Posts in the International cooperation category

Text and Photos: Tiina Brandt, Jennifer Johnson, Pia Hautamäki, Carolina Pajula


A delegation from Y-Kampus TAMK visited Tel Aviv, Israel, with two goals:

  1. To understand the Israeli innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem, the variables that make it successful, and how we can cultivate similar variables at TAMK
  2. To identify resources and networks that will be valuable for entrepreneurship training, student internship opportunities, and possible university collaborations, specifically for our upcoming new program.

This visit is a part of Y-Kampus’ ongoing research when preparing the new program, which is a new, 30-credits training program that will begin at Fall 2018. As a part of this program, participants will also be highly encouraged to complete an international internship. Because of Tel Aviv’s innovation and entrepreneurship renown, we have decided Tel Aviv to be one of the possible location.

Before our trip we were wondering what makes Israel so successful at entrepreneurship and innovations. After our explorative trip with many meetings of different delegations, the common explanations were that because of Israel’s lack of natural resources and because of Israel’s ongoing conflicts with many of its neighbors, the country has had an urgent need to be innovative and entrepreneurial throughout its history.

Israel’s innovative and entrepreneurial high-tech orientation is recognized globally and it is called as the “Start-Up Nation”. Three more reasons were given, for Israel’s success:

  1. Military service, which fosters strong teams, creativity, strong problem-solving skills and ability to dare to achieve the impossible
  2. Immigration; 9 out of 10 Jewish Israelis today are immigrants, and the diversity of background, experience, skills, and mindset has proven critical for innovation
  3. Government policies, which are very encouraging and supportive for investments in entrepreneurship and innovation.

The city of Tel Aviv has transformed into the financial center and entrepreneurial, technological hub of Israel. The city is very busy, and is just as lively at night as it is during the day. We will continue to apply our learning to Y-Kampus research, development, and programming. We look forward to continued collaboration with our new colleagues in Israel, and to the benefit these relationships on Y-Kampus and TAMK.

If you are interested to work towards future with us, please contact us for more information!

Y-Kampus TAMK Crew


Text and Photos: Heini Pääkkönen


The motto ‘there are no limits!’ has been a driving force in Karina’s life, helping her become one of the few female general directors of Instituto Federal de São Paulo’s Câmpus Salto in Brazil. The inspiration for her career as a leader came in part from Finland.

Karina Ap. F. Dias de Souza is a pioneer in the field of female leadership in Brazil, having undertaken a long journey to become a general director at Instituto Federal de São Paulo’s Câmpus Salto in Brazil. The position of women in Brazilian society is changing gradually from that of a house wife to one of career woman. Female leaders are gaining more value than before thanks to their good organisational skills and their ability to listen. One big step for the women of Brazil was the election of the first female President of Brazil, Dilma Rousseff, and even the boundaries between roles at home are becoming more blurred, with men participating more in housework.

‘In our house, for example, my husband cooks and does all the ironing. I don’t feel the pressure of learning to do these things just because I’m a woman. I do other things that I’m better at,’ Karina smiles.

Karina started her educational career at Campus São Paulo in 2010 as a chemistry teacher. She progressed quickly to management roles, first as a manager’s assistant, coordinating courses, and eventually to the position of educational director, the right hand of the general director. It was during this time that she first discovered an interest in management and leadership as a career choice. However, when she returned from maternity leave after her first child was born, Karina returned to regular teaching. The general director had changed whilst she was on leave and new directors had been chosen.

Her old interest in a career in management was sparked again during Karina’s first visit to Finland in 2015, while she was participating the Teachers for the Future programme.

‘I was amazed by the strong culture of trust in Finland. You trust that the students will study, teachers will teach, and managers will do their jobs without being constantly supervised and controlled. The culture is completely different from ours. In Brazil, the trust is non-existent. In Finland people trust that I will do my best and this is something I wanted to bring home with me. I think this is also one of the core reasons why the Finnish education system is so successful,’ Karina explains.

What better way could there be to pass her vision on to others than as general director of Campus São Paulo. Karina decided to go for it and apply in the next election. A major challenge was the fact that there had never been a female rector at Instituto Federal de São Paulo, and of 35 general directors only three were women. It seemed that the odds were against her. Sometimes it can be hard to be a woman applying for a such a high position in a conservative country where people are used to having male directors. People’s opinions can be quite harsh in relation to women who try to reach these positions. One of the biggest prejudices women leaders face stems from the fact that if they have children, they will be on maternity leave at least for six months: something a man would never have to do.

‘I would not have applied for the position of general director were it not for the trip to Finland. I bounced the idea of putting myself forward as an applicant back and forth with my colleagues in Finland and they encouraged me to apply. So, I did and here I am,’ Karina smiles.

But the journey was not easy and Karina faced critical opinions along the way.

‘For example, I’ve been told that I got elected only because I was the better of two bad choices and the other applicant was dark-skinned,’ sighs Karina.

The hardest thing for Karina about her career has been shuffling between family and work, balancing between being a mother, a wife and building a career at the same time. And what happens to your own personal dreams on top of everything else? This is a problem that many women have to face, especially those in high positions.

‘I don’t know if it’s me or if it’s the society, but I feel that I should always be perfect. A constant sense of guilt follows me where ever I go. At work, I miss my family and I know I should be there more, whilst at home the pressure of people’s expectations and my workload is sitting on my shoulders.’

Karina’s mother was a single mother and raised her alone, and Karina met her father for the first time when she was 11 years old. Her attitude and courage she learned from her mother.

‘When I was young, my mother also used to work a lot. She was a nursing teacher and a single mom, always working or doing house work and I was by myself quite often. But when she was with me, she would pay full attention to me and I never felt left out or thought of her as a bad mother. On the contrary, my mother is my greatest idol and I learned my attitude towards life from her. She would always tell me that there are no limits and not to let anyone tell me what I can or cannot do.

I think this gets passed down through the generations. My grandmother was widowed very young and raised her children alone too. I met my father the first time when I was 11 years old, so I have never had a male figure in my life. That’s ok, since I’ve been surrounded with such brave women! I think us women should have mercy on ourselves. After all, we can only do the best we can.’

The trips to Finland were well-organised combinations of work and family; both times Karina brought her family with her. On the first trip for Teachers for the Future -training in autumn 2015, Karina’s mother and son travelled with her. This year when she was studying on the Finnish Teacher Training -programme (FiTT), her photographer husband and son accompanied her to enjoy a few chilly weeks of Finnish summer.

The trips were not all about work; Karina’s mother fell in love with Finnish flea markets and is now running her own in Brazil. The eco way of thinking is rapidly gaining popularity in Brazil and the idea of flea markets was considered an excellent one. Karina’s husband admires Finland’s nature and shot gigabytes of pictures during their stay.

‘What will I miss the most about Finland, hmm … probably the forests and incredible doughnuts at Pyynikki Observation Tower,’ Karina laughs.

Another thing that Karina was impressed by in Finland was the beautiful learning premises at TAMK, and how different learning spaces and colours support learning. This contrasts with the situation at home where the school building is old and had fallen into bad shape. She decided to do what she could to fix it. Due to the low budget available, she contacted all the teachers and the parents of the students and asked them if they would be willing to undertake voluntary work to support the school, painting classrooms and fixing broken equipment.

‘It was not our responsibility to take care of the building and not everyone that I contacted was pleased about the idea. Yet everyone who participated loved it and was keen for more projects like this. In addition to a better learning environment, working together increased team spirit and showed us that change is possible if you just get stuck in.’

Karina also wanted to set an example for others and not just boss people around, telling them what to do.

‘I was painting walls like everyone else. These kinds of little things are how I am trying to bring the Finnish culture of trust into our practices here in Brazil in my role as a director,’ says Karina proudly.

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

Photos: Cristina Lopez Duarte, Vice Dean International Relations, Faculty of Commerce, Tourism, and Social Sciences, Universidad de Oviedo, Gijón, Asturias, Spain  &  Pirkko Varis



Pirkko Varis and students from ten countries in Gijón, Asturias

In November 2017 Senior Lecturer in Marketing, Pirkko Varis, from TAMK School of Business and Services had the possibility to visit Universidad de Oviedo, Faculty of Commerce, Tourism, and Social Sciences, located in Gijón, Asturias, Spain. In addition to lectures in international marketing for over 30 students, Pirkko had for students an assignment from a Finnish company to work with.

Five student teams created for design products of the company multiform international marketing communications campaigns, including digital, mobile and social media. Cristina Lopez Duarte, Vice Dean International Relations, had planned the programme very well, and the teams had enough time to work with the assignment. On the last day all teams gave their presentations and suggestions to be delivered to the company. This is a very good example of a fruitful company and university cooperation, and learning through company projects.


San Lorenzo beach in Gijón


San Lorenzo beach with a view to Church of San Pedro

It was also possible to visit Gijón with some touristic attractions, and taste delicious Asturian food. Asturias has a wide variety of destinations to offer for tourists, and in marketing of Asturias as a tourist destination these are promoted.


Swimming in the outdoor pools of a regatta club


The sailboat harbour of Gijón


Thank you Cristina for your great hospitality!

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



Pirkko Varis, Tampere University of Applied Sciences, Finland 

Students from Norway, Denmark and Lithuania


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


Text and photos: Henri Annala, Kirsi Jokipakka, Tarja Kalliomäki-Linnas, Sanna Laiho



The EAIE Conference is the biggest event in Europe within the context of higher education, and this year it was organised under the scorching sun of Seville, Spain. Taking place on 12-15 September, it was the 29th EAIE conference ever organised, and it hosted a record number of 6,000 participants from 95 countries. TAMK sent a team of four people to attend, and in this blog post we try to crystallise some of the ideas and insights raised by the event.

Henri Annala, International Coordinator for the Language Centre and Social Services, attended the conference for the first time and felt it was a really immersive experience in many ways. Besides attending a number of very interesting and relevant sessions on topics such as online collaboration, internationalisation at home and internationalising university strategy, the week offered plenty of chances for ever so crucial networking.

The opening reception

This proved to be the most significant benefit the conference could offer: as a result of several meetings, receptions and negotiations, there are now many new contacts and ideas for collaboration both in the field of languages and social services. In addition to creating new contacts, it was of course also really important to meet with the already existing partners (for example the Hague University of Applied Sciences) and strengthen TAMK’s collaboration with them.

Henri would definitely recommend the event for staff wanting to kill several birds with one stone in terms of networking and relationship building – instead of attending a single international week hosted by a partner university, you could go to EAIE and meet almost all your partners at once. In addition, Seville proved to be a really beautiful and hot venue for the conference.

Kirsi Jokipakka, Head of the International Services, had visited the annual conference already several times before. One of the main insights for her was that the top management of the university needs justifications why internationalisation is so important, and the International Services staff is responsible of providing enough useful information to them.

In terms of international co-operation, staff training is key for success, and we need enough individualised training for our staff. In addition, it became very clear to Kirsi during the week that the International Services is the bridge between partners and university community.

FIBES, the conference venue

Sanna Laiho, International Coordinator for Health Care, attended the conference for the first time and it was a memorable and worthwhile experience for her as well. The conference programme offered various opportunities with hundreds of different activities; to mention a few, lectures and sessions concerning internationalisation, online learning and intercultural competence. They offered a good insight into the current situation in European higher education.

The conference was an excellent opportunity for networking, arranging meetings with partners and gaining new collaboration opportunities. Sanna also had a great opportunity to have a poster session presenting the outcomes of an Erasmus+ project where TAMK had a role as one of the partners. The poster session was a unique chance to introduce not only the project, but also TAMK and its Health Care unit to new possible contacts and future cooperation possibilities.

Sanna giving a poster session

Last but not least, this visit to beautiful and sunny Seville was a great opportunity to share experiences and make future plans with your own colleagues from TAMK; going to an intensive conference trip together is a great way to get to know the people you work with.

Tarja Kalliomäki-Linnas, Head of Study Services, attended the conference for the first time, too. Her point of view was maybe slightly administrative, but it was interesting for her to take part in sessions concerning how smaller regional universities compete and how to prepare for international work and study experience. In addition, all the poster sessions were like spices in the conference soup – many interesting projects were presented.

Furthermore, both exhibition halls were really huge! Tarja also had the opportunity to take part in the discussions with TAMK’s partner university MUAS (Munich University of Applied Sciences) with Kirsi. The discussion topics ranged from the upcoming academic year to the double degree students’ studies. In Tarja’s view, it was really great to have a possibility to meet people and colleagues face-to-face.

Plaza de España

Tarja also visited Pablo de Olavide University (founded 1997) which is Seville’s second public university and one of the youngest state universities in Spain. With a student population of over 11,000, Pablo de Olavide University offers over 30 degrees in areas such as law, economics, business administration, social and natural sciences, nutrition, technology, the humanities, sports science and many others.

Mind full or mindful? Tarja attended plenty of interesting sessions concerning ideas to support staff and faculty in dealing with international students and mental health, the efficient, effective and culturally sensitive use of e-mail, managing stress, and being more productive among others.

The conference experience has definitely opened up new viewpoints for the participants. All the interesting discussions with the representatives of partner universities and other participants were thought-provoking and unforgettable. To sum it up: it was a most memorable and enjoyable lesson on internationalisation.

Text and photos: Peter Perttula, Project Assistant


While I was studying in the second year of Proakatemia, the headmaster of the business school Universidad Catolica Boliviano visited us. I showed Tampere, TAMK and Proakatemia to Gonzalo Chavez and a few years later he invited me to visit his school in La Paz, Bolivia. Gonzalo was impressed with our team-learning model and the Y-kampus that we have in TAMK so the purpose of my visit was to introduce the team-learning model and coaching to 27 teachers from his university.

The second day of the internal workshop

I held a three-day internal workshop for teachers (and a few students) from the business school. In this workshop, we went through differences between teaching and coaching and looked into different kinds of tools for coaching.

It was fascinating to see how open minded Bolivian teachers were to a different way of teaching. As a personal note, it was interesting to work in a culture where working days are split into two sections because of a “siesta” break between 12 am and 4 pm. People use this “siesta” time to go home for a nap or sports and to have lunch with their families.

After the three-day internal workshop, I held a three-day business development course for teachers and students from other universities. In the workshop participants worked on real business cases for three days. It was interesting to see them working in teams and learning about our team-learning model through a practical assignment.


La Paz from a Teleferico (a ski lift that locals use as public transportation).

My plan was to provide some theoretical information and tools such as the Business Model Canvas and then let the teams split work between their team-members. I explained that as a coach I am not there to provide answers but to ask questions that might help figuring out the answers. After the initial shock and with the help of a very tight schedule the participants realized that in order to have a solution for their business case they must work efficiently as a team.

Bolivia was a very pleasant experience overall. It is a developing country with a bright future ahead based on the passion that I saw in the teachers I had the opportunity to work with.

TAMK and Hochschule Hannover students getting together during the international week.

TAMK and Hochschule Hannover in Germany share a long history in cooperation in the field of Mechanical Engineering. Study exchanges are supported and friendships are being built through annual visits.

Back in the mid-1990s, a group of teachers and students from Tampere University of Applied Sciences hired a bus and drove all the way to Hannover. Moreover, TAMK’s President, Markku Lahtinen, Senior Lecturer in Mechanical Engineering at that time, went on one of the study exchange trips with the aim of strengthening relations with the German university. As a result, bilateral visits became an annual tradition.

Earlier this year, a group of twelve students and two professors from Hochschule Hannover came to TAMK. Half of the group studying Mechanical or Industrial Engineering visited departments within their fields, whilst the other half studying Process Energy and Environmental Technology visited the Environmental Engineering department for lectures, workshops and excursions.

The diverse schedule kicked off with a cultural exchange on studying and living in Finland and Germany, continued with lectures, and ended with social activities like sauna and ice hockey events, and a visit to Pyynikin Craft Brewery.

Hosting each other makes the visits special

TAMK students went further with the workshops and organised an ice rink driving session, which really impressed the guests. Next day, they generated a weather data breakdown and an elk test to work on. What made this call very special though was German students being hosted by Finnish students in their own homes. The favour was returned during the time of the Hannover Messe, the world’s leading Trade Fair for Industrial Technology.

From left to right: Wolfgang Strache, Anne Nadolny (Hoschule Hannover) and Harri Laaksonen (TAMK) know that excitement and openness are important in a succesful cooperation.

This custom turns out to be a very good international practice for students, and not only. Teachers are very keen on the study exchange and getting involved in activities. They have a positive attitude towards meeting new faces, engaging in projects together and practising their language skills.

“The secret to this successful cooperation between the universities is teachers and students showing excitement and openness”, believes Harri Laaksonen, Senior Lecturer in Mechanical Engineering at TAMK.

And as for the German side, Prof. Dr Anne Nadolny at Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Bioprocess Engineering shares similar thoughts.

“Study exchanges are supported and friendships are being built. We enjoyed the very warm welcome from TAMK and the visit of Finnish students in April. We look forward to seeing you at TAMK in 2018!”

Text: Andruta Ilie
Photos: Essi Kannelkoski

“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


International networking in the Tampere3 spirit

The 2008-started tradition of international weeks in TAMK got a new twist when at the beginning of the summer, all three higher education institutions in Tampere – the University of Tampere (UTA), Tampere University of Technology (TUT) and Tampere University of Applied Sciences (TAMK) – organised an International Staff Week for non-teaching staff together for the first time. The week hosted about 50 administrative staff members from higher learning institutes from around Europe, and the week and its activities took place on the premises of all three main campuses during June 12-15, 2017.


Understanding each other as the theme of the week

The theme of the week was Intercultural Communication and issues relating to the area. Hence, the programme included five hours of Intercultural Communication workshops by TAMK Lecturer Mari Rytisalo. During the workshops, the participants increased their knowledge and awareness of different cultures and their influence on communication.

The guests had an opportunity to benchmark different services and practices of the three universities and share views on topics related to their own work. In addition to the common workshops around intercultural communication, everyone chose a thematic track they wanted to attend. The tracks evolved around international cooperation, library services, student services & administration, and industry cooperation & career services.

The week started at the UTA premises, where the guests had a chance to get to know the main campus, the Demola concept and the concept of Y-campuses in the higher education scene in Tampere. Both concepts seemed to raise a lot of discussion and interest as strategically combining the higher education scheme with entrepreneurial studies and practice seems to be a topical issue all over Europe. As it was the first day of the week, the participants got a bath of Finnish language, too, when participating the crash course into Finnish by the university Lecturer Jenni Hakanen from TUT. Since everyone was a bit novice in the area and not at their core competencies when trying to speak Finnish, this was a fun way to break the ice within the group and everyone became a big family after this. And if the language lesson did not get everyone at ease, the Monttu get-together with its delicious buffet, fire show and international dancing (performers from within the group 😉 ) certainly did.



The group at the Y-kampus at UTA.


dinner buffet

Dinner buffet in Monttu at UTA on the first night.


On the second night everyone got to experience the truly Finnish “hot sauna – cold lake experience” at Varala, and then on the third day, the week transferred to TUT and the Hervanta campus with the impressive Kampusareena building and recently renovated other premises. The guests discussed international security, got to experience some virtual reality gadgets and the group was able to examine the study services available on each campus a bit more. The Intercultural Communications workshop took the active group to the “heart” of Kampusareena by gathering the people to work at the Kampusklubi area. One of the staff members at Kampusklubi unknowingly defined the spirit of the week in one simple sentence: “It is mindblowing and great to hear such vivid discussions in so many languages at the same time with so much laughter in here.”


campus tour TUT

Getting ready for the campus tour at TUT.


the group_TUT

The whole group at TUT.


sauna and Varala

Fantastic premises for sauna evening at Varala.


The final day of the week took the group to the TAMK Kuntokatu campus and the final lecture of the week; the subject was social media and the presenter Essi Kannelkoski, the Community Manager of TAMK. This very topical theme aroused a lot of discussion and interesting analysis. After the campus tour and the lecture, the engaging week was coming to an end: all but the certificates, farewell hugs and closing toasting with lunch was done.


group TAMK

The group during the final presentation at TAMK.



Essi Kannelkoski and a some-moment: the group selfie.


Once-in-a-lifetime week and a new way of doing things together

In addition to the official discussions, workshops, benchmarking, et cetera, the week offered the guests an opportunity to gain once-in-a-lifetime experiences of Finnish culture, society and the Nordic White Nights at a sauna by a lake, naturally! As for the organisers, I think, it is safe to say that although a lot of work, the week offered us memorable events and a chance to be at the forefront of creating a new culture of “doing together” within the Tampere3 framework.

To finalise, a big thank you for all the international guests, the presenters, track organisers, logistic helpers and naturally UTA & TUT is in place! Hope to do this soon again!


Text: Tiina Nilsson
Photos: Essi Sirén, Annukka Hämäläinen, Saara Lehtonen, Tiina Nilsson



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 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

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

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



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  and

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






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