Monday, November 19, 2018

Going Back Home - Not So Far in Future

I have had ups and downs while staying here. Mainly due to the huge amount of new words I have learned, or had to learn in order to eat, get medicine, sort out mobile problems, etc. Now that I have started also chat a bit with my colleagues, it is shame to be leaving.

I have gain certain routine with communication. Especially concerning my lovely mobile service provider. Still I manage to get baffled by some new words, which I simply just have not heard before (why they need to switch the phrases!). Sometimes I am a bit nervous on what did I order as I am not always 100 % sure I said things correctly and oh yes - they require my pronunciation to be exact! otherwise, the person I am talking with, just stands there staring at me until I get it right. So either one learns or stay hungry.

I think I might do some collective text next week before I leave. Still having these funny connection issues in my room and I usually have to go to the cafe to get things done online.

On one hand, I want to go back to Finland, on the other - I have so "worldcitizenmentality" that I enjoy staying abroad.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Looking Back in What I Have Done Here

I have now given presentations on following subjects:

Finland's economy
Startup in Finland
Business and Management in Finland
Architecture tendencies in Helsinki

Additionally, in my responsibility has been the exchange programs and their facilitation+marketing. I was also drafting Summer school program for the next year (I was calling the shots) and sending application for promotion in EU.

I also wrote an official letter to Moscow, requesting the permission to see public documents concerning my thesis subject, escorted by an official letter from the University (hope this will yeald results!).

All and all, this internship has been something amazing and still cannot believe it.

Some setbacks: My phone came to the end of its road and thus I had to buy a new one. Therefore, some of my pictures are delayed for the time being, as well as my Instagram is not that active (I try to get it back). Not to mention my Internet is reeeaaally sluggish in the appartment, do not know why. Just been like that the past 2 weeks. Works fine at the office. So therefore, I have been unable to make any posts on my blog.

Sorry folks.

In the following picture you see the result of my "Adventures to Secure Myself a  New Phone"

Wait.... is that a TV? And what is that black stuff? Glue? Remnant of a Mummy? Stay tuned for more!

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Presentations, Exchange Programs and TV Interview

This monkey was really slow to write a new blog post, but my days were scheduled full, so I needed a brake from all: Ones I got the chance!

So far, I have given presentations of management in Finland, Startup life, Trade between EU and Russia. Currently, I am working on presentation (or was it plenary, need to verify this!) about EU's policy on green energy. Yes, they requested it. Here at the heart of oil and gas. I was also interviewed by the university media, if you are able to follow news in Russian, check the link. (Do not worry, I was speaking in English. Not that confident yet!)

Me looking highly professional. 

On Friday we had spree of meetings and I was introduced to the Vice-President on External Affairs, Georgy V. Korshunov and he kindly offered to assist me tosee, if I could gain access to public information on Russia's policy development on international trade, which is central information for my subject in masters thesis. So now I need to draft an official letter of introduction to the Ministry of Economic Development of the Russian Federation Department of Trade Negotiations. Of course, it is just to see whether I could get assistance to get the information. We will see how it goes...

So now I need to draft the text and make a translation as well, by the beginning of next week. Luckily, I do have someone to proofread my text before it leaves!

Winter is coming...

So busy, busy,.. I have couple of more projects concerning new possible exchange programs coming up. I really enjoy developing relations and starting something new and therefore, I am grateful to have the opportunity to gain this experience and to be able to have my wishes heard on what I do and learn.

I think I am progressing with the language as I managed to discuss (if few word sentences counts!) on Friday about topics such as, Finland and Russian history, geology of Finland, minerals found in our soil and how they collect those in Russia from the water underneath the oil. It took two hours and sometimes dictionary as these subjects are not something we would have gone through during our Russian lessons in Finland. But hey, it is to be understood that counts right?

When you fail with the understandable communication -part: I managed to order two set of icecreams instead of one. Oh boy! For my defence, I was not at my best that day... but really! Two bowls of icecreams! ! Please, do trust me to take care of some official communication, oh wait...

I do remember that I promised to give you more information on Innovatika! I should get back with it soon. Though, cannot promise anything as the following two weeks are quite hectic.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Slowly Slowly Catch the Monkey

I think I took longer brake with my blog, sorry about that. You will find explanation for that in the following text.

Last weekend, well, I could say the pace finally got me and so I needed to rest. This week has been a bit easier. I am starting to be able to have casual conversations in Russian, although I am still finding it difficult to always find the right words. But I am getting there!

Today I managed to solve an issue concerning my sim card and in Russian. It is not as bad as it felt at the beginning. Yesterday I was requested to help new students as one of them had lost their mobile. So I end up interpreting again. I also managed to switch less painfully within different languages today. So I was mixing Russian, English and French again. If I continue this way, I can say I am capable to work in five different languages, including my mother tongue. Not of course anything too complicated, but at least on a general level.

Last week I honestly felt I am just going over the board with everything. (But it is quite hard to actually interpret immigration law into French, have not done the course for that!) So I just had to work around how to explain it. I am really trying my best here to work on the language skills - and I do not finish when I get to the dormitory during the evenings, I might continue trying to find the words to do better work next day. So I am continuing to study both French and Russian during evenings too. It is just that, now I have the time and place to practice and I really should put my best effort to gain the level of fluency on these languages.

Judging by the experience, I would really recommend this university as internship placement. I am gaining so much while here.

This picture was taken during the first Russian class. I switched to more advanced group. I also got verification that I am able to add the course into my studies in Finland. Study points are always good to have!

What I have learned in the new class, was the difference between ли and если. We are also learning the formal way to defend thesis in Russian. They emphasise the passive voice, or usage of "we" instead of I. This has roots in the time when the thesis was combined effort with the instructing professor.

Friday, September 28, 2018

Learning How to Advertise in Russia and Much More

I have been trying to catch up with everything I needed to do while I was ill, therefore I barely had time to think about this blog.

My advancement in Russian language has stagnated, even gone worse, but that was expected. Got contact with teacher that has course, where I can practice communication. For a week now, I have been using Google translator to communicate in shops, instead of looking the vocabulary in advance. I just have been so tired of "studying" 24/7 and therefore gave myself a break.

Back to my work:

So, I was signed as the coordinator for one exchange program in Finland. This actually has been really interesting project to get to know Russia. In Finland the students needs to seek the information about the exchange opportunities themselves - here in Komi, we seek the students to go for the exchange programs:

We look up everything for them in advance, such as how much money approximately they would need during the exchange. Basically, anything they need to know. It may sound odd, but going abroad is not that common here and to get it established as common thing, well, it needs work! Therefore, we also have to help the students. So starting from making advertisement for the social media and the screens (that shows adverts on the corridors of the university). For this I actually requested to have a logo's or pictures for use from the target university, but I got the basic Finnish answer:

Ask them to look from the internet. *sigh * It just does not work that way in here... I also made the first draft for the ad, and this gave me the opportunity to learn what is seen as appealing ad in here. I have not the ability to write such things, but this is for learning and that is what I am doing. So now I can compare my version to what is seen as good ad! Cannot wait to get to do another one.

We have had a bit of a hurry with the schedule for the exchange program and therefore, the result for the Tuesday's meeting with the Head of Department, was for me to leave at ones to present the opportunity at the department of languages and the head of that department referred me to the English language teacher, who kindly invited me to give an ad hoc presentation on the subject. I was also invited to present the program to second group on Wednesday and was really pleased to hear that the Tuesday's group had 10 interested students and there was several on the second group too! When the starting point was that they are lucky if getting one student to present for the  receiving university.

This led me to my second task, which I presented to my team and was accepted: I start gathering all the possible exchange programs and collect them into one document to have advertisement of them and thus to present more than one opportunity for the student. To spread the knowledge of these, especially the ones, which provides grands to assist the students with the expences.

After the presentation, I had a lunch and prepared for the Master Class, which I gave to the students and entrepreneurs in the newly founded business incubator. My subject was, what it takes to have a startup in Finland and especially growth pains. I am really waiting to learn how it is here and currently, there is one Innovation Forum called Innovatika on, in which I was invited to give this speech. Not yet using Russian, but had translated my PowerPoint, and had a help from our department as Mikhail was the interpreter for me. He did well when thinking I was talking about special subject: startup, technology and financing with all the lovely jargon included in it - of course!

The Innovatika is similar to Finnish ones and I am going to have a post about it too in soon future.

 Just love the buzz!

Opening ceremony

All and all, I am going to enjoy every moment of it. :) Oh and the heating is working!

Friday, September 21, 2018

Fixed Lights and Plug + Conversing in Russian

Today they came to fix the (socket) plug and additionally had my light in the hallway changed too. I must say, the repairer is hilarious and makes me to chat in Russian more than I actually could, but that is the way to learn the language. 

I had the basic questions to answer: Am I married, am I Finnish, What languages do I speak. I returned the favour likewise and asked more questions. I am still at the dormitory, but do write some stuff, which I am able to prepare for Monday. I just need to translate my PowerPoint for the Master Class in Russian during this weekend, if I am not mistaken, it is on Monday and therefore I have no more time to loose.

The temperature in the room is still bellow 18 degrees. I am trying to get used to it, if I sit around for a long, I do get cold. I assume after next week I am getting used to speak in more than two languages. It just always takes so much energy to get used to talk in other than the languages one is commonly using. Just wish it would be over sooner. At this point I feel like I just want to stay in the room for 3 days and not to talk! 

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Getting to Know Stuff and Problems with Internet

I seem to have taken all the bugs running around and yet again I was on a sick leave from my work. Maybe now I have harvested all I could and the next week would be dedicated to work!

There are few things I have gone through with actual experience, such as the new law for Internet data storing in Russia. This made me to change service provider and I will get to that in this or the next post. Here I am going to show you first some glimpse of what this university is about. 

Showing the international students around and getting to know studies and training facilities.

Some hardware to use on the pumping of oil.

Presentation hall for Uhkta.

Gazprom has one of it's biggest offices in Ukhta.


Both Lukoil and Gazprom are well presented in the university. These are here, according to the tour, to be able to present themselves for the students and get the best ones to work for them.

This is for development of technology etc. studies

How the companies are working closely together with the locals and surroundings (one example).

Mining the oil, not just pumping.

One of the biggest lecture hall.

Walking down the Lenin street to work.

This was taken yesterday as my phone package had cut off and Mikhail came to my rescue to find unlimited package. Yes, we were running around trying to find the shop and outside of the main street, behind the buildings the roads are as such.

Needed some coffee and ice cream after that!

When I came back to my room, I was told to change the rooms and end up cleaning second apartment for myself. Washing the floors; true Russian experience I would say, but functional. 

I think they started feeling sorry for me sleeping with my winter jacket on. Still do as I need to plug this off while sleeping or going out (Risk of fire). Actually one of the plugs behind me was smelling funny and made crackling noises when we first used it - and no, no electrical mechanic was called in to inspect it! Just was told not to use it. :D

Had to attend this one, where we were told not to use any electrical stuff (such as water boiler) in our rooms. There has been more than one case of fire and deaths: Though, I am working here, so rules are for me a bit different.

This is the service provider I would recommend to find, they are one still left with unlimited data per month. Though, I only can call within Komi with this package. Tele2 I "burned" in 10 days so not for someone who uses a lot of data! 

Even though I paid double this month for my Internet, I still got it 3 times cheaper than in Finland. It works just fine. Only thing is, that you need to pay the fee in the stores every month, unless you have Sberbank or something similar to be able to pay online.

With Tele2 I had additional problem of getting messages and phone calls nonstop with the previous owners name. It was really annoying. This one has been silent. So my voice goes to Megaphone company if planning on getting your own number in Russia.

Other than that, I am really tired with the language, just jamming all the time. Quite normal as I have gone through the language fatigue before. One recommendation to learn before coming here:

"What would you recommend."

additionally, take your study books with you even though it is extra weight. I would have desperately needed them now to study what I have been using during the days or needed to use! Now I have not had time to find a bookstore to buy ones here, so just take them with you. Secondly, learn to buy phone/sim card in Russian language before coming here. It is easier when able to buy stuff by yourself.

I will leave the work related news to my next post, I still need to rest to fully recover.