Friday, 30 September 2011

Tampere information on ten languages

The 5th Welcome to Tampere Fair took place in the University of Tampere on 28 September 2011. Presentations and information were given in ten languages: Finnish, English, Dari, Spanish, Chinese, Kurdish, Somali, Turkish, Estonian and Russian.
-This helps a lot! When you are new in town, it is not easy to find information, says Serge Tcheuffa from Cameroon. He recently moved to Tampere from Paris, with his wife Katariina.
The fair, aimed at new international students and immigrants in Tampere, introduced Tampere’s public services, as well as free-time activities. The city’s greeting was brought by Deputy Mayor Perttu Pesä.
I Love Tampere!
Several organisations introduced themselves, e.g: Maailmantanssi (dance group), Immigrant Women’s Sewing Workshop, Mummon Kammari (charity for elderly people), Service Union United (trade union), Scouts, Finnish Red Cross, Tampere Estonia Club, Tampere House of Girls (support service for girls), and Tampere Centre of Russia Culture. The Tampere Evangelical Lutheran Congregation told about their services in English. 
Mari Riihikoski made badges designed by fair participants.

I love TAMK!

Education was presented by TAMK, Sataedu (vocational training), Tampere Adult Education Centre (TAKK), Tampereen työväenopisto (adult education centre), Tampereen Open University, and WorkPlace Pirkanmaa project. Public officials gave presentations on e.g. job hunting, work agreements, entrepreneurships and the Immigrant Advice Centre.
Have you tried an eBook?
The fair was organised by the Studying in Tampere Region (SITR) network of the higher education institutes in Tampere, the City of Tampere and ALMA- and TyöMaa-projects.
Text and photo: Mirja Onduso

Monday, 26 September 2011

Time to roadshow again

The Europe Day was celebrated in Saint Petersburg, Russia on Saturday 24 September when all those interested in the European Union had the chance to visit the embassies and consulates of the EU member states to get more information of the countries and their current status in the Union. The Europe Day opened the doors of the Consulate General of Finland in Saint Petersburg, too, where the Finnish higher education institutions were presented to the potential applicants. The event was coordinated by CIMO and proved to be as big a success as last year.

(Riku-Matti Kinnunen at the Study in Tampere stand)

When the doors opened to the Consulate General at noon, the event venue was soon full of visitors busy finding their future place of study. TAMK introduced its five bachelor's programmes taught in English at the event, and was met with lots of enthusiasm and a flood of questions from the young Russians and their parents. Riku-Matti Kinnunen represented TAMK at the stand, and also gave a presentation of TAMK in the event. The quarter-of-an-hour long introduction to TAMK and its educational offer drew the lecture room full of interested listeners.

(Igor Tanskanen at the stand)

The University of Tampere was presented by Igor Tanskanen at the same stand, and the third university of the city, the Tampere University of Technology, was present through printed brochures. The three universities of Tampere caught the attention of the visitors under the name Study in Tampere.

The five degree programmes taught in English that will start at TAMK in the autumn semester 2012 offer studies in media, international business, nursing, tourism and environmental engineering. More information can be had at The application period for the degree programmes in English run from 9 January till 14 February 2012. The on-line application can be filled in at

Text: Riku-Matti Kinnunen
Pictures: Igor Tanskanen and Riku-Matti Kinnunen

Friday, 23 September 2011

Seminars and networking at EAIE 2011 in Copenhagen

The European Association for International Education (EAIE) 23rd annual conference took place in Copenhagen, Denmark, on 12 – 16 September 2011.

TAMK’s Head of International Services Kirsi Tolvanen (right) with colleagues of Hogeschool van Amsterdam (HvA), the Netherlands. TAMK and HvA will start cooperation in the field of Media.
The annual conference is the most important event for actors on international education to meet each other. The conference consists of parallel seminars, info and dialogue sessions, workshops and networking events. It was also possible to visit Danish partners during the one-day university visits. In the fair, there were 250 exhibitors: single universities, university conglomerates, national agencies, country offices, programme providers, etc.

4200 people, mainly from Europe but also from other continents, attended this year’s conference. Seven TAMK people participated from TAMK: Marja Sutela, Aura Loikkanen, Tarja Haukijärvi, Kirsi Tolvanen, Janne Hopeela, Gitte Taulo and Mirja Onduso.

-This is our best opportunity to meet with our partners: almost all our 370 partners are here. Instead of us travelling to their universities, we can meet them all here, says Kirsi Tolvanen, Head of TAMK International Services.

European students on the move

Swedes go to Denmark to study medicine, French to Belgium to become physiotherapists, Finns to Estonia to become veterinarians, Germans to Holland for their degrees – even British students are going abroad for their studies. There are increasing numbers of young people going abroad to study for a full degree. Reasons vary, impacts vary. And all this internationalisation is happening without EU support.

When the supply of education and demands from students do not match, students look for possibilities outside their own country. This is the case in some of the most popular fields of study, like medicine for Swedish students. One of the reasons for German students to go to Holland for their education is the quality of teaching. Students have reported about the crowded first-year classes at German universities due to the fact that everyone is accepted in the university. The selection to continue after the first year is made on the basis of performance in their studies. In the Dutch universities there will be smaller groups and a secured place to continue their studies. This migration happens even though Holland has introduced tuition fees also for EU citizens. The smaller tuition fees compared to England, on the other hand, is the reason why universities in Holland witnessed a large increase of British applicants.
The University of Aarhus (in the photo) is just merging with TAMK’s partner Engineering College of Aarhus. The new university will be called Aarhus School of Engineering (ASE).
Tuition fees or no tuition fees, is a stirring discussion. Is it right for a government to offer free education and in this way restrict competition between universities? Is this not subsidizing? This was a question posed in Copenhagen in one of the workshops by a participant from Holland. Polish students used to come to Holland before the tuition fees were introduced. Now they have turned to Denmark for free education. Is the Danish government not subsidizing the Danish Universities?

Almost all European countries offering English taught programs wish to keep the graduates to help with their diminishing work force. A study in Copenhagen showed that it is especially the Scandinavian degree students, the young, and those who have not had a student job who go back to their home countries after graduation. If not benefitting the countries that offer education for free or for low tuition fees, this student migration surely benefits the home countries of the students. They go back with degrees and loads of cross cultural experience.

It will be interesting to see the effects of the new government platform in Finland. Cutting down over 2 000 study places in particular from fields of culture, tourism and technology might turn into a migration of Finnish students to other European countries or other parts of the world for their higher education degrees instead of guiding students to other fields of studies. Or shall this cutting down of study possibilities prepare the ground and market for the landing of foreign universities offering education with tuition fees in Finland?

The joint reception was a huge success

TAMK, the University of Tampere (UTA) and Tampere University of Technology (TUT) hosted for the first time a joint reception for international partners. The reception took place on 15 September 2011 at the residence of the Finnish Ambassador to Denmark.

Ambassador Maarit Jalava mentioned in her welcome speech that supporting the internationalisation of Finnish education is also high on the agenda of the Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Maria Virtanen (left), Harri Melin (second right) and Marja Sutela (right)
Maria Virtanen, a coordinator of the Study In Tampere Region (SITR), project of the three universities, introduced Tampere as a student-friendly city and told about the forms of coordination of the joint activities: courses for international exchange and degree students, the "Finnish Society and Culture" lecture series, and joint job recruitment services for international students. UTA's Vice Rector Harri Melin and TAMK's Vice President Marja Sutela also greeted the guests.
The reception was attended by 100 partners from 30 countries. Many visitors were amazed with the services and the number of English-taught courses and programmes offered in Finland. 

 Inkeri Vänskä, Kongelige Teater's opera orchestra, played Finnish music at the reception.
More information on EAIE at

Text: Aura Loikkanen and Mirja Onduso
Photos: Mirja Onduso

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Palestinians visit Finnish social services

A high-level delegation from the Palestinian National Authority's Ministry of Social Affairs visited TAMK on Wednesday 21 September 2011.

The visit is a part of an EU-funded project training Palestinian officials in social services management. The leader of the project based in Ramallah, West Bank, is Timo Piirainen. TAMK's Social Services lecturer Ulla-Maija Koivula has been a consultant to the project. She has visited Ramallah five times since October 2010.

Koivula introduced the basics of Finnish and Tampere social services to the visitors, e.g. the municipal strategies, the national legislation, the Social Insurance Institution of Finland, the social assistance system, and the purchaser-provider model of Tampere. She stressed that the Finnish social services are based on an individual's needs, and that an individual receives a written "care and support plan". The Finnish work also aims at early intervention and multi-professional work.

The Deputy Minister of Social Affairs, Mohammed K. A. Hamied, said they are impressed with the way Finland, having the northern geographic conditions and a small population, has managed to build such working social services.

- Finns are very much pioneers in this field: you have adapted well in hard conditions and use your resources in a useful way, he said.

The Deputy Minister said that, with the help of the project, the Palestinians have managed to draft a new strategy for their Ministry, train key persons on management, and set up 17 regional offices.

The delegation will visit Tampere City Welfare Office, Kuusikko Family Support Center, Viola Home, and the Service Center for Hearing and Visually Impaired. On Friday 23 September, the delegation takes part in a Social Services seminar at the University of Tampere.

Text and photo: Mirja Onduso

Monday, 12 September 2011

Student exchange from Miyagi University, Japan

Seven students from Miyagi University, Japan, arrived in Tampere on Thursday August 25th August and their host families were at the bus station to meet them. This is the fourth year that TAMK R&D and Education Services receive students for exchange from Sendai for a couple of weeks.
The students were from different fields of study (food, energy, design & media) and this was their first time in Europe and, of course, in Tampere. Everything was exciting and new.  On Friday, orientation and practicalities were presented by Kirsi Tolvanen and Mirja Onduso from the International Services, and the first day ended in Tampere sightseeing tour.  They visited Rauhaniemi, Tuomiokirkko church and they also saw the city from the Pyynikki Observation Tower and, of course, tasted the delicious doughnuts.
During the weekend, the students had time to recover from the jetlag and get to know their host families better.
On Monday, it was time for school again. Esa Ala-Uotila and Perttu Heino presented R&D and Education Services and after lunch Kimmo Vänni, using Japanese and English, presented the Facilities for New Sleep Innovations as well as the Facilities for Independent Coping on Kuntokatu 4 Campus.
Introduction and preparation for the field study was conducted by Jarmo Perttunen and Kimmo Vänni and with the students they also visited Demola – Open innovation platform for students and companies in the Finlayson Area. During the visit the students had plenty of time for independent study which they used actively. Some of the students visited Helsinki for more material for their field study.
Students (Natsumi, Miho, Rikako, Kana, Chieko, Ai and Akane) in Virrat with Jukka Lampila and Kimmo Vänni
On Friday 2nd September, we made a field trip to Virrat. First we visited the Heritage Village where we were told about the history of Finnish way of life. Our guide took us to see the Herraskoski Canal, and at the Hali Forest Cottage the students experienced wood sawing the old fashioned way.  We had lunch at Holiday Island Marttinen, and the students enjoyed the buffet lunch whole-heartedly. Then it was time for some shopping in Palmroth Center where Marimekko shop was the main attraction. We were fortunate to have Jukka Lampila guide us through TAMK Campus and after visiting Virrat public library we headed to Toriseva scenery café for some coffee and apple pie with custard. The scenery was beautiful!
During their last week, the students continued independent study by doing some surveys. They also visited some companies of their own field, for example Naistenlahti Power Plant, Turtola Citymarket, and Chef Heikki Ahopelto’s new Armas-perhe cheese factory from which the students were taken to a farm to get traditional Kyyttö-milk for the cheese.

A fun Tuesday evening was spent with good food and good company in the Get-Together, organized for the students, host families and TAMK staff members. The students performed a traditional Japanese dance which was about a fisherwoman.
On Wednesday 7th September, Kimmo took the students to Nuutajärvi where they were guided around the Glass Village and had the opportunity to see glassblowing and go shopping for some quality design products. Shopping was something the students liked to do and they bought salmiakki and licorice, xylitol products, cheese and of course Moomin-related items; candy, soda, mugs, etc.
On Thursday, it was time for them to present their findings on the field studies. Their presentations were very interesting.  Friday 9th September was the closing day of the visit with farewell lunch. The students did quite well in the Tampere/Finland Quiz. On Saturday, the students were sad to leave their host families. I’m sure that the families were also sad to see the students go back to Japan.

Exploring lingon berries

Trying out the old fashion way to saw
The students experienced different things with their host families, from sauna and swimming in the lake to eating black sausage, the famous Tampere delicacy. Some of the students had a chance to meet with figure skater Kiira Korpi who, I learned, is very famous in Japan.  This meeting was probably the most memorable thing of this visit for those who got to meet her.
Text and photos: Kirsi Leiniö
Video: Mirja Onduso

Sunday, 11 September 2011

“AMAZING” is going through our heads, day after day

We, exchange students, have begun our study here at TAMK on 22th August with Orientation Week. On the way there, I was thinking, where I have to go and how will I find the classroom, since I have never been on the Kuntokatu campus. But, much to my surprise, there were international tutors with our name tags and folders with all the info we need. Then they send us to the classroom, where was coffee and sandwiches.
After that, I was not worried anymore and there was no reason for that.
We got lot of information in the folders and from international coordinators. But just to be sure that we know everything, there were guys from student union TAMKO, banks, free time activities, health care, and more. We could ask all that was on our mind. Orientation contained also tour through the main campus and the city of Tampere.
All this showed me that this exchange will be the best thing in my life.

Probably the best part of it all is the international group of people that surround me every day, from all the corners of the world. Everybody is so different, and that is the beauty of it. Meeting new people, new cultures new habits and, most importantly, exploring FINLAND: from little islands like Viikinsaari to lakes, sauna and Finnish language.
See you around :)
Text and Photos: Klemen Krulec, Media exchange student from Maribor University, Slovenia

Friday, 9 September 2011

Greetings from Dubai

Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world
I'm now working here with the local facilitators-to-be to the new online teacher education programme TAMK and TAOKK are starting to run with Higher Colleges of Technology in the UAE. I'm giving an intensive series of workshops for the people who are going to be facilitating the programme together with me so that they'll be ready to start working when the programme starts at the end of this month. 

The content of the workshops includes authentic e-learning and progressive inquiry (the pedagogical approach of the programme), evaluation and assessment, facilitating online collaboration and practicing the use of the technologies that will be used in the program: Blackboard Vista, Wimba webconferencing tool, Google+, Google Docs and Blogger. 

We have an absolutely fantastic group here: ten really experienced, great people who are also fun to work with. The facilitators didn't know each other from before but they have already become a team. I'm very excited about the opportunity to work with them in this programme.
Participants of the facilitator workshop
On Saturday there'll be the annual HCT conference and I'm happy to have the chance to be one of the invited speakers there. I'll be talking about our  programme. So far there are 90 people registered to my session - let's hope we'll get many new participants from the audience!
Text and photos: Hanna Teräs, TAMK Senior Lecturer

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Greetings from Korea

TAMK participated in the e-Learning Korea 2011: Expo in Seoul. Finland was represented well in the expo: Finpro had arranged an exhibition for 7 Finnish organisations and companies. The participants from TAMK were Henri Annala and Marianna Leikomaa.

We mainly promoted TAMK’s new on-line vocational teacher education program, but naturally also replied to a lot of questions about our English degree programs as well. People also seemed interested in Finland in general, and a few people we met had even visited Tampere!

Seoul is a bustling city with lots of sights and it would’ve been great to be able to see a bit more of it! This just means that we will have to come back soon again, and enjoy even more of what this great city has to offer! (And to eat some more of the fabulous food served here!)

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

"In the neighborhood" - from Canada to Finland

Yesterday we had the pleasure of hosting a visitor all the way from Ontario, Canada. Ms. Joanne Elvy, the Director of International Student Outreach at Algoma University, stopped by at TAMK on her way to the annual EAIE conference in Copenhagen. “Once you’re in the neighborhood, you have got to make the most out of it”, Joanne said.

Joanne’s day was fully packed, but I had an hour with her and we discussed teacher and staff exchange between our two universities. If the people in our international services are talkative, so was Joanne! Everyone she met said the scheduled hour went flying by and so much was accomplished in just one day. Joanne told me about Canadian social infrastructure, related to their ongoing courses and projects in Algoma, to which their faculty would be pleased to have some visitors. Maybe in the future? And possibly we could have some Canadian faculty visiting us too. A lot of good ideas came up when chatting with Joanne.

In addition, she met the international coordinators Piri and Matti for outgoing students as well as Mirja and Emma for incoming. And of course, our Head of International Services, Kirsi Tolvanen. Joanne’s day in TAMK was fully booked as she also had a chance to meet up with Janne Hopeela and Gitte Taulo, our international coordinators for International Business and Nursing.

I heard Joanne had lavishing 7 minutes (!!) at her hotel to prepare herself for the night’s Get-Together party where she recapped the whole busy day with Kirsi. I hope Joanne enjoyed the day in TAMK - she definitely loved Tampere - and will have a productive week in Copenhagen. There she probably will meet some familiar faces from TAMK…

Text: Noora Järventaus, TAMK International Services
Photo & Logo: Courtesy of Algoma University