My International Week in Laurea Kerava

Last week (5-9.11.) Laurea Kerava celebrated the International Week of 2012. Five days of lectures, presentations, workshops, internationalization, socializing and cultural activities.

The week started by honoring the 25 year anniversary of the Erasmus program. Annukka Korvenranta, international coordinator, presented the history of the program. Also, students shared their experiences and gave tips to others who are interested in going on exchange abroad. I could also share in a presentation how the Erasmus program changed my life. How from studying in Greece, I decided to go to The Netherlands and start my adventures studying and working abroad, ending up in Finland. After the presentation I gave a short interview for the local Keski-Uusimaa newspaper about my experience on the Finnish culture, weather and language.

On Wednesday I joined an early dinner with international guests and spent the evening chatting with a very warm and kind guest lecturer from Russia. We exchanged information about our home countries as well as funny stories about travelling misfortunes. It was a very pleasant, relaxing evening.

On Thursday afternoon it was our library’s turn to offer relaxation and entertainment to the guests, staff and students. We organized a get together party in our brand new International Home Base!

International Home Base

The project started in the beginning of 2012 but first steps were taken already during Kerava International Week 2011. It is collaboration between Laurea Kerava Library, the international coordinator, tourism students and a lecturer. Our aim was to create a warm and inviting corner in the library promoting mobility between Laurea and its partner universities around the world.  Starting on September the project became my responsibility. Students and I gathered information on exchange, decorated the corner and organized the opening day.

Focused on promoting internationalization, we tried to collect useful information for both outgoing and incoming exchange students. There is information on Laurea Kerava partner universities alongside with experiences of students who have already been on exchange. Tips on housing and transportation are available too.

We also created a “Guide to Finland” for the incoming exchange and international students. We thought they need information about Laurea’s study programs and Finland. The guide has info on accommodation, public transportation and healthcare. Also some information on leisure activities in the city of Helsinki, Finnish customs and festivals, and trip advices around Helsinki are included.

Opening day

During the official opening on Thursday 8.11 the guests had the chance to participate in fun activities, such as a cultural Bingo game, and socialize over a cup of coffee and a snack. Our international students helped in collecting music from various countries. It created a pleasant atmosphere during the party. There was also a PowerPoint with pictures taken by students from different exchange destinations. Everyone began longing for a trip!

Students demonstrated oriental and African dance in the nearby classroom. Everyone was more than happy to join in the fun and try some dance moves themselves.

It was a very exiting evening for everyone. Our library was filled with happy people exchanging travelling experiences and learning more about each other’s culture. I received positive feedback which showed me the importance of a library as a social place. This made me want to continue developing the International Home Base together with students.

Starting on November 27th until the library closes for Christmas holidays, we invite you to Laurea Kerava Library’s “Coffee Tuesdays”. With some coffee, tea and cookies we’ll fight the Finnish dark and cold afternoons.

Dimitra Panopoulou

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