Erasmus Report - University of Tampere Semester 1 August-December 2015

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1 Erasmus Report - University of Tampere Semester 1 August-December 2015 Johan Heidemans S University of Groningen International Business

2 General Report 1. Host institution and exact dates of semester abroad My host institution was the University of Tampere in Tampere, Finland. My study period lasted from the 24th of August until the 16th of December, Contact with home faculty, preparation and journey The preparation process went rather smoothly, as there was not much to be done before I left. I had to provide my first three preferences regarding locations and a short motivation in the online application forms. My second choice was selected, which was Tampere, a statement of purpose was required to explain why I preferred to study in Tampere but I don t think this was useful or important. The information the University of Tampere provided was very useful and their coordinator was very quick with responding to any questions which was excellent. I based my choice of courses on the information which was provided on the website of the University and on previous experiences from other students. Make sure you pass all of your courses when you are on exchange, otherwise this could lead to pretty big problems, keep this in mind when choosing additional courses except from the 30 credits program. I did not have a lot of contact with my home university while I was abroad, except for one time when I wanted to change a course which was not a problem and arranged rather quickly. My journey started on the 20 th of August when I flew to Tampere from Schiphol, Amsterdam. My flight was rather expensive so I advise to search for cheaper flights then I did, this will save you a lot of money which you can spend on the various trips you will certainly make in your semester abroad. I flew from Amsterdam to Helsinki and then from Helsinki to Tampere, Amsterdam-Helsinki took about 2,5 hours and Helsinki-Tampere lasted for about half an hour. I advise to take the train from Helsinki, this will also save you money. 3. Residence abroad - Arrangements visa / residence permit I had to arrange a passport before I left because I wanted to go to Russia during my stay, and in Russia you will need a passport or visa. Make sure to check this before you leave! - Arrival and departure dates I arrived on the 20 th of August and I left on the 23 rd of December, I left rather late as my courses already ended on the 16 th of December. But I did not know this beforehand, therefore I booked a flight back on the 23 rd. On the 24 th of August the introduction week started, a friend of my tutor picked me and another Dutch girl up from the bus station in Tampere, because my tutor was in the Netherlands at the time I arrived. She gave me my keys for my apartment and directed me to my new home. She was really kind and when I had any questions I could contact her. As I already mentioned my courses ended on the 16 th, after that me and my friends had some goodbye parties and after that, basically everybody left, this was rather sad because me and some other Dutchies from Groningen left on the 23 rd and by then there was almost nobody left. - Finances / how much did the exchange cost you! My exchange was rather expensive, but this really depends on your spending behavior. My parents provided me with rather extensive funds and therefore I was able to do a lot of trips and do a lot of really cool and fun stuff. I don t think it s necessary to provide exact amounts as this really depends

3 on what you like to do and how much money you are willing to spend. Keep in mind, Finland is a rather expensive country, especially regarding alcohol but also normal groceries are more expensive than in most countries. - Accommodation During my stay I lived in a dorm room which was provided by the housing organizations TOAS. This is the housing organizations for exchange students. There were several dorms, I lived in Lapinkaari, which was about 4km (20min walk for the students who like to go out), from the city center. The rooms in Lapinkaari were all identical, about 12m2 including a bathroom with a shower and toilet, fridge and microwave. All the kitchens were shared between the other exchange students, in total there were +100 other students in the dorm. This was a great opportunity to meet all kinds of interesting and amazing people. The dorms also have sauna s and most of them also have a gym, mine didn t because they were still working on it. My gym opened around the first of December. I would recommend applying for a room very soon, as I would prefer to live in the City complex rather than Lapinkaari, and the rooms are divided on a first come first served basis. - Reception and introduction The host university was very helpful regarding all the arrangements that had to be made during my stay. The only thing that irritated me was my tutor, because he was really lazy regarding contacting me and another Dutch girl. The most tutors were really active and helpful regarding their tutees, but mine which was also the tutor of another Dutch girl almost never contacted us. By the time he really wanted to make contact with us we already figured out most of the things we wanted to know beforehand. Therefore, I didn t put any effort into meeting him. This was the only negative thing about my stay, the other university staff and teachers were all very helpful regarding any questions or problems that could occur. Also their responses on s were very quick and extensive. - Student life, culture and leisure The student life in Tampere, as well as the city itself was comparable to Groningen. This is because you also live together with a lot of other students, which I enjoyed very much. There are always plenty of people to hang out with. There are a lot of pubs and clubs which are opened almost every day and often organize special student parties which are a lot cheaper than the regular parties. The Finnish culture is pretty hard to explain, Finnish people are just generally a little strange to be honest. In Tampere there are a lot of students, which is a really nice fact because this makes the students parties a little more interesting, partying will teach you the real Finnish student culture. - Language (of instruction) During my stay I tried to complete a Finnish survival course, which teaches you the basic words and sentences in Finnish to help you in daily life. However, this is not really necessary, as almost everyone spoke English rather well. I never encountered any major difficulties regarding communication. 4. Grant - Amount I received the regular Erasmus grant for studying in Finland, which was about 270 euros per month. - Information on the adequacy of the grant The grant only partially covered my expenses, as Finland is one of the most expensive countries in Europe and therefore I recommend to increase your student loan or to bring savings. - Expenses abroad (living, visa and health check costs, food, travelling,

4 vaccinations etc.) students always want to know this! My largest expenses were in the beginning of my stay, as the deposits for your room and cutlery etc have to be paid. As well as the expenses for your student card. The trips that are arranged by the ESN can also be booked at the beginning of the semester. This will seriously increase your expenses! I therefore seriously recommend to bring enough money especially for the beginning of your stay. I don t think its necessary to provide exact amounts but I did spend a lot of money, especially on the various trips and flights from home and back. These are things you can save money on, if you arrange this in an organized way, something that I didn t do. 5. Study (general) - Introduction, general advice, etc. - In the beginning of the semester, the university offers an introductory course, which lasts for a week. I would recommend to join this course, as you already meet a lot of people and it s much easier to find your way around campus and other things, e.g. how to enroll for courses, usage of the library, where to have lunch etc. - I recommend to thoroughly check whether the courses you want to take are still offered by the university, all of the courses I wanted to do were offered, but other students had to change their courses as these were not offered anymore. - If you are not used to having an extensive lunch in the afternoon, I recommend changing your eating behavior while you re in Finland. This is because the university offers really good and variated warm lunches until 3/4 p.m. The lunches are very cheap if you use your student card, which is always a good thing for a student. The food was of a pretty good quality as well. - The grading system is different from the one we use in the Netherlands. In Finland you don t get a grade if you fail a course. You just get a fail. When you pass a course, you get a grade on a scale from 1 to 5, with 5 being the highest and 1 the lowest. A 1 is translated into a 6 in Groningen, a 2 will become a 7, 3 will be an 8 and a 4&5 will become a 9. In addition, for some courses you will only get a pass or fail, no further grade. - Dates of beginning and end of lecture series and examination period The study year is divided in 4 blocks. Period I (31-Aug Oct-2015) Period II (19-Oct Dec-2015) Period III (11-Jan Mar-2016) Period IV (7-Mar May-2016) The blocks are relatively short compared to Groningen, but in Tampere one will experience more lectures per week. So, in the end, the courses in Groningen and Tampere will have a comparable amount of lecture-hours. - Remarks on the organization of the study program The organization is very well executed, regarding the whole study abroad program. On Moodle (the online learning platform in Finland, comparable to Nestor) all the information regarding the courses can be found. And if you still encounter any problems, the staff is always willing to help you out.

5 - Level of education language problems? The overall level of education was pretty high, not as hard as in Groningen but relatively comparable. I did not encounter any language problems as all the professors were really fluent in English. - Study facilities/ International Office abroad The study facilities are great, there are always computers available for study and other usage. Also the library always has a free spot for studying. There is also a relaxation room called Oasis, which has a Playstation 4 & 3 and Xbox One and 360, these are really nice to use when you and your friends have some free time. The International Office has limited opening hours, but their staff can always be contacted per . They are really helpful. - Summary of subjects taken. Here I will provide an overview of the courses I took during my stay in Tampere. The details can be find in the specific report. Orientation Course 2ECTS Service Marketing 5 ECTS United States Congress and Legislative-executive Relationship in American Foreign Policy Decisionmaking 5 ECTS Fighting Against Social Injustices and Human Rights Violations 5 ECTS (lasted for two periods) Business Models 5 ECTS Responsible business and social accounting 5 ECTS Organisational Dynamics & Change Management 5 ECTS Total 32 ECTS, from which 30 are acknowledged in Groningen 6. Other relevant info you want to share with our future exchange students If you want to book a trip or a hostel etc. Make sure you bring a credit card, otherwise you will have to arrange others to pay for you, which is not practical. 7. Summary impression of the study period abroad and any advice/suggestions/tips for students or academic staff who will be involved with the host institution in the future My time in Tampere was one of the best experiences in my life. I made a lot of international friends, got some good grades and did some of the best trips of my life, for example the one to Lapland at the end of the semester. This is really a once-in-a-lifetime experience which I can recommend to everyone. If you have any more questions, feel free to contact me at: Specific Report Orientation Course 2 ECTS PASS (doesn t count in Groningen)

6 The orientation course was from August the 24th until Friday the 30th. This course was especially for new exchange students. During this course lectures were given about arranging things after arriving and information about courses and the university. Also some tours around the university were given. It was useful but also without you can easily learn how things go by yourself or hear from others or from their website. KKSUSC Survival course Finnish 1. Host institution and study period The course was given by the University of Tampere in the period from 2 September October Lectures and literature Lectures: Two tutorials of two hours per week. Literature: A syllabus and some papers handed out by the teacher. 3. Overview of lecture program After successful completion of the course students know the foundations of Finnish pronunciation and can use and understand short and simply-structured Finnish expressions that concern some of the most common matters and situations related to everyday life (telling their names, buying and paying, telling the time, food). Before each lecture there was homework to do or words to learn. Homework didn t cost much time but especially the studying of words and sentences for small tests were time consuming. We also had to write a small essay about ourselves for additional points for your final grade. 4. Contents Studying the basics of the Finnish language Structural exercises Pronunciation exercises Conversational exercises Listening comprehension exercises 5. Lecture-related activities A written exam, a small essay about yourself, writing exercises, Finnish conversations and games during the lectures. 6. Relevance to Groningen study program This course is not related to the Groningen study program and also not comparable

7 to any course I have had here. It was not necessarily to do but I liked to obtain a bit knowledge about the Finnish language and culture. Lectures: 26 hours Independent work: 28 hours Studying exam: 0 hours, as I did not take the exam because the exam was on the same date as another course, which was more important. The homework we had was not difficult. We often had to learn words and sentences for small vocabulary tests and the classes were compulsory. Because of this the study load was pretty high for only 2 credits but I do regret it and would not recommend it, except if you re really interested in the language. Lecturer: Tiina Nahkola ECTS: 2 Grade: FAIL KATMAA13 Service Marketing 1. Host institution and study period The course was given by the University of Tampere at the School of Management in the period from 2 September September Lectures and literature Lectures: Two lectures of two or three hours per week. Literature: Two books and the sheets of the lectures. 3. Overview of lecture program During the course the student learns to recognize the importance of the service mindset in contemporary marketing. The student is able to use service insights in practice in different business and organizational contexts. The student acknowledges the role of the customer in value creation. The teacher told us about the main point during the lectures. Four of the five questions of the final written exam could be found in the lecture sheets. The exam was made up of five question for each

8 question you had to write a long answer. 4. Contents The course was about services and it s marketing and connection between different parts of the process. The aim was to get a better understanding of the service logic and service-based business models. 5. Lecture-related activities Written exam. The lectures were sometimes interactive. 6. Relevance to Groningen study program I didn t have a course that was comparable to this one, because the marketing course I had was focusing on product marketing. This course was all about service so a good complement for the study program. Lectures: 20 hours Studying exam: 20 hours The lectures were not compulsory but it was advisable to go there since the main points were discussed here and they were important for the exam. You can also get a bonus by attending the lectures. I underestimated the exam but with a common sense and studying the most important things you could easily pass this course. Lecturer: Sonja Lahtinen ECTS: 5 Grade: 3 (8 in Groningen) United States Congress and Legislative-executive Relationship in American Foreign Policy Decisionmaking 1.Host Institution and study period The course was provided by the University of Tampere and lasted from 8-Sep Oct Lectures and literature There were two, two-hour lectures per week, in which the teacher explained about recent and past events in the US Congress etc. 3.Overview of lecture program Besides the lectures, there was a final assignment in one had to write a paper about a bill which will be or was introduced to the US Senate and or House of Representatives. We had to discuss who

9 issued the bill and whether we thought this bill would become a law or not and why this was the case. After writing the papers we had to present the outcomes to the class and the grade was based on the combination of the paper and the presentation. 4.Contents The course aimed to develop the student s understanding how the US congress works and how people are elected in the Senate etc. Also we had to investigate how introduced bills become laws and which measures are linked to this. 5.Lecture-related activities Besides the lectures, there was not much to study. The teacher provided some useful links to websites which provided us with useful information about the various bills and laws and different parties and important people. 6.Relevance to study program in Groningen This course was not at all relevant for my program in Groningen, but I found it quite interesting and useful. Beforehand I was fairly interested in the electional processes in the USA, and this course helped me to improve my knowledge and insights. There were 4 hours of lectures per week, which was sufficient to gain a deeper understanding of the course material. The paper took about 4 hours and the presentation only had to last for 5 minutes, so this was not a lot of work. Lecturer: Teemu Mäkinen Grade: 4 (9 in Groningen) ECTS:5 Business Models 1. Host institution and study period University of Tampere 20-Oct Dec Lectures and literature There were 2 introductory lectures where relevant material was provided, the rest of the lectures were spent on presentations 3. Overview of lecture program Besides the 2 introductory lectures, you had to form subgroups and make a presentation, individually, within the group, about a start-up company. In addition to that, you also had to make a paper about three other start-up companies that were presented by other students. 4. Contents

10 The course aims to develop the participants' abilities in business model development. The course emphasizes analyzing both the revenue generation capacity as well as the growth potential of various businesses. This is achieved by studying numerous business models of many real life companies from various angles and points of view. 5. Lecture-related activities This would be the presentations and the paper. 6. Relevance to Groningen study program There have been different courses in Groningen which have briefly touched upon the workings and the structure of businesses, but this course went deeper, so that added to my existing knowledge. The lectures were 4 hours, preparing the presentation took also about 4 hours, and the same was the case for the paper we had to write. Lecturer: Kari Lohivesi Grade: 4 (9 in Groningen) 9. Added Value As said, it helped a lot with building upon the basic knowledge of business models. ECTS:5 Fighting against Social Injustices and Human Rights Violations 1.Host Institution and study period The course was provided by the University of Tampere and lasted from 14-Sep Nov Lectures and literature There was a lecture once in about every three weeks, which variated from a two to three-hour lecture. In total there were 12 lecture hours. 3.Overview of lecture program The course was divided into 4 themes and for each theme there was a different exercise, mostly essay a-like papers. These four exercises all made up for 25% of the final grade for the course. 4.Contents The course aimed to develop the student s understanding about the nexus between law, politics and development, how to identify connections between legal obligations, international relations and global social development. And also to discuss issues relating law, international relations and global social development.

11 5.Lecture-related activities Besides the lectures, there was a lot of individual work. All the information and material regarding the assignments could be found on Moodle. 6.Relevance to study program in Groningen This course was not very relevant to my program in Groningen, but it was really interesting to learn about how commercial companies affect the world around them and in which ways. Also learning about various wars and other criminal actions in the world was interesting. As the group which participated in the course was so variated regarding cultures, I learned a lot of new insights. As already mentioned, besides the lectures, there was a lot of individual work. In total I believe I spend about 120 hours of web-based work on all the assignments, which were online group work/discussion, essay and blog writing. Lecturer: Tarja Seppä Grade: 3 (8 in Groningen) ECTS:5 Organisational Dynamics & Change Management 1.Host Institution and study period The course was provided by the University of Tampere and lasted from 22-Oct Dec Lectures and literature There was a two-hour lecture every week. In total there were 22 lecture hours. 3.Overview of lecture program The lectures consisted of overviews of various theories regarding organizational change dynamics and the managerial issues regarding those theories. 4.Contents The course aimed to develop different theoretical viewpoints regarding organizations. Contents in the course are analyses of organizational structures and the suitableness of these structures with different strategies, tasks and challenges from the organization s direct environment. 5.Lecture-related activities Besides the lectures, the course was divided into themes for which there were various articles which had to be studied. The exam is not in a written format but an electronic exam, which has to be typed on one of the computers in the electronic examination area. One has to choose 2 out of 5 questions and answer these in an essay-type of answer. 6.Relevance to study program in Groningen

12 The course was relevant to my study program in Groningen in the following ways. Firstly, I have already learned a lot of organizational theories regarding organizational change and learning behaviors. This course was a good addition to my existing knowledge. The study load was relatively high, as you have to read and study the articles that the teacher will provide through Moodle. These articles are quite extensive and some are difficult to understand, but I spend about 4 hours reading and understanding per article. There were about 6 articles so this brings the total study load to about 24 hours, excluding lecture slides and the exam, which took 4 hours. Lecturer: Klaus Af Ursin Grade: 5 (9 in Groningen) ECTS:5 Responsible Business & Social Accounting 1.Host Institution and study period The course was provided by the University of Tampere and lasted from 20-Oct Nov Lectures and literature There was a four-hour lecture/tutorial every week. The literature consisted of a book about Corporate Responsibility and other assigned materials. 3.Overview of lecture program The lectures consisted of overviews of various issues regarding Corporate Social Responsibility and how large corporations account for these issues. The lecture groups were divided into sub-groups which had to make a group assignment before every lecture. These assignments also had to be presented. In the end we had to do a final group assignment and an written exam to conclude the course. 4.Contents The course aimed to develop different theoretical viewpoints regarding the roles of accounting and corporate reporting within CSR and sustainability. The principles of social accounting will be presented and how these are communicated to stakeholders. Also the student s deeper understanding of social performance and the impacts of business are developed. 5.Lecture-related activities As already mentioned, besides the lectures we had to do group-based assignments and presentations, which also were a part of the final grade for the course. 6.Relevance to study program in Groningen The course was relevant to my study program in Groningen as many of my previous courses in Groningen discussed issues regarding Corporate Social Responsibility, but this course was a good

13 addition as it provided me with deeper knowledge than just the basic theories that I had learned in Groningen. The study load was relatively high, as we had to prepare a group assignment before every tutorial, also the tutorials took quite a while. This made it relatively hard to stay focused during the classes. Maybe dividing it in two, two-hour sessions would be more useful. The total study load was about 120 hours I think in total, including group work and studying for the exam. Lecturer: Johanna Heiskanen Grade: 4 (9 in Groningen) ECTS:5

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