Monday, 28 November 2011

New TAMK.Today is now online

TAMK’s magazine in English, TAMK.Today 2011-2012, is now online.

The magazine features e.g:

  • education export to Dubai 
  • the first International Week for Engineers 
  • the new curriculum of TAMK Business Information Systems 
  • 12 upcoming International Weeks / Erasmus Intensive Programmes (IP)
The magazine may be reviewed electrically (online or PDF) at:
If you want to receive printed copies, please contact

Text: Mirja Onduso, International Services
Photo: Ville Salminen

A visitor from Germany, Hochschule Münich

A couple of weeks ago, we had a visitor from Munich University of Applied Sciences (HM), Ms Regina Seiberling. She was one of the well chosen administrative employees at HM who were granted a scholarship to spend a training week at one of HM’s international partner universities to gain insight into their field of work in the international arena. TAMK was chosen as Regina’s destination due to recommendation of previous visitors from HM!

Regina arrived on a cloudy weekend to Tampere, but the autumn weather didn’t bother her at all. Quite the opposite, she walked to TAMK from her hotel every morning and relished the brisk breath of air. She enjoyed her stay very much and was really pleased with the great opportunity to meet so many of TAMK representatives. Big thanks to all participants!

Regina’s own field of work includes the duties of the Secretary of Vice President for international affairs as well as Vice President in charge of research and development, technology transfer, entrepreneurship and quality management. At TAMK, Regina got to meet the Secretaries of the Management, International Coordinators and many others. She spent a couple of days with Ursula Helsky-Lehtola, the Service Coordinator of R&D and Education Services as they had much to talk about regarding their duties and common interests.

It was a great pleasure to have a visitor from HM, which is a popular exchange destination, in particular among the technology students. In fact, TAMK offers a double degree programme with HM in the field of Paper Engineering.

As the cooperation with Munich University of Applied Sciences continues, we wish to have more visitors here at TAMK. Thank you, Regina for a nice week!

For further info on HM, click here:

Text and photo: Noora Järventaus, International Services

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Mexican girl in love with Finland

Culture, people, music, education, art, innovative design and sustainability issues.

Finland is a dramatic change for me, I’m from Mexico and I’m in Tampere as an exchange student in TAMK Media programme for this semester.

The Mexican lifestyle is totally different; the food, education, culture, people, design, arts and weather, that means a huge experience for me in a good way because I’m enjoying being here.

At the beginning was a little hard for me because the Mexican people are warmer than in Finland but I realized that is part of the Finnish culture so it isn’t a problem now, because after you meet Finnish people they introduce Finnish lifestyle to you, for example the sauna, summerhouse, traditional dishes, nature, hobbies and at the same time I have the opportunity to introduce them my own culture.

I think the order in the country is admirably, everything is in the right place and of course the education, music, arts, design and sustainability issues are amazing. Talking about the education, I think a big advantage from the way of government is the opportunity to offer free education and student support because in Mexico it doesn’t exist, our parents have to pay all the education and expenses we need for studying, as a result not all the Mexican people have the possibility to study.

On the other hand, I’m surprised with the Demola projects because offer the opportunity to acquire knowledge and experience in different technological fields to the students furthermore you could get paid for that.

The architecture and design are unique with an elegant style and always considering being friendly with the environment. About the environment and sustainability I love the use of bikes, the machines to recover the bottles and cans and all the green products with innovate design, in other words the Finnish culture shows the awareness of the environment and I really like this issue because in this way is easy recycling and be awareness for everyone.

The winter is coming and I’m glad to experience the Finnish winter because the weather is colder than in my city, which is the highest city in Mexico and the weather during the winter is around -5º C. but we don’t have snow, so hopefully I’ll be prepare with the suitable clothes for enjoy this season.

I could spend much time writing about my impressions and experiences in Finland but I don’t want to bore you. In a simple way I like the Finnish lifestyle, I have found good Finnish friends and definitely if I had to choose again the country for my exchange would be Finland without doubt. Mexico is maybe the opposite in many ways but I’ll be happy when I come back after this amazing experience.

Finally you are welcome to Mexico to experience all the differences by your own!

by Karen Ivette Plata Reyes

Originally posted on

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

“Cross-Cultural Challenges in Europe” in Lithuania

I had the possibility to join a round table session at the conference “Management Horizons in Changing Economic Environment: Visions and Challenges”, held in autumn 2011 at Vytautas Magnus University, Faculty of Economics and Management in Kaunas, Lithuania.
The round table session was presented by Jean Monnet Project, coordinated by Nijole Petkevičiūtė from Vytautas Magnus University (Lithuania). Dr. Egidija Laumenskaitė from Center of Spiritual Education and Meditation (Lithuania) and Dr. Claude Alavoine from IPAG Business School, Nice (France) worked as chairpersons and moderators. Other speakers in the round table session were André Boyer from Université de Nice-Sophia Antipolis, IPAG Laboratory of Research (France), Monika Didzgalvyte from Vytautas Magnus University (Lithuania), Olev Tõru from Tallinn College of Tallinn University of Technology (Estonia), Kirsten Zachariassen from University of Tromsø (Norway), and myself from Tampere University of Applied Sciences.

The topics discussed covered several issues, among others challenges in intercultural negotiations, leadership and negotiations, intercultural communication in projects and intensive programmes, challenges in international studies, and spiritual aspect of management in Europe.

The participation in the session gave many ideas for the future. It showed also how difficult it sometimes was to keep the speakers and the audience focused on the topic, Cross-Cultural Challenges in Europe, and not have people discuss any possible issues, because the topic would have given possibilities to this. Claude Alavoine succeeded very well in his efforts to coordinate the discussion and keep the schedule given for the session.

In the end of the round table session the words “tolerance”, “communication” and the idea “from competition to cooperation” were expressed to sum up the discussion.  Many small groups of people continued their discussions after the session while having their lunch break.

Text and photo: Pirkko Varis, Senior Lecturer in Marketing & International Coordinator, TAMK Virrat Campus

Monday, 21 November 2011

CIMO approved TAMK's Erasmus functions

Centre for International Mobility (CIMO) thanked TAMK International Services for good governance of Erasmus functions. CIMO audited the Erasmus budgets, figures and Intensive Programmes (IP) of academic year 2010 - 2011 on 16 - 17 November 2011.

Erasmus is the EU's education and training programme enabling students to study and work abroad. It also funds cooperation between higher education institutions across Europe. The programme not only supports students, but also professors and business staff who want to teach abroad, as well as helping university staff to receive training. CIMO coordinates the Erasmus programme in Finland.

- The big number of TAMK's IPs and International Weeks is impressive: TAMK has more of them than any other Finnish university of applied sciences, said Anne Siltala, the head of CIMO delegation.

TAMK coordinates three IP-courses: CREME (Social Services), DIGISOMEMAR (Business) ja RUSTIC (Hotel and Restaurant Management), and is a partner in 12 other IPs. TAMK International Services administer 33 international mobility programmes.

Siltala said also that TAMK has been the most active institution in the newest function of the Erasmus programme: recruiting professionals from foreign companies to lecture at TAMK. Although the total number of such professionals who have arrived in Finland is small, 16, seven out of them have lectured at TAMK, mainly in the School of Art, Music and Media.

Sanna Tukiainen (left) and Annika Haanpää both did their student exchange in IMC University of Applied Sciences Krems, Austria. Michaela Rezová from Czech Republic is an exchange student at TAMK Media programme. They all talked about their Erasmus expereince to the auditors.
Siltala congratulated TAMK for a strategy in which internationalisation is given a high importance, as well as for accrediting 100% of the studies completed during exchanges.

CIMO wished TAMK would advertise the option of going for short (less than three months) student exchanges, and also share better the outcomes of teacher and staff exchanges.

CIMO will publish the final report by Christmas.

Text and photo: Mirja Onduso, International Services

Monday, 14 November 2011

Social Service Students in the States

In June 2011, the Tampere University of Applied Sciences (TAMK) received 15 students and three teachers from Michigan State University as part of Summer School in International Social Welfare Policies and Practice programme. In return, six social service students and two instructors flew from Finland to the USA at the end of September 2011. Our mission was to get to know how social welfare system works in the States. This collaboration started a few years ago and, hopefully, it will continue long into the future. (See:
A visit to Grand Haven
Our trip started from Chicago where we spent a couple of days. Our first visit was to the Juvenile Detenion Alternative Initiatives programme ( This national programme focuses on finding alternative solutions to confinement and securing children a healthy and productive life.

We can highly recommend other visitors to stop by at the John Hancock Observatory. There you can enjoy magnificent views over the city. 
A view from John Hancock Observatory
In Chicago, we also visited the Hull-House Museum ( The social settlement, founded in 1889 by Jane Addams and her companions, grew into a significant contributor in the community. Its services included, for example, a kindergarten, art and music classes and support for immigrants.

From Chicago we took the train to East Lansing, Michigan. The train was clean, comfortable and on time, and it is definitely worth it to spend a few hours on the train where you can enjoy the beautiful scenery.

In East Lansing, we visited a retirement community called Burcham Hills, Office on Aging, and Department of Human Services. Burcham Hills ( offers assisted living and skilled nursing services for the elderly. The facilities were fantastic, but we were quite shocked to hear the cost of living there: 3000 – 7000 dollars a month.

The Office on Aging ( provides services for the elderly as well. One of its goals is to find likely candidates for a nursing home and give them the opportunity to make the choice to stay in their own home. Its most famous programme is Meals On Wheels and the services are no or low cost.

We visited Ingham County Department of Human Services. We were told about child protective services as well as adult protective services. One of the striking differences between the Amrican and Finnish child welfare systems is that in the USA parental rights can be terminated. If the parents do not show enough progress or willingness to make improvements, their parental rights can be terminated and their children are adopted.

Michael Patton lecturing
We also had the chance to attend Utilization-Focused Evaluation Workshop in East Lansing. The instructor at the workshop was Michael Quinn Patton, a famous evaluation consultant and writer. Evidence-based evaluation is stressed much more in the US than in Finland. Service providers need to defend their work and show results to funders – and what could be more compelling than hard-core data and facts.

In general, we noticed that the USA is a country of litigation. Much of the decision-making done by the Finnish social workers goes to the court in the States. From our point of view, US attorneys and judges hold a great deal of power, considering how little they sometimes know about their clients.

Against that background, it was interesting to visit Chance at Childhood (, a collaboration between social work students and law students at MSU. Student teams mainly handle custody cases. This gives law students a chance to get to know the social aspect of custody cases, and social work students get familiar with the legal issues and the jargon, which can often seem intimidating.

We spent the last three days of our journey in Grand Rapids where we visited Bethany Christian Services ( and Hope Network (, services founded upon Christian values. Bethany Christian Services handles foster care and adoption issues and provides trauma therapy for families. Hope Network provides residential care for people with brain injury and developmental disabilities.
Hope Center
During the course of our stay, we met amazing people who were so generous with their time and effort. We were just overwhelmed with the hospitality of our hosts. As we Finns know, the Americans love their cars, but our group now knows why. The distances are much longer, especially in the countryside, and public transportation is not as effective as in Finland. Luckily, our hosts from the MSU (Karen, Amanda and Marcia) were our designated drivers and we got around beautifully in our van.

Our trip ended with a lovely visit to Grand Haven where we spent the day at the beach in warm weather (80F/26C). Some of us even got a little sunburned (in October!). We were all left with fond memories, a lot of information and new friends. Thank you to our fantastic group and hosts!

Text: Hannakaisa Hänninen, second-year Social Services student
Photos: Ulla-Maija Koivula

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Erasmus – the time of adventures!

Have you ever seen this picture:
I mean not when you were learning about Darwin's evolutionary theory at school, but nowadays. I bet if you were, are or plan becoming an Erasmus exchange student you have!
I did a little experiment: I put this picture on my wall on Facebook. I received a double number of likes. Doesn’t it mean that the person who created this hit the point?
Let’s continue this little experiment of searching for more material about life-changing Erasmus. Here we go:
  • ‘Erasmus – shake your life‘
  • ‘I am not the same after my Erasmus’
  • ‘How to survive after Erasmus’
  • ‘Erasmus marked me’
  • ‘Post Erasmus syndrome’
  • the famous video ‘Sorry, I am Erasmus!’ (
A smart man once said that you live until there are new things to try in your life. While Erasmus experience itself is an absolutely new thing, it is hard to express in words other new things you try during it, in such a short period of time. Your brain forgets what rest is and returns you a lot of deja vu feelings connected with changes of environment and life style.
Everybody takes his/hers own experience from Erasmus, whether it is improved  language skills, new goals for the future, new opinion about yourself, new habits, new friends, new point of view etc. but it would be hard to find somebody arguing that Erasmus is not a time of adventures:
Have you ever visited 5 countries in 2 weeks?
Have you ever got a free beer in an underground private bar in the second most expensive city in the world, Oslo, from the citizen of Canada?
Have you ever celebrated Greek name day with Greeks (well, if you are not Greek, of course),  or drunk beer listening and singing along with German traditional band during Oktoberfest, or tasted Spanish churros, British fish and chips and many more dishes from different countries… IN Finland?
 Exploring other cities in Finland: Jyväskylä
Have you ever been searching for chestnuts in the Finnish  forest because you want to try a beautiful Catalan tradition you have heard of for the first time about, reminding how you first read  a children’s book by a German author Otfried Preuβler called Die kleine hexe (The little witch)?
Have you ever learned from a 2012, future edition, of the book in your home country or attended a sports class with 99 % of the instructions in Finnish?
Have you ever stood outside the door for half an hour because you haven’t managed to open a Finnish lock, or spent an hour in the supermarket searching for specific ingredient because labelling is mainly in Finnish?
Have you ever seen the river without water because it is necessary to take all the bicycles out of it?
Have you ever had a party on a cruise ship together with 100 other students on the way to Stockholm?
Have you ever had a team building exercise in the forest doing orienteering running?
Have you ever played a drinking game ‘have you ever’… haha, just kidding!
Have you ever had the feeling that all Europe is now your sweet small little home?
To sum up, have you ever had a better time and tried so many new things in such a short time? Have you ever been an Erasmus student or used an excuse “Sorry, I am Erasmus!” when you forgot to e-mail your family?
If you did, welcome to the club! If you did not, I hope you will, because one thing is for sure: Erasmus changes your life. You will never be the same because you managed to accept a culture shock. Congratulations – you are much stronger person now!
Text and photos: Eglė Kaselytė, International Business exchange student from Vilnius Gediminas Technical University, Lithuania