Friday, 31 August 2012

“I may not have gone where I intended to go”

“…but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.”

For the past seven months I’ve had the chance to complete my practical training in the International Services of TAMK. During these months I’ve had the honor to be part of wonderful work group, take part of some exciting events, visited some places in Finland I would’ve not even known of, met inspiring people all over the world and done many various tasks, some more challenging and some a little easier. 

I was never supposed to study in TAMK; I would say I ended up here more by accident than purpose and nowadays I refer to TAMK as “we” e.g. We have about 300 exchange students every year. If someone would have told me that two years ago I would have probably laugh myself sick. Sometimes life surprises you but sometimes those surprises aren’t really bad. 
International Week for Non-Teaching Staff

“No regrets” and why would I regret choosing TAMK as my practical training place? Some might think that doing your internship in your own school is lame but I don’t think so.  I’ve gained a lot of valuable experience that I would have not got anywhere else. TAMK actually is a good employee and even though all of my work assignments haven’t actually been most interesting or inspiring ones, I’ve got some priceless experience about people skills and working in an office that I will help me in my future career.

Part of the EILC participants in Särkänniemi
©Ekaterina Georgudis
So what have I done during these past seven months? Everything pretty much covers it all. I’ve had all kinds of various tasks related to teacher-, staff- and students exchanges. It’s really difficult to give any exact list of the different work assignments I’ve had. I’ve been doing some Excel charts and collected e-mail lists but I also welcomed many international guests and arranged different kind of programmes. Some of my tasks have been a bit less interesting and some I enjoyed doing very much. Even though people bring the biggest challenges to every work, they also make your days intriguing. 

Some days I’ve been sure this was the worst decision ever and I have to admit that I thought about quitting totally at least twice. Some days I’ve been impressed that I’ve been lucky enough to get this internship. The best moments have been in June when I had the honor to take part of the International Week for Non-Teaching Staff I met many fascinating people. In August I had chance to help with the arrangements of EILC course and NSS summer school and I got to spend time with our new exchange students. During this internship I got to see and visit places that I would have not even known about (e.g. the reindeer park in Iittala).

I feel really melancholic because these amazing seven months have come to the end.  I wouldn’t go so far that I would call this time for the best time of my life but it hasn’t been too bad either. And because I love quotes, I need to end this writing with a bit modified quote from Tove Jansson: 

"Finally, I would like to express my sincere thanks to everyone who has played a role in shaping these seven months into the work of art they have been."

Text: Sanna Hosike

Finding bio energy

Ben Wiberg  presented St1 Biofuels Oy
August in all schools is always really hectic and there’s a lot happening all the time. The same goes with TAMK. For the last two weeks the degree programme in environmental engineering has hosted a BIOCEN IP-course: Strategies for bio-energy and bio-fuel production – Life cycles, assessment and evaluation. 27 students from 6 different universities from 6 different countries took part of the course.

The course consisted of lectures and group works but students also had a chance to make an excursion to Hämeenlinna to St1 Biofuels Oy. I took the chance and hop on to the excursion as well. For a business student the trip was interesting though a lot of the subjects went totally over the top. St1 Biofuels Oy is subsidiary of St1 and makes ethanol out of wastes. On the way back we also visited Vanajan voimalaitos, Elenia Oy and harvested thinning area in forest. 

We also got bit wet when it was raining during the visit to forest

For me the excursion was mainly intriguing because of seeing locations where I wouldn’t even visit otherwise. It was also nice to see all the participants really excited about these visits and asking many questions from all presenters. I got a lot new information and learned new things. It’s always interesting to take part of these kinds of events that you wouldn’t ever even think about during your own studies.

Text & Photos: Sanna Hosike, Trainee, International Services

All BIOCEN IP-course students

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Visitors from China

This week TAMK received visitors from Nanjing Forestry University (NFU), China.  The Vice rector delegation from China came to Finland to negotiate the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between NFU and TAMK. The co-operation started in the year 2004 and now it is time to renew this MOU. New agreement is written to next three years. Co-operation concerns especially the degree programme of paper-, textile- and   chemical engineering in TAMK, but collaboration will be broaden to other degree programmes in TAMK as well. 

In the future the universities aim to deepen especially the co-operation with teacher exchanges.  In addition this co-operation is striven to get practical training placements for TAMK students in the companies of Nanjing area. Also new forms of co-operation were under discussion; NFU and TAMK will continue negotiating of the possibility of a double degree in the future.

The delegation from NFU visited TAMK for one day and continued their Scandinavian tour to Sweden after a successful day here in Tampere.    

Delegation from China and TAMK represantatives

Text & Photo: Sanna Hosike, trainee, International Services

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

160 new faces in the Exchange Student Orientation

New exchange students starting the Orientation on Monday morning

We all met lot of new people during the Exchange Student Orientation week.
Around 130 new exchange students, 20 tutors and some TAMK staff members participated in the Main Orientation on 20-24 August 2012.

The week started on Monday with welcoming words, presentation about TAMK and filling different kind of forms.

Jonathan, Netherlands, is playing games with the others

The official part was soon over, because in the afternoon it was time to make a trip to Viikinsaari island. The sun was shining and people had a good chance to get to know each other while playing games, going to sauna, swimming and eating picnic. The trip was organized in cooperation with CLINT.
On the way back to the city, the boat was full of happy faces!

Joanna, Mexico, and Daniele, Italy, are enjoying their time on Viikinsaari island

Tuesday was a long day with plenty of information about studying in TAMK. The students saw presentations on different topics like UNIPOLI studies, Demola, library services, living in student housing, student activities, etc.

Tutors organized activities for the exchange students on Viikinsaari

On Wednesday the day started with a guided city tour. The weather was rainy so luckily the tour was done by bus!

The rest of the week was reserved for the practical matters and Learning Agreement meetings with own International Coordinator in each school. Student from other campuses than Kuntokatu Campus had also time to get familiar with the own campus.

 In this Autumn semester there will be over 160 exchange students in total. Around 30 students will arrive during September. But now the main group of the exchange students is ready to start the studies this week!

Everyone is excited about the upcoming semester in TAMK!

Text: Kaisa Merilahti
Photos: Sanna Hosike and Kaisa Merilahti, International Services

Visit from Slovenia!

On Wed 22nd August, 2012 we got visitors from sunshining Slovenia, University of Primorska, Institute Andrej Marušič.

The group of counsellors and researchers came to benchmark TAMK’s International Services, Career and Recruitment Services and R&D and Education Services and to present their EU-funded projects “Career planning and counselling for effective entry into the labour market” and “IDO Primorske”. 

As I came to the meeting representing TAMK’s Career and Recruitment Services, I was very interested on the Employment situation in Slovenia at the moment and the affects of the financial crises. They have of course had a great impact, and as most of the people want to have a sense of security in form of a permanent working contract , if they have to choose between a permanent working place which is not as fulfilling as the time-limited job, they would choose the permanent one. 

However, the job satisfaction is very important and when asked if they would change workplace for more money or for better working environment, most of the people would prefer the good environment over the money.  The survey also shows that there is an important relevance between job satisfaction, health issues, stress levels and burnout rate. When a worker is not happy with their work, it will cause them various health issues.

In comparison with Finland, the absence rate in working places in Slovenia is 5-7% when in Finnish companies the rate is 3-5% but when studying the Finnish public administration sector, the rate can go up to 8%. Discontentment in the working place whether it is due to the tasks or the personal relationships causes non-attendance and stress. According to the survey, a worker will have approximately 20% less performance when stressed (Here the stress is considered to be a negative factor and not a driving force like in some cases).  

As it is not always possible to eliminate the stress from the working environment, the researchers concentrated on the ways of reducing the negative effects of the stress and made some key findings:

There will always be stressful situations, even in the best of working places and with the best of bosses, how to change the mindset of the people affected by the stress so it will not impact their performance is the question. 

How to reach it? How to get the employers and the employees to pull together to achieve this? How to get everyone to understand their own weight in the working place, as an important part of the puzzle?
That is the makings of a follow-up project... I for one hope TAMK can be a part of it. We have already done a lot of work in this field, we have great experts and good contacts to other organisations and business life.

Krista Salonen
Graphics by Ana Domenis, Pictures by Krista Salonen

Kimmo Vänni, Hanna-Greta Puurtinen and Perttu Heino listening to Ana Domenis’s presentation

Blaz ‘Cekli’c, Iris Skrt and Danijel Bandelj at the meeting with TAMK Career and Recruitment people.