Belgian physiotherapy students Lisa Swinnen and Karolien Mertens are doing their three-month exchange period in TAMK. Tammenlehväkeskus was their second placement.
– We thought that this is a rehabilitation centre for war veterans, but actually here are people of all ages and conditions, Karolien says.
The period at Tammenlehväkeskus has been very agreeable for the students. They have done various tasks and got known completely new forms of rehabilitation. Perhaps this would be something they could apply to their future profession.
– Hydrotherapy is not very common in Belgium, but in Finland it seems that there are therapy pools here and there. And salt room, we had never seen nor heard anything about it before we came here.
Karolien makes sure that Kari Kumpulainen carries out the exercise correctly.
– We are oriented in musculoskeletal conditions, but at Tammenlehväkeskus we have worked in the field of neurological rehabilitation. It is useful to have experience outside of our field of know-how and to know widely about things, they say.
The lack of a common language brings its own specialties and challenges.
– For most clients, the situation is not tricky. They don´t mind even though we don´t understand Finnish, many of them understand English a little. They appreciate the fact that we speak some Finnish and many are trying to teach us more words, such as numbers, Lisa and Karolien say.
The gym at Tammenlehväkeskus is a familiar place to Raija Vento.
Hungarian Petra Dunai did her exchange in TAMK in the spring 2013. Tammenlehväkeskus was one of her training placements at that time and what happened: Petra found her way back.
Petra Dunai feels at home at Tammenlehväkeskus.
– I met my boyfriend here in Tampere. I went back to Hungary to finish my studies and came back in November 2013. I didn´t speak Finnish then so I enrolled for an intensive course which took 10 months. I noticed that Tammenlehväkeskus searched for a substitute for a physiotherapist so I decided to apply for it. I got the position and started to work here in last December. I really enjoy working here, Petra says in excellent Finnish.
Rehabilitation Manager Titta Soimasuo has been satisfied with the international trainees.
– We have received positive feedback on all the trainees we have had here. Our staff and our clients have a positive attitude towards foreign students. Positive experiences feed the interest to continue taking foreign trainees, Titta says.
Text and photos: Marika Kyllönen