Posts in the Education category

Assignment to market the satellite programme – introduction by Manager Rauno Gordon

In fall 2017 we spent one week in Tallinn, Estonia. The coordinator of the Nordplus Nordic and Baltic Business Innovation Network and the intensive course “Customized product/service innovation & marketing through traditional, digital and social media”, Senior Lecturer in Marketing Pirkko Varis from Tampere University of Applied Sciences (TAMK), Finland together with Professor Martin Pärn and Assistant to Dean Anneliis Tomingas from Tallinn University of Technology, School of Engineering organized the programme for us.

 

Coordinator Pirkko Varis with all participants of the intensive course

Altogether 33 students and 9 staff members from Denmark, Finland, Lithuania, Norway and    Estonia joined the intensive course. From TAMK, Finland students Anna Jaakkola, Jenna Mäkelä, Kajsa Lundell, Minttu Kylmälahti, Janni Huura, Riina Hahtokari, Vili Haara and Aleksi Orenius took part in the Nordic & Baltic week. 

 

Teambuilding activities

On weekend we had some teambuilding activities and we could get acquainted with each other and spend some time together. In our working teams of students with different disciplinary and international backgrounds we visited some places in relation to famous legends in Tallinn, tried to re-an-act the legends as we understood them and took some photos/videos to be used in presentations of the stories to take place on Monday. On Sunday we also had presentations of all the countries, cities, universities and study programmes taking part in the intensive course.

 

Teambuilding outdoors

 

Visit to TTÜ Business and Innovation Centre Mektory

On Monday we were given the assignment from the representatives of the satellite programme,  Rauno Gordon, Manager of the satellite programme and Katrin Arvola, who is in charge of marketing of the satellite programme.  Student teams were given tasks to develop marketing activities for the whole period of the satellite programme, to choose marketing channels and media and create marketing campaigns for the selected target audiences.

 

Visit to TTÜ Mektory

On Monday we also had the presentations of Sunday’s team building game, campus tour and visit to TTÜ Business and Innovation Centre Mektory.

 

Design Spark with Professor Martin Pärn – initial team ideas

On Tuesday morning we had a design spark workshop by designer and professor Martin Pärn.  On Tuesday and Wednesday we worked in our teams with the assignment.  We created marketing and marketing communications plans including online marketing, mobile and social media. We finalized our work and also delivered our reports by the deadline.

 

Presentation of team 1

 

Presentation of team 6 – Kosmosbuss

On Thursday our presentations took place. Various marketing and marketing communications plans were presented, and a winner was chosen between the teams. All teams did great work and the results of the teams can be used at various stages of the satellite programme. The winning team 6 – Kosmosbuss members were Zeynep Yarkin, Anita Larsen, Jenna Mäkelä, Kristian Østgård, Tautvydas Iešmanta and Ghalib Ashraf. On Thursday evening we had a closing ceremony and dinner. We congratulated the winners and thanked the organisers and all participants and spent the evening together. On Friday we left Tallinn with a lot of nice experiences.

 

Winning team – Tautvydas, Kristian, Zeynep, Anita, Jenna and Ghalib – happy with the award

 

Thursday evening dinner

 

In the following some students share their experiences and thoughts of the intensive course and time in Tallinn.

Students from UiT The Arctic University of Norway, School of Business and Economics, Tromsø and Narvik, Norway

Zeynep Yarkin  

I am very happy that I had the chance to attend the intensive course in Tallinn. I met and worked with many amazing people from different countries. I gained friends, which I am very happy to have met. We had a lot of fun and also worked hard and learned many things from each other. I saw how creative people can be, even in groups with whom they just met. Being a member of the winning team was also an honour for me.  First I would like to thank you Pirkko and Anneliis and everyone who took part in such a good organization and all of my friends for turning this week into a week to remember for a lifetime.

Kristian Østgård

We talked in Tallinn about our countries’ prejudices towards the other countries, and after a week with students from Lithuania, Estonia, Finland and Denmark, I can assure all Norwegians that they are beautiful, intelligent and fun to be around. We learned a lot about them, ourselves and marketing / innovation.

Roy-Anders Jørgensen

I have so much good experiences from this course, which I want to take with me in my life.

Different people, different cultures, but under the same roof we are the same, with the same goal to learn something new in marketing. And I feel blessed, I have got new friends from 5 different countries. Thank you so much Nordic & Baltic Business Innovation week 2017!

 

Presentation of team 5 – Kajsa, Minttu, Kristina R., Roy-Anders, Kaarel and Mikkel Thune

 

Simon Bruhn from the University of Southern Denmark, Faculty of Engineering, Product Development and Innovation, Odense, Denmark

It was a good experience to work in mixed teams of different nationalities and study programmes. It was also interesting to work on a real case, and nice that our findings were embraced. The best thing was to spend the free time with the other students.

Team 4 – Marcela, Simon, Anna, Ieva and Sander – presenting the results of the work

 

Students from Vytautas Magnus University, Faculty of Economics and Management, Kaunas, Lithuania

Tautvydas Iešmanta

I want to thank you for the great opportunity to visit Tallinn, learn some culture, meet new people and of course, the challenge that had been prepared for us. Although it was not an easy one, we and our team did put a lot of effort and passion in solving the task given, had a lot of discussion and ideas to consider. The experience we got is invaluable and I really enjoyed working together. Not to mention we made friends and good memories for years to keep. Team KOSMOSBUSS and the time we had together was something really special. Thank you again and hopefully I can make it to future projects 🙂

Kristina Rudytė

I really wanna say thank you. It was such an amazing week. With full of experiences, practice, meeting people, enjoying stay in Tallinn, and all the atmosphere about the project. I can say that was one of the best weeks during my studies. And it is all due to you, who are doing this really good project. If I could repeat this week, I would! So, thank you a lot for this amazing experience!

Kristina Jusytė

One week in Tallinn was full of new experiences. I was glad to work with people of different outlook into the life and work. These courses show that despite that we are living in different countries and have in them one society and system in life, we are all tolerant and patient for different people. That’s why I think that all groups suggested good plans and interesting ideas for the satellite project.

Viktorina Kaunietytė

I really enjoyed these days with this project, it was great opportunity to practice my English. I was really impressed with Tallinn and the university. Hope to visit Tallinn soon! Thank you!

Ieva Stankevičiūtė             

Thank you for an amazing week! The hotel, spa and food were perfect and the assignment challenging, but very interesting. I would definitely do it all again!

 

Audience having fun in doing quiz about Lithuania

 

Text

Pirkko Varis, Tampere University of Applied Sciences, Finland 

Students from Norway, Denmark and Lithuania

Photos

Anneliis Tomingas, Tallinn University of Technology, School of Engineering

 

The following institutions are members of the Nordplus Nordic and Baltic Business Innovation Network:

Tampere University of Applied Sciences (TAMK), Business, Finland

The University of Southern Denmark, Faculty of Engineering, Odense, Denmark

Tallinn University of Technology, Schools of Engineering & Business and Governance, Estonia

UiT The Arctic University of Norway, School of Business and Economics, Tromsø, Norway

Vytautas Magnus University, Faculty of Economics and Management, Kaunas, Lithuania

“I started very young; I was in my 30s. It was a freezing water I had to jump in. But I enjoyed it because I always loved the concept of leading. Since I was a child, leadership was a big part of me.”

Persistent and insightful, Director of Business Operations at TAMK EDU, Carita Prokki has spent almost two decades of her life serving Tampere University of Applied Sciences in different roles. Although she started as a teacher in the early 90s, her leadership vision manifested in her actions, beliefs and goals opened doors to new opportunities and career advancements. Carita was soon appointed the dean of School of Business, a role she stayed in for many years and allowed her to practice side teaching.

“When you’re working as a manager or leader, you start missing the teaching. I was then teaching adults, mostly during evenings and Saturdays. I was in heaven those times. And I think the students loved it too because we all had a great time. I used different teaching methods such as group discussions, rather than lectures”, she recalls.

Carita surprised many people when she decided to step out of the dean role and the institution she regards highly. But she reached a turning point in her professional life and felt it was time to do something different. Therefore, she focused her attention on trying something new and completed a PhD in Organizational Leadership.

“If you are not satisfied with your job or life, it also affects people around you. You have to step out and try something new. It’s not always safe, you might fail, but actually, you’re growing all the time. You become stronger. Too many adults feel pushed in the corner and stay there afraid.

Have you ever paid attention to what they say during a pre-flight safety demonstration? If there is a loss of cabin pressure, the panels above your seat will open, and oxygen masks will drop down. If this happens, place the mask over your nose and mouth, and adjust it as necessary. Be sure to adjust your own mask before helping others. Think about it metaphorically. You cannot be good to others if you are not good to yourself. First, help yourself and then somebody else.”

Far from being over, her journey with TAMK took a new direction in the area of global education. TAMK has started this fresh concept in 2011 and Carita came into the picture two years later. In the beginning, there was only the 21st Century Educators programme, but Carita’s huge advantage was her comprehensive knowledge of TAMK.

“I know very well what this institution does and is capable of. You cannot sell Finnish education or tell other people about TAMK without a substantial in-house knowledge. The beginning was very fast, smooth and fruitful. But now, with other universities of applied sciences selling their expertise worldwide, the competition is getting harder, and we think it’s smart to cooperate and unite our forces. While the global trend is more present nowadays, the business ideology is not very developed in Finnish universities.”

So where does TAMK stand out compared to other universities of applied sciences? Carita’s reply is on point: “The vocational teacher education which TAMK takes very seriously. We want to do our best and deliver high-quality results. You need passion to do international business. When you’re passionate about something, it will separate you from the rest.”

On a global scale, TAMK has a unique product found nowhere else: Proakatemia. And Carita knows very well how to make good use of it:  “It happened to me sometimes to go to universities above TAMK’s level. In 30 seconds I realised I have nothing to sell to them, apart from Proakatemia. Nobody in this world has Proakatemia. That’s the ace of spades in my pocket. And I can always use that card to sell our advanced entrepreneurial studies.

She continues: “Almost every day, I think how we can praise our country and education more. Finns are modest; they are not so used with words like excellent or amazing to describe their best assets. But when you go abroad, you have to start using these words. Almost the first question I get no matter where in this world I go is: “What is your ranking in Finland?” There are no rankings in Finland. We never aimed at, we never had any competition or ranked ourselves. I hope we will never do that because it will ruin the basics of our educational system. Let’s leave our references and results speak for themselves.”

TAMK EDU makes Finnish education available worldwide. The most important aspect is adapting to different realities, Carita believes:  “Whether I go to an Arabic, Asian or Latin American country, I have to be very fast and clever with adapting to their cultures. I can’t go there with Finland tattooed on my forehead and say: “Hey! We come from Finland, and we do things like this.” Although everyone admires and knows so much about Finnish education already. To give you an example, China is such a big market that you can have all the Finnish amks (universities of applied sciences) to offer their services there, and it would still cover only a small part of it.

Chinese customers have a different understanding of a group size. We sent them a letter saying we can host a workshop for 30 people and their reply was that their minimum is 300. Last year in August, we flew there for one big training. We had 340 teachers and rectors in the auditorium waiting for us and wanting an interactive training. I was there with Mark Curcher (Program Director of 21st Century Educators and Senior Lecturer), and we had to split all those people into groups to make it interactive. It was a huge learning opportunity for us and an enjoyable experience.”

The Global Education department does not only provide learning experiences for the team that puts its soul into it, but also for TAMK’s teachers. Carita recalls one particular occasion that cracked open a strong taboo: teachers don’t work during their summer holidays.

“In 2013, I was facing a difficult situation. A group from Oman sent me a short notice message that they’d like to visit TAMK during July. Their arrival date was scheduled right after Juhannus, which in Finland is a popular public holiday. Most Finns celebrate it at their summer cottages with family and friends. I emailed the teachers in the morning with no expectations. Anyone who wants to come to work this July? A few hours later, all the teachers were at TAMK. I was amazed by the positive response, and everything went smoothly with the visit. Teachers confessed to me how grateful they were for this opportunity. I believe that the international context is the fastest highway to develop TAMK thanks to the possibilities it provides. International students are very active, they want to make the most out of their studies, and this makes it very pleasant to the teachers as well. There are an extra gratefulness and love you can feel during international courses.”

Carita travels abroad in connection with her work approximately one week each month. When everyone else is at home sleeping, she has to put up with long and often, uncomfortable flights. An alluring smile graced her lips when she detailed about showing up at a workplace: “Sometimes I feel I could be a gardener and grow flowers. But I think we all have moments in our work when we are not happy. Balancing those moments is important. I have to be patient with the global business; to build the trust and develop the relationship with our customers. In a way, I’m like an entrepreneur; I take care of sales, keep the things rolling all the time and motivate my people to sell. But I don’t put the money ahead. That’s not my style. I believe that when you show good results, the money follows.

She adds: “The Global Education department doesn’t receive a budget from TAMK. We rely entirely on the deals we make. “

Despite the high factor of uncertainty associated with her work, Carita collects distinctive rewards: “It’s challenging and the most difficult job I’ve ever done in my whole life so far. At the very moment, you can be challenged until the limits of your skills. But at the very another moment, you are in heaven with people, and you get your second salary from their sentences.”

An effective leader knows that storytelling is an essential part of leadership. And maybe another beautiful thing about Carita is that she is not afraid to pass along brave sentences on feminism and inspire other women to live an authentic life: “Many women have been under a lot of pressure for so long that they have forgotten about themselves. There are so many things women are capable of achieving in their lives. And I think that media is very cautious and not writing about all these things because they are afraid of empowered women. Women are multi-talented and multi-energized.”

Read more about TAMK Global Education

Text: Andruta Ilie
Photo: Tiina Suvanto

 

The new digital channels and social media platforms offer for SMEs (small and mediumsized enterprises) in tourism and travel businesses a lot of opportunities to target and access markets at low cost, and to achieve business and sustainability goals.

It is important to create marketing strategies and select appropriate integrated online and traditional marketing and marketing communications activities, tools and channels, including websites, digital, mobile and social media channels, for various customers/customer groups, target markets and businesses, taking into consideration the size and type of the business.

Virrat in Finland

Virrat in Finland

Marketing environment, tourism as a service product and offerings, value proposition and brand, marketing plan, strategy and management, enlarged marketing mix

Marketing is a concept that relates to forward looking strategies to understand customer needs, influence customer perceptions, and identify how a company can capitalize on that. Initial steps for a novice entrepreneur to successfully do marketing include; establishing and increasing the customer base, increasing the product sales per customer and encouraging repeat business, and increasing the sales of more expensive, higher margin products per customer.

The micro-environment includes the actors, such as customers, competitors, suppliers and other stakeholders, whilst the macro-environment consists of political, economic, socio-cultural, technological and the legal environment (PESTEL). New technologies have made it easier for us to find out about the markets around the world, to travel, to buy and sell anywhere. In analysing the current situation it is important to conduct market situation, customer, competition situation and competitor analyses.  Customers are vital to our business, so know your customers well.

The company should identify the target markets and distinct segments, select the target markets and customers to approach, develop a market offering,  do positioning, and do targeted marketing for them.  This applies to consumer, business-to-business and other markets.

Nowadays, people use more and more TripAdvisor, Trivago, Instagram and other similar platforms, the Internet, Facebook and other social media as information sources when planning their trips and finding out information on the destinations etc. The amount of bookings done online via the website of the companies and via the online travel agents, such as Booking.com etc. has increased rapidly. However, the use of traditional booking methods and also the influence of family members, friends, travel agents etc. as information sources vary between various markets and cultures, and companies should take this into consideration when making decisions on marketing.

Tampere in Finland

Tampere in Finland

Tourism can be thought of as producing a total tourist experience that will include everything from the pre-planning, the purchase, the journey, the visit and stay, the return journey and overall reflection on the activity. Tourism, hospitality and leisure products/services are a service product having specific characteristics: intangibility, perishability, inseparability and variability. The value of a tourism product is based upon: perceived quality, service and image associated with the brand/product, the price asked and the relativity to prices for similar products, the convenience of purchase and the amount by which the purchase fits the needs and aspirations of the customer.

The intangible value proposition is made physical by an offering, which can be a combination of products, services, information, and experiences.  A brand is an offering from a known source but you can achieve this known source position fairly quickly if you have a valued proposition that you market with care and originality.

We have to start with a marketing plan. Marketing strategy is the overall guideline for the company to manage and allocate its resources the best possible way. Marketing strategy has a focus on actions, such    as promotion. It has been suggested that every successful marketing strategy should have the following attributes: customer at the centre of everything, networking, different forms of partnering, having a corporate culture and effective use of technology.

The marketing management process includes the coordination of four elements called the 4 P’s of marketing that are:

  1. Identification, selection and development of the product.
  2. Determination of its price.
  3. Selection of a distribution channel to reach the prospective customer.
  4. The development and implementation of a promotional strategy.

Enlarged marketing mix in tourism consists of products/services/destinations, price, place (location, logistics, distribution channels), marketing communications, people, processes, programs, and performance.   

Virrat in Finland

Virrat in Finland

 

Virrat in Finland

Virrat in Finland

 

Determine integrated marketing communications activities, tools and channels

Integrated marketing communications mix includes personal selling (also sales events and workshops to meet b-to-b customers, e.g. travel agents, tour operators and travel organisations), advertising, sales promotion (including exhibitions and trade fairs), publicity and public relations, events and experiences, direct and database marketing, online, mobile and social media marketing, word of mouth, marketing through networks etc.

One of the key aspects of marketing strategies is building a brand identity.  Sales is the ‘push’ to buy the product once the customer is there, marketing is the ‘pull’ that gets the customer to you in the first place. The important thing for any business owner is to focus on both the ‘pull’ and the ‘push’ effectively, and this will ensure that your business is positioned to succeed.

Online, mobile and social media marketing

There is a multitude of low cost channels and platforms for online, mobile and social media marketing, such as websites, emails, search ads, display ads, company blogs, third-party chat rooms, forums and blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, Flickr, YouTube etc.

Marketers distinguish paid and owned media from earned media.  For tourism, hospitality and leisure businesses the value of earned media is significant.

Generally the advice is to include moving pictures – videos – and include as many pictures and videos whether provided by you or your customers. 

You can find in the SMARTOUR Marketing and social media module some advice for building and using pages on Facebook but the advice would easily fit with other platforms. You can also find some information about blogs.

Setting up a simple website

In the SMARTOUR Marketing and social media module you find essentials that every small business website should have for it to effectively help you to do business. Remember also that you should make your website mobile-friendly.

For everyone developing a travel website and venturing into social media VisitBritain is very useful with an online marketing toolkit on its website https://www.visitbritain.com/gb/en

You find the Online marketing toolkit and other toolkits as follows: after entering the website, click Corporate, click Developing England’s tourism, and click under Business advice hub Engaging customers through social media etc.

For further information, visit also VisitFinland website http://www.visitfinland.com/

To find out more about marketing and social media and related case studies from UK, Finland and Italy, visit www.smartourproject.eu

 

References

Cheverton, P. 2004. Key Marketing Skills: strategies, tools and techniques for marketing success. 2nd edition. London, UK: Kogan Page Ltd.

Cooper, C., Fletcher, J., Fyall, A., Gilbert, D., Wanhill, S. 2008. Tourism. Principles and Practice. Fourth edition. Harlow, Essex: Pearson Education Limited.

Kotler, P. & Keller, K. L. 2016. Marketing Management. 15th edition. Harlow, Essex: Pearson Education Limited.

Paley, N. 2007. Marketing Strategy Desktop Guide. Second edition. London, UK: Thorogood Publishing Ltd.

Wood, M.B. 2014. The Marketing Plan Handbook. 5th Edition. Harlow, England: Pearson Education Limited.

 

Emmiina Lindfors and Ella Laakso assisting in registration

Emmiina Lindfors and Ella Laakso assisting in registration

 

SMARTOUR Event in Tampere 2 - participants waiting for training

SMARTOUR Event in Tampere – participants waiting for training

 

Event on “Social media in marketing” in Tampere, Finland

 

Hanna Takala training

Hanna Takala training

Free event on “Social media in marketing” was organised by TAMK in April 2017 in Tampere, Finland. In the event for tourism and travel businesses and accommodation providers, SMARTOUR project, course and online tool were presented and training in Finnish on online marketing and social media was organised. Over 50 participants were very satisfied with the event and training on online marketing and social media.  For more information about this and other events, visit http://www.smartourproject.eu  and  https://www.facebook.com/smartourproject/

Waiting for the certificates

Waiting for the certificates

 

Iris Mäkinen, Katriina Hyvölä, Teija Lindell & Tiina Aaltonen and the certificates with Pirkko Varis, Hanna Takala and Irja Pietilä

Iris Mäkinen, Katriina Hyvölä, Teija Lindell and Tiina Aaltonen and the certificates with Pirkko Varis, Hanna Takala and Irja Pietilä

 

Text: Pirkko Varis, Senior Lecturer in Marketing, Tampere University of Applied Sciences

Photos: Anneliis Tomingas & Mika Mäkiaho

 

 

smartour-logo-long-final

 

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“The European Commission support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents which reflects the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.”

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.

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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.

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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.

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

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

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

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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.

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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.

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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

Amanda Toler Woodward and Kimberly Steed-Page from MSU together with Aura and Kirsi from TAMK

Text and photos: Kirsi Jokipakka

___________________________

A small delegation from TAMK, Kirsi Jokipakka and Aura Loikkanen, had a chance to visit Michigan State University at the end of May. Two-day program included visits to MSU support services and learning environments. MSU is among the world’s top 100 universities and it has over 200 programs in undergraduate and graduate level but it also offers various pre-professional study opportunities. MSU is also one of the world’s top research universities and students are linked to research and development activities although their studies. TAMK has co-operation with MSU in the field of social work.

One of the focus areas of MSU is to support the regional development but also global responsibility is an important matter. At MSU students have great study abroad opportunities and in addition to this the services for international students and scholars are well organized. MSU’s 25 international institutes, centers and units collaborate with academic colleges across campus to help the students to develop their global competencies.

The student services of MSU are broad and divided into four parts. Services include Student Affairs and Service Operations, Health, Wellness & Safety, Identity & Affinity, Transition, Leadership and Experiential Learning. Staff members’ role is to support students throughout their studies. At MSU the student life is active and students are well-integrated into university community. Support services are visible and easily accessible. The tuition fees are the most important income for MSU and therefore degree-seeking students are vital for the university.

During the visit it became clear that MSU is committed to take good care of its students. It is important that the university offers good-quality education and research but also the student life should meet the needs of the present and future students.

Office of Cultural & Academic Transitions

Entrance hall of the Student Affairs and Services building

 

 

 

 

 

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.

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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

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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

Tanyu and Virpi presenting the 21st Century Educators program to the world

Tanyu and Virpi presenting the 21st Century Educators programme to the world

Outstanding, highly acclaimed and on top of Europe’s rankings for the past 16 years, the Finnish education system continues to be an appealing topic for many educational institutions around the world. Consider the World Economic Forum and the many articles published on insights and secrets of Finland’s one of the most successful exports to the world. With the doors to the world already open and an increasing worldwide interest, a team of experts from Tampere University of Applied Sciences discovered an undeniable need of educating teachers through innovative methodologies to guarantee immediate results. Meet TAMK’s 21st Century Educators.

21st Century Educators is a fully supported, cohort based, collaborative programme which believes that learning is best undertaken as a social activity in an authentic context. The programme is developed so that it encompasses courses and services which can be delivered either online, face to face or in a blended format by TAMK Global Education. Which countries respond the best to the program? What skills should the educator of the future possess? Customer Relationship Managers, Virpi Heinonen and Tanyu Chen provided me the answers.

The first thing I notice when I step into their office is the chemistry between Virpi and Tanyu and how they conclude each other’s answers. Virpi constantly gives Tanyu the chance to share ideas related to her experience as a researcher well-accustomed to the Chinese market. As a consequence, Tanyu discloses how satisfied she is with her work “I realized that what I learned, researched and analyzed in theory, I can put in practice at TAMK.”

This year, they have worked with partners in China, Brazil, USA, Uruguay, Oman and Myanmar but the first two are the most eager to learn about the Finnish education system and implement the knowledge into their teaching practices. When it comes to China, the opportunities are bigger since the education model is shifting. “In 2015, the Chinese Ministry of Education issued a new policy wanting to have 600 out of 2000 existing higher education institutions transferred to universities of applied sciences. This is a big transformation. If previously the education methods and approaches were adopted from English speaking countries, nowadays China is more focused on the Nordic countries. They are deeply impressed with the Finnish education.” states Tanyu. Despite their sincere enthusiasm, Chinese customers are not easy to reach. For high-end customers, traditional face to face training is preferred to digital studies.

“We have been operating in the Chinese market for two years now and our program is very well known there because China is a very special case. Universities send their leaders to study abroad which means the management and the leadership are the core. Teachers don’t have so many opportunities and their visits here are relatively short. So if we can impact the leaders, then they will make the right decisions regarding the teacher training services.” she adds.

Do they have a follow-up scheme to track the progress of Chinese leaders back in their homeland? “Actually, we do have a follow-up scheme to collect the feedback for those who have learned in Finland and we also have Finnish experts to train the local teachers in China. So far, we received positive feedback from those teachers who attended the teacher trainings. Many of them got promoted or their level of teaching has increased. Teachers are switching their daily practices and taking to their classrooms what they learned from Finland. It’s very difficult in the beginning because their mindsets have changed, but the students’ not yet. The change is gradually happening in the classroom and it’s a slow process. “

Virpi travels more often to Latin American countries and Brazil is a top destination. “With Brazil it is going well. We just had our third graduated group and they are all great ambassadors. They are marketing Finland themselves within the federal institute where they work at so we are expecting more Brazilian teachers next year and we are also sending our teachers to Brazil. Mark Curcher, our Program Director is also taking care of the online program and services besides travelling to Brazil for conferences and workshops. We have traded in Brazil for four years already and there has been a lot of interest in Proakatemia type of innovation weeks, leadership and coaching trainings. TAMK will have a new Master’s programme in Educational Leadership starting in 2017 and the goal is to prepare those who work in educational institutions, HR management, governmental positions or NGO’s.  We are hoping to reach people from different countries with interesting and distinctive backgrounds.”

The must-have competences of a future educator

Is leadership one of the must-have competences of a future educator then? “Definitely. Leadership and coaching skills are the most needed at the moment. An educator has to be able to facilitate the student’s learning process. Students are already capable to find the information they need to support their studies so the teacher’s role is to facilitate the learning conditions and create an experience.” continues Virpi.

“If you go deep, you’ll probably find lots of skills. Lifelong learning and cultural competences are also very important. To always be hungry for learning and developing new skills and share them with your group of students. All student groups are diverse and international and we learn from them as much as they learn from us.”

Virpi and Tanyu have been working together for slightly over one year now and laid the basis of a small, but very efficient team. And while they’re selling the expertise of different degree programmes to other countries, they are counting on all the support they can get from the head of each department and front-line teachers. Especially when they have international visitors interested in class observation, laboratory showing and project presentation. A quick response is crucial in sealing the deals from which the whole institution benefits.

“We need everyone’s help and more effective internal communications in order to reach our future goals and spread the Joy of Discovery to the rest of the world.”

 

Text & photo: Andruta Ilie

 

Read more about 21st Century Educators: http://21stcenturyeducators.tamk.fi/

Discover our brand new Master’s programme: http://www.tamk.fi/web/tamken/educational-leadership-master

International Coordinator, Mirja Onduso and Communicator, Andruta Ilie started organizing a series of Finnish activities at TAMK for international students who study or do their exchange at Tampere University of Applied Sciences. The aim of this project is to introduce students to the Finnish lifestyle while connecting with each other and developing friendships.

Our Finnish activities have reached their end for this year and we wanted our exchange students to take some sweet memories with them back home. Literally and figuratively speaking. For our last event, Mirja and I brought gingerbread in different shapes and a gingerbread house to her office. Many students showed up that day to decorate the cookies and the winner of the house was Cong Nguyen, who says:

“Last Friday afternoon, I walked past the social counselor’s office. Fortunately, it was the time for Finnish activities and many students were already decorating gingerbread cookies. I joined in and decorated a pine tree (it was very beautiful!). I took part in the lottery for the gingerbread house and won it! The gingerbread was so good and it was a great evening.”

Mirja and I would like to thank all our students who joined Finnish activities at TAMK and to all staff members who supported us!

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Text: Andruta Ilie

Photos: Mirja Onduso

International Coordinator, Mirja Onduso and Communicator, Andruta Ilie started organizing a series of Finnish activities at TAMK for international students who study or do their exchange at Tampere University of Applied Sciences. The aim of this project is to introduce students to the Finnish lifestyle while connecting with each other and developing friendships.

We all love giving and receiving cards for Christmas. But what about making them? We tempted our international students with glögi and joulutorttu and invited them to show their artistic skills and make Christmas cards from scratch.

Mirja and I were both impressed with what came out of their hands. This time, it was her turn to tell us about the festive atmosphere in her room:

"Christmas certainly means different things in different countries: while most students draw Christmas trees and decorations, stars, snow flakes, gifts, snowmen, Santa Claus, elves  – one student draws an elephant and another one camels! The Japanese students are professional in drawing Moomins. No matter where we come from, may Christmas bring peace and love to us all! Hyvää joulua!/ Merry Christmas!"

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Text: Andruta Ilie
Photos: Mirja Onduso

 

 

International Coordinator, Mirja Onduso and Communicator, Andruta Ilie started organizing a series of Finnish activities at TAMK for international students who study or do their exchange at Tampere University of Applied Sciences. The aim of this project is to introduce students to the Finnish lifestyle while connecting with each other and developing friendships.

Another week of hard studying is over. We brush off the dust of our collars and we are ready to relax at Kaupinoja sauna. Situated by lake Näsijärvi, the public sauna is open almost everyday and counts around 57 000 visits yearly. Winter months are the busiest. During them, the water is cold but the sauna is hot. What matters most is to listen to your own body. The regular way is to plunge first and last in the cold water, but everybody should choose where they sit in the sauna and for how long they swim, as long as it makes them feel good.

“Kaupinoja sauna was nice. There is a one very big sauna where everyone gathers and outside, a long staircase into the lake. However, the water was so cold that I only managed to go in twice. Gladly, they have a grill outside so Mirja grilled some delicious sausages to keep us warm.” are Daan’s thoughts (Daan Krijnen is one of our exchange students from the Netherlands).

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Text: Andruta Ilie
Photos: Mirja Onduso