BioHub Annual Magazine and TAMK’s Bioproduct Engineering students Excursion to China

Visit to UPM Changshu Mill

Internationality is one of the key strategies of Tampere University of Applied Sciences, and it is also deeply embedded in degree education. TAMK’s degree programme in Bioproduct Engineering provides annual course of “Publication and Study Excursion” for its degree students, and in the past over 20 years, students of TAMK have visited industries all over the world, and in March 2024, the course has brought 11 TAMK students to China.

TAMK’s course of “Publication and Study excursions” has been running over 20 years, the students in the course are encouraged to independently plan a study excursion to explore the industry life. Participants are tasked with producing the “BioHub” a professional publication, and with organizing an educational excursion to the forest industry or forest cluster companies in a selected country or continent. The course operates as a hands-on, student-led initiative, where each participant plays a crucial role, engaging in activities ranging from fundraising and budget management to creative design and content creation.

Inspired by Senior Lecturer Pirre Hyötynen’s experiences abroad and her recent return from teaching at Qilu University of Technology, the students were encouraged to explore China as a potential destination. This idea quickly took root, and what followed was a dynamic campaign to raise funds through magazine sales and sponsorship, fully managed by the students themselves.

On-the-Ground Experience in China
Over the course of two weeks, the students traveled across China, from the bustling streets of Shanghai to the industrial hubs of Changshu and Jinan, concluding in the historic city of Beijing. Each location was chosen for its significance to the forest and paper industries, aligning perfectly with the course’s focus. Key visits included the UPM Changshu Paper Mill, Changshu Port, Changshu Institute of Technology and Qilu University of Technology.

Visit to Qilu University of Technology

During the visit, the students gained firsthand insights about paper industry and production in China, global logistic chain of paper and pulp, and innovative research in China’s state key laboratory of biobased material and green papermaking.

Apart from the academic and industrial visits. TAMK student group also organized a workshop with students in China, introducing student life in Finland and their own practical training experiences in various companies in the field.

Cooperate with International partners in a new way
TAMK has over 360 partner universities in over 50 countries around the world. With China, TAMK has started cooperation in 1990s and has deepened cooperation with a few key partners in education, student and teacher mobility, and joint educational projects. However, this is the first time that this course has cooperated with TAMK’s partner universities abroad to provide a deep experience in academic and peer student exchange, apart from the industrial insights.

Qilu University of Technology and Changshu Institute of Technology are both key partners of TAMK in China. With both universities, TAMK has a double degree programme in Bioproduct Engineering, and there are already over 70 Chinese students graduated from the double degree programme. Most of the graduates continued academic journey in Finland or Europe and many of them also gained good positions in Chinese and Finnish bioproduct companies. TAMK Global Education and China-Pilot programme has supported the study excursion in connecting with the partner universities and providing support in cultural understanding.

BioHub Annual Magazine
Looking forward, both students and faculty are eager to continue this tradition, potentially exploring new destinations and continuing to enrich TAMK’s educational offerings. The success of this year’s trip has set a high bar, but also a clear path forward for future classes.

Comments from students:

“This was a great way to connect with local students and to get to know the local culture better. Since this year’s trip was such a success, it has been discussed that perhaps this is the direction that the course should aim towards in the future.”

Comments from Pirre Hyötynen, Senior Lecturer:

“I would say this an awesome learning journey out of the classroom – literally!”

As we reflect on the enriching experiences and the skills gained from this international excursion, we invite you to dive deeper into the students’ creative and professional endeavors. You can explore the “BioHub Annual 2024” magazine, a culmination of their hard work and a showcase of their insights into the forest and paper industries internationally. Discover more about their journey and the knowledge they’ve shared through their publication.

Text: Xiaojiao Feng
TREE Global Education

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