All posts by viestinta

Research ethics in practice during fieldwork and in research collaboration

Last autumn, I had the pleasure of doing fieldwork among lawyers in Montreal during my 3.5 months-long research visit at Teluq/University of Quebec. I went there as a postdoctoral researcher working on a grant so I used my own equipment (i.e. computer, mobile phone, recorder). While this research visit was a wonderful experience both professionally and personally, it was then when I fully realized how much responsibility in terms of the security of the research data and equipment I carry when working abroad and particularly when doing a fieldwork in a foreign country. This involves for example file encryption, protection of data connections, administration of access rights, processing and handling of confidential information as well as archiving and destroying of documents. I was encouraged by my colleagues to share some of my experiences as the issue might be relevant for other researchers who are planning a mobility period.

Research ethics during fieldwork

In my own fieldwork, the issue of handling of confidential information and research data, file encryption and protection of data connections became particularly relevant. Firstly, the fieldwork involved interviewing some people who knew each other and who sometimes recommended each other to me for an interview (i.e. snowball sampling). While the interviewees can contact each other to discuss the interview, I had to be particularly careful not to confirm or deny the interviewees’ inquiries whether I have met their colleagues. Otherwise, I would violate the issue of confidentiality. Continue reading Research ethics in practice during fieldwork and in research collaboration

Erasmus in Joensuu

Thanks to the Erasmus+ program, we have the opportunity to spend three and a half months in Joensuu. The decision to come here was like a challenge to us, having on mind cold Finnish winter, but the desire to experience something new was stronger than anything. So we packed our suitcases and head over to Joensuu.

And now, during these two months of our stay here we find Joensuu as a perfect city for living and studying. The university is offering us the opportunity to be included in various activities such as sport activities, social events, music events, trips, etc. This exchange helped us a lot to meet new friends, discover new places, to enjoy the beauties of the city and in fact it helped us to discover ourselves. Studying at the University helped us to make new friends from all over the world and now after two months we are like a small family and Latolankatu is like our second home. One of the things for which we are grateful is that this journey brought us unforgettable memories. Continue reading Erasmus in Joensuu

6 Reasons Why the Erasmus+ Traineeship in Joensuu Was The Best Decision

Four months went by and it’s June already, which means that my traineeship at the International Office in Joensuu is over. Every student who went to study or work abroad will agree that it is an unforgettable experience. Here are my reasons why the stay in Joensuu was the best thing I could do during my last semester at university.

  1. People at the office

As I later found out, my task at the university administration department was to stir up the waters a bit and bring some element of internationalisation into the offices. Haha… I think that everybody coped with my presence and my non-existent Finnish quite well.  All the people that I met in the corridors or offices at the UEF were very kind, helpful and open-minded. And even though all of them were far above me in knowledge and experience, everyone treated me as their equal. The people I worked with were patiently answering all my questions and helped me boost my confidence, which is the best thing anyone can do for you. Continue reading 6 Reasons Why the Erasmus+ Traineeship in Joensuu Was The Best Decision

Erasmus+ North-South Visit to Agadir

In April 2016, I had the pleasure of visiting one of our partner universities, Ibn Zohr University in Agadir, Morocco, under the auspices of the ERASMUS+ Global Mobility Program. As the first UEF teacher participating in the Program, this visit provided many new experiences and enhanced my understanding of higher education in the region. It was even more pleasurable to visit the university and its new Ait Melloul campus as my host was Dr Kamal Sbiri, an UEF alumnus who is now Assistant Professor of English and the Director of the Charif Al Idrissi Research Center on Transnational Migration.

My visit consisted of a series of guest lectures on postcolonial hybridities with particular reference to Anglophone Arab literature and cultural theory. The topics were selected to stimulate the staff and students by introducing current perspectives and research trends. The issues of global mobility, migration, and cultural encounters are also central to the research profiles at both universities, which offers further collaboration opportunities. The lectures were well attended and they were followed with particularly lively discussions and questions from the floor. Issues of migration are central to contemporary Morocco, both because of traditional labour migration to Europe but also because the routes of contemporary sub-Saharan migration towards the North pass through the nation. Borders and border-crossings are then a part of everyday experience, evident in the number of forced migrants in towns like Agadir. Continue reading Erasmus+ North-South Visit to Agadir

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. 🙂 Continue reading Friends before funds

Adventure continues

‘’You do not travel if you are afraid of the unknown. You travel for the unknown that reveals you within yourself.’’

Finland, Joensuu. First time when we heard about opportunity to come and stay there for five months, we could just keep on our minds one thing. Minus 30 degrees. How could we possibly survive that? After many, many stories with different points about Finland, we realized this is our wake up call. This is the time when we have to step out of our comfort zone, burst our safe bubble and just go with the flow.

After staying here for almost 4 months, we didn’t even focus on minor stuff like temperature anymore. Our goal was set on studies, meeting new people and enjoying the once-in-a-lifetime stay. During first month, we stayed within our comfort zone, adjusting to the rules new world had to offer us. As that hardest period passed, we made Joensuu our own. Within next two months, we explored this wonderful city so much, that we knew its streets better than back of our hands. Not only did we enjoy Joensuu, but we also visited other parts of Finland, with new landscapes and new adventures. Of course, Northern Lights have to be mentioned as the prettiest scenery, no matter if we just saw tiny green smudge in the sky or outstanding green light taking up the whole north! While traveling across Finland, we found ourselves understanding more about native Finnish people and their culture. Continue reading Adventure continues

Experiencing Finland

Another month is over and I am already in the middle of my stay at the UEF. As everyone who has been on an exchange knows, the time flies so quickly because you see, try and experience something new every day. So these are my experiences from my everyday Joensuu life from the past month in brief:

In Czech we have a saying ‘to buy a hare in a sack’ to express when we unintentionally buy something we did not really want to buy. That is how my first visits to a grocery store in Finland felt like. Or maybe like buying a bag full of Kinder Surprise Eggs. You had never exactly known what was inside those packages until you opened them at home. Thankfully, after two months, grocery shopping is no longer such an adventure.

Another thing, I decided to get a bike so that I would be able to explore Joensuu more. But first, it was necessary to fix a few glitches on the bike. So I went to a repair shop and started to explain what I needed, but the repairman did not speak English. When he found out that I would not be able to express myself that well in Finnish, he pointed to the door and we went out where I tried to show him what the problem was. Alright, everything understood. Then came time to use my limited Finnish vocabulary. He started pointing at the opening hours on the shop door. I figured he meant the repair would take one week. Maanatai? – Joo. Just to be sure. Last thing: money. I could not remember how to say How much? However, thanks to my visit to the North Karelian Museum, I will never forget the word raha (money), so I used this one instead. For the non-Finnish readers of this blog – the word raha originally meant the fur of squirrel, which served as a payment instrument in Finland in the remote past. Anyway, the repairman stated the sum and our deal was concluded with a small ‘discussion’ on whether the mentioned price is for the repair of one wheel (yksi pyörä) or one bike (yksi pyörä). Continue reading Experiencing Finland

The return to Joensuu

When I grabbed my box of souvenirs from Finland from under my bed in my room in Novi Sad to take out my old student card, I felt a warm stream of excitement going through my body. Is it really happening? Am I really going back to Finland and Joensuu, the place in which I spent the most exciting year of studies and the place I love so deeply? Yes! Oh, what a great feeling it was!

Hello, everyone! My name is Tihomir. I’m a Master’s student of Ecology at the University of Novi Sad, Serbia. Right now I am on the Erasmus+ exchange semester in Joensuu. I have already been here in the whole academic year 2013/2014 by the exchange programme Campus Europae of the European University Foundation. The preparations for the two exchange periods were fairly similar, but the feelings before coming to Joensuu were very different. The first time I was a bit scared not knowing what to expect, but I quickly got to know the town and the friendly people. It was such a great year: I met so many new people from around the world, learned a fair bit of Finnish language, gained new skills, participated in many interesting events and traveled to unusual destinations. The exchange period had a big impact on me. So, naturally you can expect how excited I was to hear that few Erasmus+ places have been opened in Joensuu for the spring semester of 2016. This time I was eager to go and relive all those memories from the past. Continue reading The return to Joensuu

Working at the UEF

The phrase On the Move sums up quite well my university studies. During those five years, I enjoyed studying at the University of Ostrava, Czech Republic, and I am thankful that I was also able to discover other places and use every opportunity to travel and study abroad. Nearing the end of my studies, I thought it would be good to experience what it is like to work abroad, too. And what a better country in which to do this than Finland, right?

So it happened that one late January afternoon I landed in Joensuu (a town whose name was not familiar even to my friends who had spent some time in Finland in the past) and moved to a house which is not typically Finnish according to my flatmates. To me it looks Finnish enough – there is a lot of wood, a sauna and Moomin towel in the bathroom.

The first weekend in Joensuu, I decided to attend an event called Surviving winter in Finland organised by a local organisation for international students. Luckily, I came to Finland after the (for me) unimaginable period of -30˚, but some surviving tips could still come in handy. The event also included a truly Finnish experience – a sauna and swimming in a lake. After a few attempts I ended up in the icy water, something nobody who knows me and my sensitivity to cold well could believe. The reactions of international students to this experience in turn provided entertainment for the Finns present, so everybody had fun. And fortunately, I did not get pneumonia before my work placement even begun, so it counts as a success. Continue reading Working at the UEF

Face to face with Joensuu

It’s been three weeks since we got off that train in Joensuu and felt the ‘’welcoming’’ touch of -30°C on our skins. Looking at the notice board in Finnish language we wondered how on earth we are supposed to survive in this land of ice and strange words. We all shared the same fear: Are we going to be able to do this? Fortunately, it didn’t take us long to leave our doubts and suspicions behind and put ourselves out there. Unlike the temperature, every place we visited and every person we met seem warm and pleasant.  We fell in love with the magical white city and everything about it.

The University, which is why we came here in the first place, was a story for itself: modern and big, yet cozy and warm, full of so many colleague students with the same expectations. We looked at each other and thought: This is going to be so much fun! From that moment on, it has been just more and more interesting. We have met a lot of people with different backgrounds, and heard their stories. Our courses started, and we got so enthusiastic for learning in a new environment, and improving ourselves! Finding out all the possibilities that we have, gave us the will to get up every morning, put on three pair of socks, and go into new victories! Continue reading Face to face with Joensuu