The mood was quite happy at the certification. Rasa Jakstaite from Lithuania.
Farewells are always moving, especially after some intense and eventful past few days. Though, everything must come to an end and now it was time for the International Staff Week in Tampere 2016.
Thursday 9 of June
Last lecture from Nancy Aalto
The final lecture of Nancy wrapped up the last lectures with culture shock and adjusting to foreign countries. These are some of the topics that are important to convey for students and staff going abroad. Culture shock can for example have physical symptoms such as different pains and bad feelings. These are mainly caused by disorientation after the initial honeymoon phase with the new country begins to fade. Loss of familiarity makes everything too overwhelming, because there is a constant need for attention.
Although, after a while it becomes easier. This might take few weeks or months, depending on the impact of the culture shock, but eventually the new country starts to feel familiar.
The familiarity starts to feel like home usually right about when it is actually time to go home. This happens quite often for exchange students – when the moment of home arrival comes, the re-entry culture shock begins. Almost the same phenomenon as going to a foreign country, but this time it is the home country causing the shock.
Intercultural Communication is a very important topic for everyone working with people from foreign countries: It helps us understand what they are going through and how we can help in the culture shock phase. This importance was recognized by the lecture attendees, as Nancy received praises from everyone. The lectures felt very personal and thus had a good impact and a meaning for practical use.
Social Media and Campus visits during Benchmarking
Last benchamarking sessions were held in quite a big group as both Library and Study services joined with International services in social media session held by TAMK’s Community Manager, Essi Kannelkoski. Along this session the HR and Sports services had their own topics.
- International, Library and Study services had social media session called “Using Social Media and TAMK Learning Environments Through Student Experience”. Here ideas and practices were shared from social media usage in the universities. Most of the Universities had Facebook pages and some groups for exchange and degree students. Some were even on Instagram and their students had “taken over” the official page for day or two to show interesting pictures of student life. The overall Social Media activity for Universities is still in development as there were no “all-star” best practices to benefit from different platforms. It is very hard to measure the impact of different social media services, even for businesses that rely constantly on these services.
- Sports Services had a wrap-up session of the topics discussed and went to visit Tamppi Areena, the sports center of Tampere University of Technology in Hervanta – currently the newest sports center for students before TAMK’s new facilities are finished. At Tamppi Areena, there are group activity halls, weightlifting gym and sauna facilities for the students to use.
- HR services had a discussion about Recruitment, HR systems and Payroll. Along these topics the past discussions from previous days were recapped to have nice wrap-up.
Everyone received a sertificate and small gift bag to take a small piece of Finland back home. Silvya Hristova from Bulgaria.
With the last benchmarking sessions over and best practices pocketed for further development in each institution, it was time for the “graduation” ceremony!
Noora Kahra and Laura Lalu started by giving post letter to each participant. Everyone wrote the key learnings from the week into the letter to be sent to themselves as a reminder after the week. This way everyone could retain the best ideas and thoughts from the week. It will be a nice surprise to get an unexpected postcard from yourself.
After summarizing the week into a tiny card, the certificates were given to each participant. Gifts and hugs were given as everyone received their certificates. In these moments, the realization that it’s finally over, catches on.
One last group photo before the farewell lunch.
Farewell Lunch and surprise Quiz
A wonderful sour filling wrapped in salmon.
TAMK’s hospitality management students have this great learning environment called “Catering Studio”, where they can organize real lunch and dinner events. The farewell lunch for International Week was held there. The students had prepared a very nice buffet style lunch with appetizer salads, warm Finnish foods and wonderful lingonberry mousse dessert.
Though, before anyone could enjoy the appetizing foods, there was a challenge. A Kahoot quiz about Tampere and Finnish culture. There were total of 18 hard questions and teams of five had 30 seconds to answer the question from multiple choices. Points were given based on right answer and how quick the answers were given. Price for the winner team were Fazer chocolate bars that the winning team was kind enough to share for tasting.
Great food equals happy faces.
The food was amazing as the impressions of “yum” and “mmm” could be heard all around the restaurant. Catering Studio did an awesome job with the menu. The dessert with sour berries and sweet mousse had an interesting contrast between different flavors. It was just large enough portion to give small cravings a little extra.
With the lunch eaten and last farewells and few tears of joy given, the week was over. Many new friends and connections were made, ideas and thoughts shared, culture and customs experienced. This was the International Week in Tampere with TAMK and UTA!
Greetings from the writer
Small reminder, every day.
After being part of such an awesome event it was somewhat melancholic after the week ended and it was time to wrap up things. Even if the week was quite hectic; juggling between organizational tasks, assisting Noora and Laura, photographing everything, giving guidance, representing student and employee of TAMK and being uncommonly talkative example of a Finnish person, I thought it was the best time of my current practical training. Especially nice was the relaxed evening get together at Plevna with those who had their home travel arranged for Friday.
I want to thank everyone who attended and wish that the next international weeks you are attending are as great and awesome as this one was for me. Thank you!
Text & photos: Aleksi Jolkkonen