Lecturer and student counselor at TAMK Radiography programme Tiina Säilä won the Erasmus-prize for TAMK's staff exchange for her teacher exchange to Tartu and Tallinn in Estonia in June 2012.
The prize was given to one staff member and one student by TAMK International Services to commemmorate 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.
It is easiest to market a place you have seen
- The most important reason why I applied for an international teacher exchange is that we don't have many partner universities in the Radiography programme for students to go for traineeships. I would be great if our students would go to Tartu, too. It is much easier to encourage students to go for an exchange to a university where I have personally visited and found a good place, Säilä says.
- I was very surprised to find out that the university in Tartu was renovated and had e.g. brand-new X-ray machines!
- The staff exchange process is easy at TAMK. The instructions are clearly written in Intra. It is also ok to go for an exchange even if your English is not perfect: English is often the second language for the hosts, too.
Säilä has since then been to another exchange: a European nuclear medicine conference in Milan, Italy, in October-November!
A great example of a teacher exchange
TAMK International Services used the following reasons for selecting the best staff exchange candidate:
"Säilä actively internationalises her degree programme. She took part in the staff info on staff exchanges. The Radiography programme does not have many exchange partners, so the internationalisation of the programme start from individual teachers' networks. Säilä was proactive and arranged a teacher exchange for herself in Tartu, Estonia.
Arrangements with Tartto Tervishoiu Körgkool in Tartu were well organised: Säilä contacted the university directly, which made it possible to arrange for a programme best suitable for her. The active communication strengthens the relationship from the start. Säilä listed many aims for her exchange: more cooperation, internationalizing the Radiography programme, and increasing exchange places for students and staff.
In addition to visiting Tartu, Säilä also had a chance to visit the nuclear medicine unit in Tallinn.
At TAMK, Säilä also did all arrangements exceptionally well: she filled in all necessary documents, including clear aims. Also her teacher exchange report was clear, indicating achieved results. She communicated actively with the International Services, asking about the possibilities, reading about the process and communicating of last-minute changes (e.g. email about adding Tallinn into the travel plan). She also sent all necessary documents to International Services after her exchange.
Säilä's exchange is a great example of how to plan and arrange a teacher/staff exchange smoothly and effectively: everyone takes care of his/her part of expertise.
Most of all, the exchange was beneficial and lead to deepened cooperation."
Text: Mirja Onduso & Noora Kahra, International Services
Photo: Mirja Onduso
Photo: Mirja Onduso