didn’t buy it 🙂 After 3 hours of sightseeing in +40, I felt quite hot so I visited another air conditioned shopping mall- The Mall of the Emirates where I cooled down even better by a look at a ski slope. Image

My last stop was at Dubai Marina where is nice scenery of many skyscrapers.  Besides a harbour, there is a long sand beach nearby. I read that the average temperature of the Persian Gulf in August is 32 C so I had to try to swim in a coffee. Actually, I think it was warmer than my body. It was like swimming in a hot spa in the Alps but with a view at skyscrapers instead of mountains.ImageThe way back to my hotel took around one hour by metro because the Dubai Marina was around 30 km far from the city centre. When I got back, it was already midnight and I had to move to the airport to catch my flight to Hong Kong. My transport (a luxurious Volvo) was already waiting for me 🙂 the chauffeur went to pick up all my luggage and I felt like a VIP person 😀

I think I have to go back to Dubai. It was very nice  experience but too short time for such a big and interesting city. I was afraid of a cultural shock and to do something embarrassing but I felt very safe and comfortable. Just once, I felt embarrassed because I entered a carriage of a metro for women but I realised it rather early and I moved to another one.ImageWearing jeans in +40 seems to be strange but rules must be followed. I felt bad about primarily Russian tourists who didn’t follow the dress code at all.

The rest of my journey was without any problem. After landing in Dubai, I took a Turbojet ship and I came on 28th August at 19 p.m. to Macao. Then, I felt little sorry for a Macao taxi driver who took me to the dormitory because I couldn’t pay by card and I had only 54 HKD and it cost 75 HKD but he let me go. Thanks for this noble deed 🙂

I am sorry I think I wrote too much just about the arrival and nothing yet about Macao 🙂 it will come soon 😛

Seminarie och internet.

Jag har läst en sommarkurs under sommaren, och hade sista momentet idag, ett webbseminarie, vilket kan låta ganska enkelt. Dock så är internet här väldigt krångligt, ibland funkar det ibland inte, på rummet måste jag använda safari, och i skolan måste jag använda firefox, på rummet kommer jag inte åt allt (tex kommer jag inte åt, mail, facebook, eller Whatsapp) men jag kan livestream:a sport från USA….. väldigt random. På skolan kommer man åt allt till ett ganska snabbt internet, om man har lyckats hitta internet. Så för att återgå till webseminariet, så var det ju inte helt enkelt att hitta tillräckligt bra internet, men efter ha flyttat mitt ”kontor” fyra gånger så kunde jag slutföra mitt seminarie med ett godkänt resultat.

Middagen igår blev en lokal restaurang där det enda språket vi båda parter kunde ”förstå” var peka, nicka, och tummen upp…. men vi lyckades få vår mat tillslut. Jag hade beställt någon form av gryta med kyckling och ris, som inte smakade speciellt mycket.

Så idag tänkte vi att vi skulle få revansch, och det fick vi, idag hittade vi en jättebra restaurang med bra priser (mat och dryck ca 53MOP = ca 45 kr). Biffgryta med ris, och kall lemon tea till…. riktigt bra, dit kommer vi gå igen.

Som Tina skrev nyss så strular kurserna lite, så imorgon ska vi gå till vår kontaktperson och försöka skaffa fler kurser, då vi måste ta sex stycken, och jag har bara blivit tilldelad fyra. Får se hur det går…..

// Jacob

A bit of frustration, yes

Åååååååååh vilken frustration det varit idag. I går fick alla utbytesstudenter reda på att många av kurserna i Företagsekonomi är på kinesiska då professorerna redan förberett materialet. Kvar fanns FEM kurser och någon av dom kunde vi inte ens läsa. En termin är sex kurser.

Så… i princip alla 13 utbytesstudenterna var helt körda. Skulle vi inte få fler kurser behövde i princip alla åka hem om dom ville ha sin kandidat examen.

Men efter att alla utbytesstudenterna skickade ett e-mail och förklarade att vi får åka hem om inget händer så hände saker ganska så snabbt:))))). Så förhoppningsvis ska detta vara löst imorgon.

// Tina

Jacob och Tina


15:15: Landar i Hong Kong!!!

17:30: Sitter på färjan på väg till Macau.  Jacob spyr inte = skönt.

18:30: Checkar in på hotellet. Jacob som är supertrött försöker slänga sig på sängen. Tar stopp. “Sängen är eventuellt lite hård”, säger Jacob.

18:31: Jacob och jag ligger i sängen och har ångest. Antar Jacob har fått ångest då han utbrister: “VAD HAR VIII GJOOOORT??!!”.

19:00: Bestämmer oss för att äta lite. På vägen kan inte jag heller hålla mig och utbrister “VAD HAR VI GETT OSS IN PÅ??!!”. Jacob svarar “Vadå VI? Det är DU som drog med mig HIT”. Okej.

20:00: Tillbaka på hotellet.


7:30: Hotellfrukost!!! En liten tjej glor på mig och Jacob hela frukosten, eventuellt för att vi är dom enda västerlänningarna på hotellet.

9:00: Checkar ut och på väg till skolan!

10:00: Går genom registrering och annat tråkigt. Tar bild till student-id. Svettiga och snygga:)))

10:30: Får se våra rum!!! Vi har blivit inackorderade i skolans egna hostel/hotell. Städning en gång i veckan. Eventuellt specialbehandlade.

13:30: Rundtur med några inhemska studenter. Åker in till stan. Äter något annat än Mcdonald’s. Går till en supermarket och köper frukost. När jag inte hittar plastbestick säger Jacob irriterat “Men det är ju för att dom äter med pinnar fattar du väl”. Jag hittar ändå och dagen får ett lyckligt slut.

// Jacob och Tina

Anlänt till Pocatello, Idaho State University

Jag och en av de andra svenskarna som åker till detta universitet, Jessica, anlände till Pocatello vid tolv på fredagsnatten (16/8) med buss från Salt lake city. De var snälla på international office här på Idaho state university (ISU) som hämtade oss på busshållplatsen och tog oss direkt till våra rum.  Efter det har dagarna varit proppfyllda med saker att göra, som till exempel dagen efter vår ankomst for vi till Salt lake city (igen) tillsammans med några andra internationella studenter och de flesta shoppade loss men eftersom vi precis kommit så visste jag inte riktigt vad jag hade glömt att ta med mig, så sightseeing var ett bättre alternativ för mig.

Sen har vi ridit på hästar och hängt med de andra internationella studenterna hela kvällarna och testat på olika sporter från olika länder. De ”vanliga” studenterna kommer inte förrän imorgon så då kommer det att bli full fart här på campus.


Idag och igår har vi haft ”orientation” där de förklara allt om kurser och hur systemet fungerar på universitet, vilket har varit väldigt tråkigt men det är ju viktig information så man bör ju koncentrera sig. Känns mycket spännande att börja kurserna på måndag och se hur det verkligen fungerar här.

Jag bor i Turner Hall vilket är ett hus med korridorsrum,  vissa får dela rum medan andra, som till exempel jag, får egna rum. Jag tycker att detta verkar vara ett bra hus att bo i, det enda negativa är att man måste dela 4 båstoaletter och 6 duschar med ca 20-30 stycken andra tjejer på samma våning men man vänjer väl sig. Har tagit bilder på mitt rum då jag anlände och lite roliga lappar som tjejen som är ansvarig för denna våning har gjort. Det känns som att de lägger ner mycket tid så att studenterna ska trivas



De ger ut mycket gratissaker första veckan, efter två dagar har jag fått allt detta som jag har nedanför. Imorgon har troligtvis alla nya studenter anlänt för då är det ”student orientation” för hela universitetet.