Posts in the International cooperation category

Group works in session!

International weeks have been a tradition at TAMK since 2008. Today TAMK hosts approximately eight international weeks in different fields yearly.  This year’s non-teaching staff international week was titled “International Week – The Secret of Innovative Partnerships” and it was organized in cooperation by the TAMK International Services, R&D and Innovation services, Study Services, HR Services and Sports Services and took place in mid March 2019.  The week brought together professionals from 15 countries. These professionals work in many areas in higher education anywhere from researchers to sport and international services.

Best Practices, RDI and Getting to Know TAMK

Our week started off with an introduction to TAMK, the facilities, fields of education and services, and, of course, Finland as a country and its education system.

The participants had an opportunity to choose from two tracks:

A) Sharing is Caring track that included a cultural session and a two-day best practices workshop where participants brought in examples from their own higher education institutions

B) RDI track, where participants had the chance to present and discus about the best practices of the RDI processes of each university and common focus areas, to figure out and practice suitable tools from ideas to concepts and share their international networks and tools for networking.

Discussion on European Challenges at Y-campus.

During the week, the international marketing at TAMK and Y-Campus concept were introduced to the participants. Both seemed to raise a lot of discussion, questions and interest in combining the higher education scheme with entrepreneurial studies in practice.

Each participant also had the chance to book individual meetings with TAMK representatives in their own fields in order to discuss current matters and services/practices in more detail.

The social programme included Finnish free-time activities such as Cross Country Skiing and Sauna evening with ice swimming, naturally, as well as magical moments during dinner created by the hospitality students.

TAMK Hospitality Students created mouthwatering experiences for the participants.

Results of the two tracks

Sharing is Caring Best Practices workshop: During the workshop four  main issues were identified; Mobility Issues, Staff Week Planning, Development (new systems), Staff Week Planning, European Challenges Discussion anf Mobility Issues – Trends and Troubles.

Suvi Hokkanen with her colleagues from Germany, Belgium and France

There seems to be switch in mobilities: on the other hand, students think that they do not need exchange experience as a means of internalization since they already are travelling so much, meet new people from different countries and keep in touch with them online. The other part of the change is the need for security: some of the students already have steady jobs, apartments, relationships, which are hard to leave behind. In our group, the discussion went on about the promotion of exchange possibilities and destination information. The reasons, why students select a partner university differ – for one it might be the sport  opportunities offered, to another family ties.

As challenges, our group stated both changes of funding and administrative issues. EU’s decision to get arid of paperwork is welcomed, but causes lots of stress to many universities. Erasmus without paper (EWP) also has a very tight schedule: they plan to demand it already in the start of the next funding period, 2021.

Staff Week Planning

This group was very active and committed, since many of the participants were involved with the planning of their future Staff Week. One of the main questions they faced was how to involve the departments. If the Staff Week is organized by the international office, does it have any connection to the departments themselves? Should they have their own responsibilities?

Staff Weeks are usually offered only to partner universities – Why? Pro’s and Con’s: When concentrating to the partners, the content of the week could perhaps be more specific. Then again, a Staff Week is always a good way to introduce the university to possible new partners and a lot more cost effective too, compared to individual visits by delegations.

When talking about the budget of the Staff Week, the group pointed out the possibility of charging a participant fee. It was widely discussed but there are also points to be taken into consideration. If the fee includes accommodation and lunches, all participants stay at the same location and the transportation is easy, as well as the participants make good connections with each other when spending free time together too. If the destination country is expensive, the fee might rise so high that the low cost budget countries might not be able to take part.

The theme of the week should be selected outmost carefully – what do the organisers what to promote, how to go about it? How is the week planned and structured, lectures or workshops, visits to local companies etc.? Does the university gain international visibility with the staff week? Our participants thought that the most important thing of the staff weeks is the sharing of knowledge and benchmarking, without forgetting the new contacts and maintaining the old ones.

Development (new systems)

Our group discussed about the origins of the development – where does the need for the change/development come from? Focus on student means services should be easier and better. As a consequence, it means more effective and better use of worktime for staff too. Involvement of all parties should be from the beginning of the development project and it should be in an informal context. When talking about online systems to help our lives, it is important to keep the State of Mind: constant change!

European Challenges Discussion

At the brink of Brexit the biggest question is: “What then?” If Brexit goes through, all those students who planned to do their exchange in the UK either cancel or must be relocated. Funding questions if students are still send to the UK, who pays for the grants when Erasmus+ grant is no longer available – do the universities have their own money for such cases? Are we able to accept students from the UK partner university students as much as they want to send to us or should we have quotas for Asia, America, Africa, etc. and one for world after Brexit?

In general, the funding raises questions too. EU is cutting the grants, national policies change their focus point in funding and the student’s willingness to apply for exchange varies a lot. If the general attitude towards exchanges is no longer supportive, are there other means to promote exchanges? Should we promote practical training opportunities more if the more traditional exchange studies are not as attractive to the young anymore?

 

Results of the RDI workshops here: https://padlet.com/ella_kallio/redgsca2mqb0

Krista Merikoski, Tampere University of Applied Sciences

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Text and photos: Ilkka Piiroinen, Senior Lecturer, TAMK

Text and photos: Luka Saksio, Student of Degree Programme in Building Services Engineering, TAMK

(Talotekniikka, LVI)

____________________________________________________________________________________

One Russian Plus One Finn Equals More Than Two

Saint Isaac’s Cathedral

Saint Isaac’s Cathedral

We had an amazing opportunity to visit St. Petersburg from March 18th to March 24th 2018 with a group of people participating a course about cultural diversity. Our group, hopping to Allegro train, going from Finland to Russia, included a mix of people from different degree programmes from Tampere University of Applied Sciences and from Helsinki University Aleksanteri Institute. All of us more or less unknown to each other, all somehow unfamiliar with the culture of Russia.

The students from Russia participating this project were from North-West Institute of Management and from ITMO University. On the second evening of the trip, we had a lovely dinner in a local Georgian restaurant.

It was one of our first opportunities to get to know the Russian students who were participating in our project. At this moment already, they all turned out to be very talkative and not at all introverted, as I first had assumed for some reason. Although, many of them said they aren’t normally so very loquacious, it seemed like they were much more talkative than us Finns. That’s something depending on the person, of course, but this is how it first seemed like to me.

Great views, great population and great Putin

Over the Expectations

Lots of nice walking and wandering around the city was included in the trip.

The trip proved out to be more than just a school trip, at least for me – it was a very important experience. The fluency of spoken English and the skills for cooperation with other people really evolved in me during the stay, both of which I consider really important factors in working life. It was very easy but still so very challenging at the same time having to cooperate with foreign people all week, with them having their own accents, different levels of spoken English and the weird features of their cultures. But eventually, as we got to know each other a little bit better, it all started to flow spontaneously and everyone found the common tune.

Real-life Project Work

As we had had the time to get to know each other, we were separated to smaller groups and then given different kinds of project works concerning an all-new way (at least for most of us) to approach businesses: via business model canvas. Each group consisted of different nationalities (there were others too than only Finns and Russians), which made the project even more interesting. After a little theory about the business model canvas, it became clear to us how to use it as a tool to understand every aspect of the business and innovate new things for our project companies.

The Business Model Canvas for Bonava.

My group got Bonava as the project company. It’s a construction company (or a housing company as they call it) that operates in Scandinavian countries and in St. Petersburg. As a contact person for the company we had Pekka Eskola, a development manager of Bonava in St. Petersburg. To figure out new, out of the box innovations for the company, we were told several times by teachers and Pekka himself to throw every crazy idea on the canvas that crosses our minds, and then consider letting some of the worst ones go afterwards.

At first that was kind of hard for us, but as we got moving with the task, the canvas started to get filled of ideas. We got help during the process from the teachers and Pekka, and finally succeeded to make a full canvas and a complete story to support it. I think Pekka liked the presentation we gave him at the Bonava headquarters, as we managed to figure out almost everything their development team had came up with during the past few years, and even a little more.

Success in Every Way

People from RANEPA, ITMO, TAMK and University of Helsinki

The group attending the project was full of unbelievably cooperative and skillful people. I could’ve never thought that mixing several cultures would end up with a project task as big as this having done absolutely wonderful works that I know will help the companies in their businesses in the future.

As a conclusion, the trip was a fantastic once-in-a-lifetime experience for each and everyone of us involved. Learning about cultural differences in theory is nothing compared to a real-life practice like this. Even just small conversations in a foreign language sets people in a mood of receiving information almost as easily as in their own language, and personally getting to know foreign people they’re working with as a group, makes things really easy. On top of the unique chance of getting to work with people from different cultures, I believe everyone of us made some long-lasting friendships during the trip that will never be forgotten.

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

www.y-kampus.fi/en

 

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

 

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

 

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

____

Team TAMK

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