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Summer School provides opportunities for internationalisation from home

Published on 12.8.2021
Tampere Universities
Photos of summer school participants' faces in one picture taken from the remote connection view
In the first online meeting of the Summer School, students learned to know each other and oriented to their studies. Photograph: Ella Karman
Annually, Tampere University and Tampere University of Applied Sciences join forces to organise the Tampere Summer School. On 2–13 August 2021, the School is arranged for the fourth time. Like last year, it is fully a virtual event.

“The Summer School has given me more confidence to start my studies in Finland, and I have had the opportunity to familiarise myself with the way of teaching in Finland in advance,” says XiaoMin Wu, a student at the Summer School.

Wu comes from China and she will begin studying software engineering at Tampere University of Applied Sciences in the autumn semester. She participates in the Approaching Pattern Language in Architecture course at the Summer School.

“The best aspect of the School has been the opportunity to develop my English language skills and meet new people from different cultures,” Wu adds.

This year, the international summer school attracted more than 250 participants from over 50 countries. In addition to Finland, the most participants came from China, Germany, Brazil, and India.

“For many, the Summer School is a great opportunity to study intensively in the summer on a subject of interest to them and to start the semester efficiently with an interesting course in a highly international environment,” says Ella Karman, coordinator of the School.

“For those from around the world, this is also a good opportunity to get to know Finland and our university community better,” Karman continues.

Summer School offers a wide array of courses in different fields

The courses offered by the international Summer School consist of courses that are part of the Universities’ curricula in various fields. This year, 14 distance learning courses are offered as part of the Summer School. The language of all courses is English.

This summer, the three most popular courses are the Basics of Finnish, Forecasting and Data Analytics via Gamification, and Introduction to Programming.

According to the Finnish teacher, Senior Lecturer Marja Oksanen, the intensive beginners’ course is a good way for international students to get to learn the Finnish language.

“The main goal is to create a good learning atmosphere and to awaken the students’ enthusiasm for the Finnish language. In two weeks, we won’t have time to learn the language in depth, but the aim is to create a passion for continuing the studies,” Oksanen sums up.

The Basics of Finnish course is attended by students from all over the world. During the course, students will learn, among other things, the pronunciation, structure, and simple basic expressions of the Finnish language, and as the final project, they will shoot a video in which they introduce themselves in Finnish.
“The students at the Summer School are highly motivated and the course is also a great kick-start for the teacher in the new academic year,” Oksanen says.

Mari-Sohvi Miettinen, a researcher and teacher in the Approaching Pattern Language in Architecture course at the Summer School, shares these views. Her course is an introduction to architecture and urban planning.

“The students have had great ambitions in the course. I have students from many different countries, so we get to hear different views on cities and urban design from around the world. Because of these international aspects, the course is highly interesting for me as well,” says Miettinen.

Social programme brings students together from all over the world also remotely

In addition to the courses, the Summer School also includes a social programme of virtual activities. The programme gives students the opportunity to get to know other participants from all over the world better.
Maryam Heibati, a participant from Iran, has just moved to Tampere and will start her studies in the Master’s Programme in Sustainable Architecture in the autumn. She thinks that the social programme complements the Summer School courses nicely.

“The social programme has also allowed us to get to know Finland and Finnish culture. This introduction will make it easier for me to start my studies in a completely new country. Meeting new people from different countries has also been one of the best things about the Summer School,” Heibati says.

Heibati also says that she has enjoyed the virtual learning in the Summer School.

“It has been nice and easy to participate in the remote courses. I got everything I wanted from the Summer School, even though it was organised remotely,” Heibati adds.

According to Karman, distance learning offers the opportunity for internationalisation to a large number of people, as you can participate from anywhere in the world.

“Even though the Tampere Summer School has always been held on-site in Tampere before COVID-19, the good practices and virtual learning opportunities that have been built up over the past two years will certainly be taken on board in the future," says Karman.

Read more about the Tampere Summer School

Text: Nelli Peltonen
Photograph: Ella Karman