At the onset of the Autumn semester of 2021, a new course was developed to help the international students cope with the new environment and to answer their inquiries. The course “How to Study at TAMK” was offered, for the first time, to all TAMK’s newly admitted international students. The course took place 2-13.08.2021 and was implemented online due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Though almost 81 students had initially enrolled in the course, 51 students finally completed the course and received credit points.
The course embodied specific and multi-directional goals such as getting acquainted with TAMK’s online learning platform, meeting with other new students and sharing each other’s experience and expectations, knowing TAMK’s learning methods, coming across to Finnish higher education culture, managing upcoming challenges, introduction to Finnish nature and looking for a part-time job.
The course was an excellent opportunity for the newly admitted international students to have a “getting to start” information package. This was also echoed to an international student who had participated to the course.
“It was a great precursor and icebreaker to the orientation. It was useful for international students of all levels who were planning to live in Tampere. As an international master’s student with very few classmates, this was a good platform to meet other students and discuss various ideas,” the student commented.
Listening to the students’ needs
It is crucial for TAMK as a host institution to familiarise its international students with the main features of Finnish culture including the education culture already before they begin their regular academic activities. The course in question was suitable from this perspective.
According to an international participant student “this course helped me a lot to understand how to live and study in Finland. It also opened my mind about the people and the culture here in Finland. This course helped me figure out what to prepare to start my study in TAMK.”
The “How to Study at TAMK” course had its 1st implementation. So it still has development possibilities for future implementations. In this regard, here are few student quotes to illustrate:
“For future courses like this, I would try to get more into the topic of the whole University. Like how the TAMK is working, where is the money coming from, how many people does TAMK employ or what are some life hacks to survive the stressful days in University.”
“This course is a lovely initiative and would love to see this course grow into a blended one. If the course includes some practical lessons in the future, it would be extremely useful. Hopefully, this can be possible for future students to integrate better into the Finnish society.”
“I think it should focus more on workgroups; how to find most places, school dates, what to pay and where, in depth in organizations like TIRO.”
“I would develop more Tampere and TAMK specific content or perhaps content relating to accents and dialects (murre) with examples.”
To us, it was a wonderful opportunity to interact with so many curious international students full of dreams and ready to flourish. Let’s make way for them to grow!
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Text by: Mirja Onduso, Social Counsellor for International Students, & Shaidul Kazi, Senior Lecturer in Business and Media.
Photograph by: Okko Sorma