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International weeks have been a tradition at TAMK since 2008. Today TAMK hosts approximately eight international weeks in different fields yearly.  Non-teaching staff international week took place at the end of April and brought together professionals from eight countries. These professionals work in many areas in higher education anywhere from financial services to library and international services.

Best Practices and Getting to Know TAMK

The week started off with an introduction to TAMK, its facilities, fields of education and services, and, of course, Finland as a country and it’s education system. The guests of the international week had an opportunity from the beginning to find best practices among each other and from TAMK and they usually became the most excited when they had the chance for a free flowing Q&A during and after presentations.

As the week went on the guests were introduced to Demola and Y-Campus concepts. Both seemed to raise a lot of discussion, questions and interest in combining the higher education scheme with entrepreneurial studies in practice.

Guests were also offered the chance to book individual meetings with a TAMK representative in their own fields in order to discuss current matters and services/practices in more detail.

Photograph by Kukka-Maaria Korko

Fun and Games

There were also two evening programs planned for the guests. First evening get-together took place in Mediapolis Campus, where guests met other international week participants that were taking part in the week arranged by Art, Music and Media at the same time. Mediapolis students had put together a viewing of the new short films produced and made by students and the guests got to watch improvisational theatre as well.

Second evening program was something very Finnish and very different from what any of the guests had ever tried before. Sauna and swimming at Varala.  The food was great, sauna was enjoyable and some even dared to take dip in the icy lake.

Photograph by Suvi Hokkanen

To sum up the week, it was full of fun, laughter and discussions on developing services. Thanks to all that helped in the organization, all the presenters and especially the guests that made the week all that it was!


Text: Suvi Hokkanen/International Coordinator for Staff Exchanges

Downtown Tromsø


In spring 2018 we spent one week in Tromsø, Norway. The coordinator of the Nordplus Nordic and Baltic Business Innovation Network and the intensive course “Multiform marketing of experience-based product/service innovations”, Senior Lecturer in Marketing Pirkko Varis from Tampere University of Applied Sciences (TAMK), Finland together with Vidar Alvarstein and Kirsten Zachariassen  from UiT The Arctic University of Norway, School of Business and Economics, organized the programme for us.

 View from downtown to Fjellheisen

 Participants on the viewing platform of Fjellheisen


Altogether 28 students and 10 staff members from Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Lithuania and Norway joined the intensive course. From TAMK, Finland students Marja Koskimäki, Miisa Kuivanen, Noora-Emilia Hassinen, Salla Vaittinen, Maria Eskola, Janica Saralevä, Titta Savolainen and Henri Hellsten took part in the Nordic & Baltic week.

Downtown Tromsø with sailing boat harbour


 View from Fjellheisen to downtown


On weekend we could get acquainted with each other and spend some time together. We also did a walking sightseeing tour in Tromsø, including a visit to Fjellheisen with a cable car. On Monday we had presentations of all the countries, cities, universities and study programmes taking part in the intensive course.

May-Tordis Simonsen presenting Veita

 Assignment to students


On Monday we were given the assignment from the representative of Veita shopping center, May-Tordis Simonsen. Student teams were given tasks to think of what Veita can do to ensure its future, and if there would be alternative ways to go for instead of being a basic shopping center. Also the aim was to think of various target audiences and give ideas for marketing.

Teams working at Veita


 On Tuesday and Wednesday we worked in our multidisciplinary and multicultural teams with the assignment. We created for Veita new business concepts and ideas for marketing and marketing communications activities, including online marketing, mobile and social media. We finalized our work and also delivered our reports by the deadline.

May-Tordis Simonsen moderating the presentation session

Audience following the presentation of the Norwegian Kåre and his team 


On Thursday our presentations took place. Various business concepts, and marketing and marketing communications ideas were presented, and a winner was chosen between the teams. All teams did great work and the results of the teams can be used by Veita. Some of the suggestions will be implemented immediately and some in near future. The winning team members were Inga Barauskaite, Philip Firouzian, Maria Eskola, Janica Saralevä and Omar Olivares Villarreal with their “The north pole living room” proposal. 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 Tromsø with a lot of memorable experiences.

Winning team presentaion     


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

Students from Denmark


Philip Firouzian from the University of Southern Denmark, Faculty of Engineering, Product Development and Innovation, Odense, Denmark

Thank you very much for great planning and huge experiences. It was a pleasure to work across borders and to experience similarities/differences both in work and culture. The overall course was well planned and I think the case was very relevant. It was also nice to be located in the actual shopping mall to work on the case – It was amazing to meet the other participants and to explore    Tromsø. I am very happy to have taken part in this course and met the network. I hope to see our new friends later again soon 🙂

Presentation about Denmark


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


Agnė Juknaitė

I’m so grateful that I could have an opportunity to be a part of this project in Tromsø. It was really great experience! I am so happy that I could see the beauty of Tromsø. The Northern lights and fjords were stunning. Thank you for this amazing week full of new experiences and practice. I would repeat it again if I could.  Thank you, Pirkko for your concern during the whole week. Everything was so perfect.

                   Loreta Petrauskaitė, Mantautas Račkauskas and students from Lithuania


Smiltė Sedekerskytė                               

First of all, it was a pleasure to be a part of this project. This experience was incredibly fascinating. I learned a lot about the things that are very important to me, my studies and my future.

As a matter of fact, this intensive course was a marvellous opportunity for students not only to work with a company but also to get experience while working in groups with very different individuals, get to know various cultures, peoples’ lifestyles and even their educational systems. It was the first time for me practising working with this kind of a company and trying to help it to reach its goals. While being a part of a group of complete strangers, I learned that even a week can be enough for people to get along and get to know each other or even become friends.

Peaks of mountains and a fjord


To be honest, Tromsø is one of my favourite towns I have ever visited. The experience that I got there was really different from what I am used to because I prefer to travel somewhere South from Lithuania, but it was still my best decision to finally reach a place that is beyond polar circle. The things that were very new and fascinating to me were the northern lights, the amount of snow that I saw, very huge mountains and their peaks from where one can see the magnificent panorama of    Tromsø. And the friendly local people who were always smiling and trying to help you no matter what cannot be forgotten to mention.

It was a pleasure to have a chance to participate in this project. And again thank you very much for this experience. It has changed my life significantly.

Martin, Anneliis and students from Estonia

Students from Tallinn University of Technology, School of Engineering, Estonia


Ilgar Akbarov

Education is mostly about experiences. I would like to say thank you to the Nordic Baltic Business Innovation Network for giving us the opportunity to have this great experience.

We were able to improve our knowledge and experience in many ways while seeking solutions to problems with people from different cultures and disciplines. We were able to consult tutors with different professions while developing the concept for Veita shopping mall. We handled with the decreasing attractiveness of the shopping mall in local context, but the concepts we developed during the intensive course are applicable to many others shopping malls, because the problem itself is not special to certain places.

 Martin Pärn and questions to Ilgar’s team


We were also able to explore the amazing nature of far north city. In a short intensive course, we had the possibility to explore the city with guidance of Vidar, thank you to him :). Since I am from a southern country (Azerbaijan), to be able to see the Aurora Borealis was another great privilege for me, which maybe normal for students who are form Nordic countries. We also had chance to learn the city’s culture, history and how the city plays role in polar overreaches and about scientists who conducted researches there.

All in all, the balance between working on the project and exploring the city was well considered by organisers and it was an unforgettable experience. Thank you all!


Omar Olivares Villarreal

 When they proposed me to go for this experience I was expecting to find a country and people cold like the lots of snow that I saw in the pictures before. To my surprise I couldn’t be more wrong to think like that, except that there really was a lot of snow, the people were warm and really open, they even made jokes. The moment we were landing from the plane I could see the huge mountains that hug Tromsø making it look like a picture of fantasy in a big composition of blues and whites. My friends and I were welcomed with a smile in the face in a really nice hotel and after looking around the city and loving the city more and more, we went to a nice place for snacks where we met other participants of the course. After talking and making new friends we decided to go once again around the city to look how beautiful it looked in the night.

Anneliis and students from Estonia


On the next day we went in a walking tour around the city with all the companions for the course, we saw interesting places with a very local but fun explanation, like the brewery they have or the polar scientific research center. The last point we visited was the top of a mountain, after a very fast but entertaining trip on the Teleferic, we came into the view of the extension of Tromsø from the top of this beautiful mountain but the best part was to look this majestic view of nature. Mountains, fjords and even the colors in the sky mixed together to create a wonderful picture to the point that not even the city feels out of place. Trying to get a better picture of the scenery some of us decided to go further up to the mountain, must say it wasn’t easy at all but was 100% worth.

Mountains by a fjord


The next day besides introducing ourselves and listening to the presentations of other national teams, we discovered what we are going to do in the next days. So we formed teams with the people we were assigned (I think I got the best team) and began walking back to the center of Tromsø. I will not be tired to mention that you get enchanted in the view. I find that the service culture in Tromsø was really high, in the café the beautiful girl in the other side of the counter received us with a huge smile and attention, something in this quality of service was repeated in each place that I visited later.

Ilgar taking a photo of Omar


In the afternoon of that day we met in the place that we were working with, the mall Veita, an incredible place hidden in the very center of Tromsø. Working here the next days with my teammates was an incredible regarding experience, I would like to say that all of us enjoyed the process of working together and we got quite interesting ideas. The place is lovely and has a nice café in it where I did go for a very nice chai latte tea and a cloudberry tea (both a must if you have the opportunity to taste). From time to time in the mall you could see mothers taking their babies to play in the park inside, also they give public yoga classes. In general little surprises pop up in there.

I would like to resume that my whole experience was enjoyable and eye opening, to see the city and work with new people. I am sure we will visit Tromsø once again and by sure I will try to participate in the event next time.


Coordinator Pirkko looking for new experiences



Pirkko Varis, Tampere University of Applied Sciences, Finland 

Students from Denmark, Estonia and Lithuania



Anneliis Tomingas, Tallinn University of Technology, School of Engineering, Estonia

Omar Olivares Villarreal, Tallinn University of Technology, School of Engineering, Estonia

Pirkko Varis, Tampere University of Applied Sciences, Finland 


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



EUTA IP 2018 – students celebrating after hard work


Altogether 38 students and 6 staff members from Belgium, Finland, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain and UK participated in March 2018 in a marketing project in Darmstadt, Germany. The assignment was to create an advertising and marketing communications campaign for young adults to increase awareness of health risks associated with poor eating patterns and obesity.


Finland team – Kasper, Madelyn, Pirkko, Janita and Simon 


Students Janita Gaft, Madelyn Panzner, Kasper Långsjö and Simon Sørensen from Tampere University of Applied Sciences, School of Business and Services participated in this project, organized by Hochschule Darmstadt, Germany. The coordinator of the team from Finland was Senior Lecturer in Marketing Pirkko Varis.


Get-together meeting


Multicultural student teams with members from six universities developed a communication strategy, and selected marketing communications tools and media for the target audience, young adults. Students worked through the whole campaign planning process: doing situation analysis, defining in details target audiences for the campaigns, deciding on communication strategies and objectives, creating the key message and big idea, planning creative execution, selecting marketing communications tools and media, and presenting the campaign.


Madelyn, Janita and Simon presenting the market survey report on Finland


Prior to travelling to Darmstadt, 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.


Marten, Ralf, Pirkko, Laura, Ann and Pepe – staff members of the intensive course


Dr. Ralf Schellhase, Professor in Marketing from Darmstadt Business School introduced the assignment to all participants, and Prof. Dr. Benjamin Engelstätter from Hochschule Darmstadt delivered an introductory lecture on “Taking the fat out of Europe”, including key statistical information about obesity and overweight, and reasons for them.  Laura Campbell from Southampton Solent University, UK gave a presentation on “Communication strategy and customer insight”, and Pepe Martínez-Sáez, from CEU Universidad Cardenal Herrera, Spain on “Media strategies in a digital landscape, creativity and creative brief”. Marten Coerts from Inholland University of Applied Sciences, the Netherlands gave a presentation about “Culture´s consequences on marketing communications”, and Ann Gemoets from Artesis Plantijn Hogeschool Antwerpen, Belgium on “Pitching the ideas”. All staff members of the universities worked as coaches for the teams.

One campaign presentation


Students planned in multidisciplinary 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.


View of Heidelberg city centre and Neckar River from the castle


The programme included also a welcome meeting, funny country presentations, time to explore Darmstadt, and in addition, Heidelberg or Frankfurt. On Friday after team presentations feedback and certificates were given to all students. In the evening a goodbye party was organised, and an award was given to the winning team.  Ralf Schellhase together with his team members offered us a really well-organised intensive course.


Thank you very much for your great hospitality!


View of the castle from Heidelberg Altstadt (old town)


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


Janita Gaft:


“The whole trip was really amazing! I learned many new advertising practices that will be beneficial for my future projects. Working a week with people from a different field widened my view on marketing. The whole experience was valuable and exciting! I am also really proud that our team won as we worked really hard to brainstorm the idea. I was surprised to grow so close with some of the new people I met during the week.”


Madelyn Panzner:


“Thanks for the opportunity to take part in this project. All of us were really happy about the outcome. Personally, I learned a lot about different styles of working as the various nationalities and study fields all had different ways of viewing the topic given. Additionally, it was really interesting to work with the advertising students because the ideas really came to live and they use a lot of different tools that we don´t use in our field of study. Meeting and bonding with the people there was also nice and we had many different stories to tell.”


Simon Sørensen:

“This Intensive Program has been such an interesting experience from both learning and social point of view. I have achieved new working methods and friends, which for me are valuable beyond comparison. The intensive program has not only been about the actual topic, but also about teamwork and social outcome. Working in teams with different nationalities and working methods, but also different study fields, has been beneficial to reflect on my own process in group work.

The organizer made the experience cozy and made me feel comfortable. In the program there was time to experience the city of Darmstadt and get to know the other participants, which I did not expect, but I treasured a lot.”

Kasper Långsjö:

“My week in Darmstadt, Germany was excellent even though I had a flu during the week. These kind of study trips abroad are an excellent way to learn of other cultures especially since you are working there and not just on a holiday. I got to meet some amazing people and some that I still keep contact with. With this intensive course in special we had the opportunity to work with advertising students, and through that I learned a lot of new things compared to the usual courses we have at TAMK on the International Business studies.

One thing that also surprised me about the long days is that I actually enjoyed them since I felt more motivated to do the work and be creative when I was in a space with my team members without the ability to spend the time on something unnecessary.”

View of the surroundings from Hochschule Darmstadt


Text: Pirkko Varis



Ralf Schellhase, Hochschule Darmstadt, University of Applied Sciences, Germany
Janita Gaft, Madelyn Panzner & Pirkko Varis, Tampere University of Applied Sciences


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

Text: Andruta Ilie

Photo: Anna Vättö


Nothing is unattainable to Finnish composer, arranger and orchestrator Jonne Valtonen. Renowned for his contributions in the field of demoscene, Valtonen was recently invited to write the music for the grand opening of the world’s only Moomin Museum. It turned out to be one more success added to Valtonen’s legacy, who lives and breathes music with courage and tenacity.

Jonne Valtonen

The Moomin Museum opened its doors in August 2017 in Tampere, and you wrote the musical composition for the opening gala. It must have been a big moment for you?

I’m very proud of it. I was asked to write the composition for the Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra based on Tove Jansson’s novel collection “Tales from the Moominvalley“. The orchestra and the conductor Santtu-Matias Rouvali liked it a lot, and we received a standing ovation and excellent feedback from the audience.

You started playing classical piano at the age of 9. Was that the beginning of your journey into music?

My aunt taught piano, and she would play old classical pieces and tell the stories behind them. I think that might affected me and made me want to learn how to play the piano.

My family had the first home computer on the block back in the 80’s, and I did my early compositions using a programme called Music studio with a Commodore 64. It was just dragging the notes in the right places with a joystick. I was listening to pioneers of electronic music like Jean-Michel Jarre at the same time with studying classical piano. And I discovered I could use the computer and classical piano to make my own music. That was fantastic!

And you continued exploring that path further into your teenage years…

It was the early days of the demoscene, and I spent most of my time in subgroups with people producing real-time coding and music. I was in a famous group called Future Crew. The time I spent with Future Crew reinforced my passion for music. Eventually, it all ended, and people got real jobs. Some started game companies and asked me to produce music for them. So, I thought I’d give this a serious shot – and it just got bigger.

What did you do back then that led to you being nowadays known as a famous orchestrator?

One fan asked me to write and make arrangements for the Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra. At first, I got panicked, but accepted to do it and spent months learning as much as I could. Then I realised I need to get an education on this, so I applied to TAMK’s Degree Programme in Music.

It’s been a very slow and painful process. You have to know yourself and your limits. Some people are born geniuses. If you’re not one of them, you can still try to go as far as you can. The most significant realisation came in my twenties: passion can turn into an actual profession.

Which Finnish composers have you met that have made an impression?

Kirmo Lintinen was the first living composer I’ve ever met, and that made a big impact. Lintinen was the first composer to show me that it’s possible to compose and be relevant. That’s why I chose to push it forward and make a living out of composing.

The second one was Jouni Kaipainen, Head of Composition during my studies at TAMK. He was brilliant. He knew literature, music and pretty much everything. Before meeting him, I saw that this profession is possible. But Kaipainen revealed the bigger picture about it.

Do you believe that you have made the most of your studies?

I tried to get as much as possible from the education because it was fabulous. I knew that if I didn’t do that, I wouldn’t be as good as I am today. I was told in the applicant’s interview: “We can’t make you a composer. We can show you things, but you’ll have to make yourself one.”

Teachers were exceptional and had achieved so much that it made you want to do your best and push yourself throughout your studies. As a student, you need to have the will to achieve your goals and be active. I read a lot about composing and knew some things about this and that, but some things were missing. The only way to get them was through studying.

What does music mean to you?

It’s an extension of me. It’s expression and communication and the way I can affect this world in a tiny bit. It’s something inner that pushes out even when I feel it doesn’t make any sense at all. It’s a tough job, and you question yourself a lot. But when the orchestra gets it right, it feels like the best thing ever. It transcends into something bigger.

How would you advise people who have not discovered their life’s purpose yet?

You always have to have a lot of courage. There were a couple of times when I was terrified to do something, but I forced myself to do it. For example, I was asked to write a Finnish tango for an orchestra. I had no previous experience, but I studied and rehearsed Finnish tango for one month. It turned out great, and people liked it. It could have turned out horrible, but that’s also a good thing. Then you know how not to write Finnish tango for an orchestra.

Life can be like this sometimes, and you have to go towards the fire. My advice would be not to drop out an opportunity because you’re afraid if it. I wouldn’t recommend being a composer to anyone, but if that’s what you want, dare to go out there and grab it. Just be courageous and make the most out of everything!

What are the unseen challenges behind your work as a composer, arranger and orchestrator?

It’s an unpredictable lifestyle. The income is not stable, so you have to accept the uncertainty that comes with this type of work. You will face failures and an insane amount of work. Studying sets the starting line, but there’s still a lot left to explore after graduation.

Throughout your career, you have won several awards. Do any of them weigh more than the other?

It’s great to know that people recognise and appreciate my work. But in some way, awards are by-products just like money. I’m very happy that I’m able to do what I do. That’s my award.

TAMK Library and International Services have organized Finnish Movie Nights for a couple of years now. The idea is to gather to watch some Finnish movie to TAMK Library about twice a semester. In November, we watched Unknown Soldier directed by Edvin Laine. The movie was made in 1955 and it´s traditionally showed in television every Independence Day on 6th December. The movie is based on the book Unknown Soldier by Väinö Linna.

Here are some comments from students who came to watch the movie.

I think that this movie has entirely shown how tough life for soldiers during their fight in previous time. And this would give some inspirations to Finnish people about patriotism. Due to the sacrifice of those soldiers, it could educate people to cherish how hard for a country to protect its own land”, Ching Loy said

Ching Loy

Unknown Soldier is one of the jewels of Finnish film culture. The movie depicts well how barbaric the war is but, at the same time, brings a little humor through the lines. I saw the movie the second time ever and it didn´t get boring even though it takes about 3 hours. I strongly recommend the movie to those who haven´t seen it yet”, Terho Ranta said.


The movie is one of my favorites and it´s probably one of the most important works of Finnish history. Though the movie is very long, the events change very fast. It may be a bit confusing at first sight and some of the scenes are filmed very confusingly, too. I think this is due to the fact that in 1955 when Unknown Soldier was released it had been thought that its viewers had also read the book. Some of the characters are well written and actors play their parts really well. Though the characters aren´t presented more often during the film it clearly shows their different natures. Despite the confusion the film is a wonderful piece of work. The more often you have seen the movie, the greater it gets”, Maija Runila said.

Terho Ranta and Maija Runila


Text and photos: Marika Kyllönen



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

Photos: TAMK Archives



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

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

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

Customers from Various Parts of Industry

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

Assesment of the colour fastness test.

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

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

What Do we Actually Do in Textile Laboratory?

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

Tensile testing in progress.

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

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

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


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

Text and photos: Kirsi Jokipakka


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

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

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

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

Office of Cultural & Academic Transitions

Entrance hall of the Student Affairs and Services building






Text: Mirja Onduso
Photo: Merja Halivaara

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

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

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

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

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

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

Exciting experience for both sides

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

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

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

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

Hai was also excited:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kauppi forests calling in May


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:

Discover our brand new Master’s programme:

InnoEvent Tampere was an intensive week during which TAMK students from different fields of study were divided into multi-disciplinary teams with the purpose of  creating innovative solutions to real cases given by a variety of companies and organizations.

One of the participating teams was team ONGO, who aimed to solve a case given by TAYS Central Hospital regarding the difficulties foreigners experience in finding their way around the hospital premises. With most of their instructions in Finnish and about 30% of their patients being illiterate, TAYS is looking for bright and innovative solutions designed to make things easier for its visitors. Team ONGO responded to the challenge by creating a navigation device to guide the patient, once he registered the details of his appointment after arriving at the hospital.

The device is programmed in such a manner to lead the patient to his destination with the help of lighted arrows and there are also three more buttons which indicate how to reach the cafeteria area, toilets and other additional services. So far, the feedback received was quite good and the judges saw it as a realistic option to be considered.

Liza Daviskiba, ONGO team member said she was very pleased with the atmosphere within her team and the amount of work everyone put into the project: “The atmosphere in our group has been really good and that’s one of the key points during an intensive week when you have to spend so much time together and do team work. Everyone has actively participated and there were no language barriers. I think we all enjoyed working with each other.”



Team ONGO:

Liza Daviskiba
Joonas Kääriainen
Ellanoora Kärkkäinen
Petteri Pelkonen
Catherine Maloney
Suvi Löffler
Matthäus Hörmann

More about InnoEvent Tampere:


Text & photo: Andruta Ilie