Few lines of a stormy week

The last two week is a memorable period to my life. Here’s the highlights, but there’s of course more of it surrounding the week:

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  1. Applying for UK visa and spend the whole weekend to search for nice places to visit. It was a an awesome plan.
  2. Got the refusal letter from UK Immigration: WTF moment.
  3. My lecturer called the UK embassy and submitted all kinds of letters. Hope fires up even though it’s only a slim chance.
  4. No answer from the embassy at all. Hope crashed and a self-promise that I probably will hate the British all my life.
  5. My lecturer convinced me to present via Skype. It was a horrible idea as I first heard it since I’ve been preparing for this trip like for 6 months and the actual travelling mattered so much much more to me than the presentation. But oh well, I can’t lose more anyway.
  6. After the first presentation, I was chosen as the finalists: the first one who ever did it via Skype.
  7. Second presentation was the next day with slightly more nervousness. The presentation did not work as it was supposed to, which is equivalent to 30% of the presentation.
  8. Surprisingly, I got the second place of the competition.

I could not say it’s the toughest two weeks of my life but it’s probably the time in which I’ve experienced so many different extreme emotional states. At the end of the day when I heard the news, I cried so much because it was necessary. It was the accumulation of regrets, happiness, relief and above of, the feeling of achievement.

There’s no way for us to know the future, we just have to walk it through.

Helsinki 06.2015

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A new start

Tadaaaaaaa

Today is the International Labour Day, a very big holiday in Finland because it coincides with spring celebration of the Finnish, Walpurgis day. People flocked all the streets yesterday with alcohol and happiness. Some was pretty crazy, here’s an example:

We woke up this morning rather late, being intoxicated from the drinks yesterday. Amazingly, we found our cutie spinach in the kitchen has blossomed into a fully grown, beautiful plant! You would be even more surprised to know it came from a spinach seed that we experimented to grow. I ignored it for quite a while until a few days ago, I decided to dismantle my indoor farm and discovered the spinach had grown so big.

The spinach seed package. Who knows it can grow into such a plant <3

The spinach seed package. Who knows it can turn into such a plant ❤

At first my boyfriend talked me into throwing it away. “It grows against all odds while other plants died away, there must be something to it” I thought so I kept it anyway, just put little and little water to it everyday, expecting that it might die soon cos there was not nutrition. Seeing it shows off its little yellow petals today was wonderful! I felt so happy that I trusted in my little spinach seed’s surviving spirit 😛

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Dear little spinach plant, you made a claim: Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence

Helsinki, 05.2015

If you think teaching is an easy career, think again

Have you ever looked at your lecturer and said to yourself: “That’s easy.”?

Have you ever felt unsatisfied with your grades and thought of your teacher as irrational?

I did. And for a long long time, I’ve been always thinking that: Teaching is something you will do when you fail to do other stuffs. But I was wrong, completely wrong, terribly wrong, ridiculously wrong. Teaching should be the most difficult career out of all other careers.

So I was invited to a Finnish class “Ruoka ja joumat kuturuliset” (name unknown) today to introduce the idea that I presented at Encounters15 conference. The class was divided into four groups, each of 4-5 students and they would take turn to come to my table and get introduced. I included in the presentation a short introduction about Six Hat Thinking technique and asked each group to use the approach to assess my idea. The result was positive and pretty close to my research conclusion. But anyway, I would tell you guys why I claim Teaching is the most worthy career choice:

1 It’s super difficult to inspire people 

Remember the last time you motivate someone into completion of what they’re afraid to do? It’s so rewarding, I know, cos I’ve been always interested in self-development and community events that results in multiple effects. But inspiration works is something I would do when I feel good, and I don’t feel like that all the time (I mean it’s really hard in this weather). Teaching, on the other hand, requires a lot of self-motivation and a strong desire to inspire people to do a good job. If I can be more precise: Teaching is hard, but teaching in Finland can even be harder.

2 It requires so much patience.

Okay so I told you that the class I attended today was divided into groups right? So I had to present my idea 4 times to 4 different groups of people. There were bright faces, curious looks which really stimulate my presentation, and I become so excited to talk about my idea. But, there’s always a but, there were also indifferent faces, emotionless eyes staring at my mouth which made me just want to stop everything and flip the table.

Is that you?

Now I’m pretty sure some of you are relating to yourself, even I myself sometimes showed that face (okay not sometimes). Just imagine lecturers have to put up with these faces ALL the time cos it’s impossible to make EVERYONE interested in what you said. That’s why I said every teacher must possess a gigantic capability to be patient, if there’s such a way to say 😛

3 Highest chance to get a throat inflammation, throat cancer, or whatever diseases relate to your throat

You would always tend to speak very loudly because the class is not silent all the time. Another valid reason to be loud is it  partly represents your energy. I don’t think anybody would be interested in a lesson where the teacher is whispering with herself. So after the second group today, I felt a flame burning through every inch of my throat. Just not my career.

Be nice to your teacher next time, they tried LOL

Helsinki, 04.2015

How do I price my study in Finland?

My only course this semester is Financial Planning, so I have plenty of time to digest all the lectures into knowledge, which is a good thing. Just got off the last individual assignment of the term and it got me into a strange thinking: How do I price my study in Finland?

Should it be market-based pricing? I know at least Germany is very generous in giving tuition-free education for international students and if it was 5 years ago, so was Sweden. Swedish universities is charging now between SEK 80,000–140,000 (around 8,000-14,000 euros) per academic year. With close proximity to Finland, the Swedish education charge might be a good indicator for education pricing in Finland. However, another criterion must also be considered is quality. How well does the Swedes study compared with the Finns? Well, the answer is a bit disappointing: The 2012 Pisa results show Sweden’s exam results falling abruptly across all three measures of reading, maths and science – with the country recording the largest drop in maths performance over 10 years. Its 2013 results were not much better. Market-based pricing for my study does not seem to be a good idea.

How about if I know the costs of each and every components of my study, add them up and price and use a standard multiplier derived from history? VATT estimates that each full-time basic degree student costs an average of 2800 euros annually in Finland. The amount is approximately equivalent to one forth of the tuition I paid for Ngee Ann Polytechnic, Singapore in 2009. So now you know who is the expensive guy huh 😉

Nevertheless, I think the most suitable pricing method for my current study must be based on value. It’s like when you want to sell a product, you always need to know clearly about the added values it would bring compared to the existing solution. Otherwise how would one buy if your offer is exactly the same as what they are having right? For that reason, I recall all the knowledge, experiences and opportunities that  Finland had brought for me: the travels, the events, friends.. The total amount should be priceless.

This morning my boyfriend asked me a question: ”What is an incredible thing that you’ve done? I answered him after 1 second “Leaving everything behind and come to Finland”

Helsinki, 04.2015