EduTravel trainees have been developing new day trips this Spring

This is a collection of day trip test reports from students who have been working for SAMK’s own travel agency, SAMK EduTravel, this Spring.

Product testing: wonderful winter exploration day at Pitkäjärvi (on 20 January 2022)

It was still dark outside when our product testing group gathered at the SAMK parking lot at 7.30 AM. It started snowing when we were driving from Pori to Kokemäki, adding to the sense of a genuine winter adventure. Upon arrival at the Pitkäjärvi Recreational Centre, we were greeted by our host and enjoyed morning coffee with sandwiches near the frozen lakeside.

Full of energy and in high spirits, we then proceeded to the fatbikes, which were available as battery-powered or regular. I went for the muscle-powered option. After receiving instructions on how to use the electric fatbikes, we put our helmets on and proceeded to the road and then to forest. It was already dawning, and the white snow helped us to stay on the trail, although going offroad was not a problem when driving a fatbike on a pristine, thick layer of snow and ice.

Riding a fatbike through the forest was a pleasure, and those who went for electric fatbikes were clearly having a blast, as they could take on occasionally rough terrain with ease. It was snowing pretty much all the time when were out fatbiking, which proved some challenge with my GoPro, as the lens cover needed to be wiped dry pretty often.

The day was not over after our fatbike ride, as there was a tasty salmon soup lunch waiting for us at the lean-to near the lake. To make sure nobody was on the verge of hypothermia, the hot soup was followed by a sauna, with an option of dipping into the icy Pitkäjärvi lake. Having never tried it before, I quite enjoyed the brief swim in the chilly water.

We also had a photo contest where the participants posted their photos on WhatsApp, after which the winning photo was voted by all. Some of our photos and videos were also published on EduTravel’s social media channels.

As this day was also a Project challenge assignment for Iina, we filled her feedback sheets after the sauna and discussed the experience with our host over coffee and pastries. Our experiences were mostly positive, with the activities being enjoyed by everyone. In addition to product testing, the purpose of the trip was to redevelop the product and to gain footage for marketing purposes. The suggestions for improvement included such things as spending a little more time on biking instructions (how to wear the helmet correctly), putting together a diploma for those who tried winter swimming, and how to better utilize the day as a team-building opportunity.

All in all, a fine day with very nice activities in the great outdoors in Kokemäki!

Text: Olli Riihimäki

Photo: Annika Polvi

Product testing trip to Koivuniemen Herra Farm on Saturday 9th of April 2022 / Fun at the Farm (Budget)

The need for this product testing sparked when we didn’t get enough bookings for this day trip that we had planned. We suggested this product testing idea to Koivuniemen Herra Farm, and they gladly answered yes. So then began the process of modifying the original program and agreeing on minor details regarding the product testing. The aim was to make a “budget” version of the original program so that it would attract more customers in the future.

We began our journey to Koivuniemen Herra Farm on 9th of April around 13:00 from SAMK Campus Pori. On the way there we had short briefing about the days purpose, signed permissions for photography, went through the program for the day and openly discussed about these subjects. We arrived in Koivuniemen Herra Farm, Merikarvia, a bit earlier than expected so around 13:45. We were warmly welcomed by the staff and then gave short introductions of ourselves. At this point we also asked them to sign the permission for photography so that we could take photos and videos and use that for marketing purposes. Then Sirkkis (our guide for the day) showed us around the premises, for example we got to see the accommodation premises and other buildings such as the old barn that had been turned into multifunctional area for different kinds of events.

Then the day continued with guided farm program and activities which included taking care of the animals and feeding them, but we also got to milk a goat, pet cute rats and chickens. During the day we also had this outdoor lunch including sandwiches, grilled sausages/corn, and French toast as a dessert. The day took a surprise twist when the program ended up with us virtually milking a cow, can you imagine! Finally, it was time to sit down, fill the questionnaires and have a feedback session with the whole crew. We arrived back to SAMK Campus Pori around 19:00.

The essential purpose of the day was to experience the day from international/exchange-student point of view, gather marketing materials, enhancing our partnership between EduTravel and the Koivuniemen Herra Farm and based on feedback made changes to the program/brochure. Viveca Antila was in charge of this project. She organized this product testing, negotiated about the details with the service provider and afterwards updated the brochure and other related materials based on the feedback that was gathered. Overall, I think everything went smoothly and we are happy with the results we got which are even tighter partnership with Koivuniemen Herra Farm and improved day trip product, but also it was super useful from a learning point of view for all of us!

Text: Mika Haavisto

Relaxing Forest & Summer Cottage Feeling – Product testing trip to The Forestry Museum and SyVilla on 22nd of May 2022

On a sunny Sunday morning in May, our entire team of five with our equipment crammed into a small passenger car and headed for Parkano, to Satakunta’s neighboring region of Pirkanmaa. At our first destination, The Forestry Museum of Parkano, we met our guide of the day, nature and recreation service provider Mr. Hannu Raitio, who introduced us the history of the forest industry from the rise of the sawmill industry in the 1860s to mechanization in the 1960s. He was professional and entertaining, and his personal experience and passion brought the stories to life.

The Forestry Museum and lake Kaidatvedet is a part of Lauhanvuori-Hämeenkangas UNESCO Global Geopark. The area of the Forestry Museum includes an exhibition hall, logging hut, sauna, horse stable and forestry machinery. There is also a nature trail, Messukallio cliff, beach, lean-to shelters, and campfire sites in the vicinity of the museum. Our guide introduced us to the premises and led us along the nature trail of “Gustav the Moose” to the magnificent place of devotion, Messukallio, where we had a snack break on a cliff honed by ice age.

Wellness and healing value of nature are growing in popularity as tourism trends. Studies show that nature promotes well-being in many ways, for example, it soothes the body and mind, relieves stress, and increases satisfaction. Spending time in nature improves perceived health status, enhances social cohesion, and supports physical activity. Our guide is a pioneer of the trend, as he is already familiar with the subject and has included relaxing wellness exercises into the day trip experience.

Text: Julia Alankoja

Photo: Maaria Berg

From relaxation and culture to the excitement of summer

We pass from the forest to SyVilla, a cottage located on the shore of a lake. There, we visited different spaces that make up SyVilla hosted by Hannu Raitio. There were two main buildings: in one were the rooms and in another the kitchen-dining room. Then we found different types of “cabins” dedicated to different spaces. For example, one was for the smoke sauna, in another there was a small dining room and in another a normal sauna. But not everything was buildings, it also has outdoor spaces where you can relax and make a campfire.

After visiting all the spaces, we proceeded to have lunch. We decided to do it in a kind of round glass cabin, since we found it very cozy and its views of the lake won us over. Lunch consisted of pasta salad, tomatoes and chicken casserole and to drink kotikalja (a home-made table beer) – what a delicacy!

After digesting, we proceeded to go to the water activities area, sauna and hot-tub. There we had a very fun time between SUP-Boarding falls, swimming and drifting with the canoes and row boating! Of course, the laughs were not lacking. After spending all our energy we spent a long time between the sauna and the hot tub, well… and Olli between beers too (0.0% of course). To finish completely relaxing, after a warm shower we went to another permise and had coffee and pastries.

At this time, we decided to carry out the feedback session, because once the entire product has been tested, it is the right time. We filled out a questionnaire made by SAMK EduTravel and together we gave our point of view and reached different agreements. During the session there is always someone who takes notes of what was said, because sometimes we say things that we have not written because we are inspired at that moment thanks to the opinion of another colleague.

Back to the office

In the office, a summary of what was exposed is made and uploaded to Teams, so that it is registered and everyone has access to it. The same process is for the visual material, which is then sent to the supplier, in this case Hannu Raitio, so that he can use it as well.

Testing a product is good for both parties, because in this way both can improve their services, both for other consumers and for those offered in cooperation between them. Hannu Raitio himself was not very convinced, but after finishing the feedback session he admitted that after that moment he understood what the purpose of this product testing is.

Text: Corina Morales

Photo: Maaria Berg

Moi! Hallo! Hej from Merikarvia! Digital marketing for tourism development of coastal areas

We are three students from three different universities with three different backgrounds… So how did we end up meeting in the middle of nowhere in Finland?

So the thing is that we all applied for a course called Digitalisation Opportunities among Coastal Tourism Entrepreneurs and Networks 2022, not knowing what exactly to expect. We started the course by doing three marketing-related individual assignments. 

On the ninth of May 2022 we arrived at a nostalgic farm, called Koivuniemen Herran Farmi at Merikarvia, and met each other for the first time. On the first working day we were divided into groups.

So, who are we?

Hallo! I’m Tabea. I am an Erasmus student from Dalarna University in Falun, Sweden. Originally I am from Germany. I study social science at a technical university in Kaiserslautern. Since August 2021 I am living in Falun. I ended up in this course because I love traveling and I am really interested in social media. 

Hej! My name is Wilperi, I’m 24 and live in Turku, Finland. I am a third year Bachelor’s student of Business Administration at Novia University of Applied Sciences. I specialize in marketing but later on I have developed a huge interest to tourism and that is why I immediately knew I wanted to participate in this course once I heard about it.

Moi! I am Siiri, a twenty-year-old student from Pori, Finland. I am studying for Bachelor’s degree in International Tourism Management for the first year at Satakunta University of Applied Sciences. Working with commissioners sounded fun, so I decided to apply for this course.

So, now that you know who we are, you should also get to know what we have done. We spent one week at Merikarvia working hard for our assignments. But, what was our assignment? 

Each group got a commissioner to work for, and ours was the Municipality of Merikarvia. One part of our task was to analyze Merikarvia’s online platforms which included their webpage, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. Based on our analysis, we came up with how to optimize the use of these platforms and created a few Instagram posts, ready to be published. During the making of these posts we got to visit some really nice locations with beautiful scenery and also learned more about Merikarvia’s history and culture.

Fireplace kräsoora
Relaxing on the dock

The first thought about our commissioner was that we have a bit of a difficult one, because we had such a wide topic. It was challenging to decide what we should do and where we should concentrate. But overall, the assignment turned out very well, and we had so much fun during our week.

Another thing that challenged us was the Finnish language. This was problematic, because only two of us understand Finnish. All social media pages of our commissioner were only available in Finnish. Also, our commissioner was mostly talking in Finnish.

Merikarvia gang

During our stay we got to know our whole group, and we played a lot of social games together, learned how to take care of the animals at the farm and ate a lot of good food. And because this course was held in Finland, we of course had a sauna-night with grilling sausages and making pancakes. We also got to visit the Yyteri beach and hotel, and some of us were brave enough to take a bath in the ocean.


Would we do that again? Absolutely! If you ever have a chance to join a course like this we suggest you grab the opportunity!

We wish you the best! #snyggt

Text: Siiri Romoi, Tabea Busch and Wilperi Jalonen
Pictures: Helena Larilahti, Tabea Busch and Siiri Romoi

Luksusta keskellä ei-mitään

Suomessa on paljon matkailun potentiaalia, erityisesti luontomatkailun saralla. Ympäri maailmaa Suomi on tunnettu erämaistaan, tuhansista järvistään ja eläimistään. Yhä enemmän mietitään sitä, miten luontoalueita voisi valjastaa paremmin turistien käyttöön. Itse mietin, miten nämä alueet voisi pitää mahdollisimman autenttisina ja koskemattomina.

Sevettijärven paratiisi

Olin kesällä 2021 muutaman viikon Lapissa lomailemassa. Olimme ystäväni mökillä Sevettijärvellä. Sevettijärvi sijaitsee Itä-Lapissa ja kuuluu Inarin kuntaan. Elimme nämä viikot hyvin autenttisissa oloissa, ilman juoksevaa vettä ja muita ylellisyyksiä. Vaelsimme erämaassa miettien, että mitä jos nämäkin paikat täyttyisivät turisteista ja erilaisista palveluista.

On toki hienoa, että Suomeen matkustetaan kauniiden maisemien perässä ja matkailu on tärkeä elinkeino esimerkiksi Lapissa. Olen kuitenkin sitä mieltä, että tietyt paikat tulisi säilyttää ennallaan matkailusta huolimatta. Olen myös pohtinut aihetta siitä näkökulmasta, että uusi trendi voisi olla matkustaa juuri koskemattomiin paikkoihin.

Luksusta voi olla myös yksinkertaisuus

On puhuttu paljon siitä, miten esimerkiksi kansallispuistoihin voitaisiin kehittää uusia palveluja, kuten rakennettuja wc-tiloja ja muita matkailua helpottavia tekijöitä. Minun mielestäni nuo asiat vievät pohjan luontomatkailun tarkoitukselta. Jos mietin itseäni ja omia motiivejani lähteä Lappiin lomalle, haluan kokea kaiken mahdollisimman alkeellisesti ja aidosti. Luksus voi siis tarkoittaa myös sitä, että kohteessa ei ole mitään valmiiksi rakennettua, ei muita ihmisiä lähimailla eikä valmiiksi pinottuja polttopuita. Tällainen matkailu ei tietenkään sovi kaikille, mutta uskon, että tulevaisuudessa ihmiset voisivat kiinnostua tällaisesta enemmän.

Luontomatkailu on parasta terapiaa

Lapin reissulla huomasimme, kuinka terapeuttista meidän matkustustyylimme oli. Nautimme luonnosta ja erilaisista askareista, kuten veden nostamisesta kaivosta ja polttopuiden pilkkomisesta. Nämä kaikki arkiset askareet saivat ajatukset muualle arjen kiireistä. Siksi mietin, että jos kaikki tuodaan matkailijoille valmiina, saavatko he kokemuksesta oikeasti kaiken irti. Jos ympärillä häärää lukuisia muita turisteja ja oppaita, matkan sisimmäinen tarkoitusperä voi jäädä hyvin pinnalliseksi.

Pohjoismaisella matkailulla on muutakin tarjottavaa kuin luonto

Monet matkustavat Pohjoismaissa luonnon perässä ja siksi kohteiksi valikoituu erilaiset kansallispuistot ja nähtävyydet. Tällöin voi jäädä kokematta muut mielenkiintoiset aspektit, eli paikalliseen elämäntapaan ja kulttuuriin tutustuminen.

Kun matkustimme Sevettijärvelle, ei muista turisteista ollut tietoakaan. Pääsimme sukeltamaan paikalliseen elämäntapaan ja tutustuimme saamelaiseen kulttuuriin ja poronkasvattajiin. Mielestäni tämä oli todella hienoa ja luksusta, koska kokemus oli aito, eikä esimerkiksi matkailijoita varten luotu palvelu.

Ylipäätään ihmisten tulisi ajatella luontomatkailua erilaisista näkökulmista ja nähdä siinä uusia mahdollisuuksia. Pohjoismainen luontomatkailu ei siis välttämättä tarkoita pelkkiä opastettuja kansallispuistovaelluksia tai rakennettua ympäristöä. Ihmiset voivat etsiä luksusta myös keskeltä ei-mitään. Kokemuksen kautta voin sanoa, että tällainen voi olla jopa parasta luksusta.

Teksti ja kuvat: Ada Hannula, Matkailun koulutusohjelman toisen vuoden opiskelija

Old life experience in Kauppilan Umpipiha

For our Tourism Product and Experience Design course, we got a task to develop services for various rural places related to the Echoes Ecomuseum project. Our group got to work with Kauppilan umpipiha in Laitila. This place was completely unknown to us before the course – both for the Finnish and the Erasmus students in our group.

When we got to Kauppilan umpipiha, we discovered a mill, sheep, red barns, an interior court as well as a museum (which we unfortunately could not visit because it was already closed after summer).

Once there, we remembered our teacher’s advice and took the time to feel the sense of place. We sat down in the grass and let our senses guide us. We could hear the sheep and the wind in the foliage and the birds singing. We could also smell the old wood and grass. It was at this point that we began to realize the potential of this place!

Back at SAMK, and during the meetings with our group, ideas on how to develop the place quickly came to mind. We brainstormed for a long time to put all our ideas together and came up with three main ideas:

  • make an educational farm for children
  • renovate the museum part of the farm, and
  • create a traditional festival on the farm grounds.

    Eventually, we decided to concentrate more on a detailed planning of a festival that could be organized in Kauppilan umpipiha. The theme of the festival would be Return to the past. This theme would allow visitors to immerse themselves in the life of the 17th century. As soon as you would enter the festival, you would disconnect from the modern world and enter a very unique experience. In this festival, visitors could walk between the stalls of local craftsmen, dance and sing to traditional songs and have fun with typical Finnish games. Children could play with animals, get a face painting, or milk a cow. All these activities are small examples, but there would be many more to come. We also planned a drive-in cinema, which could attract many types of visitors.

Creating this experience as our course assignment was very exciting for us, and we were able to let our imagination run wild without too many constraints. We felt really free in our ideas!

Text: Marie-Amandine Moulin & Camille De Borman, exchange students from Haute École Galilée University of Applied Sciences in Belgium
Pics: Marie-Amandine Moulin

Greenwashing in tourism

Greenwashing is a tactic used in marketing to make a company or product seem sustainable with false pretenses (Salonen, 2021). An example of this would be that a company’s product is advertised as a sustainable choice by making the imagery around the product center around nature and using words such as ’green’ and ’natural’ without any actual reason. Greenwashing is a way of false advertisement when it is used to sell products and services that aren’t sustainable under pretenses that they are.

How to recognize greenwashing?

Greenwashing is as much prevalent in tourism as in other industries; therefore, it is important to recognize the red flags that can point to greenwashing. OneGreenPlanet has listed five ways to spot potential greenwashing in a company’s or product’s marketing:

  1. Vague buzzwords such as ’green’ and ’natural’ can be a red flag in marketing with a reason of not having a specific requirement to use in marketing meaning that any product can use these terms without actually being ’green’ or ’natural’ in a sense that customers perceive them to be.
  2. Imagery used in marketing can also be misleading and create a false sense of nature friendliness. Usually, companies use imagery from nature to seem in tune with nature even though the product is harmful for the environment. As an example, a fast fashion company using imagery of people dancing in a forest can create an image that the clothes are somehow sustainable.
  3. Having a hidden parent company can be a sign of greenwashing when the parent company is deemed unsustainable and the smaller company under it markets itself as sustainable.
  4. Transparency is a key when it comes to sustainable companies so when the company shows lack of transparency it raises questions of what are they hiding? Unfortunately lack of transparency isn’t usually an accident but planned not to show the reality of the sustainable claims.
  5. One clearer sign of greenwashing are the company’s clashing values. For example, can a company producing solar power be considered sustainable even if they also create energy from coal energy?

Greenwashing in tourism

So how does greenwashing show in tourism? Using the discussed ways to spot greenwashing applies also in tourism, but what to pay special attention to when trying to spot greenwashing in tourism business? I have listed a few things to pay close attention to when searching for a sustainable and ethical tourism companies.

  1. Eco-certificates are a good way to spot a company that has the merits to be considered sustainable. When looking for these eco-certificates it is important to check if they are reliable and what are the requirements for the said certificate. (Natasha, 2020). One certificate that is used in tourism businesses, especially in accommodation businesses is the Green Key. There can also be sustainable businesses without any certificates because these may be expensive to apply for so smaller businesses might not have the funds to apply even though they qualify (Natasha, 2020).
  2. Airlines being a significant part of travel makes it important to pay attention to the marketing of airlines. It is a known fact that air travel isn’t sustainable so airlines marketing it as such is greenwashing. Of course, there are actions that can make it more sustainable, for example switching plastic products with cardboard, but it still doesn’t make it a sustainable way of travel. I am not saying to avoid air travel at all cost, but at least for me it is important that the airline is honest about the emissions air travel causes and doesn’t try to hide it with ad campaigns. The same goes for other travel services.
  3. Use of animals in nature tourism services is common and is something to pay attention to when choosing a service containing animals. Doing research outside of the service providers website can tell if they treat the animals fairly or if it just looks like that in advertisements.
  4. Conditions that the employees work in are usually hard to research but it tells you about how ethical the company is (Natasha, 2020).

These are just a few examples that are important to keep in mind when doing research of the service providers on your trip, and there are many other factors to consider too.

In conclusion, there isn’t any company that is 100% sustainable but when trying to find the most sustainable one it is important to make the conclusion based on facts, not on false advertisement.

Text: Vilma Huosianmaa, second year student in the degree programme in Tourism
Pictures: Pixabay


K. Salonen. (2021). Viherpesulla ja vastuullisuudella on eroa. Retrieved 29.10.2021 from

N. Schwingle. (2020). 5 Ways to Spot Greenwashing. Retrieved 29.10.2021 from

Natasha. (2020). Beware of these greenwashing tourism tactics: avoid scammers. Retrieved 29.10.2021 from

My dream job is organizing events

How did I end up studying tourism?

I may not have the most common background for a tourism student. Most of the tourism students have traveled at least a couple of times, and they have interest in travelling itself. So how am I different? I haven’t traveled anywhere abroad except for Estonia, and I have for example never been on a plane. How did I end up studying tourism with no travelling background?

Studying tourism isn’t just learning about travelling, holiday destinations or package holidays. It’s so much more. For example, I’m studying tourism because I am deeply interested in event management. Studying tourism here in Satakunta University of Applied Sciences gives me great start towards my dream job in event management field.

I was 15 years old when I did my first volunteer work in Helsinki. I was a volunteer in Eurobasket 2017 (European Championships of men’s basketball). I had never been in any big event like this, not even in the audience, but somehow my 15-year-old-self got the courage to go to work there. So, there I was, the youngest volunteer of the event, in the middle of the chaos of a huge event. I was so scared and nervous, but the one-week-long event ended up being the best experience of my life.

The volunteer crew of Eurobasket 2017. There were almost 1000 volunteers working in different fields of the huge event. Picture: Ville Vuorinen

After the experience of Eurobasket 2017 I started to do more volunteer work in different sports events. Since then, I have volunteered around 15 times for different events, mostly international basketball games, like qualification games to world championships or friendly matches against different countries.

Another bigger event where I have been is Lahti Ski Games, where I have volunteered four times now. In February 2022 my role there changed, and I worked as a team supervisor for the first time. The highlight of my volunteer career is when I met my all-time-favorite athlete in Lahti, when I was there for the first time.

Every event has been unique, wonderful, and unforgettable experience. In my opinion, the atmosphere in the events is something everyone should experience at least once – in the event management crew or in the audience.

Part of the volunteer crew of men’s basketball national team’s qualification games to World Championships 2019. The qualification windows lasted from November 2017 to February 2019. Picture: Ville Vuorinen

Me, my best friend, and the ski jumping team of Austria in Lahti Ski Games 2019. We met the team by accident while we were arriving to the event area – anything can happen when you’re working in events!

Eurobasket 2017 made me curious of how these events are built. It was an eye-opening experience to see how much work, resources, and volunteers it takes to build such a huge event. I was honored to see all the things that happen behind the scenes, not to mention how incredible it was to see some of the best players in the world playing there, just in front of my eyes. Long story short, that’s how I got interested in event management, even though it took me couple more years to realize that I actually want to build a career in the event management field.

Now that I’ve seen many different events, I know where I want to focus on in the future. My absolute dream is to work with sports world, I want to be there making those events. One of the most impressive moments for me was when our team in Eurobasket 2017 got good feedback of our work straight from the athletes. I can’t describe how it felt, because after all, we were just such a small piece of the whole volunteer crew. It was amazing to see that our work has been noticed. For me, the athletes were my idols. It was such an absurd feeling to hear that they appreciate our work, and that it’s important to them that we’re there doing our job, so that they can do theirs.

Mainly because of that small moment, in the future I want to be in a position where I can influence the conditions where those athletes are working. They’re just doing their job, and the whole event crew should make sure that they can do it in the best possible conditions.

Text and pictures: Siiri Romoi, first year International Tourism Management student

Brainstorming with international students

SAMK is one of the best Universities of Applied Sciences in Finland. We have the best quality in tuition and have always been among the six best ones. Every year, before they finish their studies, high school students visit our university to take a look at what we have to offer. In addition to local high school students, we had international students from Italy and Germany, doing an Erasmus program for one week here, come to visit us at SAMK as well.

The student group had the usual tour of SAMK by our staff, and in addition to that, they were taught basics of marketing. They also had some background information on studying international tourism management at SAMK, in which we, degree students and some exchange students also participated in.

We mostly talked about our experiences in SAMK so far and told them about the studies and the many things we can do in SAMK besides just sitting in classrooms all the time. We have all kinds of activities to make the students feel safe and not too overwhelmed with large amounts of schoolwork, which to me has been a very pleasant surprise since coming to Finland.

The international students also had a session of brainstorming, where we divided them in groups and had them discuss about making brochures for Koivuniemen Herran Farmi, which they had visited prior. We had a SAMK professional explain to them the factors of a good brochure, explain the pros and cons, and then give them an assignment to make their own brochures in groups. 

This is the goup of Italian students.

I was helping the Italian group in brainstorming, and in my opinion they did a very great job on dividing the ideas of their project and working as a team to find templates for their brochure to look good. I think they understood the idea of brainstorming, making lists and writing all the possible ideas down before actually getting into the project itself.

Brainstorming is very useful especially when working with a team and having a tight schedule, because when doing a group project, it’s very important for everyone to get their point listened to and taken in consideration.

These were the ideas they came up with for their brochure, as well as a template on how many pages they wish it to be and how they could fold it if they were to do it on paper, which I found really creative and interesting:

The group had lots of spontaneous ideas, which could sometimes be confusing, but everything seemed to work out for them in the end. I was very happy to help them with everything I could, and to be honest, I wasn’t the only one teaching them things, but they also taught me new things about cooperating with my team in a project.  

In the visiting high school students’ opinion, the help of SAMK professionals and degree students was useful, and I hope they got an idea of how it is to study at our university. I also hope that I will see them on SAMK corridors as degree students too, eventually!

Text and pictures: Alexandra Marin, first year International Tourism Management student

The Pros and Cons of Being an International Working Student in Finland

As an international student and SAMK alumni, I’ve learned a thing or two of being a working student here in Finland. If you are thinking of seeking a job while studying, I’d like to share my learnings and experiences with you before you make your decision.

In general, being a working student brings multiple benefits for both to your personal and professional growth. However, you also need to prepare yourself with the disadvantages and sacrifices that come with it.

Let’s take a look into some of the pros and cons of working while studying abroad.

The Pros of being an international working student

You’ll have a sustainable income to support your studies and cost of living (and everything in-between)  

You’ll start to establish and build your network in the Finnish market (reference, reference, reference!)

You’ll gain Finnish working experience and strengthen your time and financial management, teamwork, leadership and multicultural skills (among other skills you’ll be able to discover and acquire on your experience).  

The Cons of working while studying

You’ll have less free time for other things (depending on your working hours contract)

You’ll get exhausted (to some extent)

You’ll be prone to facing a multitude of stressors.

Are you ready to learn more? Keep on reading.

The Pros of Being an International Working Student

You’ll have a sustainable income to support your studies and the cost of living (and everything in-between)

Bills. Bills. Bills. They never stop coming. Having a sustainable income is an obvious advantage to work, most especially, if you are a paying student. Despite the scholarship programs that SAMK offers, the cost of living in Finland can be really expensive. Luckily, Pori is known to be a student-friendly city, wherein you can find cheaper rental fees.

Plus, who doesn’t want to have a little extra money, right? It can make your university experience even more enjoyable.  Having extra money means little freedom to do the things you love. As for me, I enjoy traveling, I do save up to explore different cities around Finland/Europe. How about you? How would you like to spend it?

Photo is taken in Praque, Czech Republic
You’ll start to establish and build your network in Finnish market (reference, reference, reference!)

This is very useful for you as an international talent in Finland. How? I’ll give you a personal experience of mine. My first ever job in Finland was in a cleaning company in Pori (totally not related to my previous working experiences in the Philippines). I’ve worked there for more than two years, and since then, I’ve been fortunate to curve my way back to the hospitality industry. Years later, when the practical training approached, I began sending my internship applications to different hotels. To cut the story short, the hotel manager called my former cleaning manager after my interview. They know each other personally. Small world, isn’t it?

Whether your part-time job is related to your studies or not, my advice is to take the opportunity. It will open many opportunities for you to start networking. Establishing and showcasing your good working ethics in the Finnish working environment is essential. It will benefit you later on in your career. A good character reference helped me jump-start my career in Finland – and so it can for you!

You’ll gain Finnish working experience and strengthen your multicultural competencies (among other competencies you’ll discover and acquire in your experience) 

As an international student, by working, you’ll be able to adjust, adapt and learn more about Finnish working culture while studying. It will prepare and equip you with the necessary competencies you’ll need later on. The experience of working in Finland allows you to acquire transferable and valuable competencies such as time and financial management, leadership skills, teamwork, and multicultural skills. Understanding and respecting one’s culture increases team spirit and productivity. It will also give you the growth and confidence to handle things outside your comfort zone.

Even on campus, SAMK will help you strengthen these competencies. You will encounter being in a multi-cultural group to work on your assignments and organize events and collaborations with various companies (within Finland or other European countries). Personally,  working in a multi-cultural environment helped me grow as a person and as a professional. Strengthening this skill made me approach a culturally diverse environment with a mindset and actions that lead to many benefits – for myself, my associates, and my employer.

The Cons of Working while Studying

You’ll have less free time for other things (depending on your working hours contract)

As an international student, especially if you are a paying student, your top priority is your degree. If you have an exam, report, or group activities to finish, you need to prioritize spending your free time studying over choosing to go to work.

As a working student, it’s all about balancing and managing your time efficiently. Planning will help you make the most of your free time. In SAMK, the course schedule is published well ahead of time, and usually the employers are flexible in scheduling your work shifts based on your school schedule. I have to say, that’s one of the huge advantages of working and studying here in Finland. Both the professors and the employers are approachable and considerate of your situation.

One of the downsides of working is having less time with your family, friends, and classmates. In some cases,  you will miss attending school events and parties. This is why it is so important to create and make friends at work. Making friends at work will make your time pass quickly, and responsibilities become lighter and more fun to carry out.

You’ll get exhausted (to some extent)

You can only perform at your best in your degree and work if you are well-rested and getting enough sleep. Working and studying at the same time has the possibility of draining you out and, eventually, it may harm your studies.

To work and study effectively, here are some of the things you can do:

  • Map out your schedule. Write down your work shifts, lectures, seminars, study time, and personal time for yourself or time to socialize with your friends. This way, you’ll be able to visualize your upcoming weeks or months ahead of time.
  • If you can visualize your schedule ahead, you will be able to inform your employer. You can ask to lessen/increase your working hours in advance.
  • Prioritize your health. Do not take more responsibility than you can handle.
You’ll be prone to facing a multitude of stressors

Being a working student, you will have a multitude of stressors in your personal life, at work, and at school. Being exposed to dealing with various responsibilities, different nationalities, and unfamiliar practices can be overwhelming. Learning to manage your stress is essential for a working student and in life. Don’t worry, I will share with you some of the tips I learned that helped me manage my stress.

  • Identifying your stressor(s). Knowing the source of your stress is one key to managing your stress. If you caught yourself struggling at university, take some time to re-evaluate your situation. Does your work have a huge impact that causes your stress?
  • Identify your stress relievers. What kind of activities do you like that will help you calm down and de-stress. In SAMK, various activities promote well-being, such as gym, sports, etc. You can check out CampusMoWe for more information. Plus, you may also find it relaxing to go to the swimming hall and enjoy their various pools and saunas!
  • Talk to someone. Talk with your family or friends about it. It will help you release some of the pressure. Knowing that you have someone to talk to is very important, not only for your health but also for your mental health. You can also find helpful services that offer this kind of support at SAMK.

With practice, you’ll get better at remaining calm even under pressure. I highly recommend exploring different post-work hobbies such as meditation, yoga, relaxing walks, watching movies, or reading books when things get overwhelming. These activities helped me and will help you calm your mind after a hectic day at school or work.

In the end…

You’ll develop your self-discipline and deepen your self-awareness

Being a working student requires self-discipline and self-awareness. Strengthening these traits will enable you to pause, think, and gain clarity about your current situation. Self-awareness helps you recognize and assess your own emotions before making any decision or reaction.

On the other hand, self-discipline will help you stay focused and keep you on track with your goals. Remember, you will always find yourself being in a stressful situation. Therefore managing and knowing how to handle your thoughts and emotions are important.

I hope you enjoyed reading this blog post and if you start to feel discouraged, remember: Diamonds are made under extreme pressure. You’ve got this!

Text and pictures: Johnnie Mae Väkelä, a recently graduated Bachelor of Hospitality Management

Työntekijäkokemuksen kehittäminen matkailualalla

Mikä tekee työstä merkityksellistä?

Merkityksellisyyden kokemus syntyy arvostuksen ja tarpeellisuuden tunteen kautta. Se, että työntekijä kokee itsensä arvostetuksi tekee työstä myös itselle arvokasta. Merkityksellisyyttä lisää se, että työntekijä tuntee itsensä ja tekemänsä työn tarpeelliseksi. Jos työntekijällä on tunne, että häntä ei arvosteta eikä tarvita, niin työ muuttuu herkästi merkityksettömäksi ja työntekijän asenne sitä kohtaan välinpitämättömäksi.

Myös työn mielekkyys vaikuttaa siihen miten merkitykselliseltä se itselle tuntuu. Jos työntekijä nauttii tekemästään työstä, hän todennäköisesti myös arvostaa tekemäänsä työtä ja sen tulosta enemmän. Työn mielekkyyttä ja näin ollen merkityksellisyyttä lisää mahdollisuus kehittyä työssään ja edetä urallaan. Tilaisuuksia itsensä kehittämiseen voi tavoitella esimerkiksi etenemismahdollisuuksilla organisaation sisällä. Mielekkyys työtä kohtaan voi säilyä myös muilla tavoin, esimerkiksi tehtäväkohtaisia lisävastuita saamalla tai koulutusten kautta. Joissain organisaatioissa voi olla myös mahdollista vaihdella työtehtäviä ja työskentelypistettä. Kun työ säilyy mielenkiintoisena ja vaihtelevana, sen merkityksellisyys korostuu. Vastakohtana tälle olisi työ, jossa päivät toistuvat liukuhihnamaisesti samanlaisina ilman mielekkyyttä tai vaihtelua. Tällaisessa tilanteessa työnteko ei varmasti tuntuisi kovin merkitykselliseltä.

Merkityksellisyyden kannalta on myös tärkeää, että työtehtävät vastaavat työntekijän koulutusta tai osaamistasoa. Mahdollisuus omien vahvuuksien näyttämiseen ja oman tietotaidon jakamiseen työyhteisössä, sekä muiden ihmisten auttaminen lisäävät merkityksellisyyden kokemista. Myös työnantajalla ja esihenkilöllä on tässä suuri rooli. Jos työntekijälle annetaan riittävästi vastuuta ja työntekijällä on tunne, että hänen taitoihinsa luotetaan, työntekijä voi kokea itsensä arvostetuksi ja työnteon mielekkääksi ja merkitykselliseksi.

Mikä tekee työnantajasta vetovoimaisen?

Organisaation maine on ensimmäinen asia, joka kiinnittää työnhakijoiden huomion. Hyvämaineinen työnantaja houkuttelee todennäköisimmin enemmän hakijoita kuin organisaatio, josta liikkuu epämääräisiä kuulopuheita. Organisaation vetovoimaa lisää sen luotettava ja vastuullinen mielikuva. Työntekijöiden, niin entisten kuin nykyistenkin, viihtyvyys työssä ja työpaikalla vaikuttaa työnantajan maineeseen alan sisällä. Tärkeää on myös, että työntekijöitä kohdellaan ja arvostetaan tasapuolisesti.

Työnantajan vetovoimaisuuteen vaikuttaa merkittävästi myös työn palkkaus ja edut. Palkkauksen on oltava kilpailukykyinen alan sisällä, jotta työntekijät saadaan houkuteltua hakeutumaan juuri kyseiseen yritykseen. Palkan ja etujen lisäksi myös kehittymis- ja etenemismahdollisuudet ovat tärkeitä työntekijöiden houkuttelemisessa. Vetovoimainen työnantaja tukeekin työntekijän kehityskaarta. Myös hyvät työolosuhteet ja toimivat ja nykyaikaiset työskentelyvälineet ja -tilat vaikuttavat siihen, kuinka houkuttelevana työnantaja nähdään. Riittävät resurssit etenkin työntekijöiden määrässä vaikuttavat työolosuhteisiin merkittävästi. Jatkuva aliresursointi johtaa työntekijöiden uupumiseen, joka heikentää työntekijöiden sitoutumista ja vaikeuttaa uusien työntekijöiden saatavuutta.

Millaiset keinot saavat työntekijän sitoutumaan työhön ja työnantajaan?

Sitoutuneet työntekijät eli jatkuvat työsuhteet ovat tärkeä voimavara yrityksille, sillä se mahdollistaa työnteon keskeytyksettömän suorituksen ja parhaimman mahdollisen työtuloksen aikaansaamisen.

Yksi tärkeimpiä keinoja saada työntekijä sitoutumaan työnantajaan pitkäaikaisesti on taata uusille työntekijöille hyvä ja asiantunteva perehdytys työhön. Perehdytys ideaalisesti olisi jatkuvaa, tarkoittaen että työntekijät saisivat säännöllisesti lisäperehdytystä tai koulutusta uusiin ja muuttuviin työtehtäviin. Työnantajaan sitoutuminen on myös todennäköisempää, jos työnantaja tarjoaa työntekijöilleen mahdollisuuden edetä urallaan organisaation sisällä.

Työsopimus on konkreettinen väline sitouttaa työntekijä yritykseen. Työsopimuksen tulisi olla riittävän pitkäkestoinen, jotta työntekijä tuntee elantonsa turvatuksi pidemmäksi aikaa eikä joudu jatkuvasti pelkäämään, että työsopimusta ei yhtäkkiä uusittaisikaan. Lyhyitä pätkäsopimuksia ja nollasopimuksia tulisi välttää kokonaan. Jos pidempiaikainen työsopimus ei esimerkiksi työn kausiluonteisuuden vuoksi ole mahdollista, työntekijöitä voidaan yrittää sitouttaa lupaamalla töitä myös seuraavalle sesongille.

Työntekijä saadaan myös paremmin sitoutettua, jos palkkaus ja edut ovat riittävän hyvät. Yksi tärkeimmistä asioista on kuitenkin hyvä työilmapiiri. Jos työyhteisössä on hyvä henki ja työntekijät viihtyvät työssään, se todennäköisesti edistää työsuhteen jatkuvuutta, vaikka palkka olisikin hieman pienempi. Hyvään työilmapiiriin vaikuttaa myös esihenkilön johtamistyyli ja -taidot. Johtamisen tulisi olla avointa ja esihenkilön helposti lähestyttävissä. Työntekijöillä tulisi olla tunne, että heitä kuunnellaan ja heidän mielipiteensä otetaan huomioon työntekoa koskevissa päätöksissä. Tärkeää on myös, että työntekijöitä kohdellaan tasapuolisesti, ja että kaikilla työntekijöillä on samat oikeudet ja velvollisuudet. Sitoutumisen edistämiseksi työntekijälle on myös tärkeää saada työstään säännöllisesti palautetta esihenkilöltä. Palaute tulisi olla rakentavaa, ja sitä tulisi antaa myös hyvästä työsuoriutumisesta. Kehityskeskustelut ovat hyvä tilaisuus saada ja antaa palautetta, mutta esihenkilö voi myös matalalla kynnyksellä kannustaa työyhteisöään kiittämällä hyvästä työstä ja tuomalla onnistumisia esiin.

”Matkailu- ja ravitsemisalan työnantajien vetovoima ja työntekijäkokemus” oli yksi tämän vuoden RESTO-tietotaitokilpailun kisatehtävistä. RESTO-kisat ovat vuosittain järjestettävät valtakunnalliset restonomiopiskelijoiden SM-kilpailut, joiden tavoitteena on tuoda esiin restonomikoulutusta ja restonomien osaamista, sekä luoda verkostoitumismahdollisuuksia eri ammattikorkeakoulujen opiskelijoiden, opettajien, ja toimialan yrityksien välillä.

RESTO-kilpailuun osallistuminen jo ensimmäisenä opiskeluvuotena lisäsi omaa ymmärrystäni siitä, miten monipuolisiin työtehtäviin restonomitutkinto valmistaa, ja oli mukavaa päästä tutustumaan ja verkostoitumaan eri toimijoiden kanssa.

Teksti: Sofia Viertola, Matkailun tutkinto-ohjelman ensimmäisen vuoden opiskelija
Kuvat: Officen kuvapankki

My internship in Istanbul

I am doing my internship in Istanbul for five months in Bilgi University’s International Student Advising Office. I study tourism myself, so it was clear for me that I want to do my practical training abroad: it is very important for me in the future as in my study field international experience is valuable.

I was originally planning to do my internship at a hotel in Budapest, but my plan got cancelled due to Covid-19 pandemic. Then I started to search for a new place, and I found this internship position in Istanbul. I applied for it, got an invitation to interview and then got accepted. I felt very lucky to finally have a place to do my internship.

Istanbul is in Turkey, and it is the biggest city in the country but not the capital. The interesting thing about Istanbul is that it is located in two continents: Europe and Asia. So, the western part of the city belongs to Europe and the eastern side to Asia. The population of Istanbul is about 15 million people, and the main religion is Islam. They have prayer calls five times a day but after while I got used to it.

My internship is during the low touristic season, so it is not too crowded, which I like. It is better to visit sights and places when you don’t have to wait in lines for hours. I think Istanbul is a good destination for internship because there is so much to see and do. Istanbul is a very historical city and has many historical places that also attract tourists. I feel like even five months is not enough for everything. Public transport is good in the city, and you can go to many places and all you need is Istanbulkart, which works for every means of transport.

I have also noticed that Istanbul is a very international city and I actually expected to face more cultural differences here. So far, I have liked living here, except the traffic jams. Living here is cheaper for me, so everything is quite affordable including rent.

When I arrived in Turkey, it was a bit hectic because there were a lot of people around me. I have been to Turkey one time before, so it is not a completely new country but last time I travelled to a smaller city in south coast. While living here, there have not been that many Covid-19 restrictions and places have been normally open. Also, we have been able to work in the office, not from home.

My workplace, Bilgi University, is a private university. Recently the university has been ranked the third best in Turkey. It has three different campuses, but we work at the main campus. The office and team are quite small, but I like it because I get to know everyone better. In the team there are two permanent workers and a few interns. The office is having Erasmus interns all the time, usually two or three at the same time. The International Student Advising Office assist only international full-time students. Thus, they have Erasmus office separated. I work at the office’s front desk with another intern and we mainly help the students who are coming to the office ask for advice. The job is nice, and I also get a lot of responsibility at the front desk. The working environment is very easygoing and I really like the atmosphere there.

My work tasks mostly consist of answering emails, advising international students, preparing residence permits and other documents. We also sometimes update social media. Working in an international environment develops my communication and language skills. Even though Turkey and this place may not have been my first choice, it has been an amazing experience so far and I would not change it!

Text and pictures: Annina Koskinen, fourth year student in the degree programme in Tourism