Unlocking New Learning Opportunities through International Cooperation

TEXT | Teemu Myllylä
Permalink http://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi-fe2024052940877

The collaboration between industries, companies and universities across borders has opened plenty of new learning opportunities for students and teachers alike. One such collaboration exists between Vaasa University of Applied Sciences from Finland and AVANS University of Applied Sciences from s´Hertogenbosch, the Netherlands offering joint courses on Sustainable Business Solutions. In this program students get to experience their (possibly) first exchange period of one week  and new academic learning environment. As part of the flagship course Project Assignment students also learn to work together in multicultural teams and get to experience the positive effects and the challenges of the cultural diversity.

This long-lasting collaboration allows students to find new, interesting knowledge while experiencing the difference in teaching methods between Finland and the Netherlands. By participating in these joint courses, students as well as the teachers not only gain a deeper understanding of their chosen field of study/teaching but also develop invaluable cross-cultural communication skills essential for success in today’s globalized job market. While the studies at VAMK are to some extent multicultural by nature, due to the increasing number of collaborations between the Finnish students and our international students, in Avans, those opportunities are still today, rather limited to international collaborations. Both parties gain huge benefits from the collaboration while looking to develop further possibilities for their students, teachers, and other staff members as well.

Moreover, studying in two educational systems with a real-life business case provides students a well-rounded combination of academic knowledge and business-centric problem solving, focusing on creativity, critical thinking and as the Minor’s name indicates Creating Sustainable Business Solutions. The exchange of ideas and experiences between Finnish and Dutch students creates a dynamic learning environment that encourages collaboration and mutual growth. And while the group work is not always just a walk in the park, students have been extremely happy that they have managed to find solutions to their challenges (in assignments and group work), develop their cooperation and management skills and share as well as utilize their knowledge with their new group mates. Sometimes these groups work have formed a base for lifelong friendships that, of course, are the most valuable things from such cooperations. And the cooperation as well as those friendships you develop are something we have built between the teachers both internally at VAMK as well as between our universities.

In conclusion, the key finding of this partnership goes beyond academic achievements. The meaningful relationships formed between individuals from different backgrounds is equally, if not more important, than the knowledge gained. These connections enrich the lives of everyone involved, fostering a sense of unity, and understanding in an increasingly diverse world. Here “at VAMK, we are constantly looking for new possibilities to expand the international offering for our staff and students. If you are interested in joining  this path and starting “Unlocking New Learning Opportunities”, for yourself or your organisation feel free to contact us, and let’s build the future together.  

Related articles