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
‘’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
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
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
One of the key objectives of the Finnish universities is to reach a high international level in rankings. Several indicators for achieving this status have been determined, but clearly the main door is opened with the help of impactful and scientifically relevant collaboration. This sounds like an easy problem to be solved. Academics travel to conferences and meet colleagues, and they have good access to virtual communication. They have plenty of opportunities to join international research groups. However, all researchers are not on the top in this sense. We may need to work more and especially work more with our international collaborators. Again, an easy task! Let’s go abroad!
Currently, several associations provide a variety of possibilities to apply for research scholarships for longer and shorter periods, but faculties nevertheless suffer from low staff mobility rates. I do not know the reasons behind this accurately, but I would like to shortly review the advantages and to encourage all academics to get on the move!
Colleagues often claim that there is an increasing number of digital tools to keep in touch with fellows abroad, and to work with shared documents across the world. This is correct and evidently makes our work easier. However, alongside the vital research needs, to become an international researcher, we need a wide and strong network of contacts having a good understanding of cultural and local priorities. By obtaining a good understanding of the academic and everyday life of our collaborators, we may strengthen our status as persons to be taken seriously. In addition, as important as how many fellows we know in different countries, is how well we are known within academic communities. Becoming actively visible in several ways is a significant part of our international growth, for every one of us! Continue reading Why on the Move?
I have great honor to start writing here at the UEF On the move blog. However, I believe I won’t be the only one as there are many UEFians On the move around the world. My blog posts deals about research collaboration trip to the US, Nebraska, to cities called Lincoln and Omaha. In these two cities two universities exist: University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL), University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO). This trip would not have been possible without funding. I had a great honor to receive a Fulbright Research Collaboration Grant from the Finnish Fulbright Center (FBC) on May 2015. In addition, this trip would not have been possible without the help of my home institution UEF and very kind letters of invitation from UNO and UNL faculty members. Thank you!
My journey to UNL and UNO begins at October 23 and ends at Novemeber 14 2015. My main idea of blogging (this is the situation at the moment, but this idea might evolve) is to share information of research collaboration and provide tips/idea for collaboration. In addition, I will do my best to write about the US culture (and differences to Finnish one), and everything else interesting I’ll experience during my trip. To keep my promise of sharing information, here are some good tips for those planning research collaboration trip somewhere: Continue reading On the move…literally!