Virtual international study trip through Finland and Estonia
The extra activities for the stay were compiled over several weeks. Visits were planned to selected companies and institutions such as Nokia, Kone, the harbor, and the University of Helsinki – just to name a few. The grand finale of the one-week international study trip for the part-time study program International Business Studies ptB.17 would have been an outing to Tallin. But then the trip was started virtually from home.
First destination: Helsinki
Right from the beginning, the group of students was enthused about the northern culture and the opportunity to see northern lights. Fortunately, a fellow student who is Finnish was able to familiarize her fellow students first-hand with the country in spite of the digital barrier. Because of their time studying together, the students were already aware of stories about Finland as well as comparisons to Austria. At the work level, the student gave insights into Nokia’s broad range of products and gave an introduction to the way people live in Finland.
COVID-19 as a sixth semester challenge
The measures that were taken also affected this study program. Social distancing quickly led to the fact that lectures changed from analog mode to digital mode and are still continued this way. In spite of the quick shift to distance learning, the part-time student group was able to adjust quickly. After the initial weekends, all participants were dealing with the new situation well. After weeks of worrying and considering, it suddenly became clear that because of the measures that were taken the extensively planned international study trip would also fall through or an alternative solution would have to be found. This is why the group of students decided to take the one-week international study trip virtually from home.
Trip planning and taking the digital international study trip
The digital trip to Helsinki and Tallin started with the idea of making mutual experiences and with the plan to take the actual trip as soon as it could be taken without limitations. The students worked meticulously in the preparation phase and everyone invested a lot of time in researching and developing creative ideas to enable their fellow students to get a real impression of the capital cities of Finland and Estonia in spite of the digital trip. With presentations that included a wealth of information, videos, and interactive quizzes, this digital international study trip had everything that was necessary to become as familiar as possible with the cities of Helsinki and Tallin.
The students worked on various topics related to Finland or Estonia and presented them as part of an all-day virtual session. This gave everyone detailed insights into things like the peculiarities of the Finnish forestry industry, the long tradition and sustainability of the paper industry, the craft beer culture, and the colorful fashion label Marimekko. Other topics were how Finland is dealing with the corona crisis, the globally operating KONE Group, Finland’s progressive approach to digitizing many areas of people’s lives, the global brand Nokia, the background of human centric lightning, the peculiarities of the Finnish language, the e-residency start up initiative in Estonia, and the importance of tourism in Finland. All of these topics were garnished with a lot of interesting facts & figures.
Some students are already looking forward to the opportunity to build on their current experiences and to visit the cities live. The social interaction and events will be made up for by a make-up paper as soon as the situation allows this. The make-up paper will focus on social interaction, Finnish customs, and team building. Let’s all follow the Finnish motto: Jaettu ilo on kaksinkertainen ilo – a shared joy is double the joy.