Friends before funds

Just when I thought that my last visit to Finland was the best ever, there happens another one, which outshines all those before! My fifth time in this amazing country, again to Joensuu, has really been special in so many ways. We, international relations officers, or as my colleague Kirsi nicely puts it – international coordinators, have a special gift (and duty!) to connect the peoples, education and cultures, and itchy feet ready to move on. Thanks to the long-standing friendship, trust and collaboration between the University of Novi Sad and University of Eastern Finland, we earned our Erasmus Plus KA1 mobility project, which gave me the wings to fly to UEF Joensuu Campus.

Seven days only seem enough to get the job done, but it always turns out that you could use more. This time too… Many meetings, many visits to various departments, schools, talking to colleagues and UEF students, getting to know how the UEF system works – all squeezed into tight schedule. However, the pieces of the UEF puzzle fell nicely into place and I am now able to recognize the solid structure, the purposefully shaped activities, the major challenges and strategic solutions, the striving, the innovative ideas, the potential, all topped off with amazing enthusiasm that my colleagues radiate. Buzzing international spirit is present all around the campus and I have to admit that I was a bit envious for those 900 incoming students that study at UEF. No doubt, this speaks in favour of the high quality education and services available. We share similar problems, we recognize the same values, but the solutions are different and there is plenty of room to learn from each other. I think I caught a glimpse of the wonderfully simple modus operandi of the UEF – no wasting – neither the people, nor the time, nor skills, but rather using them to the benefit of all. It really is a State of the Smart. 🙂

My head is still buzzing with a beautifully melodic Finnish language and words still echoing in my ears… Sari, Kirsi, Minchun, Outi, Soili, hyvä, kyllä, Vappu, tervetuloa, kippis, kiitos, moi, and many more!

With my UEF gang it is always about friendship. Friends before funds motto makes it all easier and more enjoyable. Can’t thank them enough for the brilliant experience and can’t wait to welcome them soon – next stop Novi Sad!leidit lintutornilla

Gordana Vlahovic (on the right, Sari Kontunen-Soppela from the Dept. of Environmental and Biological Sciences, UEF, on the left.)

Erasmus Plus Coordinator from the University of Novi Sad Faculty of Sciences
IRO Staff mobility for training (visit to UEF Joensuu Campus 25.04. – 02.05.2016)