Five meaningful and insightful days at SeAMK Virtual International Week gathered more than 200 guests worldwide

Virtual Zoom meeting on screen and a cup of coffee on the table.

The current worldwide situation, coloured by the COVID-19 pandemic, made us at Seinäjoki University of Applied Sciences take a digital leap in our concept of organizing international weeks. Last week we organized our first Virtual International Week.

More than 200 people from 40 countries and from more than 100 different organisations signed up for the International Week. During 15 – 19 February 2021, the participants from different locations around the world took part in the online programme according to their personal interests and schedules. Face-to-face meetings have more personal touch and effect, but the virtual week supported the themes ’Sustainability and Digitalization’.

During the Virtual International Week, we all had opportunities to

  • attend expert presentations on up-to-date topics
  • have interesting discussions and active interaction, especially in different workshops
  • learn to know each other and to learn from each other, expand our networks with new colleagues round the globe
  • gain insights how higher education institutions can support sustainable development goals
  • discuss new future collaboration opportunities

International week supported our efforts in many fronts

During the week, we had wonderful opportunities to hear SeAMK professionals and guest speakers from the European Commission, The Finnish National Agency for Education and SeAMK’s partner institutions and networks. Different workshops gave opportunities for interesting discussions.

The framework and content of the International Week linked education and RDI. This corresponded well with SeAMK’s RDI, in which we have a distinctly practical emphasis on serving teaching and supporting regional development, in particular SMEs. More detailed information and videos about our RDI profile areas can be found here:

SeAMK strategy strongly emphasizes the importance of internationalization and of multiplying capabilities through international cooperation. One of our priorities is well-functional and successful partnerships and networks on all continents. During times like this, we wish to keep up the good partnerships, and therefore we were happy to offer you, our International Partners, this possibility to visit SeAMK online. We were also happy that so many of you accepted this invitation. This week supported our efforts in many fronts: RDI, mobility exchange, language and cross-cultural communications.

Incoming and outgoing student, teacher and staff mobilities are a constant part of SeAMK’s operations. More than 30 lectures given by visiting professors and guest lecturers gave our students and staff excellent opportunities to expand their perspectives and knowledge based on international approaches. The International Week also commenced the virtual intensive course for nursing students at SeAMK and Tokyo Medical and Dental University in Japan.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts

We had an idea it would be nice to gather some thoughtsrom our international guests. Those are now shared on our blog site “Greetings from our partners”

“This was my first contact with SeAMK. Following the interesting exchange of ideas both during the lecture and at the roundtable in the afternoon, I look forward to future fruitful cooperation with SeAMK in new projects that would target innovative teaching methods and competence development”, says professor Aleksander Zidanšek from Faculty of Natural Sciences and Mathematics at University of Maribor.

Lecturer Sophia Gruner from Fontys University thinks there is so much to learn and to share in cooperation.

“We often assume that the others see the world as we do. We often assume that we’re all the same and that is not true, to put it that boldly.  Intercultural work gives us the opportunity to explore the beautiful commonalities and differences in culture and it broadens our perspectives. There’s so much to learn and to share in cooperation. I think that international partnerships, teaching exchanges and also student mobility can create strong feeling of purpose.”

Jolanta Preidiené, Head of International Office at Vilniaus kolegija / University of Applied Sciences, has years of experience working with SeAMK.

“SeAMK and VIKO started the cooperation more than 20 years ago. The maturity of partnership allows to know and fully trust each other. It’s always a great pleasure to meet and talk to SeAMK colleagues, to exchange ideas and thoughts and be fully aware that we understand each other. Dare to say that we have stepped over the formal cooperation stage already a long time ago.”

We at SeAMK warmly thank you for your participation. You all made our International Week! We hope to intensify our collaboration with you in education and RDI.