Posts in the Degree Programmes category

Fig 1. From left to right: “Lavoslav Ružička” college Erasmus coordinator Karolina Novinc, and lecturers in physiotherapy Vesna Šeper and Slavica Jankovic.

Tampere University of Applied Sciences (TAMK) has an Erasmus+ exchange agreement with College of Applied Sciences “Lavoslav Ružička” in Vukovar. Vukovar is a small inland city in Croatia, on the river Danube. During the 1991 Croatian War of Independence, Serbian troops destroyed the infrastructure, massacred several hundred citizens and expelled over 20000 inhabitants. Nowadays most of the city has been renovated with the help of the EU, but the population has not recovered and young people are moving away for better job opportunities.

“Lavoslav Ružička” is a small college. Circa 1000 students are studying administration, commerce or physiotherapy. Graduate specialization studies are available in preventive physiotherapy. For most students, studying is free of charge. Part-time students pay 1250 € annually. The facilities of the college are modern; It has, for example, a well-equipped gym and a hotel-like student dormitory.

Vesna Šeper (Fig. 1) is a lecturer in physiotherapy in Vukovar. She has visited TAMK twice. This spring we made a return visit. Three of our physiotherapy students are currently in Vukovar, and I was there one week as a teacher at the end of March. All of us received a very warm welcome, and the Erasmus coordinator Karolina Novinc (Fig. 1) of the college arranged everything perfectly. We even had an interview with the local radio channel (Fig. 2).

The student exchange is executed at the local hospital clinic and at the hospital wards. The role of physiotherapists and physiotherapy students differs in some respects from Finland: In Croatia, medical doctors prescribe more precisely the content of physiotherapy and the physiotherapy students mainly observe. In Finland, a physiotherapist receives often only the patient’s medical diagnosis from the doctor and everything else is left to the therapist. Also, physiotherapy students are given more responsibility, and they can participate early on to the examination of the patient and the execution of the therapy.

As an exchange teacher, I gave lectures in Vukovar about Exercise Therapy and Pain Science. During and after the lectures we had good discussions of the profession with the local physiotherapy students and teachers. I experienced genuine hospitality and learned that the academic level of the college is high. Many of the teachers are involved in research and are doing their PhDs. On the other hand, the small college and the distantly located city are not very attractive to new students. The “Lavoslav Ružička” college could benefit from an advertisement campaign, of which Finnish universities have a lot of experience. I also saw a lot of potential in the city: developing public transport system and the banks of Danube, for example, would increase the attractiveness. Perhaps TAMK could help to brand the college and the city.

Fig 2. Physiotherapy students were interviewed by the local radio channel. From left to right: Iiro Hyvärinen (TAMK), Ivana Antunovic, Emma Siippainen (TAMK), Nikolina Vugrin and Alma Vormisto (TAMK).

Text and photos: Ilkka Piiroinen, Senior Lecturer, TAMK

Text: Tiina Ylinen, Project Engineer, TAMK’s Textile Laboratory

Photos: TAMK Archives



The abrasion test is one of the most important tests of the laboratory.

“Textile Laboratory! What is that?” This is a common question heard on TAMK’s I0-wing corridor. To answer this question I decided to write this short article about Tampere University of Applied Sciences’ Textile Laboratory .

TAMK’s textile Laboratory offers a vast range of textile testing services. Our main job is to co-operate with companies, which can order testing services ranging from single material analysis to broad product development projects. TAMK’s textile laboratory has altogether over 20 years of experience in textile testing and company co-operation.

Customers from Various Parts of Industry

Our customers are a very diverse group of people who come from different parts of the textile industry, for example, manufacturing, importing and sales. These companies operate on the fields of working clothes, upholstery, technical textiles and many others, which indicates the broadness of the field. Many of the partners have been in close co-operation with the Textile Laboratory for many years, but as a result of long-term marketing, new clients have been reached, as well. In the recent years the client co-operation has been extended also to the Northern and Baltic Countries.

Assesment of the colour fastness test.

With textile testing, companies can determine the quality of their products and the suitability of the products for their end use purpose. It pays off to test the product, especially when new materials are used and when the supplier or the production equipment has been changed. Because the manufacturing industry has largely moved abroad, the importance of quality control in Europe has been emphasized. This is why we believe the significance of quality textile materials and quality control will continue to grow in the future and the knowledge in this area will become a great competitive advantage.

The demand of the fibre content test has increased lately. Microscopy is one part of this test.

What Do we Actually Do in Textile Laboratory?

We can analyse materials, such as fibres, yarns, fabrics and knits, as well as finished products in a variety of different methods here in TAMK’s Textile Laboratory. The most common tests include determination of different kind of tensile properties, such as abrasion and colour fastness. Also the determination of fibre content has been demanded. Other examples of the performed tests are determination of burning behaviour, antibacterial activity, air permeability and pilling. Sometimes also the different kinds of applied tests are needed in the product development or problem-solving situations. The testing range is developed all the time and our aim is to meet the demands of companies as thoroughly as possible.

Tensile testing in progress.

Textile Technology is no longer its own independent degree programme but Textile Laboratory works proudly under the Degree Programme of Bioproduct and Process Engineering. In addition, Textile Laboratory provides a variety of courses, such as tailor-made courses for companies and educational establishments. The laboratory has been in co-operation with Finnish textile design academies and offered them textile testing courses, which focus on the technical suitability, rather than the visual aspect of the product. These courses have provided an excellent possibility to achieve a fruitful dialogue between engineers and artists.

In conclusion, textile testing with various testing methods is highly demanded service provided by TAMK’s Textile Laboratory. The textile courses, from short fee-charging trainings and seminars to Open University laboratory courses, have been popular among the textile companies, educational establishments and anyone interested in textiles. This is an extremely wide branch of technology, which is why our versatile expert services are demanded among many operators on the field.

Further information on TAMK’s website and follow us on Facebook (in Finnish).


SalesDay 15th September 2017

SalesDay2017 was an event hosted by BBA students in 15th September 2017 at TAMK. We were a part of the organizing team of the event. The event involved excellent and inspirational sales professionals that spoke of today’s sales from their own perspective: Julius Tuomikoski, Tanja Piha, Jussi Liimatainen, Veera Lehtismäki, Samuli Myllyharju, Reijo Karhulahti, Peer Haataja and Mika D. Rubanovitsch. The event also provided an opportunity for students and participating companies to network.

The day comprised the following elements:

– Describing the study path of sales professionals by TAMK coach Vesa Vuorinen and study adviser Paula Lamminen
– Discussion panel “Revi siilot, kaikki myy!”  (Tear down silos, everything sells!)
– Future and opportunities of sales professionals
– Changing marketing as part of successful sales
– Sales expertise in the Tampere region
– Students connecting with company representatives at Y-campus.

The event was also streamed online so that viewers were able to take part in conversations through Twitter. Discussions were very active throughout the event. #SalesDay was trending as a top 2 tweet that day (15th September 2017) according to @twiitit and @pinnalla.

The atmosphere was great and innovative. Both participants and we organizers were happy with the outcome. We got tips and important experience for future challenges.

Text and photos: Emilia Leppänen and Aino Rajala (16Liko4)


Logo IP Valencia



Valencia – City of Arts and Sciences


Altogether 34 students and 10 staff members from Belgium, Finland, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain and UK participated in March 2017 in an advertising and marketing communications project. The assignment to promote Valencia as a travel destination was given to student teams by Turismo Valencia.


Students from Finland - Emmiina, Ilona, Ella, Kristiina and Essi at CEU Campus Moncada

Students from Finland – Emmiina, Ilona, Ella, Kristiina and Essi at CEU Campus Moncada


Students Ilona Hoppula, Ella Laakso, Emmiina Lindfors, Kristiina Pieti and Essi Sirén from Tampere University of Applied Sciences, School of Business and Services participated in March in an advertising and marketing communications project, organized by CEU Universidad Cardenal Herrera from Valencia, Spain.  The coordinator of the team from Finland was Senior Lecturer in Marketing Pirkko Varis.


Pirkko Varis and other staff members having lunch break


The brief of VLC Turismo was presented by Vicente Haba, Product Manager, VLC Turismo. The objectives were to increase the awareness of Valencia in the rest of Spain and in European markets, to position Valencia as a smart destination of short and medium getaways, to increase visits from these countries and to increase word-of-mouth.


Situation analysis and customer insight by Laura Campbell


Prior to travelling to Valencia market surveys including focus group discussions were conducted in the mentioned countries, the results were presented in the beginning of the week and the findings were used in the planning process.

Laura Campbell from Southampton Solent University, UK gave a presentation on Situation Analysis and Customer Insight, David Rodriguez, Senior Strategic Planner from JWT Madrid on Communication Strategy and Pepe Martínez-Sáez, from CEU Universidad Cardenal Herrera, Spain on Media Strategies in a Digital Landscape.


Strategy by David Rodriguez from JWT Madrid and Pepe Martinez from CEU


All staff members of the universities worked as coaches for the teams. Dr Nik Mahon from the University of Southampton, Winchester School of Art and Ken Burtenshaw, Advertising Art Director/Graphic Designer worked as special experts for creative brief and creative ideas sessions. Nik Mahon also delivered lecture on the Creative Brief. Ann Gemoets from Artesis Plantijn Hogeschool Antwerpen, Belgium gave a presentation on Pitching the Ideas.


The Creative Brief by Nik Mahon


Students from six universities planned in multicultural teams integrated advertising and marketing communications campaigns. All teams gave presentations on their proposals in the end of the intensive course. The teams emphasized online marketing and digital, mobile and social media in their marketing communications proposals, and also traditional marketing tools were proposed by some of the teams.


A team enjoying the nice weather


One team working in the sunshine


Coaches in discussion outside CEU in the city centre


Many creative solutions were developed by all student teams and VLC Turismo is able to use some of the ideas of all teams immediately and some in the near future. The representatives of VLC Turismo gave feedback to all student teams and announced the winning team. They liked in the winning team proposal among others the complete concept and the ways to spread the message.


Kristiina and other winning team members with the representatives of VLC Turismo


Certificates – students from Finland with Turismo Valencia representatives and Maria Lopez from CEU


Happy participants at CE Campus Moncada


The programme included also a welcome party, icebreakers with funny country presentations and international food brought by the participants, a guided tour to the historic centre of Valencia, a visit to IVAM (Valencia Institute of Modern Art) with a presentation on the influence of music on emotions and a jazz concert, mascletàs de Las Fallas, visits to museums, paella and other culinary experiences, and a goodbye party.


Mascletas de las Fallas


The intensive course was also visited by the Dean of Faculty of Humanities and Communication Sciences, Dr. Elias Durán. Maria Lopez, Sandra Femenia Almerich, Pepe Martinez, Chari García and as assistants Vera Copello and other team members worked for all participants throughout the intensive course. Thank you very much for your warm hospitality!


Students in goodbye party


In the following students from Finland share their experiences and thoughts of the intensive course and time in Valencia.

“Valencia was a great location and the facilities of CEU Cardenal Herrera were very good. The presentations given by the staff members were amazing, they were really informative and nicely structured, and they gave so much new information and inspiration for future projects. It was really useful to actually work with a real client from the tourism industry. Timing was great, Las Fallas with a lot of activities. Master and bachelor students from different professional backgrounds and countries worked well together.”


Las Fallas – Falles de Valencia 2017


Emmiina Lindfors:

“I was part of the team which consisted of six people from the Netherlands, Belgium, UK, Germany and myself from Finland. I felt that our group was really good in terms of team dynamics and getting the project up and running. Each team member had their speciality or expertise in certain areas of such as marketing, advertising and tourism. Our idea “Valencia – everything is just one step away” seemed to please the judges and at least our team was very pleased with the outcome.

I really appreciated the new knowledge I gained during the week from my teammates. As a whole the whole week and the course gave a glance of how it is to work in an international team and for a real life client from the tourism industry, which is something I as a tourism major student will always remember.”

Ella Laakso:

“In my opinion, our team worked rather well and we were able to produce a good product to the customer. I believe I did my best work for the team and I noticed my strengths being in keeping the team focused on the subject, helping the team to brainstorm and writing the reports. I learned a lot from an advertising campaign in practise and getting to execute one in real life. You learn to compromise and collaborate with others when working in an international team.”


Visit to the Science Museum


Ilona Hoppula:

“Our team consisted of Finnish, Dutch, Belgian, Spanish and German students. Throughout the week, our team worked well and hard together.  I learned how to work efficiently in a multicultural team. The tasks for each day were divided well, and at times short amount of time given for the work made us work productively as a team. We knew how to keep the mood relaxed and everybody was supporting each other throughout the tasks, which kept the atmosphere pleasant. I also learned about marketing, and especially the lectures provided a lot of good and useful information about the different phases that are important in the process of promoting a destination. Lots of new information was gained in the level of education and human relationships.”


Enjoying life in front of the Science Museum


Essi Sirén:

“Our team had a good idea, but we would have needed more time to work on it. I tried to push all the members to come up with new ideas and actually to concentrate on the project. I learned a lot from team working in an international environment. It is for sure not as easy as it might sound. All countries have their own way of working, time concept, values etc. I also really liked the presentations we had from the staff members. They were really informative and nicely structured. Also we got understanding of making the project for an actual client who could in the best case implement the plan, and how many small things there are to consider when making a marketing strategy for a new campaign. Overall I think it was a great experience and I am happy that I got to be a part of it. “


Jazz concert with a presentation at IVAM


Kristiina Pieti:

“My team consisted of students from Spain, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany and Finland. The team worked together rather well, and discussion was progressive. I like working and playing with words, and came up with different kinds of slogans and catchphrases. The two Spanish students were truly talented and creative, and made great visuals in a short time. The Spanish culture with a flexible time concept was something new to me. The presentations gave very interesting information about marketing, consumer insights and reaching an emotional level in today’s world where everyone experiences a flood of information daily. I especially found the experiences of the lecturers in advertising companies interesting. Working in an international team outside of Finland was eye-opening. The project was finished successfully, and the quick changes in timetable made the situation feel more authentic.”


Text: Pirkko Varis


Laura Campbell, Southampton Solent University

Nik Mahon, University of Southampton, Winchester School of Art

Finland student team & Pirkko Varis, Tampere University of Applied Sciences

Maria Lopez, Sandra Femenia Almerich & other staff, CEU Universidad Cardenal Herrera


The following institutions participated in the intensive course:

Artesis Plantijn Hogeschool Antwerpen, Belgium

CEU Universidad Cardenal Herrera, Spain

Hochschule Darmstadt, University of Applied Sciences, Germany
Inholland University of Applied Sciences, the Netherlands

Southampton Solent University, UK

Tampere University of Applied Sciences, School of Business and Services, Finland


On the way to Mars

TAMK participated in the United States National Aeronautics and Space Administration NASA’s Epic Challenge project, which studied challenges of colonising Mars. One of the project’s top moments took place in the Finnish Science Centre Heureka on 10 May when the project participants had the chance to meet NASA’s astronaut Timothy Kopra.


Project participants in Heureka. Back row from left Juha Hyytiäinen, LAMK’s Epic Challenge coordinator; TAMK’s coordinator Antti Perttula (second from left); Timothy Kopra (fifth from left); Dawn Kopra (sixth from left), and TAMK’s teacher Tomi Salo (back row, first from right)

Astronaut Kopra lectured on his work in the International Space Station ISS to a full auditorium. Kopra told about his latest six-month space journey and related research on the planned journey to Mars. Timothy Kopra, who is of Finnish descent, thinks it is possible that the journey to Mars will take place in the 2030s.


Timothy Kopra told about his space journeys in Heureka with his wife Dawn Kopra.

Students and teachers from the higher education institutions participating in the Epic Challenge programme attended the event in Heureka. The atmosphere of the event was warm. The students had the chance to present their one-year project results.


TAMK’s students Jessica Mattila (left) and Polina Petrova presented their project to Kopra.


TAMK’s student Catherine Fait presented their project to Kopra.


TAMK’s student Svetlana Rybina was part of a student group that developed a test chamber suitable to Mars.


Astronaut Charles Camarda wants to continue the Finnish cooperation. In the photo from left teacher Tomi Salo from TAMK, Charles Camarda, and student Polina Petrova from TAMK.

Mars colonisation was also a topic at the SciFest 2017 event in Joensuu on 12 May 2017. In the learning environment symposium the Epic Challenge teams of Joensuu and TAMK introduced themselves and met the father of the Epic Challenge programme, astronaut Charles Camarda and Timothy Kopra. This year’s Epic Challenge programme ended but NASA’s astronauts are interested in continuing the Finnish cooperation.


Coordinator of the Epic Challenge programme, Principal Lecturer Heikki Immonen from Karelia University of Applied Sciences received a Finnish flag which has been in space twice from Timothy Kopra.


Continuation of the Epic Challenge programme was planned in the amazing scenery of Koli. From left Charles Camarda, Timothy Kopra, Dawn Kopra, and Antti Perttula.

In addition to TAMK, the University of Eastern Finland, Karelia University of Applied Sciences, North Karelia College, Lahti University of Applied Sciences, Town of Joensuu, and Savo Consortium for Education participate in the Epic Challenge programme.

Text and photos: Antti Perttula, Principal Lecturer, Degree Programme in Mechanical Engineering, Leader of TAMK’s NASA Challenge project

Text: Arja Hautala
Photo: Tiina Suvanto

Look to the sky. The group of NASA’s Epic Challenges students. Svetlana Rybina on the right. Photo: Tiina Suvanto

Look to the sky. The group of NASA’s Epic Challenge students. Svetlana Rybina on the right.

“I was attracted by the topic: sustaining humans on Mars. Something completely new and different from what I have done before.”

Svetlana Rybina is one of 20 TAMK students taking part in NASA’s Epic Challenge programme.

Tell a bit about yourself

My name is Svetlana Rybina, I am 20 years old and I am an international student from Russia studying Energy and Environmental Engineering for the third year. This is my first degree and I am really happy that I got to TAMK, because I am having a great and interesting time here.

What made you join this space programme?

I heard about NASA’s Epic Challenge in April 2016. I was attracted by the topic: sustaining humans on Mars. Something completely new and different from what I have done before. The Epic Challenge programme seemed very colourful, promising to teach a lot about Mars and space in general.
I wanted to try building prototypes, make experiments, be involved with “space industry” as I have always found it interesting to watch movies or scientific programmes about other planets. I was sure that if I came across this project I should not miss the chance to work in collaboration with NASA, contact real astronauts, and ask them questions.

What have you learnt during this project?

Our team Marsesters worked on construction of a Mars chamber which simulates the Martian temperature range and low pressure. We managed to make one prototype which is easy and relatively cheap to build. It is not so good as we would like it to be, due to lack of funding and time, but anyway it can be used to test different products or devices meant for use on Mars.

Apart from theoretical knowledge about Mars, space, and current technologies we learnt to use methods for assessing risks. But I am mostly glad for the practical skills which I gained during the prototype construction and testing. I was so lucky to have my teammates from whom to learn!
They were really clever mechanical, production and IT engineering students full of ideas. Their work experience helped our project a lot. I also noticed that after several months of working, discussing, arguing, explaining, assembling and joking with them, I started to think more in the engineering way, which benefits me beyond this project as well.

What is the most interesting thing in this project?

Testing is definitely the most interesting part. Actually assembling the systems is pretty fascinating, but experimenting is the most exciting. In this phase you can really see the result of your work and it always gives you background for future improvement. No matter if you fail or succeed, experimenting makes you go further and continue working. Of course, it is sad if expectations are not fulfilled, but it means you will not make the same mistake next time.

I also think that the final presentation of our chamber will be interesting. I would like to hear comments from Charles Camarda, a NASA astronaut, who is the supervisor of this project.

Do you want to fly to Mars some day?

Personally, I do not want. The general idea is awesome and I want humans to fly to Mars some day, because our Earth is very well explored and we need to broaden our horizons, look for hidden resources on other planets. The status of “multiplanetary species” sounds very cool, in my view, and I would not participate in this challenge if I would be against the idea.

During the project, I have learnt enough about Martian environment to understand that it is not suitable for people now. Huge amount of work should be done to create systems and equipment for humans to stay safe on a planet where you cannot breathe and which has great temperature differences, low pressure, radiation, dust, perchlorates and many other nasty things. Best scenarios predict visit to Mars by the end of 2020s.

Such a project requires lots of resources and poses many problems. As an environmental engineer, I believe we first need to solve main problems of the Earth (in particular the energy source problem) and then with a clear conscience go to Mars. To be honest, I am not brave enough to be one of the testers of new technologies several millions of kilometres away from other people. I think that Mars flights and its colonization are more for future generations and we need to make investigations and invent technologies, which will let to sustain humans out of the Earth safely not only for them but for other planets as well.

TAMK’s NASA project

The cooperation between NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration, USA), TAMK, and other Finnish organisations began last autumn when NASA contacted TAMK for developing innovations to enable manned Mars flights.

In the academic year 2016–2017 students solve extreme challenges related to colonisation of Mars and learn to use NASA’s innovation processes and methods. A total of 20 students from TAMK under the supervision of their teachers Antti Perttula and Tomi Salo participate in NASA’s Epic Challenge programme.

Text: Mirja Onduso
Photo: Merja Halivaara

Laughter and chatter in various languages filled TAMK’s cafeteria on a Friday evening in March when 59 international students from TAMK, TUT and UTA and 43 local Friend Families met each other for the first time over blueberry pie at TAMK.

IMG_3332– I was thrilled and eager to meet my friend family, said Hai Luong Dang, a first-year student from Tampere University of Technology (TUT).

Hai was one of the lucky international students studying in TUT, Tampere University of Applied Sciences (TAMK) or University of Tampere (UTA) to get a local friend family through the universities’ Friend Family Programme. His Friend Family is Mira Pihlström’s family.

The universities have been running the Friend Family Programme together for already six years, and this year a record number of 43 families got involved. Earlier the programme was coordinated by UNIPOLI staff; from this year onwards it will be TAMK’s responsibility.

The idea of the programme is to help international students integrate into Finnish way of life, and to offer families a chance to practice their foreign language and intercultural skills. TAMK arranges the first and the last meeting jointly to all participants, and the family-student pairs otherwise agree on how often to meet and what to do. The families and the students commit to the programme for one year – but may even become friends for life!

Most families ‘adopt’ one international student, some brave ones even two.

Exciting experience for both sides

Mira Pihlström was an exchange student in Spain during her own studies, so she knows how it is to live in another country.

– I like meeting people from different countries and learning about their cultures, and it’s never a bad thing to have more friends either, she said.

In her application, she wished to have a “social, humorous and chatty” student friend – and she got two social, humorous and chatty Vietnamese boys, who had never met each other even though they have both lived in Finland for almost one year.

– I didn’t know anything about Vietnam but they told me e.g. that the traffic is chaotic and that families are only allowed to have two children, Mira said.

Hai was also excited:

– Meeting Mira erased my preassumed thoughts that Finnish people are not so into small talk: she was so receptive to our conversation and it was a memorable experience. We talked a lot of many different things: life in Vietnam and for example Finnish life, food, traffic and law. We helped Mira to know a lot more about Vietnam, since she didn’t have any clues about our country before, said Hai.

IMG_3354 IMG_3333

Students may live here for 4-5 years without ever seeing a Finnish home

International students often find it difficult to integrate into the Finnish society and local activities. Many have said that they have lived in Finland for many years and have never been to a Finnish home or met other people than students: children, elderly or working people.

– My first meeting with my Friend Family is actually my first time ever talking to Finnish people outside the university and supermarket, said Hai.

The Friend Family Programme is open to TAMK, TUT and UTA students and any local families. Students may be selected for the Friend Family programme only once but families may act as Friend Families as many times as they wish!

Although most of the advertising is done through the universities, families don’t need to be related to the universities: any family interested in sharing their family experiences and learning about other cultures is welcome to apply. Also, all kinds of families are welcome: families with children or no children, large families or single-person families.

Both students and families have to apply for the programme. The application period is in January-March, and the programme runs in March-December.

The next application period for 2018 programme will be in January-March 2018. The instructions can be found on the UNIPOLI website.

Kauppi forests calling in May


Many international students are usually interested in nature – and they have often only heard stories of the Finnish summer cottages. Hai might or might not yet know that Mira’s family also has a summer cottage!

In May, TAMK usually arranges also a joint forest trip and sausage roasting in Kauppi forest for the families and students.

Before the forest walk, they have plans for May Day (in Finnish, vappu) celebration:

– I wait for more activity with my Friend Family. These weeks are very busy for us, the exam week. However, we are going to have a picnic after the exam. I hope the weather will be nice to us, wished Hai.

Hai, how was blueberry pie?

– I don’t remember, all my memory and attention was drawn into the conversation with Mira!


Text: Mirja Onduso
Photo: Merja Halivaara

TAMK, TUT and UTA organized an Independence Day Reception on 1st of December 2016 in TAMK main campus. This is a yearly tradition and every year one of the universities have the main responsibility to organize this event. Now it was TAMK’s turn.

This year the programme included a violin concert organized by Tampere Music Academy but also the participants had a chance to hear speeches ´How Finns Celebrate Independence Day´ and ´My Finland – In Eye of an International Student´. But the most amazing moment during the reception was when all the guests sang together the national anthem of Finland ´Maamme´!

Solveig Parikka and Tuomas Turriago playing Jean Sibelius Violin concerto op. 47

Solveig Parikka and Tuomas Turriago playing Jean Sibelius Violin concerto op. 47

The Finnish Indepence Day is a national holiday which is celebrated annually on 6th of December. It marks the Declaration of Independence from the Russian empire by the Finnish Parliament in 1917. The Independence Day celebration is nowadays a vibrant occasion with the blue and white colours of the Finnish flag being proudly displayed. An Independence Day tradition is for Finnish families to light two candles in the windows of their homes in the evening.

It’s extremely important that foreign students and staff members learn as much as possible Finnish culture during their stay in Tampere. Therefore, this kind of event is absolutely worth organizing! This year 130 international quests took part in the Independence Day Reception and enjoyed the solemn but also relaxed atmosphere of the reception.

Students standing in line for Photo Booth.

Students standing in line for Photo Booth.


Text: Kirsi Jokipakka, Head of International Services, TAMK

Photos: Kirsi Jokipakka, Head of International Services, TAMK and Tarja Kononov, International Coordinator, TAMK


Simon Ireland

International Partnerships and Business Coordinator at University of Salford, Simon Ireland attended IWBAS2016 at TAMK in March, not only as a Lecturer, but also to discuss a bold collaboration project initiated by the two universities. The double degree programme between Salford Business School and TAMK’s School of Business and Services was successfully approved on the 21st of April. Currently focused on the Tourism and International Business area, Simon breaks down the ongoing process and explains how students can benefit from taking the dual programme.

Simon, this is not your first time at TAMK, if I’m right.

No, I’ve been here many times. We started off running Erasmus intensive programme, two-week courses for students from here, my university and Jaume I University in Spain. When we brought students here, we did various activities with them. And we’ve taken your students to Salford, then everybody to Spain and we cycled round for ten years doing that.

We initially started with 60 students altogether (20 from each institution) and then, it reduced through time due to logistical reasons. It was still quite a large number. Now that Erasmus changed the policy on these intensive programmes, it hasn’t been logistically suitable to do it anymore.

But at the moment, we’re working on a collaboration of having a double degree with TAMK. We’re looking at a double degree in International Business and International Business with Tourism.

How is the preparation going for the double degree programme?

We’re really at the closing end of the process now. Once it gets approved, we can start exchanging students on that course in September, this year. Basically, it’s a combination for a TAMK student who has studied for two years here and then they would come to Salford to join our funded graduate programme for one year and once they completed that, they come back and finish off the research dissertation thesis. And that would give them both awards, so they would get a degree from the University of Salford and one degree from TAMK.

How would you describe Salford Business School to TAMK students?

Salford Business School is quite a large school within the UK. The university itself has about 20,000 students and within the Business School, we probably have about 5,000 students altogether. There’s about 70 academic staff working in the school. We do a full range all the way from pre-undergraduate and undergraduate to post-graduate, master programmes of different areas and PhD research. A full service business school. My area is Tourism and International Business. Most of my role is actually dealing with international partners at the moment, even though I’m still a functioning academic in the school. I get to travel around the world quite a lot because of that.

Tell me more about the partnership between the two universities.

It grows as the relationship grows. There are different things that can come out of these relationships. But with these things you have to progress at a natural pace. You can’t do too many activities in one go. So we’re focusing on the double degree at the moment. The double degree is almost like a progression agreement between the two institutions.

Clearly, coming from a UK university, we have a very different approach to education. Students are paying very significant fees in UK. And it really changes a lot the nature of how an organization functions and rules. So it’s quite a great pleasure to come here and see the relationships the academic have with the senior management, because the relationships in the UK are a lot more formal, a lot more structured.

One of the hot topics discussed during IWBAS was the attention deficiency in classrooms. What are your thoughts on the matter?

I can appreciate that. I think it depends on the nature of the student most of the time. Some can see having all these virtual learning environments and these electronics resources at their fingertips as being possibly a fallback, if they’re not working as hard as they should do, not engaging as much as they should do. As an academic, you know that those pieces of information are only there for support to what you actually do. And I think the need to engage a student is always going to be there. You need that sort of drive and attitude to deliver material that makes the students want to come, because they’re the ones to benefit the most. I strongly believe that the good students are the ones that will still engage and use the material as it should be, as a support material, rather than relying on it as a source. Sometimes, I think people have this misconception that putting a PowerPoint presentation somewhere is distance learning. So I think that when you consider the differences between those two, between traditional and distance learning, then materials are completely different.

There is an expectation from this generation that everything should be available to them at all times, they want an instant response from the society. I think it’s a learning process for anybody that, as availability of information and getting what you want appears to become easier, than there’s a stronger reliance that this should be expanded. When people venture out into the real world, they realize that whether they’re dealing with companies, businesses, energy suppliers, housing people, everything, they’re going to end up with the same issue. It’s a learning process for the student, rather than the other way around. There is a need to adapt to this change. The change is everywhere.

Though international weeks are meant for learning, they also create memories. What is your strongest memory from your visits to Finland?

When I first visited here, I was taken out to cross country skiing and then, we sat down by a fire and grilled sausages. That, to me, is a memory that will never go. It’s part of the whole education experience, because it’s part of the relationship development. So that’s probably one of my strongest memories.

Any life advice you give to your students?

Just relax and be happy. The world is a difficult place and you can hit challenges every single day, and everybody does. It’s the way you deal with them that makes a difference. If you just take one step at the time, things will be a lot easier than panicking, getting worried or getting stressed and try to attack things head on. Quite often, you just need to stop for a minute, relax and think: “I can deal with it.”.


Text & photo: Andruta Ilie

Note: IWBAS 2016 was the International Week event organized by TAMK’s School of Business and Services.


In the photo ( from left to right): Taylah Clark, Seija Tiainen (Senior Lecturer in Emergency Care at TAMK) and Justin Spiroski

Taylah Clark and Justin Spiroski are the first Australian students from the Western Sydney University to come to TAMK for an exchange experience in the paramedicine and emergency care field. None of them have been to Finland before, so we asked them a few questions.

Can you tell us about your studies back home and how did you end up in Tampere?
Taylah: We’re studying paramedicine; it’s our 3rd and final year. We are the first group of students to be sent internationally for a different learning experience.
Justin: It was a big process with many applicants and we had to choose between England, Finland and South Africa. I wanted to come to Finland because the Scandinavian health care is really good and it sounded like a challenging experience. Weather conditions are exactly the opposite back home and there was also the language barrier to consider.

Any expectations before coming here?
Taylah: I had no idea what to expect. I only knew the flag color.
Justin: I knew it was going to be cold. I’ve never been below zero and on my first day here, there were -28 degrees.
Taylah: We had to buy new shoes, jackets and gloves. It felt like we had to learn how to walk again when it got below zero because it was so icy. We both slipped over and fell in the snow. I thought that now, I’m Finnish (she laughs).
Justin: I had never seen snow before coming here. I had a snowflake in my hand and I kept staring at it. We made snow balls and snow angels. It’s been good.

You worked at the central fire station and in ambulances in Tampere for five weeks. Have you noticed any differences in the technical equipment used in Finland compared to Australia? What about the procedures?
Taylah: I would say most of the equipment is pretty similar but the technology is more advanced in Finland. For example, our ambulances don’t have ultrasound, only the emergency ones, while yours do. You go the extra mile. Otherwise, simulations are quite the same.
Justin: I think that one of the things we do better at home is the information given to paramedics from dispatch. We provide full details and we ask a lot more questions. If the paramedics would knew more information about the patient, it would be much easier to deal with the situation.

Share some funny or memorable moments with us.
Taylah: It was funny sometimes with the language barrier and that many Finnish people introduce themselves saying that their English is not good and then you have a 10-minute conversation in English with no problems.
Justin: If there is any advice I would give to a Finnish person, it would be this: Your English is great! Use it! Don’t be shy! And memorable moments… jumping naked into the snow and ice water was memorable.

Are you planning to come back?
Taylah: Definitely! If Finnish language was an option to learn, I would come back for sure. I could start with three months, work in a bar and learn the language meantime. I’m sure the Aussie bar in Hämeenkatu will hire us (she laughs). Actually, I want to experience the Finnish summer in 2018.
Justin: I wouldn’t hesitate to come back or recommend it to any of my friends. It was cold, but warm in the same time because everyone treated us so nicely.
Taylah: Considering I did this for my degree, I had so much fun. I’m not sure how many people can say that. It was a life learning experience as well. I have never been away from home for so long. I feel I have learned a lot and I’m more confident about the way I handle new things.
Justin: It felt great to be so far away from home, but in the same time to be made feel like home.

Interview has been condensed and edited.

Text & photo: Andruta Ilie