|A day of activities: building a camp fire and cooking pancakes|
International Coordinator Pirkko Varis
DIGISOMEMAR is an Intensive Programme (IP) funded by the EU’s Erasmus initiative. The IP took place in Finland and was put together by Pirkko Varis, International Coordinator and Senior Lecturer in Marketing from Tampere University of Applied Sciences (TAMK).
The participants were around 70 students and 15 staff members representing 16 universities from 14 countries with diverse degree backgrounds such as business administration, marketing, media and computing.
Myself and Dominic Di Talamo were selected to represent Southampton Solent Business School and we were accompanied by Roger Byatt, Senior Lecturer in Marketing. The event took place over 11 days in April 2012, and is a real mix of the serious and the fun.
First day of the programme at TAMK main campus.
The programme has a number of aims. Firstly, it enables students and staff from a wide range of cultures to meet and share experiences. Secondly, it gets us working with people from different fields to see how, for example, marketing and computer programme developers can work together and understand each others’ perspectives. The theme of the IP is focussed on digital, mobile and social media in marketing and the trends in mobile and e-business. I do not want it to sound dry and dull because it is not.
The programme started off in Tampere which is the second biggest city in Finland. It is also where the location of the main campus for TAMK is, and this is where we spent our first night. We were mainly based at the TAMK Virrat campus which is about one and a half hours coach drive from Tampere. We stayed in a small holiday village called Lomasaari, which was by a lake.
|Students rowing on the lake by the cabins|
The accommodation was in small wooden cabins which eight students shared. In true Finnish style, every cabin included a sauna. Lomasaari was an amazing place with a great natural ambiance. When we arrived the lake was still frozen, but by the end we could take rowing boats out on it.
During the day, we would commute to TAMK Virrat, where the morning was filled with presentations followed by practical workshops in the afternoon. Every lecturer gave at least one presentation in their area of expertise relevant to the theme and then worked with colleagues to run the workshops. The students also presented work that they had been doing, as well as making a sales pitch for their universities!
Each student had a choice of four workshops to sign up to. One of the workshops included the design of a web-based survey tool. I took part in this workshop and found it to be a great and an exciting experience. The workshop consisted of 11 students and two senior lecturers. The group contained students studying IT and students studying business and marketing. The group had eight sessions to design the survey tool and construct a business model to market the product, which was then presented to the whole IP.
|Students brainstorming and working together in the workshop|
|Karaoke at Pub 66|
One of the highlights of the programme was the opportunity to socialise with all the different students from around Europe. We had plenty of social time: the programme had several social events such as karaoke at Virrat’s Pub 66; a day walking over a frozen lake and building a camp; a rock concert arranged by TAMK students, and other activities. The braver students also liked pursuing the traditional Finnish past time of taking a sauna and then jumping through a hole into the frozen lake!
The programme is open to all Southampton Solent Business School level 5 & 6 students to apply and cost need not be a bar because 75% of the travel costs were covered by Erasmus, which was great as it meant it did not cost a lot of money. Breakfasts, dinners and trips were included in the fee so I only had to pay for lunches and entertainment.
In summary, the DIGISOMEMAR IP has been a brilliant experience. I have gained throughout the journey and I was able to develop myself socially and academically. I have been able to utilise this opportunity within my CV and interviews and it has been a great unique selling point when applying for internships. I would definitely recommend the programme to all students especially if you are looking for some global experience and want to broaden your CV.
Additionally I would like to add that this experience has been one of the best, I have met a lot of awesome people, some of which I have become good friends with and still keep in touch.
Text and photos: Serhat Yildirim, Student of BA Business Management, Level 5, Southampton Solent Business School