Monday, 28 May 2012

DIGISOMEMAR IP 2012 – a GRAND experience

DIGISOMEMAR IP 2012 participants from 20 countries enjoying a break at the lake in Lomasaari Marttinen, Virrat

14 April was the day I would fly to Finland, not knowing about all that would lie ahead of me. I knew that I together with 3 fellow colleagues had to give a presentation about how social media had been applied in the Netherlands and that I would participate in various workshops, ranging from ICT subjects via marketing and media communication subjects to business subjects in the intensive programme “DIGISOMEMAR IP  - Digital, social and mobile media in marketing, internet and IT applications & management of M- and E-business”, organized by Tampere University of Applied Sciences, TAMK. I spent the first 2 days in Tampere, a city so fresh and clean that I couldn't keep wondering why there weren't more people living there. The city itself was not densely populated in my eyes and most of the food I saw in restaurants was either organic or lactose-free, a nice change as that was totally new for me! Even though I live in a small village in the Netherlands, I immediately felt at home as the people were friendly and the city was quiet but buzzing. In the hotel I was welcomed by Pirkko Varis, the enthusiastic and caring coordinator of the IP with whom I had had e-mail contact before. 

Dutch, Irish and Lithuanian students working on Think Today assignment - joy with designer products of waste material

After an intensive city tour in Tampere I left, together with more than 60 students, for Virrat, where we could stay for the coming 10 days. The first few days were, as the programme already was named, intensive and immensely enjoyable as I had the chance to talk with students from various countries. Over the next few days, I was able to learn from their cultures, their way of presenting and the way they behaved. One of the reasons why I love intercultural communication is that it makes me relativate my own culture, but the strange thing was that everybody in the IP was not that different than I. Open-minded, willing to learn, and willing to learn from each other's ideas is the way I can describe the atmosphere during the IP. I never would have thought beforehand that I would meet such a large group with such a similar mind-set, it was truly enthralling for me to experience. 

During the IP the students and teachers presented several issues and cases, digital, mobile and internet marketing, programming, social media, how data could be analysed and applied within companies, as well as more creative subjects, like Flash and 3D cinematography. I know I'll never look at a 3d movie the same way ever again! 

Of course, after the hard work done during the day, it was time to have fun during the nights. Especially during those nights, I' had much fun discussing my own customs, languages, politics and even religion with people from all over Europe. It felt great to be able to do that without having the feeling that I would be judged because of that as everyone had respect for one another and everyone could be themselves. I also have great respect for the way the IP was organized as everything was taken care of; trips to the supermarket, to the legendary Pub 66 and the tour through the TAMK. 

All and all, a great, no, not great, GRAND experience. I would certainly recommend everyone who has the opportunity to participate in Pirkko's IP not to even hesitate for a second and sign-up for it. I also would like to take on this opportunity to thank Pia and Pirkko for all the hard work they have done for me and all the other students, who are, no doubt, immensely grateful to have had this experience in their lives. It has certainly changed my life as I had the opportunity to encounter people from different courses. Because of the IP in Finland, I have even started to think about pursuing a master’s degree in a more creative setting; that is what has become clear for me, during those 2 unforgettable weeks. Kiitos paljon! Echt een ongelooflijke ervaring! 

Yvonne Hülsmann
International Business and Languages student at Windesheim University of Applied Sciences, Zwolle, the Netherlands 

Pia Dag
Marketing and International Business student
TAMK Virrat, Finland

Information about the IP:
DIGISOMEMAR IP  - Digital, social and mobile media in marketing, internet and IT applications & management of M- and E-business was organized 15-26 April 2012. The coordinator of the IP was Pirkko Varis from TAMK Virrat. 16 universities and university of applied sciences from Austria, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Lithuania, the Netherlands, UK and Finland participated in LLP Erasmus Intensive Programme. More than 80 students and staff members altogether joined the IP. The IP included presentations, workshops and visits. In addition, an assignment from the company Think Today was done by several student groups, who gave proposals for marketing communications, web site design and social media to be used in international marketing. Students lived in wooden houses at a lake in Virrat and could have genuine sauna, lake and other experiences of Finnish culture.

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