Tuesday, 30 August 2011

March of Time

“Days of joy, day of sadness come and go to pass
me by. A month, a year, one hundred years, they fly”
It feels like I started my traineeship at TAMK International Services yesterday.
It is hard to believe that I started working here six months ago and now my traineeship is coming to its end.
Through the months I have experienced all sorts of things, met hundreds of nice people from various countries and learned a thing or two while working at TAMK.
I have really enjoyed working in a truly international environment and being able to help TAMK to be even more international in the future.

I also noticed that one should never underestimate the MS Office skills needed for this kind of a job. I must pay special thanks to Mr. Timo Nevalainen, who taught me some really handy tricks in his computing lessons.

The highlight of the whole traineeship was the International Week for Non-Teaching Staff in June. Organizing the whole event and meeting our lovely guests was spectacular. Sometimes I did not even feel I was working!

As I have been one of the main contributors to this blog, I sure hope this TAMK International Blog stays alive even when I am gone.

My current plan is to continue and finish my International Business studies here at TAMK. Hopefully I will find a good thesis topic and be able to graduate in the desired time span. Who knows where I will end up next year… maybe I will write to this blog again in another life!

After all the experiences I got through this traineeship, I can say that TAMK is a great place as a student and as an employee too!

Text: Elias Suominen
Photo: Noora Järventaus

Friday, 26 August 2011

Lucky Media students experience GDC Europe and GamesCom

This years Game Developer Conference Europe and GamesCom guest lists included three students from our very own Degree programme in Media.  By winning the, Nokia sponsored, Demola organised mobile concept competition (read story ) we were able to choose any conference in Europe to visit!  Our choice was GDC Europe 2011 and the affiliated GamesCom trade event that were held during the same week in Cologne, Germany.  It was easy to kill two birds with one stone, so to speak, and take part in both kinds of event on the same trip. With us travelled Bernard Garvey from Demola who seemed to enjoy our company.  For GamesCom Nokia were unable to finance our visit because of it officially being a separate event so TAMK very generously sponsored the extra nights needed to visit the trade fair.
There were the most people in the booth area during the pauses in GDC

GDC Europe is known and respected world wide as a large event in the gaming industry.  This year it included many lectures, parties and of course networking.  There were lectures from Monday to Wednesday on subjects ranging from business and marketing to game design, programming, visual arts and production.  We were of course able to choose which lectures we went to and most of the time plumped for those that seemed the most interesting.  Parties took place every night too.  From which you had to choose the best as well.  Networking was easier at parties because the feeling was relaxed and you were able to talk about more than just work.  At the end of the day my handbag was always full of business cards!
The humoristic lecturer told us about game design

It was fun to see that despite being at such a large event we were also able to meet other students.  We came in contact with, among others, German and Swedish students.  It was also brilliant to get to know people from outside Finland that are actually studying in the same area.  By sharing experiences and ideas you no doubt learn best.  On the other hand we also got to know some Finns from the games industry, which is handy when we come to think about internships.  GamesCom also had representatives from various Universities and that increased the possibilities for exchange studies.
Nintendo was pretty popular because their new 3DS console

We also succeeded in mingling with one of the biggest forces in the industry:ArenaNet!  The firm was presenting a demo of their new game, Guild Wars 2.  We were even able to test the game on Wednesday before the event even began as trade visitors and press had their own preview of GamesCom.  At the end of the week the gigantic halls we full to the brim with enthusiastic gamers.  Having been invited to the NCSoft party we got the opportunity to meet the actual producers from ArenaNet.  We got to know, among others, famous concept artists Kekai Kotaki and Daniel Dociu - a real once in a life time opportunity.  One of our group member's dreams came true when these legends came up with a surprising and unusual idea.  The next day at gamescom, on stage, Kekai was to draw a Guild Wars 2 tattoo onto none other than Anna's shoulder.  Of course you didn't need to ask Anna twice and she snapped up the opportunity what with being such a huge fan of the game.
Anna was very happy with her new tattoo

The journey was no doubt one that none of the group will forget! We are more than pleased with what we have learnt and found the whole experience really inspiring.  In the future we will no doubt be looking for even more promising opportunities, like this, to explore.

Story: Emma Kiiski
Translation Douglas Symon
The three awarded students, Emma Kiiski, Douglas Symon and Anna Narinen are students of Degree Programme in Media
Read more stories from/about IMPs, the Media students


Wednesday, 24 August 2011

A really nice Nice network meeting 2011 in Zwolle and Emden

In summer 2011 Pirkko Varis from Tampere University of Applied Sciences had the possibility to participate in the annual NICE network meeting, organised by Marianne van Vlierden & Jamillla ter Steege from Windesheim University of Applied Sciences, School of Business & Economics in Zwolle, the Netherlands and Andrea Meyenburg & Katja Hakkarainen-Janssen from the University of Applied Sciences Emden/Leer in Emden, Germany.

Marianne van Vlierden opening the NN meeting.

Thomas Hoffmann from University of Applied Sciences Nordhausen introducing new members.

The programme included plenary and workshop sessions on ERASMUS news and updates, internationalization at home, (un)successful IP applications, institutional internationalization strategies, strategies for improving faculty involvement in exchanges, ensuring maximum benefit from the Erasmus experience for all university members, international project and staff weeks update. An introduction to the Netherlands by a Dutch student and a presentation on Emden and East Frisia by the representative of the Chamber of Industry and Commerce were part of the programme, too. We got many useful ideas for our work in international affairs and did a lot of networking.

A new member of the network Olev Tõru presenting Tallinn College of Tallinn University of Technology, Estonia.

Workshop sessions.

Margarete Seidenspinner from Heilbronn University and thank you to Marianne, Katja and Andrea.

Several visits were organized, too. We had a very interesting and special visit to the Simulation Centre of the department of Maritime Studies of the University of Applied Sciences Emden/Leer in Leer and a guided tour in Emden including an East Frisian Tea Ceremony. In the Netherlands we had a guided tour in the city centre of Zwolle and we made a roundtrip by boat in Giethoorn, called the Venice of Holland. In the centre of the village there are wooden arch bridges and canals where you have to travel by boat. Thank you Marianne for organizing this fantastic experience!

Some of us leaving for the roundtrip by boat in Giethoorn.


What is NICE network?

The New Initiatives and Challenges in Europe, NICE network is a network for representatives of more than 35 business schools, faculties and departments of business and economics. They work together in order to develop curricula, joint projects, intensive programmes, exchanges, internships and other cooperation. Pirkko Varis from Tampere University of Applied Sciences has taken part for many years in the NICE network and in the projects initiated by the members of the network. For example the IICEE European module was developed by some partners and now it is part of the curriculum in several universities throughout Europe, TAMK included. An intensive programme (IP) has been developed based upon the module, too. In annual meetings of the network study programmes and methods are compared, new initiatives are discussed and proposals are made for cooperation and development of the network. The Quality Charter of the NICE network and other information is available on the website of the network www.nicenetwork.eu

Text : Pirkko Varis
Photos: Regina Parzer, IMC Fachhochschule Krems - University of Applied Sciences Krems, Austria & Jamilla ter Steege, Windesheim University of Applied Sciences, the Netherlands

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

EILC, time to say goodbye!

A couple weeks ago I wrote about the first steps of EILC course and now it’s time to tell you the rest of the story. Here is a brief summary of what EILC is and all about our adventures in Tampere.

This year TAMK organized its Erasmus Intensive Language Course (EILC) for the first time. Between 1.8 – 19.8.2011 18 exchange students from ten different countries took part in the course. During the course the students learned some Finnish, got familiar with Finnish culture, discovered the best parts of Tampere and of course got new friends.

Doughnuts, yam!

On the first weekend we walked to the Pyynikki ridge and climbed to the observation tower to admire the stunning view over Tampere. And of course before returning we needed some sugar power so we rewarded ourselves with delicious doughnuts.

Best doughnut in Tampere, or in the world...yam!

Time to play!

On Tuesday we had cultural activities, and culture in Tampere includes, of course, Vapriikki and Särkänniemi. In Vapriikki we got close to nature as we fondled with stuffed animals, heard birds singing, smelled some bottled scents of flowers and the most courageous ones crawled in the “Tammerkoski tunnel”. We also learned little bit about the history of Tammerkoski and Tampere, made goals in Ice Hockey Museum, admired shoes from different decades and shared our childhood memories during the exhibition Time to Play – Treasures of the Toy Box.

“Time to Play – Treasures of the Toy Box”

After our visit to the museum it was time to continue playing in another spot, in Särkänniemi. We tried the Tornado, some other rides, the Tornado again, Dolphinarium, the Tornado, Näsinneula, the Zoo, the Tornado and one more time the Tornado, or two times…but who’s counting anyway. ;) The exchange students also learned a useful Finnish phrase during the day: “lihis kahdella nakilla!” All in all, our day was perfect!

This is it, the Tornado!

It's not allowed to bump!

Mustaamakkaraa ja salmiakkia

After bowling and many other activities it was finally time to taste some Finnish food. On Friday all of the language courses held in Tampere (altogether over hundred people) got together at the University of Tampere. Exchange students had a chance to taste rye bread, karelian pies with egg butter, black sausage, cinnamon buns, blueberry soup, gingerbread biscuits, Fazer chocolate, salmiakki and xylitol gum. The cinnamon buns were a real success whereas salmiakki was considered too salty. In addition to food tastings, the students had to interview people from other language courses in Finnish and answer a quiz about Finnish food. Of course, there was a prize (Muumi mug) to the person who had the best score in quiz.

Finnish food isn't that pretty but the taste is delicious!

All good things come to an end…

Despite the fact that it was our last week, everyone started it with a good mood. On Monday evening we gathered to Café Europa to play some board games. Alias became everyone’s favorite and believe it or not, we managed to play it with all 20 people together.

We started Wednesday morning by watching a Finnish movie Napapiirin Sankarit. After the relaxing movie moment it was time to work a little bit. The students prepared their presentations on Finnish culture. On Friday, after Thursday’s exam, it was show time for presentations. It was amazing to hear how much the exchange students knew about Finnish culture! They honestly deserved the Certificates of Finnish Language and Culture Course that they were granted afterwards. As a reward for these amazing three weeks it was appropriate to celebrate the EILC course by having a Farewell Party Friday evening!

Time just flew by during these three weeks and now it’s time to say goodbye... It was an honor and a pleasure for me to be the course secretary of EILC course! I enjoyed every moment with all my heart!

Kiitos EILC-kurssilaiset!

You can also check out our Finnish blog for additional material on EILC!

Text and photos:
EILC Course Secretary
Tiia Partanen

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Experiences of studies - Diego Rivas, a graduate from TAMK

"I am very glad and satisfied that I have finished my Bachelor’s Degree. The whole time spent at TAMK was very satisfactory.

First of all, it is relevant to say that I am very grateful for the opportunity to study at TAMK and for the whole aspect of my studies. The studies in Finland, and being more specific on the Degree Programme in Tourism, were very professionally oriented, something different from some other study experiences that I had taken before. The facts that I appreciate the most were the flexibility during the studies, the facilities offered, the opportunities to take part on Erasmus exchange programmes, internships also abroad, and the participation on some intensive programmes with some other universities.

Diego (on the left in the photo) with the winning team from Finland in ICC IP in Germany.

The studies were organized in a very flexible way and they were more orientated on practice matters rather than in theoretical ones, being those theoretical taught in order to be used in the working life. So I really felt that at some point by working in groups, organizing events and trips, making some real assignments in direct collaboration with some companies were tasks useful for my working life. I have noticed also that I was getting more competence expertise as long as the studies were going along, and the final thesis was probably the reflection of it. Due to my studies and internship experiences, I see myself more professionally prepared to face new challenging situations and I definitely do not regret the time being at TAMK.

During my studies I had the chance to participate in two different international Erasmus intensive programmes related to tourism and intercultural communication, in Finland and in Germany. Both were a great chance to meet up people, to learn more about other cultures and communication and to work in groups with other students from other universities and background. It was also a great chance to know new destinations. I also had the chance to fulfil my internships in different companies, lasting three months each time, first in Düsseldorf (Germany) in an online tourism enterprise and lately in Spain in a consulting company. Beside those ones, the flexibility of my studies were really important as at the same time I was a student I was also working as a freelance Spanish teacher in Tampere, which also gave me a nice input about the Finnish culture and people.

In May 2011, just before my graduation, I moved to Bergen, Norway, where I have found a job related to tourism, my study field, and I am sure that I will use my professional compentence learned at TAMK and get more familiar with tourism by working with different tasks and in a new environment.

I will definitely encourage people to study at TAMK and in particular in the Degree Programme in Tourism. In addition, as Finland is such a unique place I will recommend foreigners to learn some Finnish and get familiar with the basics of the culture, as that will help a lot, at least it did a lot to me."

Diego Rivas

Saturday, 13 August 2011

TAMK at Assembly, Summer 2011

TAMK participated in the biggest game party in the country with few enthusiastic students from both Teiskontie and Finlayson. We got our stuff in the Hartwall arena and had a stand for everyone to come to ask about TAMK and what we are studying and look what we have been doing (game projects etc). For me personally this was the first time in Assembly so everything was new and exciting! Assembly is a great way to connect with students from other schools and some interesting people from the industry. It’s also an event to share knowledge, experiences, ideas, new technology and most importantly; having fun with all this!

Leaving from TAMK

The sea of computer screens in the arena looked wonderful in the evening when the lights were turned off and many of the gamers continued playing the whole night. Fortunately there was also a possibility to take a few hours sleep on the hallway to gather some energy. There was a band playing in the main stage before midnight and before that some very interesting game developing compo videos were shown in the big screen. Everyone in the event could vote for their favorite games in the compo. Some school projects had been shown as well as hobbyist game demos. It was really interesting to see that a university of applied sciences in Kajaani (KAJAK) was really actively presenting their projects and they had something to be proud about. It’s a shame there were no games in the compo from TAMK but let’s see if next year brings any new good games to be showed in Assembly!

TAMK's awesome stand

There were many interesting seminars about new online game development. For example Mozilla was presented in browser-based developing. It’s already quite amazing what you can create with only the browser’s 2D (Canvas) and 3D (WebGL) tools.
There was a presentation from Supercell (a game company) where they presented new and light game technology with a quite old tool Flash. The game looked pretty good and was light to run with the browser. In amount the seminars were really interesting and inspiring. It wasn’t all about game development; some of the topics covered for example game music. There was a lot to choose from for everyone.

The event has offered graphic contests and game tournaments which are a fun way to spend time in between of playing in the middle of the sea of computers.

Angry Birds - live version

At some point a former students from TAMK’s international business programme came to talk to us. He works now in Rovio with Angry Birds and was really positive about TAMK students to get to work over there too. That would be a really good chance for internship. It was nice to notice that TAMK is a good school to jump from into the industry.

I left in the Saturday evening so I wasn’t able to join the fun on Sunday. But next year I will for sure participate in the event and promote TAMK and our awesome game projects! It was a really great trip and taught me a lot; I hope the others enjoyed too!

Story: Emma Kiiski
The author is student of Degree Programme in Media
Read more stories from/about IMPs, the Media students

Assembly Summer 2011

Friday, 5 August 2011

EILC is finally here!

What on earth is EILC?

The EILC courses are organized for European Erasmus students and courses are funded by the European Union. TAMK organizes Erasmus Intensive Language Course (EILC) for the first time this year. The course goes on for three weeks, from 1.8 to 19.8.2011. There are altogether 18 exchange students taking part in Finnish language course of TAMK. They come from Italy, the United Kingdom, Germany, Greece, Austria, Slovenia, Czech Republic, Lithuania, Estonia and Poland. Half of the participants will continue their studies at TAMK during autumn semester and the other half will spend the rest of their Erasmus-period in other universities in Finland.

There are also other Finnish language courses in Tampere and they are all beginners’ level courses. University of Tampere organizes three EILC courses and SITR (the Studying in Tampere Region) organizes Summer School for exchange students coming outside of the EU and ILC (Intensive Language Course) for Hungarian students in honor of the 90-year-old diplomatic relations between Hungary and Finland. EILC course of TAMK co-operates with other Finnish language courses, especially on free time activities.

In addition to Finnish language lessons, we organize many cultural activities during these three weeks. Students get to familiarize with Finnish culture and society; experience the heat of sauna, taste Finnish food, watch Finnish movies and much more.

First week is full of first times: first words in Finnish, first time in sauna, first…

On Monday, 1st of August, I saw many curious and smiling faces in the lobby and I have to admit that I (course secretary) was as curious and happy as they were. I had been waiting for this day all summer and finally it was time to kick-off the EILC course. The first day just flew by; there was a lot of information to be passed out, lots of practical matters to be taken care of and getting to know TAMK.

On Tuesday Ms Ulla-Maija Koivula from Social Services lectured about Finnish Society and Culture and in the end of lecture everyone was laughing out loud to YouTube sketch on Finnish drinking habits. In the afternoon the students had their first language lesson. As a result you could hear them using common small-talk phrases like “Mitä kuuluu?” as if they were true Finns.

They actually study here too!

On Wednesday afternoon we had a guided sightseeing tour around Tampere. We discovered the most interesting parts of Tampere such as Hervanta suburb, city centre, Finlayson area, Stable Yards and Pyynikki ridge.

Our guide Ritva Haveri offered her knowledge about Tampere and its history.

On Thursday we organized a trip to Viikinsaari Island with the EILC course of University of Tampere. There were altogether about 70 of us and the atmosphere was fun and relaxed. Almost everyone tried sauna and swimming, and they seemed to enjoy the heat of sauna and refreshing water of Pyhäjärvi. The day also included some football and volleyball, sunbathing and of course grilling of delicious sausages. The sun shined all day so the weather was in our favour. Our timing was perfect too, since it began to rain when the last of us were leaving the island.

No alcohol allowed to be taken to the island... I guess we have to stick with ice cream then.

You can spot over eighteen people on this picture, which means that University of Tampere EILC members are also visible.

That’s all for now. Now I got to hurry to watch a Finnish movie, Moomins and the Comet Chase...

EILC Course Secretary
Tiia Partanen

Tiia Partanen