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.
video

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

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