Karelia.fi - International Edition 2018

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A bright world.




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Bioenergy know-how from North Karelia to Jordan

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A bright world

A bright world.



| International Edition 2018

Editorial-in-chief Liisa Timonen, Head of International Affairs Sub-editors Eija Piiparinen, Communications Officer Layout Salla Anttila, Graphic Designer Photos tuukka pakarinen, shutterstock.com, pixabay.com Cover photo Tuukka Pakarinen Translations Laura Väistö Publisher Karelia University of Applied Sciences, Tikkarinne 9, 80200 Joensuu Contact information international@karelia.fi, info@karelia.fi, www.karelia.fi ISSN 2323-8453 (Printed), ISSN 2323-8461 (Online Publication)






Karelia University of Applied Sciences

When internationalisation is seen as a holistic way of developing things in higher education it benefits the students in the end – no matter what form of internationalisation is at hand.



ll universities of applied sciences in Finland, around Europe and beyond are keen on internationalisation in many different fields. Internationalisation has been one of the higher education’s developmental main streams for a long time. It started with student and teacher mobility initiatives enabled by the first European funding programmes and grew into a significant arena of varied ambitious research and development projects and even to global education services. After slightly more than 25 years of education offered by Karelia University of Applied Sciences, it is time to look back and ask for whom and why we are really doing all of this work?


Karelia UAS’s slogan bright world refers to a more promising yet sustainable and balanced future offering well-being both to regions and to people. In a bright world businesses flourish, people are taken care of, services are reasonable, and accessibility and sustainability are key principles in doing things. To reach this goal we need experts who are able to change the world in small – and sometimes even big – steps. Students are the future shapers who might change the world. To be able to reshape our societies they need vision and understanding embedded with multidisciplinary knowledge and skills to apply learning into practice and turn challenges into possibilities and solutions. An entrepreneurial mindset, interpersonal skills and an ability to build trust are the key transversal skills that graduates need in the labour market. This calls for future-oriented curricula, adequate learning environments, competent teachers and other staff members, possibilities to interact with professional life and changes to solve real problems via interacting in diverse teams. Internationalisation is feeding all these aspects of high quality education!


When internationalisation is seen as a holistic way of developing things in higher education it benefits the students in the end – no matter what form of internationalisation is at hand. For the student and teacher, the forms of shortand long-term mobility, curriculum development, joint courses and conferences make it easy to see the benefits, as the internationalisation is directly embedded in teaching and learning. However, even when we talk about international research and development projects, these offer students possibilities for internships and enable real life problem solving in diverse cases. Projects are also often integrated into teaching, offering an interesting arena for multidisciplinary, solution-oriented discussion. In its turn, in global education students might be providing supportive services, seeking background data, or acting as organisers together with their home institution staff. Even if the direct link to the students would not be there, research and development projects and global education increase teachers’ networks, knowledge, competences and expertise, which accumulate into applying varied pedagogical approaches, bringing real life into the classroom, and strengthening teachers’ substance-related perceptions. This is a big plus for the students – in the end, they are the ones for whom we do all the work. The more competent teachers our students have, the more possibilities they get to challenge themselves and grow as our future shapers! Liisa Timonen, Head of International Affairs

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We are the bright world Students

Awarded degrees in 2016

Student satisfaction rate


3747 690 81% 255 (satisfied or very satisfied students)

Fields of study


Joensuu is the home town of Our Bright World


The bright world is international

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Internationalisation through Erasmus+ projects


What about teachers? Some snapshots on colleagues’ experiences about collaboration with Karelia UAS


Guidance and counselling services for immigrants


The benefits of participating in university projects during studies


Focus on recruitment


Bioenergy know-how from North Karelia to Jordan


Virtual reality used to enrich dementia patients


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TEXT Sini-Tuuli Saaristo PHOTOS Sini-Tuuli Saaristo, Pertti Laitinen

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rasmus+ funded projects offer Karelia UAS’s staff and students a great way to internationalise while studying, working and co-operating with multinational consortiums. The projects enable students to internationalise and develop competences in different ways, for example through intensive programmes and traineeships. In the end of the last year, four students shared their experiences of taking part in the Erasmus+ Knowledge Alliance and Strategic Partnership projects at Karelia UAS. Let’s take a look into students’ perspective and see what they have learned!

During the two-week intensive programme, more than 60 students and teachers joined various lectures and workshops and developed business ideas in multicultural teams.

← ERDI students visiting the municipality of Juuka.


ECMT+ - Entrepreneurship and Communication in Multicultural Teams is an Erasmus+ Strategic Partnership project where seven higher education institutes from seven different European countries work together in developing students’ entrepreneurial mind-set, practices and multicultural communication skills. The project started in September 2016, and its first intensive programme took place at Karelia UAS in March 2017. During the two-week intensive programme, more than 60 students and teachers joined various lectures and workshops and developed business ideas in multicultural teams. The programme also involved cultural activities, such as exploring Koli National Park and ice swimming at the Joensuu Polar Bears Winter Swimming Centre.

Arti Seth, a European Management student from Technical University of Applied Sciences Wildau, Germany decided to apply for the intensive programme because she enjoys meeting new people. She has had former experiences with intensive programmes but also because Finland and the entrepreneurial theme of the programme sounded interesting. Daniel Kvíčala, a Business Economics and Management student from the Silesian University in Opava, School of Business Administration in Karvina, Czech Republic, had been interested in visiting Finland since his childhood. Daniel has been an active member in various extra-curricular activities at his home university and has taken part in different kinds of projects. “Every project that comes up, I’m into it,” he says.

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When reflecting on the programme, Arti feels that she has learned a lot: “I gained a lot while working with people from different countries. It is not always as easy as you think. You begin to reflect on yourself.” She thinks that the development of the group work during the programme went fast: “In the beginning when you start your group work and then at the end you see what you have reached, you see the development and the differences. You’ve never spoken to these people before and in the end you achieve great, good things. I think everyone did so well on that project, and it was surprising“. Arti is using the new knowledge nowadays while working on projects, but she also expected more lectures about self-awareness, confidence and presenting skills: “We kind of did that indirectly, but I kind of wish we had done that more directly, but to conclude I think the programme was what I thought it would be.” When applying for the programme Daniel did not have any concrete expectations: “My biggest dream was to get in touch with the Finnish educational system. I’ve heard it’s one of the best in the world. In addition, I’ve always wanted to present business ideas in front of investors.” For Daniel the intensive programme was his first experience co-operating with unknown people from different cultural backgrounds. ECMT+ gave him the opportunity to get new knowledge and develop his soft skills, like team cooperation, listening and conversational skills. For Daniel the programme was well-organized. “Actually some people were complaining about some stuff, but for me it was the biggest training for entrepreneurship, because when you are a business man, the things don’t just go as smoothly as you think.” He appreciates the teachers and the teacher-student -relationship during the intensive programme and at the Karelia UAS: “The teachers here were very kind to us. They listened to our opinions.” For both of them the best thing about the intensive programme was the people. Arti sees that all the students at the programme were motivated, which made the work easier: “You could see that everyone was really willing to work and everyone was really engaged. Nowadays, it is import to see how you work with other people.” In her words, living together in the same place with the other students gave a big advantage to working on the project after the lectures and to develop their friendships even more. Daniel was surprised that the team was able to build such strong bonds within ten days: “Usually it takes maybe years to get the bonds and build relationships. At the end I and my friend Johnny were saying goodbye to our French friends and we were crying like children.”

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It is not just a good experience for your education. It is more about the people you meet and the experience you get. You also learn a lot about yourself. Making friends, having fun and at the same time being productive and working. Arti Seth, a European Management student from Technical University of Applied Sciences Wildau, Germany

After the ECMT+ intensive programme both Arti and Daniel decided to come back to Joensuu, Arti as a trainee in a local company and Daniel as a Erasmus+ exchange student at Karelia UAS. “Through the intensive course I’m here. I think that if I would not have liked the place or did not have such a good time, I don’t know if I would have said yes”, Arti says. Daniel sees Joensuu as a small city with a big heart and good atmosphere: “When I was in the train back to Czech Republic after the programme, this was the moment I decided that I will apply for Erasmus+, because I needed to come back. Now I’m here and it’s great!” Both students encourage others to take part in the ECMT+ intensive programme. Arti summarises: “It is not just a good experience for your education. It is more about the people you meet and the experience you get. You also learn a lot about yourself. Making friends, having fun and at the same time being productive and working”. Daniel reminds other students coming to Finland to bring their gloves with them, regardless of the season: “I forgot them last time and I really suffered very much!”

Arti Seth and Daniel KvĂ­Ä?ala took part in the two-week ECMT+ intensive programme. karelia.fi | 9


ERDI - Empowering Regional Development and Innovations is an Erasmus+ Knowledge Alliance project that aims at better graduate employability, improved competitiveness of the regional economy and increased bioeconomy business to gain better income in the future. The project develops students’ and other beneficiaries’ knowledge in bioeconomy and develops multicultural and transversal skills. One of the project’s results is international, modular and flexible ERDI courses to build students’ skills and competences in the field of bioeconomy and regional development. During the spring of 2017 ERDI courses (15-45 ECTS) were offered at Karelia UAS. The Bioeconomical hub gathered students to Eastern Finland from various countries and diverse study backgrounds. Luc LeBlanc and Véronique Leger, marketing students from CCNB Canada, took part in the ERDI courses but also choose to do the Connect the Dots -training for the ERDI project. Véronique decided to come to Finland because she wanted to study abroad and gain knowledge on bioeconomy. She describes her studies and traineeship as one of the most educational experiences for her: “It was a way for me to experience the work ethics of a different country. We got to work with an amazing team that gave us a lot of creative freedom with our work.” She thinks that the professors in the ERDI courses were very helpful and interactive. She sees that the excursions were a key point of the ERDI courses: “The excursions demonstrated what the professors were teaching, and we had a change to explore different parts of Finland. The courses and traineeship surpassed my expectations.” For Luc the exchange experience was in his words incredible: “Just with the change of country you can see a difference in exactly what we were learning in the courses. It makes you think with a different perspective and help you learn about so many different topics that affect everyone.” For marketing students the classes were sometimes a challenge, but he feels that they were well worth the results. Luc decided to do the training for the ERDI project, because: “I knew I would be working with a dynamic group of people, and it was a perfect opportunity to explore marketing in a new environment that was much more real than in the classroom. I wanted to try something new that also had a greater purpose.” The traineeship gave him an opportunity to deal with real marketing challenges. “Working with a group of people that were driven and ready for work was refreshing. It helped put perspective on my future career

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and made me feel like a part of a team,” he adds. Véronique sees that having knowledge in bioeconomy gives her an advantage when applying for jobs in Canada in the future. Luc agrees: “My studies helped me put a bioeconomics aspect to my thought process. While I am not necessarily going to work in this sector, I will be able to keep it in the process of my work ethics. I think it will also show potential employers that I am someone who has great priorities and I am capable of processing a lot of different information when I make a decision on big topics.” The highlight of their stay was meeting new people from all over the world, hearing and learning about different countries, experiences and views, but also how they incorporate bioeconomy. “The change in teachers showed us a variation of new things. That was really interesting. We became a team and it was an amazing thing to be a part of,” Luc says. Both trainees want to encourage people to take part into the ERDI courses and traineeship. “You will meet amazing people and make great friendships, and it will give you a chance to explore another part of world. Also, even if you do not have any knowledge in bioeconomy, don’t let that stop you,” Véronique says. Luc continues: “DO IT! It will be an experience you will never forget. It will be life changing and will give you a unique experience like no one else has. It’s special and extremely worth it.”

You will meet amazing people and make great friendships, and it will give you a chance to explore another part of world. Also, even if you do not have any knowledge in bioeconomy, don’t let that stop you. Véronique Leger, marketing student from CCNB Canada


TEXT Minna Halonen, Katriina Korhonen PHOTOS Minna Halonen


I am Dr Kristaps Circenis from Riga Stradins University, Riga, Latvia. I am a Head of the Master Programme in Nursing and Supervision and an assistant professor. I give lectures for both bachelor and master students. In addition, I am responsible for international collaboration in nursing and midwifery. I am also involved in two Interreg Programmes. The purpose of my visit in Joensuu is to have an annual meeting of the NordBaltic 5 Network. This Nordplus network has a history dating back to 1992, and during this period, I have been an administrative coordinator. NordBaltic 5 consists of five higher education institutes: Riga Stradins University, Karelia UAS, University College of Southeast Norway, UCC Hilleröd in Denmark and Malmö University. At the meeting we discussed the last period and planned the next one. During the next period we will especially develop express mobility (short mobility) and intensive programmes. So far, the co-operation in the network has been very fruitful. As all participants are nursing teachers, we can compare similarities and differences in teaching the same topics and subjects. In addition, you get the important experience of teaching in English and learning new methods of teaching. Also co-operation in research is included in our co-operation. I hold in high esteem the personal contacts

I have made in this collaboration. For the students, finding international and cultural aspects of nursing and strengthening English language skills are also eye opening. Students also learn self-management and organisation skills when they organise a study trip abroad. My university has a wide range of degrees: we have them in Medicine, Dentistry, Pharmacy and Social Work, and we have Law, Sociology, Politics and Anthropology. Nursing studies last four years at the university, or alternatively, three years at the college and one year at the university. This is my fourth visit to Karelia UAS, and I like most of the university itself, interesting classes and polite colleagues. The surrounding nature and peaceful atmosphere is something different from Riga, which is the capital of Latvia. Someday I would like to see Lapland and the Northern lights or go on a tour and see more of the countryside with lakes and rivers. karelia.fi | 11


We are third year nursing students, Kristine and Karina, from Riga Stradins University, Riga, Latvia. We came with our lecturer Dr Kristaps Circenis and got a Nordplus grant for the weeklong exchange in Joensuu. We have explored Tikkarinne’s premises and joined the lessons. We noticed that students’ role is more active here. We had good discussions with Finnish students when we had the possibility to ask questions from them and vice versa. We could share different ideas on good practices in nursing. One topic was, for example, what a nurse is allowed to do and what he/ she cannot do. We followed the Clinical Care lessons and a lesson in a simulation environment. It was interesting that students also taught each other; you learn when you teach matters to others. In our university, we have to write a lot, and it was surprising that here students had no pens and papers with them. In Finland, we noticed that the nature is a bit different than in Latvia, and we would possibly like to see Northern Finland someday. We like a lot the light and colourful premises in Tikkarinne. If Karelia’s students come to Riga they see how we learn things and they will also experience a busy city with a wide range of places for young people.

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I am Siv Roel form University College Southeast Norway, Porsgrunn Campus, which is located in southern Norway. In 2017 we merged with another university and now we have 18,000 students on 8 campuses. I am an international coordinator and a teacher in a degree programme in nursing. On our campus in Porsgrunn, we have 500 nursing students. On two other campuses, we have 1000 more nursing students. Our university college is multidisciplinary. We have applied for university status, and the decision will be published in January. In Norway nowadays it is common that university colleges change to universities. I am visiting Karelia UAS for the NordBaltic5 network meeting here. We joined this Nordplus-funded project of nursing education five-six years ago. My work includes lots of teaching; I teach Nutrition, Calculation, First Aid and Medication Administration. I am a tutor in clinical practices and I also teach in the simulation centre. As an international coordinator I participate in the international projects and have tasks connected with the student mobility. I have been in Joensuu before and visited the central hospital and mental ward for young people. In this meeting, we try to find new ways of mobility, as we all face the difficulties of finding traineeship places for nursing students. A colleague from the Public Health Nursing field is with me in Joensuu, and we are trying to create new co-operation also in this sector, in addition to the nursing education. In general, nursing studies are more or less the same everywhere since the diploma is a registered nurse, which has a certain framework. I would say that in our network the Nordic countries have very similar education but, maybe, in Latvia the focus is more on medicine. The best part of the meetings is to meet colleagues face-to-face. It is good to settle down for a couple of days and make plans for the future. In daily life, you are often too busy for that. We have had nursing students from Karelia UAS doing their clinical practice in Porsgrunn. Norwegian students are very keen to go to exotic countries in Africa or the USA. I would gladly see the rising interest in Europe and neighbour countries as well. The last time our colleague, Kirsi Tanskanen, took us to a very interesting place called Paateri, next to Lake Pielinen. We had a nice tour on skies on the lake ice and then we visited Paateri. There is a collection of wooden statues and sculptures of late artist, Ms Eeva Ryynänen. There is also a wonderful wooden church and Eeva Ryynänen’s home, which is today a museum.


I am Ghada Abushosheh, Assistant Professor in Zarqa University, Faculty of Nursing, Jordan. My university is a private university, located in Zarqa, near Amman. I came to Karelia because we have an Erasmus+ staff mobility programme between the universities. It has been a very useful experience for me. There are many similarities in the teaching methodology and the way we provide care for patients. As to the differences, we don’t have such a structured simulation centre like the one at Karelia although we do have simulation dolls and a simulation lab. Also, you have Voimala, and we don’t have anything like that. However, every year our university organizes a free medical day for the surrounding region, and then we can provide some treatment, check vital signs and even provide medication for the people of the community. This is done in cooperation with other faculties and the local hospital. Regarding the hospital here, we were very happy to see the Crisis Centre because in Jordan we don’t have anything like that to care for patients in crisis, although there is a great need for that. Also your weather is very different! I appreciate that I’ve learned a bit of the culture here because it is very important to know about each other’s culture and religion. I’ve also got some ideas about your teaching methodology and I will try to apply them back home. We really like the idea of Voimala and hope to make something similar to that at home. I think the staff members here are very kind, competent and cooperative. In addition, I liked the structure of your hospital: it is very clear, organized, quiet, and well-equipped, and the nurses there are also very competent. It would be nice to visit Finland again, but the length of the staff mobility should be longer, maybe two weeks to be able to compare the teaching methodology better, to get more information on the level of the students and to learn more about the culture and traditions.

The simulation centre in Karelia is very nice and effective, and we like the idea of Voimala Learning Environment and would like to apply it in our university. Dr Hoda Sayed and Dr Nema Fathy Saad


We are lecturers at the Faculty of Nursing, Ain Shams University, Cairo. Dr Hoda is a lecturer in psychiatric nursing, and Dr Nema’s specialty is nursing administration. The purpose of our exchange is to get information about the education at Karelia University of Applied Sciences and the culture and health care system in Finland. We have an Erasmus+ staff exchange project between our universities. For the future, we would like to involve also students in the cooperation because it is important for our students to see different cultures and different universities. We would also offer the opportunity to the Finnish students to study in Cairo! There are differences and similarities in the nursing education between Egypt and Finland. In Finland, you have a smaller number of students in the classroom, which is easier to manage. We have been happy to see the professional setting at your university. The simulation centre in Karelia is very nice and effective, and we like the idea of Voimala Learning Environment and would like to apply it in our university. We were interested to see the special units for crises and geriatric patients in psychiatric care. This is an idea we could take back home. This has been a great experience, especially for Dr Hoda because she is here for the first time. We have enjoyed walking on the streets without any problems, and the September weather has been very good.

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FOR IMMIGRANTS TEXT Mikko Häkkinen, Hannele Niskanen | PHOTO shutterstock

SIMHE Supporting Immigrants in Higher Education

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he world of higher education is not a separate island but a part of societies, both nationally and internationally. Events in the surrounding society reflect institutions of higher education, and higher education impacts the surrounding societies. In Finland, an increase in immigration in its various forms has fostered broad societal debates and actions. Different educational activities play significant roles in enabling immigrant’s integration to Finnish society. The Ministry of Education and Culture in Finland has appointed Karelia University of Applied Sciences as one of the higher education institutes responsible for supporting immigrants in integration. The aim is to give guidance to immigrants in order to help them find study opportunities in higher education and to produce services for recognising prior competences of highly educated immigrants in order to facilitate the process of integration.

These services are implemented within the national SIMHE (Supporting Immigrants in Higher Education) network including three universities of applied sciences and three universities from different parts of Finland. The aim of the activities is to serve adult immigrants by guiding them towards meaningful educational and career paths. In practice, the aim is to give information on educational opportunities and on the application processes to higher education institutes for eligible immigrants. According to the experience gained, immigrants need advice in seeking information on studying possibilities, since the Finnish education system and application procedures can be considerably different from that of their home countries. In addition, many immigrants have completed a degree in higher education, but they need information on how to have their education compared to a similar Finnish one. The aim is also to provide information on the recognition of prior learning (RPL) for highly educated immigrants who reside in Finland with various statuses, and to guide them on the different ways of complementing their higher education studies. The purpose of these activities is to ensure that highly educated immigrants arriving in Finland will have their prior learning, prior studies and prior degrees recognised and swiftly acknowledged according to national practices, and that they will be guided towards meaningful educational and career paths. The guidance activities will be implemented in close cooperation with other regional higher education institutes and other regional actors involved in the process of supporting the integration and employment of immigrants in Eastern Finland. Up to now, the customers who have used SIMHE-Karelia guidance and counselling services have been both immigrants and asylum seekers. The reason to arrive in Finland has been either seeking international protection or for familial reasons. The customers have had various educational backgrounds. However, most of them have graduated from universities in their home countries and have either a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree. The most common reason for seeking guidance has been to find information about further studies. They also have needed guidance and information in recognizing higher education studies completed abroad. Many of the highly educated immigrants have several years of working experience within their area of expertise. Without having any professional contacts they have found it very challenging to find work and they need some advice on how to continue their education or even change the field of career.

The Ministry of Education and Culture in Finland has appointed Karelia University of Applied Sciences as one of the higher education institutes responsible for supporting immigrants in integration. One of the objectives of counselling immigrants is to recognize their previous skills and competences. Recognizing competences is also closely connected to guidance and counselling, as it aims to support the plans, desires and potential in order to find the ways a counselee can start to reach his or her goals in life. The most common obstacle in being able to continue higher education studies in Finland has been the too low level of Finnish language skills. Also English language skills might need improvement to be able to study in English language programs. Anyhow, a good command of Finnish language is a key to the Finnish labor market in most professional fields. Higher education institutions have taken actions to improve the possibilities for immigrants to enter higher education. Many universities of applied sciences have organized preparing studies for immigrants. In a Karelia UAS-led project, there is also an innovative mobile application under development to support the immigrants’ possibilities in finding suitable studying paths. As stated before, education in its various forms is the decisive resource for integration. The importance of education is particularly emphasized for refugees, as a large percentage of them are young adults. Facilitating suitable educational paths is beneficial to both the individual and society.

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THE BENEFITS OF PARTICIPATING IN UNIVERSITY PROJECTS DURING STUDIES An integral part of studying at Karelia University of Applied Sciences is the ability to incorporate students straight into working life. One of the easiest ways to gain real-life experience and networking possibilities as a student is to cooperate with the university’s different projects. Being able to work side-by-side with professionals during these projects allows students to gain confidence and proficiency for their future work. TEXT Timo Rui, Riikka Simonen

ith the Students, w teachers, ir e h t f o id a he work with t rdinators project coo with to come up ative and fresh, innov tions to modern solu blems. real-life pro

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he benefits of cooperating with a university project for students during their studies is putting theory to practice. As much as any student enjoys sitting in a lecture hall, listening to professors talk about what skills and proficiencies one needs to be successful in the working force, it fully comes into fruition with real life projects. This is a time for students to put their knowledge and skills to test, experiment with wild ideas in a safe environment, and get a hands-on approach to the challenges and tasks one will face in the working world after graduation. When working on a project as a student, one gets the ability to create life-long networking opportunities and gain references for their CVs. Because the modern age is becoming more reliant on resume references and work practices during study periods, these opportunities put students who participate in projects ahead of their classmates in finding possible positions post-graduation. Working on such a project reinforces ones skills because students are able to see their work in practice. This is where the theory one gains from the classroom is undoubtedly applied to real life cases. This can lead to internships, work placements or even full time contracts. Being able to prove one’s skills early on is an immense advantage for the long term. In addition, having the ability to display one’s talents during a study period allows students to gain confidence in their studies. It helps them focus on the end-goal. The main process in working on projects is working together with the other partners, gaining information and theoretical information, planning a solution, and then finally putting it into practice. This is then done again with the information gathered from the previous work until a workable solution is achieved. One such project at Karelia UAS is Improve (Involving the coMmunity to co-PROduce public serVicEs). North Karelia is partnered with five other NPA peripheral regions throughout Europe. The aim is to increase innovation throughout these regions in technology-driven public service solutions by using a living lab-driven approach. The main focus of the project is to sustainably deliver quality public services to remote areas, which have shortages of skilled workers, high costs, or are lacking access to the latest solutions. The main objective is to increase the innovation capacity and knowledge of these six regions in developing technology-driven public services. Students, with the aid of their teachers, work with the project coordinators to come up with fresh, innovative and modern solutions to real-life problems. The students are given the possibility to have a real impact on future products, services and working methods.

Locally, Karelia University of Applied Sciences is partnered with the Regional Council of North Karelia. Local associates include North Karelia Martha Organization, Joensuu Regional Library and Siun Sote. The project has created a public communications service, called eCareCommunication. Its purpose is to reach residents in rural areas by connecting them to digital services already available in the city. By digitally connecting rural residents with city resources, the residents have the ability to benefit from these services without having to leave their homes. This gives them the ability to enhance their own quality of life. The project is constantly enhancing a community portal, where users can get advice, information, and network in real-time. The goal of the project is to find a way to create a service that is at the same time technologically advanced, user-friendly, and easy to use. This is where students have the ability to plan and create these portals and service methods, which will ultimately lead to real-life use. With Improve, students have already been a part of piloting Siun Sote’s largest and most important provincial interactive briefing program for four different local areas. This has also included improving upon the local Martha’s interactive nutrition and meeting services. Finally, participants have had the opportunity to work with three local libraries, to improve their cooperation, using information produced for tablets. Students are given the chance to come up with new product and service methods that have the possibility to become reality. It is instantly peer reviewed by colleagues on an international level. Working with IMPROVE allows students to contact and be a part of a larger international network. The lead partner for IMPROVE is ERNACT EEIG, Letterkenny, Co. Donegal, Ireland. The six other international partners affiliated with IMPROVE are: »» Donegal County Council, Lifford, Co. Donegal, Ireland »» Derry City Council, Derry City & Strabane District Council, Derry, Northern Ireland, UK »» Association of Local Authorities in Vasternorrland, Härnösand, Sweden »» Bifrost University, Borgarnes, Iceland »» Municipality of Borgarbyggd, Borgarnes, Iceland »» Western Norway Research Institute, Sogndal, Norway

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FOCUS ON RECRUITMENT Karelia UAS is active in many kinds of international projects. One example discusses the recruitment process finding ways to build innovative practices. Usually the recruitment process takes lot of time and resources from both enterprises and job seekers. Direct recruitment costs caused by unsuccessful recruitments are a remarkable expenditure for companies, particularly SMEs, consisting of possibly up to 30 per cent of an employee’s annual salary. Karelia UAS, Turku UAS and JOSEK Ltd are working together to develop this process to be more efficient. This developing process will continue until the end of 2019 in an ESF project called SMErec New generation recruitment skills for SMEs and workforce. TEXT Marja-Liisa Ruotsalainen, Tanja Rimpilä | PHOTO shutterstock

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he SMErec project aims at promoting the competitiveness of Finnish companies located in two different economic regions. The main objective is to make the recruitment process more successful. The purpose is to develop solutions that support a company’s HR strategies as well as tools to enable a more efficient recruitment process. The goal is to provide SMEs both science-based and practice-based innovative selection methods used as a recruiting tool. During the project, the educational organisations will receive a new kind of technological competence for their career guidance. The students and companies will also get experience and skills to take advantage of digitalisation opportunities during the recruitment process. The competitiveness and uniqueness of the solutions developed during the project are based on novelty value, since no similar systems are known to be used by educational institutes or other communities. One essential aspect is that new solutions enable the faster transition of a highly educated labour force to work. The project aims to change the value basis of businesses so that the recruitment would change into an active process in which the job seeker’s skills would be shown in advance. This results in a more efficient, faster recruitment process, also accelerating the transition from education to work.


In this project Karelia University of Applied Sciences aims to develop an operational model for graduating students and for companies to be used in recruitment. It will also include the implementation of the Mixed Reality System

for developing the recruitment skills of both students and companies. During the project the SMEs will get more competence in HR management, in the recruitment processes and an improved company image. Turku UAS will create a web-based competence platform including a virtual CV database. In this system, each student has his/her own one-minute video presentation, CV, and an updated competence chart. Joensuu Regional Development Company JOSEK Ltd’s aim is to develop a digital tool for microenterprises. This tool will be used both in counselling and for information distribution purposes. JOSEK Ltd’s aim is also to find out about the differences between different fields of expertise regarding job seekers’ attitudes, skills, capabilities, and competences regarding the job applied for already during the recruitment process. Transnational cooperation in the SMErec project is based on content-related cooperation and learning from other countries’ experiences. The cooperation is mainly virtual, but includes also some practical orientation excursions and expert exchange periods abroad. The transnational cooperation in the SMErec project is strongly characterised by the practise-based nature of cooperation. This provides an opportunity to have the best spread of good practices and ideas from country to country and from area to area. As a result, the recruitment expertise in the companies involved in the project will be enhanced, and the companies will utilize new digital tools for recruitment. The attractiveness of the companies as employers will increase as well as potential applicants’ awareness of these companies.

SMEREC SMErec – New recruitment skills for SMEs and workforce project is funded by the EU/ European Social Fund, ELY Centre South Savo, Joensuu Regional Development Company JOSEK Ltd, Turku University of Applied Sciences and Karelia University of Applied Sciences. The duration of the project is three years (January 2017 – December 2019).

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BIOENERGY KNOW-HOW FROM NORTH KARELIA TO JORDAN Part of Karelia’s internationalisation is global education and embedded international expertise services. Interesting new pathways towards business opportunities in the Middle East are opening for North Karelian companies. Preparations to build a network of experts on low carbon technologies have been made for the past two years. As a result, Karelia UAS is proud to coordinate a two-year project FINPETRA seeking export opportunities in the region. The first target country is Jordan, where negotiations for example in bioenergy cooperation are proceeding at a good rate. TEXT Janita Ylitalo, Helena Puhakka-Tarvainen PHOTOS Helena Puhakka-Tarvainen, jordanmap.facts.co, www.freeworldmaps.net

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One of the safest Arab countries in the Middle East is the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, which is strongly promoting and focusing on education opportunities and stability in society. Jordan is strategically located at the crossroads of Asia, Africa and Europe. Nearly 30% of the population is refugees (from a total of 9.5 million inhabitants), as Jordan has accepted refugees from almost all surrounding conflicts since 1948. Finland has conducted business and tourism in Jordan, but during the past years, connections have been less active. Due to its own very limited energy resources (e.g. in oil), Jordan is actively looking for new ways to produce energy. In addition, Jordan is struggling with a waste problem, and there is for example a vast amount of wastewater sludge, which could be used as soil fertilizer if properly treated. Last but not least, the number of refugees to Jordan seems to have no end.


Often, one positive coincidence leads to another, and that is exactly how this network of experts got started. Mr. Laith ALRahahleh, a Jordanian postgraduate student in Joensuu, working at the Jordanian Ministry of Agriculture, acted as a matchmaker between North Karelia and Jordan. A pre-feasibility study and two visits to Jordan have created a solid background for business opportunities, and it is clear that there are many possible ways of cooperation between these areas.

Jordan is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the east and south; Iraq to the north-east; Syria to the north; Israel, Palestine and the Dead Sea to the west; and the Red Sea in its extreme south-west

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Bioenergy education has been one of the spearheads in North Karelia, and overall in Finnish higher education, for years. It is obvious that future growth opportunities are in this field of technology, and the region is supporting the innovations. A network of experts can help businesses with internationalization, and it is important that all efforts are made to promote real business cases and concrete help. Clear milestones for this two-year project are to: »» activate collaboration in North Karelia »» improve skills and networking within the low carbon sector to the Middle East »» realize concrete pilots, leading to more permanent business matches

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↓ Princess Sumaya University for Technology (PSUT) is the only private and non-profit university in Jordan. From the left: Mari Eskelinen-Mäki (Business Development Manager, Envor Protech Ltd.), Harri Mikkonen (Head of Business Services, Karelia UAS), HRH Princess Sumaya bint El Hassan (Chairman of PSUT), Petri Raivo (President and CEO, Karelia UAS), Helena Puhakka-Tarvainen (Senior Project Manager, Karelia UAS).

↓ A field trip to a waste water treatment plant in Al-Fuhays, Jordan. Untreated wastewater sludge is an environmental challenge but has great potential as a fertilizer when treated properly.

FINPETRA FACTS & FIGURES Project duration: August 2017 – December 2019 (2.5 yrs) Funding: European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) Key stakeholders: Business partners, North Karelia Chamber of Commerce, Joensuu Science Park, Development Companies in the Region. Collaboration with Global Education Park Finland and Finpro.

← Eng. Suhaib Ababneh presents a solar-powered biogas production demo at NERC (National Energy Research Center, Amman, Jordan).

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The following meetings consisted of content (that were inspired by their wishes) such as bear watching in Northern America, a camel safari in Egypt, and visiting the depths of the ocean where sea-life swam next to you.

TEXT Riikka Simonen | PHOTOS pixabay.com


he focus of the LUMO2-project is in multi-disciplinary product or service ideas, working with individual companies in the hopes of developing the urban area. The project brings the creative industries and other sectors together. The main objective of the project is, through the projects three themes, to contribute to new emerging products or services. The themes being: multi-sectoral business, new technologies and innovative spaces. Of these three themes, there is technology, and how said technology can change the way we work. By highlighting different technologies to different companies, entrepreneurs, individuals, we are able to introduce an entirely new way of thinking. This was one of the challenges we faced when Pohjois-Karjalan Muisti Ry came to the DigiSote-project and us, and asked what kind of technology they could implement in their everyday work to enrich the lives of their dementia and other memory ill patients. Our solution was to introduce Virtual Reality (VR) to them. We had three separate meetings, each meeting focusing on a different topic and VR machine. The first meeting

consisted of meeting the users and seeing what content they would enjoy. Because none of them had any previous VR experience, we brought with us Samsung’s Gear VR set. By getting a first-hand experience into what VR is, they had an easier time explaining what content they would like to see in the future. They had the possibility to view Canadian forests and experience the size of a dinosaur. These experiences were positive for the participants, and their excitement for the technology grew. At the end of the experience, we asked what kind of experiences they would like to enjoy. Due to their illness, we assumed they would like to experience things they were worried they would forget (for example a walk in a local forest, or scenery from Finland). To our surprise, they all wanted to see content that were things they would never be able to experience anymore, due to their illness. These consisted of seeing the pyramids in Egypt, going scuba diving and seeing different places around the world. This was a shock to us, as we assumed they would want something completely different. This strengthens the notion of asking the customer what they want.

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The following meetings consisted of content (that were inspired by their wishes) such as bear watching in Northern America, a camel safari in Egypt, and visiting the depths of the ocean where sea-life swam next to you. These experiences were done with a more advanced VR set, the HTC Vive. This allows the user to move in real life, allowing them to move in the virtual world. Here we saw how energized the participants felt as they were experiencing these different places for the first time. All of the participants felt it was a positive experience and hoped to be able to use these different VR technologies in the future. They hoped they will invest in some kind of VR technologies to improve the lives of the users. The LUMO2-project continues to develop with companies and entrepreneurs until the end of 2018. We offer: »» Assistance in developing a new product or service »» Sparring experts »» New ideas and new networks from entrepreneurs. From different expert guidance, all the way to up to financial advice.

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Here we saw how energized the participants felt as they were experiencing these different places for the first time.

A bright world.

How will you shape the world? STUDY INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS IN ENGLISH! Bachelor of Business Administration, Degree Programme in International Business The path to a great future is paved with skills and expertise. Karelia University of Applied Sciences is proud to be a part of this development by training skilled professionals. We offer excellent conditions for internationally oriented business students who strive with us to be the experts of the future. At Karelia University of Applied Sciences, all students work closely with local companies and with other educational institutions on exciting research and development projects. Each

student builds a solid grounding in their field throughout their studies. The curriculum is customized to each student’s own preferences and needs, and is supplemented through close contact with prospective employers. A degree from Karelia University of Applied Sciences will give you the professional skills you need for a rewarding future. Choose International Business and become part of the bright world!


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