Posts in the Students category

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.

IMG_3354 IMG_3333

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

IMG_3328

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

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.”

inno18

 

Team ONGO:

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

More about InnoEvent Tampere:

Innoevent

Text & photo: Andruta Ilie

Floworks Project Update (8 of 28)Joyful tasks and fun atmosphere are very beneficial for work and productivity. There seemed to be no lack of this in this project team. 

During the summer, there have been three student projects under works from Floworks. Orientation Goes Online, Building Connection with International Degree Programme Applicants and Video Production Team for Mindtrek 2016. At the end of the summer, nearly two months later, these projects are almost finished on the 28th of July.

How was summer?

Shy smiles came to faces with the words “Pretty good!”, “It’s good!” to answer the question. With two intensive months behind their backs, the students were quite happy about the projects and working with Floworks. They had done many things and felt accomplishment over these.

Best parts about the projects?

Floworks Project Update (6 of 28)A display of a popular Portuguese  TV show that only one understood, but others thought as funny. 

After looking at each other for a while, “teamwork” and “connecting with people in the teams” were the best parts that came up. Everyone got to know each other very well and now considered them as friends. New connections and friends are always welcome.

The most challenging part?

Floworks Project Update (22 of 28)Floworks coach and lecturer, Timo Nevalainen in the middle of the summer projects. 

Many challenges were felt during the summer, but time constraints and the fulfillment of clients’ needs were probably the hardest parts. Some of the students had to learn a new thing or two with a different software and workflow management, but everyone learned about the interaction with clients. This is sometimes extremely hard, as even the client might not know what they want.

How are the projects progressing?

Floworks Project Update (16 of 28)Floworks has this “Back to Basics” paper form progress and feedback wall to visualize and fathom the project’s progress. 

There has been quite a challenge with the progress, as new ideas come and go with realization of the actual possibilities. Regardless of this, the projects are doing great! Orientation Goes Online  is nearly finished with some retouching and video editing still in progress and all of the material produced is going to be available for the 2017 orientation. There are going to be very useful video clips for different topics such as: printing, library, registration in Finland and many similar topics.

Somewhat a similar topic, Building Connection with International Degree Programme Applicants is reorganizing the information sites for international exchange and degree students to give a better understanding to the applicants. There has been a challenge of overlap with the orientation project, as the teams were solving similar problems. They had a great idea of bringing past experiences in a more approachable way to the applicants. Direct questions regarding the most asked questions by the applicants were interviewed from current students. This project is also going to be finished soon.

The last project, Video Production Team for Mindtrek 201s, was probably the most challenging, as it concerned video promotion for the seminar. There have been many ideas and possibilities that were pondered and measured, until the team had got the right and funny idea for a viral video. The production of the video will be quite fast when they get the green light from the client.

What did the students learn?

Floworks Project Update (18 of 28)Did you know that TAMK has a photo bank for students and staff that can be accessed at http://www.tamk.kuvat.fi ?

Students represented many fields: Energy and Environmental Engineering, Arts and Media, Music and ICT Engineering. All of them learned new skills like client handling, marketing, promotion and project management. Also, depending on the project: video production, filming, web design, html, CSS and team feedback were some other skills they learned during the summer. Hopefully, these new skills will be of great use for the students afterwards!

We will be hearing more about the results once the projects are finished!

 

Text & photos: Aleksi Jolkkonen

Floworks living lab is a 21st century development hub at Tampere University of Applied Sciences, which contributes to education by making internal operations function better. Sometimes described as co-creation of the education or students bringing innovation to education, Floworks works closely with students and engages them in a variety of learning projects.

It started in 2010 with a realization that there was a specific need of development opportunities to pursue. Resources were available for staff, however, there wasn’t enough time to dedicate to every single one of them. Since these projects seemed to be great learning experiences and students possessed the required skills and could get credits for them, why not combine the two elements and turn it into an excellent learning opportunity? As an answer to that question, Floworks was developed.

A small team of people, consisting of a Development Manager, Ilkka Haukijärvi and three Coaches, Jussi Hannunen, Timo Nevalainen and Kseniya Tarasova are actively engaged in working with students. From 1st of August, a new team member, Clémentine Arpiainen, will start working in Floworks as an Analyst. She will be closely involved within the living lab, including such areas as coaching, research, and development of the operations in general.

Projects vary from Engineering and ICT to Healthcare and Coaches are open to all degree programme students. It should be directly connected to their personalized curriculum so they are building their capabilities and competences expected to use in their future careers. The competences brought to each project include use of social media, use of ICT in delivering services along with a designer orientation for service modelling approach to development work.

However, Coaches understand there is no such thing as one fits all so, for particular projects, they’re looking for students with skills to match the requirements. In order to find them, they contact staff members and ask them to promote the projects, use social media tools and TAMK’s own communications system, Intra. In some occasions, they approach students personally by visiting them during classes and introduce them to the projects.

Projects are requested by TAMK’s organizational and teaching staff and their number varies a lot. Earlier this year, Floworks had about ten projects running at the same time. Coach Jussi Hannunen believes that’s quite a lot, but there are no limits. “Five to seven projects are more comfortable to work with. We value quality to quantity and we won’t take up any projects which don’t fit TAMK’s strategy and criteria.”

Deadlines for the projects are set with Floworks’s customers after deciding when they need the product and what is practical for the team. Students are guided by Coaches about their responsibilities so they know exactly what they have to do from the start until the end.

So far, Floworks’s customers have been really impressed by the work students put in. They realized that the more they engage with the project, the more useful the product will be and the deliverables. And that they can learn a lot about the functions of their own operations. Most of the projects have been successful and delivered what was expected from them and sometimes more.

Summer projects

This summer, Floworks has three exciting projects going on: “Orientation Goes Online”, “Building Connection with International Degree Programme Applicants” and “Video Production Team for Mindtrek 2016”.

Coach Timo Nevalainen reveals the purpose of the first two projects and how new students will benefit from them: “We’re trying to find ways to do online orientation for new international students before they arrive at TAMK and also during the orientation week at their arrival in Tampere. To come up with a service where TAMK will be as open and helpful as possible from the first minute a student is interested in studying with us. We’re targeting students from outside the European Union for our degree programmes in English. If they can learn more things before coming here, then they could dedicate more time to socializing at their arrival in Finland and take in the new information in a more relaxed way.

The second project aims to connect potential students considering applying to the International Business programme with existing students and staff here. This way, they will already have some contacts here and their parents will receive more information about TAMK.”

“There are two co-creative projects developing for new students by TAMK’s IB students. In these two projects, we have students from Arts and Media, Environmental Engineering and Piano Pedagogy. Third project comes from our partner, MINTREK. Mindtrek is an international conference on open community development and newest digital technologies in business, taking place in Tampere on the 17th of October. Altogether, the projects are covering the months of June, July and August.” adds Coach Kseniya Tarasova.

“Everybody needs new tools in delivering the services they provide, whether they’re provided to students, or in general. There’s always a chance to do your work better. And students can help with that by giving information, ideas, or even taking a concept that you have and turn it into a service you can use. These kind of opportunities exist in all big organizations, such as TAMK. There’s no fear that we will run out of projects.” concludes Jussi Hannunen.

Coach Jussi Hannunen hosting a workshop at Floworks

Coach Jussi Hannunen hosting a workshop at Floworks

Coach Kseniya Tarasova

Coach Kseniya Tarasova

Coach Timo Nevalainen

Coach Timo Nevalainen

TAMK students taking part in Floworks's summer projects

TAMK students taking part in Floworks’s summer projects

Floworks's Coaches working closely with TAMK students

Floworks’s Coach, Kseniya Tarasova having a lunch break with TAMK students

 

Text & photos: Andruta Ilie

Floworks Jam (2 of 3)

Eager students ready to invent great things

Three challenging summer projects were introduced for a group of students working with Floworks: Orientation Goes Online, Building Connection with International Degree Programme Applicants and Video Production Team for Mindtrek 2016.

Y-Kampus was the location for the 12-hour Kick-off Jam that started in the morning of Thursday, 2nd of June. Lecturer and Coach, Timo Nevalainen had the students begin the day with a fun teamwork game. Everyone formed a circle and one person pointed for three to do an imitation of something. Choices for these were an elephant, a mosquito and a toaster. A loud laughter boomed around Y-Kampus during the fun game. After the students relaxed themselves and their brains from the active game, it was easier to follow up the lecture about idea generation. The main point of the lecture was to use different tools to generate as many awful, bad, great and awesome ideas. Quantity over quality matters here.

Floworks Jam (1 of 3)

Morning activation game: mosquito imitation

The projects presented by Floworks’s Project Assistant and Coach, Kseniya Tarasova aimed to overcome some of the challenges with student orientation and development of the Mindtrek 2016 conference. The day continued with a Post-It note workshop where students circulated around tables in mixed groups. The purpose was to talk and discuss while writing new ideas on the Post-It notes regarding the project on the table. This kind of method resulted in tremendous amount of new ideas from the students. Eventually, the tables were filled with Post-It notes.

Floworks Jam (3 of 3)

Post-It notes are a great tool for any team working and brainstorming sessions

With the first idea generation round finished, it was time to introduce some of the project commissioners from TAMK. Head of Higher Education Services, Aura Loikkanen, International Coordinator, Piri Hiltunen and Tamko Tutoring Expert, Satu Hiltunen came to present the orientation project goals and requirements for success. The students had the possibility to ask questions related to the projects and the ideas they generated. Some ideas might not work for different reasons and this was a very good time to find out while the commissioners were there.

The day continued with more ideas, group discussions and concept developments. There shall be more updates about the projects during the summer.

 

Text and photos: Aleksi Jolkkonen