Gaining knowledge from industry experts

As an international tourism student, I got the opportunity to participate in lectures by visiting lecturers, who are experts in the hotel and coffee industry through the Culinary Experiences course. Mr. Janne Larisuo, who has many years of experience in the hotel industry, shared with us his experiences at Yyteri Spa & Hotel and the challenges in the hotel industry. In addition, I was able to participate the Mr. Jani Wahlman’s lecture, who is an expert in the coffee industry. By participating in this lecture, I was able to get rid of the wrong image I had in my mind about coffee.

Strategic marketing in Yyteri Spa & Hotel and understanding the significance of the target group awareness in restaurant operations

Yyteri Spa & Hotel is a famous hotel in Finland. It offers a unique blend of hospitality services. The Yyteri Spa & Hotel is in the Satakunta region, and it is surrounded by the sea. It is a very popular 4-star hotel and there are 115 rooms. One of their goals is to increase the number of rooms and make their name a brand in Finland in the hotel industry.

One of the important and interesting points for me in his lecture was “why we should be aware of the target group in restaurant operations.” As Mr. Janne Larisuo stated in the lecture, to be successful the business must be aware of the target group. Accordingly, they have identified families, couples, groups, events, B2B customers, and subsidized guests as their target group. They expect many customers in the summer season.

Moreover, to be aware of the target group in restaurant operations, and by identifying large customer groups, it is possible to meet the needs of those customers easily. Also, by identifying target groups, targeted strategies can be implemented. For that, the behaviour and preferences of the groups should be known. In addition, the restaurant can be arranged and decorated attractively by knowing the target group in advance. Due to that customers will be happy and will be able to win their attention to the business. Through that, it is possible to get high responses from customers and it also leads to customer retention. As a result, it is easy to manage the restaurant staff and the company can work to minimize waste. Also, waste management contributes to the sustainability and profitability of the business.

How my perspective on coffee evolved: From bitter brew to beloved ritual

I remember that I was a person who did not like drinking coffee since my childhood. But I am happy after attending Mr. Jani Wahlman’s lecture, because my perspective changed completely. I had identified coffee as a very bitter tasting drink, but the reason for that was due to some mistakes I made in making coffee.

I learned at the beginning of the lecture how to add the right amount of water to coffee. Because it was said that it is a major part that should be paid attention to and when he said that the way of adding water has a great effect on the taste and quality of coffee, I was able to identify the first mistake I made when making coffee. Moreover, he also told us how to use clean pots, that there are bad coffee beans, and how freshness affects the taste. Before, I did not know that the grinder process affects the taste of coffee. Accordingly, it became clear to me that my previous attempts at making coffee were not successful.

In addition, people all over the world are very fond of drinking coffee and I got to know from this lecture that the people of Finland, where I currently live, are also very fond of drinking coffee. Also, he said that the nutrients in coffee bring fresh energy to the body, and I got to know why the coffee I had made before had lost its taste. However, when I listened to the lecture, I became interested in drinking coffee again. Also, while he answered the questions asked by the students, he said that the “Geisha “is the best coffee brand and it has an unusual taste. I came to know that for the first time. I am impatient to taste it at the Geisha coffee brand.

Accordingly, the guest lecture completely changed my misunderstood thoughts about coffee, and it is just a useful drink for me and my family. I used the knowledge gained from the lecture to make coffee, and I was able to drink coffee very deliciously by making coffee in the right way, and now I am enjoying to drinking coffee thrice per day. Due to that, I should be thankful for this lecture because when I’m drinking coffee, I feel that my body is getting energy and is not lethargic, and this knowledge gained made me experience the flavours of the coffee brands.

In conclusion by participating in such expert lectures, my knowledge was nourished and as a tourism student my goal is to become a hotel manager. Due to that I can believe that I can effectively use the knowledge gained from these lectures for my future career. Therefore, I would like to thank the lecturers Mr. Janne Larisuo and Mr. Jani Wahlman, and teacher Heini Korvenkangas who gave me this opportunity.

Text and pictures: Imalka Wathudura, first year International Tourism Management student

Space Tourism – A Ticket to Space

If you are fan of “Avengers” franchise, then you must be having some ideas about how things happen in the space. But, to have a real outer space experience like an Avenger, would be absolutely marvel-lous!

The concept / idea has been there for quite some time and owing to companies like SpaceX (Elon Musk), Blue Origin (Jeff Bezos), Virgin Galactic (Sir Richard Branson) and Axiom Space, I believe this dream would be a reality for not-so-common people in near future.

Picture: Pixabay

Exploring new horizons

Space travel or tourism is no longer a science fiction that we see only in Hollywood movies. This segment has gained a remarkable attention during the recent past. The concept of space travel & tourism dates back to early 1960s when the Russians were having the idea of sending ordinary people (non-astronauts) to space, especially after Yuri Gagarin.

Though there were setbacks in initial stages due to funding constraints and safety measures as well as due to lack of technology, the outlook of the industry is promising as there are a few numbers of private companies leading the industry towards a common goal, making space tourism a reality.                     

“You want to wake up in the morning and think the future is going to be great – and that’s what being a spacefaring civilization is all about. It’s about believing in the future and thinking that the future will be better than the past. And I can’t think of anything more exciting than going out there and being among the stars.” – Elon Musk

The future of space tourism

The main constraint for space travel is the cost factor. The safety concern is also there. An enormous amount of work and innovation is required to build mixed-use destinations for commerce, research, tourism, and more. Above mentioned companies are working mainly with NASA, other big companies which has interested in space travel as well as the universities, to make this vision a reality.

The goal of space tourism is becoming more realistic as these private enterprises keep innovating and pushing the limits of space travel. A new era in the history of human discovery is rapidly approaching when common people can set off on their own journeys into the galaxy.

Picture: Pixabay


Space tourism is all about reaching beyond the boundaries of our planet for leisure purposes. This offers an opportunity for common people to experience the awesomeness of space, witness magnificent views, and experience low gravity, which only the Astronauts had the luxury of having.

Space tourism will be an incredible event that will make a lasting impression on everyone who is fortunate enough to embark on such a journey.

Text: Tharindu Nirmala Karunasooriya Arachchi Appuhamilage, first year International Tourism Management student
Pictures: Pixabay

Kulttuurierot Marokossa

Kun matkustan uuteen maahan, haluan etsiä matkakohteesta tietoa, jotta tiedän edes hieman maan kulttuurista ja ihmisten toimintatavoista, mikä on suotavaa ja mikä taas ei. Kulttuurierojen huomaaminen avaa silmiä ja maailmaa sekä eri kulttuureja. Ne saavat myös pohtimaan sitä, mikä omassa kulttuurissa on arvostettavaa.

Todellisen kulttuurishokin koin Marokossa, missä lähes kaikki oli päinvastaista Suomeen verrattuna. Taksimatka lentokentältä hotellille oli kuin vuoristorata, sillä vauhtia riitti ja tilanteisiin syöksyttiin hurjapäisesti. Taksimme pujotteli autojen, jalankulkijoiden, mopojen ja kamelien välissä, eikä autossa ollut turvavöitä, mikä lisäsi entisestään turvattomuuden tunnetta. Ruuhka-aikana kulkuneuvojen torvet soivat, mikä sekin on outoa suomalaisen näkökulmasta, koska Suomessa olemme tottuneet käyttämään sitä vain, kun sille on tarvetta.

Kulttuurissa korostui erityisesti läheinen ihmiskontakti, koska lähes joka tilanteessa ihmiset tulivat lähelle ja tunnelma oli muutenkin erittäin tuttavallinen. Tämä johtuu varmastikin maan kulttuurista ja siitä, että suomalaisina emme ole tottuneet tällaiseen. Jopa katukauppiaat yrittäessään myydä tavaroitaan olivat tuttavallisia. Huomasin asian kuitenkin turistien kohdalla ja heihin kohdistuneesta huomiosta.

Tämän lisäksi paikalliset olivat hyvin innokkaita puhumaan turisteille heidän kielellään ja joskus keinot huomion herättämiseksi olivat suhteellisen äärimmäisiä, koska joskus saattoi kuulla suomalaisille tutut v- ja p-alkuiset voimasanat. Tämä oli aluksi huvittavaakin, mutta loman loppua kohden ainainen tavaroiden tuputtaminen, suomenkielen matkiminen ja hieman liiankin läheiset tilanteet saivat pääni pyörälle.

Toisen maan kulttuuri voi siis todella yllättää, jos ei tiedä mitä vastassa  on!

Teksti: Noora Savimäki, Matkailuliiketoiminnan ensimmäisen vuoden opiskelija
Kuvat: Pixabay

Believe me: Pori is a wellness paradise!

If you give a damn about your wellness and you love the sea, you need to be studying in Pori. Yes, you read that right.

Pori is often portrayed as a working-class city, where one ends up in a drunken fight, while picking up late-night snack from a grill kiosk. While there is no denying this scenario could be witnessed in the night of Pori, I would like to share my experiences from this actually quite charming city by the Bothnian Sea, as someone who moved from another city to Pori to study International Tourism Management mids the global coronavirus pandemic in 2020.

Wellness is a term often mixed up with well-being, even though there is a stark difference between the two. As the Global Wellness Institute (GWI) describes: ”Wellness is the active pursuit of activities, choices and lifestyles that lead to a state of holistic health”, meanwhile well-being is the state of being satisfied with ones condition of existing.

As I settled down in Pori in 2020, I did not have much prior knowledge of the city and what it has to offer nor was I too concerned on my well-being. Before starting my academic journey, I assumed the upcoming student life would revolve around bar-hopping and taking part in student events. I came to realize that the experiences were stolen from us, due to us living mids the global pandemic. As the result, the events were cancelled and the restaurants were forced to keep their doors shut. It was a bummer, but I came to see, it might have been a blessing in disguise.

Many refer the world-shocking virus acting as a ”global value resetter”, making us more aware of our well-being and health. As many Finns alike, I turned into the nature to source well-being. I ventured local places, such as the picturesque island of Reposaari, which idyllic wooden houses and rocky shores enchanted me from the first glimpse. I had long winter walks along the Scandinavia’s longest beach dunes of Yyteri, and explored the rage of the ocean on a lighthouse island of Kallo.

After having a walk on the shores of the Bothnian Bay, I felt as I had taken a class from some world-renowed mindfulness guru, due to the the feeling of complete relaxation of my mind and body. Not only was my tensity gone, but I felt more competent as a student, which I believe, also reflected on my academic success.

Do we need another global crisis to be able to value our well-being? Can we all just make it a norm to incorporate the active pursuit of health into our lives and aim to the best versions of ourselves?

As someone who was hesitant to take the leap mids pandemic and accept a study place in a small city like Pori, I would not change a thing. The wellness sourced from breathing in the fresh sea air, walking along the scenic coastline while listening the pace of the waves provides much longer lasting well-being than few Gin Tonics at a local club. And I have even finally become in terms with the Jackdaws keeping me up all night by screezing their lungs out behind my window.

Text and photos: Liisa Kemppainen, soon-to-be-graduating International Tourism Management student

A childhood memory: Coffee and family time

It was a pleasure listening to our visiting lecturer Mr. Jani Wahlman’s illustrative speech about the world’s most wonderful and popular beverage, coffee, and how much it does make an impact on human life.  It was very relevant and inspired me to pen these words.

Coffee is a beverage brewed from the roasted and ground seeds of the tropical evergreen coffee plant.  Coffee is one of the three most popular beverages in the world (alongside water and tea), and it is one of the most profitable international commodities (Myhrvold, 2024).

“Most of us have fond memories of food from our childhood.  Whether it was our mom’s homemade lasagne or a memorable chocolate birthday cake, food has a way of transporting us back to the past”. – Homaro Cantu (Henry, 2024)

I remember fondly, the way our grandmas treated coffee (kopi) making at home for domestic use.  We had about 10 coffee plants in our backyard, well-grown, which used to produce healthy fruits during the season.  From white flowering, turning into the fruit in darker green, and slowly transforming the colour to yellowish orange and finally to the darkest red,  giving the indication that it was ready for harvesting. 

As children, we all joined the process of tasting the ripped fruits, harvesting and cleaning.  Sun drying was the drying process, and it was our job to protect the fruits from rain, birds and other animals who too got attracted to this wonderful fruit.  Then only the frying and pounding would take place for final consumption and this used to happen in almost every household in my area. 

It was a beautiful memory that I went through during the lecture on coffee.  I still can remember the aroma of freshly brewed coffee we used to have in the mornings and evenings with a piece of aluwa (a Sri Lankan traditional sweet). I have realized how far I have come from that culture after I have moved to Finland, to walk to a supermarket to buy a packet of coffee, or to a coffee house to taste a cup of luxurious style cup of coffee, while tasting a lovely cinnamon swirl pound piece of cake.              

The lecture was a revelation and drove me to rethink how important coffee is as a beverage to the world and to the economies, how it has become an important part of human life, mostly as a dominant beverage or as a booster to an energetic day.

In addition to its economic significance, coffee cultures hold a significant place in the world as they all have a story to tell about rich histories and cultures (Malltong Pty Ltd, 2023).  Gahwa, Arabic Coffee, is a symbol of generosity, and serving it, comes as a ritual.  Most of the Arabic houses have specific settings in front of their houses with beautiful and colourful interiors to sit and taste coffee in the evening with plates full of sweets and dates, while chitchatting and listening to music, which is a must in their day-to-day schedule. 

I think I now admire this wonderful beverage way more than earlier, as it creates beautiful memories to cherish in human life than any other irrespective of how old you are and among whom.  Coffee is magical because it smells good and tastes great! 

Text and pictures: Anupama De Silva, second year student of International Tourism Management


Henry, P. (2024). Quotes About Childhood To Reflect On. Betterhelp.
Malltong Pty Ltd. (2023). The history and cultural significance of coffee. Lygon Coffee.
Myhrvold, N. (2024). Coffee. Britannica.

Memories of Tampere

When I plan to visit a new place, it always makes me feel wonderful. When I heard that we were going to visit Tampere in our Tourism and Culture course, it made me excited because I wanted to go to Tampere since I arrived in Finland. So, this was like a gift for me.

The day we went to Tampere it welcomed us with snow. However, the cold wind and snow are not obstacles for us to explore and enjoy the culture, nature, and beauty of Tampere.

The Beauty of Pispala

We started our journey in Tampere from Pispala. Pispala is one of the most beautiful areas in Tampere. If someone wants to relax and enjoy nature this is the best place to visit Tampere.

While it was snowing, walking along a small street surrounded by colorful wooden houses was like walking through a chapter of a storybook. The top-of-view point of Pispala is breathtaking. From there we could see the shining water lakes called Näsijärvi and Pyhäjärvi. There were small islands full of trees in the middle of the lake. In other sights, we could see colorful small wooden houses. The whole view was like a piece of art.

Adorable moments at the art museum

After we said goodbye to Pispala, we went to the Tampere Art Museum through the snow. This is the first time I have been to that kind of art museum. It was a fresh experience for all my friends. On the ground floor, there were dark rooms with small floating lightning words everywhere. Before I went there, I read about this place, and it said it was like a space trip, and of course it was.

Upstairs, there were lots of awesome and adorable pieces of art representing Tuula Lehtinen’s long and diverse career. The themes of her art were colorful flower paintings, landscapes, decorative porcelain objects, curtains, lace, and queens of world histories. Their color combination is wonderful and elegant. I don’t have a deep vision of art to give a deep interpretation about them, but as a person I fell in love with those arts and I enjoyed her works.

Steps towards Kauppahalli Market Hall

Before we went to Kauppahalli Market Hall we did some group work about this place at the classroom, therefore I had a clear imagination about this place and it was the same as I thought.

There are so many fresh vegetables and fruit stalls, restaurants from different countries such as Spain, France, Italy, etc. full of delicious foods, and a nice atmosphere. As well as there was a small wine bar and coffee shops. If we are food lovers and want to enjoy different kinds of food this is the best place to experience various kinds of tasty foods in one place in Tampere.

Labor Museum

In our journey we are lucky enough to visit the Finnish Labor Museum Werstas. It is a place anyone must not miss while visiting Tampere. It’s not just a museum, it’s all about the story of how Finnish society builds wealth and prosperity. As a student, the things I learned about finishing history will help me to understand Finnish culture and society more deeply.

Life lessons

Our visit to Tampere was not only an educational visit to me but also, I experienced and learned wonderful and valuable things in this journey. The things I learned from this visit will add more colors to my life journey. The moments I spent there will be remembered forever.

One day is not enough to learn about wonderful Tampere and I hope to be there again. So in the evening when it was again while snowing, we said goodbye to Tampere with a promise that I would come soon again.

Text and pictures: Chathuri Warnakulasuriya Patabandige, first year student of International Tourism Management

Ice swimming in Finland

Hey everyone! I am Maria Mengual Renart, a Spanish exchange student from Málaga. During my exchange studies at SAMK I really liked the Well-being from Blue Spaces course and I am going to explain you why.

Overall, I have studied and for instance learned more about the positive effects of water to the well-being of people and also the environment.

My favourite part was getting to know more about what activities are helpful for people, like anti-stressing stuff, or increasing the circulation of our blood.

If you had never thought about it like me, now you know that water makes a huge impact in our life. Some of these activities that helps us are; ice swimming, spa treatments, saunas, thermal baths, ice fishing, even just walking down along the beachside and enjoying the sound of the sea will make a change of your mood and for instance it will helps you.

The girl in the picture is me when I tried for the first-time ice swimming! It was such a funny and enriching experience. After doing it, I felt like a whole new person!

Did you know that water also helps our skin? Well, yes, it does. Water helps to moisturize, refresh, clean and also helps to improve the texture and appearance of the skin. There are a lot of cosmetics that uses water as their main ingredient, for example, micellar water, which is a facial cleanser that uses the natural attraction of micelles (tiny particles that attract dirt and oils) to cleanse skin without leaving a greasy residue. Additionally, water can help balance the skin’s pH, which can help reduce the appearance of large pores and improve skin texture.

This picture shows a micellar water of a famous Finnish brand Lumene that I discovered during my stay in Finland.

On the whole, I have learned a lot of new things about the impacts of water that I didn’t know before and I hope I have helped you to realise some of these great effects that water provide us!

Text: Maria Mengual Renart, en exchange student in SAMK International Tourism Management degree programme

Miksi valitsin matkailun?

Matkustaminen on aina ollut tärkeää perheelleni. Ukillani on aikoinaan ollut jopa oma matkatoimisto. Ehkä tämän takia myös vanhempani ovat aina olleet innokkaita matkustelijoita ja sen seurauksena matkakuume on myös tarttunut minuun.

Olin ensimmäisen kerran ulkomailla Kreikassa 8-vuotiaana. Matka oli varmasti yksi mieleenpainuvimmista, olihan se kuitenkin ensimmäinen kerta lentokoneessa ja vieraassa maassa. Muistan, kuinka leikin hotellin uima-altaalla aina saman italiaisen tytön kanssa ja kuinka altaan keskellä oli baari, josta sai lettuja oman maun mukaan. Näin melkein 15 vuotta myöhemmin on hauskaa ajatella, miten erilaisesta näkökulmasta nykyään näen matkustamisen.

Lapsena matkustaminen tarkoitti loputonta jäätelön syömistä ja uima-altaissa uiskentelua ilman huolen häivää seuraavasta päivästä tai edes seuraavasta tunnista. Nykyään matkustaminen merkitsee minulle paljon muutakin kuin vain rantatuolilla loikoilemista. Matkustaminen on minulle uusiin kulttuureihin tutustumista ja uuden oppimista. Olen lähestulkoon aina matkustanut perheeni kanssa, mutta nyt helmikuussa matkustin ensimmäistä kertaa Barcelonaan poikaystäväni kanssa kahdestaan.

Ikimuistoisia hetkiä

Olen kiitollinen vanhemmilleni, että he ovat mahdollistaneet matkustamisen ulkomaille. Ilman sitä en ehkä ikinä olisi edes harkinnut lähteväni opiskelemaan matkailualaa korkeakoulussa. Jos totta puhutaan, en edes ollut lukiossa hirveän tietoinen siitä, että matkailua pystyy opiskelemaan. Tuntui siltä, että lukiossa puhuttiin aina vain yliopistoon menemisestä. Kun toisella välivuodellani aloin tarkemmin tutkia asiaa, minulle kävi hyvin selväksi, että haluaisin opiskella restonomiksi.

Matkustaminen on antanut minulle paljon erilaisia kokemuksia elämässä. Olen käynyt semmoisissakin maissa, kuten Venäjällä tanssikisoissa, joihin en olisi itse ikinä päättänyt matkustaa. Sain sieltä kuitenkin sen verran unohtumattoman kokemuksen, niin ei ainakaan toista kertaa tarvitse mennä.

Nizzassa käynti puoli vuotta terrori-iskun jälkeen taas antoi ihan erilaisen perspektiivin elämään, kun kaduilla kulki jatkuvasti raskaisiin varusteisiin pukeutuneita sotilaita. Brittiläisiin tutustuminen 15-vuotiaana Lanzarotella taas antoi minulle rohkeutta puhua englantia. En luultavasti uskaltaisi puhua englantia näin rohkeasti, jos en olisi matkustellut niin paljon.

Matkailua tulevaisuudessa

Unelmani on aina ollut asua jonkun aikaa ulkomailla. Haluaisin kokea, millaista on asua ja työskennellä, jossakin täysin vieraassa maassa. Haluaisin matkustaa myös Pariisiin. Olen käynyt Ranskassa kaksi kertaa, mutta en ikinä Pariisissa. Lisäksi onhan Yhdysvalloissa pakko käydä ainakin kerran elämässä. Haluan nähdä, millaista se elämä siellä rapakon toisella puolella oikeasti on.

Uskon ja toivon, että tulen tulevaisuudessakin matkustamaan uusiin maihin, vaikka lentäminen pelottaakin. Ehkä joskus valmistumisen jälkeen, pystyn vihdoin toteuttamaan unelman ulkomailla asumisesta.

Teksti ja kuvat: Jade Nieminen, ensimmäisen vuoden matkailuliiketoiminnan opiskelija

Visit to Yyteri Beach – experience the healing power of water

I went to Yyteri beach with some friends in October, and it was an experience I will never forget. I started my trip in Pori, which is one of the greatest places near the sea. I had never before gone close to the ocean. I had never seen the vast blue sea before. Yyteri Beach, in my opinion, is a hidden gem with a unique blend of pristine surroundings.

I was astounded by the shoreline’s magnificence and the surrounding scenery when I first arrived. The environment was serene and calm, and the place was remarkably clean. The fact that the site was totally sustainable benefits next generations.

I think that any trip to Finland must include a visit to Yyteri Beach. Me and my friend were just sensing the energy. I just stood and watched the waves for a short while, taking in their sounds. The ships that were arriving and the crispness of the wind hitting me made my day. I had only heard theoretical information about the beneficial effects of water before this trip, but this actual visit made it clearer to me how beneficial water is for healing.

Blue spaces are defined as any natural or artificial water-related habitat, including lakes, rivers, swimming pools, oceans, and so on, as we have learned. The importance of nature and blue spaces in our lives was the most fascinating thing I learned during my studies.

According to studies, spending time in blue environments enhances one’s sense of wellbeing and lowers stress, anxiety, and sadness. It’s a fantastic way to get back from the hectic everyday life and the digital world.

As is well known, there is a wonderful, serene setting by the water, complete with the sound of breaking waves, which is truly mind-refreshing. This pushes us to live in the moment and let go of our fears. I was only concentrating on the surrounding environment when I was at the beach, which allowed us to become more conscious of our feelings and ideas. All in all, that trip helped me to enhance my wellbeing.

When discussing the therapeutic properties of water, swimming is the most effective activity. It offers numerous, priceless benefits. Regular swimming enhances the quality of our sleep by regulating our sleep patterns, according to research. We all know how crucial sleep is to maintain both our physical and mental well-being. The sound of running water has a very soothing effect that eases stress and promotes calmness in our minds.

There are further scientific advantages to swimming as well. Research indicates that swimming releases endorphins, which are naturally occurring mood enhancers that can help reduce symptoms of fear and hopelessness. It also serves as a kind of replacement for individuals who are unable to engage in other sports or hobbies like weightlifting, cycling, trekking, and so forth. People congregate in swimming locations, which presents opportunities to interact with people from diverse backgrounds, cultures, and wellbeing practices. All in all, it’s a fantastic method for enhancing our mental well-being.

Text and pictures: Shahbaj Husen Khan, first year student in International Tourism Management

From sand to snow

”The world is a book, and those who do not travel, read only one page”, said Saint Augustine. These words ignited my passion for travel and gave me the courage to travel the world. Let me share my story with you briefly.

Exchange programme at SAMK

I chose to study as an exchange student in SAMK back in the year 2020 following the advice of my department coordinator in my home university in Turkey. Little did I know that this decision, initially made for a brief change of scenery, would shape my life, and guide me toward a fulfilling career.

The International Tourism Management program broadened my vision of the tourism industry. The program’s unique approach, emphasizing self-directed learning over traditional methods, opened my eyes to new perspectives. We were creating groups to discuss our ideas, and we developed projects and organising events, which became the keystones of my education. The Finnish culture and the warmth of its people have left a lasting impression on me and made me revisit the country.

Tour guiding in Dubai

After completing the exchange program, I had the opportunity to take a role as a tourist guide in Dubai, particularly within the conservation reserve surrounded by amazing nature and wildlife. This was a really challenging environment for me. However, the excitement of learning became the best motivator to overcome these challenges easily. The dunes of the desert became my classroom and my office.

Lapland adventure: guiding under the Northern Lights

The next chapter of my life continues in Lapland, Finland, where I am guiding beneath the beautiful Aurora Borealis. As a safari guide, I found myself leading excursions in snowmobiling, exploring the artistry ice exhibitions at the SnowVillage, ice fishing on frozen lakes and enjoying the white silence during snowshoeing in the snowy surroundings.

However, it wasn’t that easy to do these things without fundamental survival tactics. Fortunately I met with a colleague who helped me to navigate the challenges in the wilderness. Together, we discovered that survival skills extend beyond the practical. Dumitru’s wisdom not only equipped me with essential wilderness know-how but also cultivated a friendship that transcends the trials of the wild.

My journey in starting from the exchange program at SAMK has taken me not only to different places on the map but also to different points in hearts and minds. I look forward to living every moment, continuing to learn, and eagerly exploring this world.

I invite everyone to go on a journey to be open to new experiences and to see the world with different eyes!

Text and pictures: Behlül Akgün

The author is SAMK tourism exchange programme alumni, who has kept in touch with SAMK and returned to work in Finland