Wednesday, 1 June 2011

NAFSA - What does it stand for?

Well, NAFSA is an association of international educators. Among other things it organises the NAFSA Annual Conference and Expo. This year international educators from all over the world were invited to Vancouver, BC, Canada between May 29 - June 3. Vancouver Convention Center will host about 9 000 participants joining e.g. seminars, session, workshops and special events. For more information: NAFSA.

As TAMK representatives, we arrived in Vancouver dog tired late on the evening of May 28 after about 24 hours of travel rich in nuances. Arriving in Frankfurt, we prepared to wait some 5 hours, just to find out that the next flight to Galgary was delayed another 5 hours. We were lucky to get rerouted via Montreal but unfortunately the rerouting didn’t concern our luggage! Luckily again, the lost luggage arrived very late Sunday evening, so on Monday all materials etc. were at hand when the conference continued.

Our main goals are to participate in very interesting sessions and meet colleagues from our partner universities at their Expo Booths. In the "Study in Nordic Countries" booth which Finland / CIMO shares with Norway and Denmark, we introduce TAMK to interested colleagues and network with possible new partners. It’s not that often you get a chance to share this kind of atmosphere with thousands of colleagues all over the world, all sharing the same enthusiasm in international education.

Just one more thing to point out that we Finns have common with Canadians. Vancouver is an ice hockey city and as Vancouver Canucks are playing for the Stanley Cup Finals this year! Go Canucks! First home game is tomorrow, and so we were officially warned by the conference organizers that should they win, the entire city will go absolutely grazy and there will be no hope of sleep that night!

To quote our Canadian colleague from Vancouver: "It's not IF they win - of course they will win! After all, they’re the best hockey team in the world". Now, this is a "fact" that we, under the current circumstances of Finland winning the World Championships just a few weeks ago, didn’t fully agree on. In any case tomorrow night might show us true celebration times three, win or lose.

Kirsi Tolvanen and Matti Pietilä (TAMK International Services) reporting from Vancouver, BC

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