Introducing Turku to dozens of international higher education partners
International higher education guests got to know the City of Turku and the Turku-based higher education institutions in a partner day, which was organized on 23 September before the international EAIE Conference. Turku University of Applied Sciences was one of the four higher education institutions hosting the event.
Every year, the European Association for International Education (EAIE) organizes a conference for the international relations experts in higher education institutions. In terms of international affairs at higher education institutions, the EAIE conference is the most important annual event in Europe, and this year it was organized in Helsinki on 24–27 September.
In connection with the conference, Turku University of Applied Sciences, the University of Turku, Åbo Akademi University and Novia University of Applied Sciences invited the representatives of the participating partner institutions to get to know Turku on a Pre-EAIE Partner Day on Monday 23 September.
Diverse student city
The Turku-based higher education institutions presented to their international colleagues the diverse opportunities Turku offers as a city of students. Turku University of Applied Sciences participated in planning and executing the visit in practice.
To start the day, the foreign guests were taken on a bus tour around Turku to get to know, among others, the Student Village, campus areas and main attractions. At Visitor and Innovation Centre Joki, Manager of International Affairs at the City of Turku Mika Akkanen welcomed the guests in Turku and Rectors Jukka Kola, Moira von Wright, Vesa Taatila and Örjan Andersson recounted the activities of the higher education institutions.
After the opening words, the programme featured presentations of the different services offered by the higher education institutions. TUAS’ presentation on its operations covered Innopeda, RDI Services, the Friendship Programme and international tutor activities. In addition, the double degree agreements, study modules offered for exchange students (International Semesters) and the annual Sharing Excellence weeks were presented. TUAS’ Admission Services, Student Union TUO and the representatives of the student ambassador activity in Southwest Finland were also present at the event. Turku Student Village Foundation, CampusSport and Turku Summer School presented their services at their own stands.
From Visitor Centre Joki, the guests proceeded to lunch at student restaurant Taito and continued their programme with campus tours. TUAS’ guests got to know the Lemminkäisenkatu campus, where Head of Learning Environment services Mika Suutari presented the renewed premises, and the guests got to take a look at the Business Academy learning environment. From Lemminkäisenkatu, they continued to ICT City. On the way, they stopped in front of the new campus building and heard about the operations planned there.
After a tour in ICT City, the guests moved to Globe, the premises of TUAS’ international services, where Head of International Affairs Anu Härkönen presented TUAS’ international operations. During the day, some of the guests also had prearranged meetings with international coordinators and other operators.
An example on applying innovation pedagogy
During the Pre-EAIE Partner Day, the representatives of the partner institutions got to meet each other and discuss new forms of cooperation, such as double degrees.
“The event also provided the opportunity to get to know Finland and Finnish food and culture. Some of the guests had arrived in Finland already the previous week to have time to visit other partner institutions, too”, says TUAS’ International Relations Coordinator Reetta Partala.
“According to the guests, it was great to see other Finnish cities, too, as their earlier visits had concentrated in the Helsinki area. However, one day in Turku is very short.”
TUAS’ Senior Lecturers in the field of Tourism and Wellness Telle Tuominen and Susanna Saari and their student teams helped organize the event. They were also involved in the practical programme arrangements during the day. The student team included second- and third-year students and exchange students currently completing their exchange periods at TUAS.
“This is an excellent practical example for our international guests on how we apply innovation pedagogy in the studies”, says TUAS’ Head of International Affairs Anu Härkönen.
A seminar of the Coimbra Group university network and the Montevideo network in Latin America was organized at the same time, and the seminar guests participated in a part of the event’s programme. Altogether approx. 150 guests arrived at the events, from over 30 different countries and over a hundred different higher education institutions.