Posts in the International cooperation category

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

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

Virrat in Finland

Virrat in Finland

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

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

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

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

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

Tampere in Finland

Tampere in Finland

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

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

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

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

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

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

Virrat in Finland

Virrat in Finland

 

Virrat in Finland

Virrat in Finland

 

Determine integrated marketing communications activities, tools and channels

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

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

Online, mobile and social media marketing

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

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

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

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

Setting up a simple website

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

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

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

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

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

 

References

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

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

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

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

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

 

Emmiina Lindfors and Ella Laakso assisting in registration

Emmiina Lindfors and Ella Laakso assisting in registration

 

SMARTOUR Event in Tampere 2 - participants waiting for training

SMARTOUR Event in Tampere – participants waiting for training

 

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

 

Hanna Takala training

Hanna Takala training

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

Waiting for the certificates

Waiting for the certificates

 

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

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

 

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

Photos: Anneliis Tomingas & Mika Mäkiaho

 

 

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

Logo IP Valencia

 

 

Valencia – City of Arts and Sciences

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

Pirkko Varis and other staff members having lunch break

 

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

 

Situation analysis and customer insight by Laura Campbell

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

The Creative Brief by Nik Mahon

 

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

 

A team enjoying the nice weather

 

One team working in the sunshine

 

Coaches in discussion outside CEU in the city centre

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Happy participants at CE Campus Moncada

 

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

 

Mascletas de las Fallas

 

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

 

Students in goodbye party

 

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

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

 

Las Fallas – Falles de Valencia 2017

 

Emmiina Lindfors:

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

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

Ella Laakso:

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

 

Visit to the Science Museum

 

Ilona Hoppula:

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

 

Enjoying life in front of the Science Museum

 

Essi Sirén:

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

 

Jazz concert with a presentation at IVAM

 

Kristiina Pieti:

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

 

Text: Pirkko Varis

Photos:

Laura Campbell, Southampton Solent University

Nik Mahon, University of Southampton, Winchester School of Art

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

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

 

The following institutions participated in the intensive course:

Artesis Plantijn Hogeschool Antwerpen, Belgium

CEU Universidad Cardenal Herrera, Spain

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

Southampton Solent University, UK

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

 

On the way to Mars

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Text and photos: Kirsi Jokipakka

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

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

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

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

Office of Cultural & Academic Transitions

Entrance hall of the Student Affairs and Services building

 

 

 

 

 

Text: Arja Hautala
Photo: Tiina Suvanto

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

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

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

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

Tell a bit about yourself

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

What made you join this space programme?

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

What have you learnt during this project?

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

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

What is the most interesting thing in this project?

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

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

Do you want to fly to Mars some day?

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

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

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

TAMK’s NASA project

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

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

Text: Mirja Onduso
Photo: Merja Halivaara


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

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

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

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

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

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

Exciting experience for both sides

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

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

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

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

Hai was also excited:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kauppi forests calling in May

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

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

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

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

Hai, how was blueberry pie?

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

 

Text: Mirja Onduso
Photo: Merja Halivaara

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The must-have competences of a future educator

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

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

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

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

 

Text & photo: Andruta Ilie

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Text: Andruta Ilie

Photos: Mirja Onduso

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

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

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

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

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Text: Andruta Ilie
Photos: Mirja Onduso

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Students standing in line for Photo Booth.

Students standing in line for Photo Booth.

 

Text: Kirsi Jokipakka, Head of International Services, TAMK

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