The CIDD’s Secretary-General Associate Professor Jana Blštáková from The University of Economics in Bratislava visited another CIDD member, Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences in Helsinki, Finland in January 2023, and shares her teacher exchange experience.
The purpose of the exchange was to co-teach one of the courses in the Human Resource Management Major of the Bachelor’s Degree Programme in International Business. My teaching was arranged as an intensive week for the theoretical part, followed by practical content in online sessions with Anita Pösö, the principal teacher of the “Leadership” course.
Coming from Central Europe to Helsinki in early January was a weather-related challenge. Helsinki is one of the cities of the North, that has beauty supporting the function of the city to its people. Scandinavian architecture and design, are in harmony with surrounding nature. I was warmly welcomed to Haaga-Helia and provided with a schedule of meetings for every day of my stay, which made the time spend abroad even more fruitful. Also, I was provided with access to everything a teacher needs for work, including good coffee.
I had 36 students in the classroom, some of them international students and most from Finland. Despite the teaching being scheduled as an evening class, they all were responsive and curious. Students wanted to show off a little, and some of them even amazed with an advanced understanding of the presented topic. There was also little of competing in delivering a great performance on the final assignment. Having teachers come from abroad seems to be one of the incentives to draw students’ attention to learning.
In addition to teaching, I had the opportunity to meet with Haaga-Helia’s staff members. I had a discussion with Anna Hankimaa, degree director, on the newly structured International Business curricula, achievements in the European University Alliance ULYSSEUS, and the challenges of the digital era to university education.
During a meeting with Principal Lecturer Sirpa Lassila, I got to hear about project-related cooperation between the UAS and businesses. Haaga-Helia has been strongly involved in the recovery of small and medium enterprises from the pandemic, especially those which are providing services in the field of event management. The UAS has also been building strong foundations for ecosystem development, involving SME’s, organizations, the city, and of course students.
I also had the chance to talk to representatives of the International office. We exchanged a lot of valuable information on our mutual exchange of teachers, staff and students. We shared some good practices on the enhancement of teacher exchange as well as encouragement for students to study abroad. For those visiting Helsinki, I recommend to bring running shoes, a swimming suit and curiosity.
Image: Jana Blštáková (on the right) with Anita Pösö, co-teacher of the “Leadership” course.