Thursday, 29 November 2012

Sanna Vierikko is TAMK's Erasmus Student of the Year

Sanna Vierikko, a third-year Social Services student, won the TAMK Erasmus prize for 2012. Vierikko did her student exchange in the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia, in January - June 2012. She also did a training in a homeless shelter.
The prize was given to one staff member and one student by TAMK International Services to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Erasmus exchange.

Erasmus is the largest university exchange programme in Europe. In addition to student exchanges, it also supports exchange of teachers and staff, as well as cooperation both between universities as well as between universities and companies. Over 2,5 million students have so far done their exchange in another European university. The Finnish universities joined Erasmus 20 years ago.

Both studies and training

Vierikko has many good things to say about her exchange:

- I got the idea of going to Slovenia at the info session in TAMK. There had also been some Slovenian students in my class. I got interested in Slovenia because it is a small, mountainous country and has good connections to other countries around it.

- Studying in Slovenia was very different: even if the university was big, our faculty was small. There were more than 1000 exchange students but our faculty has only 16 of us. We read a lot of articles, wrote essays and met personally with the teachers or professors. Each subject also had an oral exam: 2-3 students, 2-3 hours, and a teacher who asked questions. At first I was scared but the teacher asked more questions, and eventually it was easier than a written exam.
Social Services Deparment at the University of Ljubljana
- In March-May, I also did a training in a homeless shelter. It was nice to work in my own field and meet local people, too, Some 30-50 homeless people visited the shelter daily. Our job was to listen and discuss with them. The language was a bit of a challenge: about half of the homeless spoke English. The homeless bought a magazine from the shelter for 0,50€ and sold it on the streets for 1€. That was an important source of income to them.

- The training was tough. I hadn't done any training before but I wanted to challenge myself. It was good to combine the studies and the training - the training alone would have been too tough.

The national poet of Slovenia is France Prešeren. His statue is in Ljubljana.
The exchange students made a trip to the Skocjan Caves
The dragon is the icon of Ljubljana
- Everyone should go for an exchange - especially when TAMK supports it financially! When you are working it is not so easy any more to go abroad.

- My exchange was great: it gives you so much, you meet new people from all over the world. I also saw how social services work in another country - I have learnt to appreciate what we have here in Finland.

Downhill skiing in Krvavec ski centre in Slovenia
A great example of a student exchange

TAMK International Services used the following reasons for selecting Sanna for the best student exchange:

"Sanna has utilised the Erasmus programme to become more international: she took part in the Slovenian language Erasmus Intensive Language Course (EILC) in January 2012. She also prepared actively for her studies and training in Social Services. Sanna completed all studies planned - even 7 credits extra.

Sanna communicated and arranged well her exchange both at TAMK and in Slovenia. She followed instructions given and filled in all required documents in time.

Sanna's exchange report was informative, concentrating on the similarities and differences of Finnish universities and social services.

Sanna has been a perfect example of an Erasmus exchange student!"

Text: Mirja Onduso & Piri Hiltunen, International Services
Photos: Sanna Vierikko & Mirja Onduso

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