tiistai 15. lokakuuta 2013

Eramus Staff Training Visit from Fachhochschule Vorarlberg

School of Culture and Creative Industries was hosting an Erasmus staff training visit from our partner school from Austria, Fachhochschule Vorarlberg. Two ladies, Ms Monika Gmeiner and Ms Elisabeth Kloser were on their first Erasmus staff training visit and also first time in Finland. Here are their greetings:
‘Thank you for giving us the opportunity to stay for a staff exchange week at your institution in Helsinki. We enjoyed the stay at your degree programs as well as the impressions got from your handling matters in all respects and giving us a view inside several departments and administration done from your side.

Suomi was very impressive to us, we discovered Helsinki (please see pictures).  We liked the sea as well as the several islands situated off the coast very much. You are glad to live in such a lovely country.’
We hope to see you in Vorarlberg the next time!
 Elisabeth and Monika

These postcard pictures are from Helsinki

sunnuntai 14. huhtikuuta 2013

A Group of Metropolia Students at SaloneSatellite in Milan on 9 – 14 April 2013

The prototypes - Finnish Design

Greetings from Milan!

The prototypes reflect respect for Finnish design traditions seasoned by humour and joy. The models on display include furniture, storage solutions and lamps. Colour is brought to the stand by knitted blankets - convenient to use also as neck support cushions.

Sevedemo a Milano!

Read more. See press release

The Student Group in Milan

perjantai 12. huhtikuuta 2013

Salut de Paris – Metropolia Fashion & Clothing students launched a children’s wear collection in Playtime Paris

Marjatta Viinikainen, Fashion and Clothing Student, Metropolia

Photo: Niina Räisänen ©
Metropolia Fashion & Clothing students created a children’s wear A/W 2013 collection for school-aged kids featuring indoor wear, a few accessories and jackets. The collection was a collaboration with a Finnish children’s brand, Aarrekid. All the designs and marketing material are made by the students, who also handled the production process.

The long-awaited and highly anticipated Aarrekid Junior collection was launched in the Play Time Paris trade show at Parc Floral on January 26 – 28th by the students, and visited by two Metropolia teachers. Playtime Paris is an international trade show dedicated to the children’s universe and it was buzzing with more than 400 international brands and close to 7000 visitors from all around the world.

The work at Playtime started with putting the stand together on the day before so that everything would be ready when the doors opened for visitors the next morning.

Photo: Niina Räisänen ©
The students were working at the stand every day and during these three days the collection was embraced by the press, featured in blogs and it was a well-liked choice for buyers. Altogether almost 3000 international buyers visited Playtime Paris, which made it the biggest one ever. Aarrekid Junior was also one of the few collections whose items were featured in the Playtime trend spaces, what was just the icing on the cake.

To sum up, the atmosphere was very uplifting not only at Parc Floral but also the whole city was full of inspiration just to wander around during free time.

Aarrekid Junior collection will be available next fall 2013 at Aarrekid and selected stores.

maanantai 4. maaliskuuta 2013

A small United Nations but with more harmony

Rebecca Libermann
It is bitterly cold and dark, the language is incomprehensible, and the city unknown, the family far away – for some continents away- and some are stunned by the prices.
Finland is for many exchange students a culture shock. However, not for long. The more than 30 foreign students, which I teach from the Faculty of Culture at the Helsinki Metropolia University of Applied Sciences, have apparently settled in quickly and enjoy the "exotic" of their situation.

In my course Finland close-up, which I teach this winter semester, students from 19 countries and four continents learn from me, what is up with Finland. And they get to know it first hand through many visits to some of the major Finnish institutions and in discussions with their members as well as through lectures on general aspects of Finnish culture, politics and media.

I teach the course, to which I am looking forward to every year, for almost a decade now.  For the first time, I have this year a number of Chinese students, interesting girls and boys. With them in the great mix, there are students from Norway, Italy, Germany, Netherlands, Ireland, Lithuania, Namibia, Ghana, Tanzania, the Czech Republic, Austria, Great Britain, Belgium, Canada, Greece, Spain, Portugal and Poland, a small United Nations, only that there is more harmony.
For me as a teacher, it is each year an exiting, slightly frightening wait to see how the dynamics in the class will work out. Because every time it is different. This year, the class is outstanding. I have super-nice, lively, intelligent and positive students who seem to enjoy their stay in Finland and the school. Not a single troublemaker, grouch, or someone who wants to get his/her credits the easy or even dishonest way. Most years are like that but not all.
Nevertheless, the teaching of such a multinational class is a challenge for me, because not only the students come from so many countries, they also study in the field of culture very different subjects at different campuses. Although the Film&TV department of Metropolia organizes the course, there are also students from the media, music, Pop&Jazz and textile design branches of the school. Some have academic background as the German students from the University of Hanover, while others come from colleges and polytechnic high schools.

And there are other things that I have to deal with as a teacher of such a colorful class like varying English skills, different learning and knowledge backgrounds, wide-ranging  worldviews and socio-economic backgrounds. Then there is the time-management, which varies very much according to the world regions they are coming from. For some, the academic quarter of an hour extends to an hour, while others come always much too early. But this year’s class had only slight slip-ups.
Some students are also somewhat worldly inexperienced and lacking in independence, have not traveled much or are for the first time away from home. Even if I email them a map and draw into it how to get from point A to B, tell them with which tram or bus and to get out at which stop, they run around headless in a complete other part of town phoning me for help not knowing where they are. However, this year, that happened so far only few times.
It is also not easy to grade the essays or projects with which the course ends. Canadian, British, Australian students, for instance, can easily throw together an English essay, but the others struggle. In some countries, the cut-and-paste culture is widely accepted and/or independent thinking frowned upon. But how do you grade something that is totally stolen from Wikipedia or some other source?
For this reason, I lately ask my students for more original projects or group projects where they can cheat less and where speech is less paramount. A year ago, I got inter a.o. a webpage design, a small Finland experience movie, a Finnish fashion guide, a musical discourse on two Finnish composers, a pleasure and learning experience for me and the students.
For me, the course is a big enrichment too because the students teach me just as much as I do teach the students. They bring their individuality and youthful curiosity to the table, let me know about the current state of affairs in their own country or shed a new, from the outside shining light on a row of aspects in Finland.
Finland is for some of them, at first, a book with seven seals, completely exotic. African students, for example, experience snow for the first time. Other students are amazed at how smoothly the traffic works or how few homeless people hanging around on the streets and how the system works and social democracy or freedom of speech or the casual intercourse between teachers or authority figures and students.
In the first weeks, the students are bombarded by so many new things that even the most talkative gets quiet as a mouse and has nothing to ask even the very friendly director of the cable factory (to his astonishment) with whom we wander through the big building. But after a few weeks, the fears, the complete ignorance are overcome and the natural curiosity sets in, so much so, that it gets hard to get them away, for example, from one of the Member of Parliament whose time is limited, but they have so many questions.
Of course, there are also critical voices, mainly from the Central European countries that do not understand why the Finns constantly praise their achievements, use words like “national” and “Finnish” so much. They do not know how young the state is and how big inferiority complex of the Finns was once. It is my job to explain them what is at the core of it.
Another criticism is the lack of contact with the country's population and Finnish fellow students. Often the exchange students keep to themselves, and are left to themselves even in the classes they share with Finnish students. Finns are maybe more shy to meet somebody new than others. On the other hand, it was also like this in my times when I was studying in Lausanne, Switzerland, for a whole summer. Also, there, the foreign students cliqued together.
With some of my course’s students of many years ago, I am still in loose contact. Others have come back for holidaying or even to work here. Most have never regretted coming here for exchange studies as they have told me, but rather bragged about their adventures and told stories of "wild" Lapland. I also had students who have tried to give their own country a shot of Finnish democracy or wanted to learn the secret from the Finnish Foreign Ministry how Finland navigates its relations with Russia. Others were exposed here for the first time to a classical music concert or a contemporary dance rehearsal.
But, of course, students everywhere usually want one thing: Fun! And that they have found here.

Rebecca Libermann
Journalist, lecturer

keskiviikko 23. tammikuuta 2013

The Survival of the Fittest

Tuire Ranta-Meyer

In my last blog (Dec 3, 2012) I mentioned that the most wide-spread presumption of Finland is it being a country with a very severe climate. That’s why I was amused to read the Helsingin Sanomat columnist Cristopher Sloan, originally a Frenchman, writing about the same topic two weeks later (Dec 17) under the title Surviving in the Cold .

Sloan told how impressed he was by the Finns when moving to Finland. They seemed all, without an exception, to be extremely well equipped for the winter season. It would be hard, he said, to convince a Frenchman to wear a woollen stocking cap as he wouldn’t take any risk of looking silly. The Finns, in opposition, would have no difficulty to  dress in a full winter outfit: a warm beanie, gloves, a scarf, pullover, a thermo baselayer, a waterproof  parka, a windstopper pant, woollen socks - and a reflector to help the drivers to see you in the traffic.

My German parents in law always used to say that they have never experienced anywhere else such warm houses and apartments as in Finland. For them it was very exotic to see us being barefoot at home with 20 degrees below zero outsides. Sloan has excactly the same notion: “The truth is that it is much warmer for me here in Finland than it was in France in the winter. In France, the radiators were often out of order and the windows couldn’t be closed properly.” In Finland you have three-layered window glasses, an extra door behind the frontdoor to keep the warmth inside and maximum temperature in the radiators even if nobody would use the room.

There are, still, some similarities between Finns and Frenchmen. According to Sloan, when it is freezing cold in France, people tend to say again and again to themselves that the suffering will be over in a couple of weeks. Here in Finland I use to think likewise, but in months: “After two months the snow is going to melt, after one month there will be considerebly more daylight, in a three months time I can start biking to my working place again etc.”

I’m pretty sure that the ability to dream of better times has been the most important factor in the survival of the fittest.  

maanantai 14. tammikuuta 2013

Tervetuloa Suomeen - Welcome to Finland!

Tia-Maria Sjöblom & Marika Antikainen

The School of Culture and Creative Industries had a great start to the New Year 2013 with the arrival of a record-breaking number of new incoming exchange students. In the spring semester, altogether 45 students will be studying different fields of culture on the Tikkurila and Helsinki campuses. Six of these students are already experts in the Metropolia life after having spent also the autumn semester here, continuing for the spring, and 39 are new students, currently experiencing their first exciting days abroad.

The exchange students arrived to their new home country during the first days of the year, with a surprisingly warm weather, around +2 C, and a light rain. The students were welcomed by their student tutors at the airport and helped to their apartment for the first good night’s sleep in Finland. 

The official programme of the semester began on January 3rd with the incoming exchange students’ orientation, held together with the field of technology. We, the international coordinators, together with the wonderful volunteer student tutors helped the newcomers to settle in and to get familiar with Metropolia, Helsinki and Finnish culture. All students were excited about their spring on exchange and motivated to dig deeper into Finland. For example, despite the long and intensive orientation days packed with important information, they still found the energy to learn the basic vocabulary of Finnish: kiitos (thank you), moi (hello) and moi moi (bye bye) and so on. Their pronunciation was excellent already on the first try!

We had a great time with the students and we wish to spend an excellent semester with them. 
 It only begins now! Welcome, tervetuloa!

Tia-Maria and Marika
International coordinators
School of Culture and Creative Industries

tiistai 8. tammikuuta 2013

My exchange life in Finland

Chen Li
20 years old
Metropolia exchange student from 2012 to 2013
From Donghua University in Shanghai China
Majoring Fashion and Clothing

What a luck that I am an exchange student in Finland, in Helsinki Metropolia. Sometimes I say this to myself. Life here is so great! I love Finland.

I will never forget 17th August, of 2012, I was with what a kind of mood to say goodbye to my parents and then go into the security check without looking back. I knew that I was strong enough to start a new life in a foreign country. And I promise I will enjoy the time there and to be better me.

More than ten hours of flight, I cannot imagine the place waiting for me. Nordic countries are a magic place for the majority of people. Same to me.

So far, I have been living in Finland for three months. It was special, wonderful and amazing. I saw many nice things, went to famous places, visited museums, went to fashion shows with friends, joined the 2012 Helsinki Design Capital Week, had friends from different countries, learned some Finnish and so on.

My major is Fashion and Clothing, and all the equipment and machines are quite good and the classrooms are so nice. Teachers and students are very kind to me, and always explain things to me. My study group has only six students and the professor always give us enough space to design clothes we want.

The university's courses are not too many, so I still have time to go around to know more about Finland. I love to take the camera, wandering on the streets, aimlessly to explore the original Finland.

So lucky I came here in 2012 , the year Helsinki is the World Design Capital, there are many shows and exhibitions in city, and at the same time in Shanghai China, there are some shows from Finland. Metropolia had exhibitions, workshops and presentations and seminar in Donghua University in Shanghai (My school). 26 Finnish students and professors travelled to Shanghai for the event. It was a big success.

I was honored to join in the preparations of the event, and I could eg. organize the Donghua students' organization to assist the exhibition. In this work, I met the Dean of the Faculty and other professors, they are easy-going and I learned a lot from them, also we became good friends after the exhibition week.

I have had here the chance to travel with friends in other Nordic countries: Sweden, Norway and Denmark. And also Estonia and Latvia. They are so great with natural view or historic things. I love them! These are unique experiences and I will certainly explore still more European countries.

I am now living here, I have learned how to cook, how to take care of myself, learned to enjoy life, learned to change the mood into a Nordic way. I even tried the Christmas in Finland style. I have been here for 4 months, and I wonder what will happen in the following 6 months? Let us see it!

At the end, I need to say that we are having the dark winter season now, but I am not afraid of it at all, because in this gorgeous country I have friends, and have nice things to do end to seek. I love it here!

A Very Happy New Year!

Chen Li