Project course adds variety to studies

Niina Tenhio

Niina Tenhio is a young lady who always welcomes a challenge. At the moment, she is a group mentor in the University of Helsinki.

Niina Tenhio wanted to be among the first teachers to start with the project course. Their goal was to provide students good and concrete advice for working life.

“This is a priceless opportunity for students. At the same time, we wanted to make working life more accessible and offer information on working in companies. “

The project itself was demanding. Students were allowed to highlight their own personal skills. University students experienced difficulties when cooperating with students from the polytechnics. Niina says that at first communication and unclear division of work posed problems.

After initial difficulties, international students got well by with both university and polytechnic students, perhaps thanks to their different experiences, motivation and age difference. According to Niina, international students did their part well, even if some slipped a little now and then. The Finnish students were connected by a common language, and the results of the project strengthened their team spirit. “We wanted to make it as good as possible so that it wouldn’t look like a student project.”

“The students taking this course have to be committed. A bold and positive attitude carries far in many situations.”

International students from two different institutions of higher education participated in the project course: the Aleksanteri Institute of the University of Helsinki and the Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences. Some were graduate students, some exchange students. Niina sighs and says that the schedule of the teachers was very tight. “Matching schedules with all the students was a challenge for the teachers.”

Niina says that they are organizing a similar project course the next autumn with the Tampere University of Applied Sciences. Plans for the project will be carried out as distance learning in order to prepare the students for the upcoming course. “The students need to learn independent working skills. That is actually the most practical thing one can teach regarding working life”, Niina continues.

“If our plans work out, the model will be implemented in the Tampere University of Applied Sciences and the Aleksanteri Institute. A project course means more work for the teachers. It will be necessary to allocate a few hours per week for the teachers who make the course happen.

“I would like to advise the participating students to consider how to use their time efficiently. A well-organized plan leads to efficient results. The project course is not a playground: this is no child’s play, since these are real work offers.”

Courses like these eliminate prejudices. When university students enter working life, they tend to surprise companies positively.

Competency is nothing without practical experience, and you can only gain experience by doing things. Work pays off, and cooperation enables building networks.

Let’s tear down the walls of working life! If all the universities work together toward a common goal, young people will be employed through project courses for the benefit of the entire country.

Saamio Mohamud, VALOA-trainee and journalist