Erasmus exchange; how did the change of learning environment open my eyes?

I love to travel. I am constantly seeking opportunities to go explore. I also wish to live abroad. It’s been a real luck that studying in Tampere University of Applied Sciences and Proakatemia has brought me various opportunities to follow my passion of traveling.

I’ve executed a project in Namibia, spent a Summer Camp in England at a local Team Academy and made also a team trip to Germany. Latest of the experiences abroad was the last autumn semester which I spent in Budapest doing my Erasmus exchange. Now I want to share some of my thoughts about the differences between team learning and normal studying.

Not all fun and games

Team learning model is very, very different than regular learning methods in universities. I have to be honest and admit that I was quite nervous to, lets say, take a huge step behind and go back to normal lecture based teaching after a year of almost only practical studies. At the same time I was also happy to have more theoretical facts which are sometimes missing in team academy life.

First few weeks in the “new” learning environment were really confusing. Sit in a class. Listen the teacher talking. Half of the people concentrate, half are checking their phones and gossiping. No one really gives responses except some student have fights with the teacher who acts like were back in primary school instead of university. Whoa, I wanna go back to my home academy!

I had a course which’ teacher was quite aware of the finnish school system and practical methods of learning. She was delighted that there was a Finn in the class! Although, she had no idea how to take these methods to action; she talked a lot about our style of using for example dialogue and putting up (fake) companies to learn running a real one but she didn’t even try to bring these styles to our classes. Actually, she talked so much I didn’t have an opportunity to open my mouth for a short conversation about my experiences. Maybe I would have been the expert to say something there?

learning environment

The precious networks

At Proakatemia it’s good that we can choose our path that we want to walk during our studies. One can choose more marketing projects when other wants to become an accountant. I was happy that I was able to choose my Erasmus courses on my own too and school didn’t give almost any strict rules there as I noticed some of my foreign friends had this problem. So at least there was some kind of freedom in these studies too to make the sitting in a class more enjoyable!

Going back to normal studying opened my eyes even wider and really cleared the magnificence of the learning environment in Proakatemia. Even though the learning experience in the university wasn’t as fruitful as I was hoping and the exchange kind of took half a year of my time in my dream school, I still wouldn’t change it to anything. It is told everywhere that networks are super important and oh, I have made them so much during last half a year! Locals, other foreign and team academy students, some multi-entrepreneurs and even TedEx -speakers growed my map of networks. I find these and the whole experience of living abroad so important considering to my international future. Also I am even more grateful to spend my last year of studies in the school that can bring my dreams to reality.

– Jonna Lipponen, student at Proakatemia