The New World, exchange in Uruguay.

+30 something degrees outside. It's hot. The semester has already ended and it does not feel anything like December, even less like Christmas. That is Montevideo at the moment. A city where I've spent the last 4 months in exchange and will continue to do so, after the local summer vacation.

La Rambla of Montevideo.

It has been a great semester, and I've certainly learned a thing or two. Why did I choose this place? Well surely getting as far as possible from the Finnish fall played a part (I think I succeeded rather well, seeing as I'm around 13 000 kilometers away), but the real reason was to enhance my Spanish. In the circumstances it was given, all of my courses are in Spanish. A challenge you might say, and being the only exchange student in all of my subjects, certainly made it even more interesting. Also due to the large amount of French exchange students, I've actually managed to practice my French here.

My university here is Universidad ORT Uruguay. My courses this semester were: identity design (packaging), web design, After Effects and Spanish. To pass a course you need at least the minimum of 70 points out of 100. They are strict about the that. Also my schedule here has been a bit different from that of Finland, all my courses are during the afternoon / evening, with days ending around 22:15. Then again the South American culture is emphasized towards the evening.

There were times when I was buried with work, and did not make it easier that at times the language created more challenges than I would have cared for. Especially with the identity design course, the course had two big projects + weekly smaller works. We were given the form and sometimes guidelines for the design, but all the rest (like figuring out how on earth do you fold the package) was left to our imagination. An interesting fact I learned was that our lecturer happened to be a big fan of Tapio Wirkkala.

Some packages done for the last project.

Uruguay is a small country. Switzerland of South America and we are well known here. Actually it because of UPM that Uruguay had a lot of problems with the bullying Argentinians. The paper factories were built on the Uruguayn side of the river. The wrong side, at least according to the Argentinians. There's around 3,5 million inhabitants in Uruguay, from whom around half live in the area of Montevideo. In the "countryside" (which is everything outside of Montevideo) there's a lot of farmland and a lot of cows. The number of cows is really explained as Uruguay has the highest red meat consumption per capita in the world, as such their cuisine is really meat orientated.

Montevideo is a big city, it's really widespread but has a really low skyline. This is not a city of skyscrapers. The most iconic part of Montevideo is the beach boulevard that surrounds this city, the beach is always near. It is also a rather safe city, with a relaxed atmosphere and friendly inhabitants. The football culture is something completely different, it goes beyond fandom here. It is part of their national identity. Also the Uruguayns like a good party and due to their rather nocturnal culture, the parties start late and end even later.

Main square.

The fans of Peñarol have their tifo in every match.

As for traveling Uruguay is pretty well located, between Argentina and Brazil. I've managed to travel a bit already and will certainly continue to do so during the vacations. For now I've traveled a bit around Argentina + short visits to Paraguay and Chile. Next up is Brazil, where I'm going after Christmas for the New Year.

It's shame that time has passed so quickly and these 4 months have gone so fast, as I've made a lot of good friends from all around the world and Uruguay. The next semester starts in March and I guess I'll be on the road traveling till then.