Case 1

Häme University of Applied Sciences, Valkeakoski campus

Frendit is a course for foreign students organized since 2010 at the Valkeakoski campus of the Häme University of Applied Sciences. The Frendit course brings local residents and foreign students together. The aim of the course is to help foreign students become familiar with and integrate into the Finnish culture – by casually spending time and doing things together.

The Frendit course involves a first, intermediate, and final meeting between students and families. The course begins in late fall and finishes at the end of the spring term. This leaves students and families plenty of time to schedule their own meetings and activities.

Students compile a portfolio of the Frendit course. In addition to bringing comfort for homesickness and allowing students to enjoy their place of study, Frendit activities also make the students familiar with the Finnish society. Knowing the basic principles of culture, customs, language, and society helps students when they are e.g. seeking internship placements and completing internships.

After the Frendit course, students compile a portfolio which is assessed. The portfolio includes e.g. the completed assignments of the Frendit passport, signed by the team leader. In addition, students write a free-form report that may be in the form of a diary or a photo album. Students also write a self-assessment: what they think the Frendit meetings taught both them and their Frendit families.