Postgraduate students wanting to forge careers in tourism and events embarked on an overseas trip to find out how things are done in one of the world’s northernmost countries.
University of Northampton students studying for a Master’s in International Tourism Development, International Hotel Management and International Special Events Management spent five days in Finland.
Their two-day stay in the capital, Helsinki, saw them learn about events management from staff at the Finnish National Opera and Ballet. They also spent time at Hard Rock Café, where they were welcomed by its sales and marketing manager, Daniel Arvai.
The students then spent three days in the coastal city of Pori. There they joined forces with tourism students at Satakunta University of Applied Sciences (SAMK) to work on a project about responsible tourism and sustainability, which they presented to representatives from tourism organisation, Visit Pori.
Student Ondraela Gjini said: “This trip was relevant to our course because we had the opportunity to consider tourism from the Finnish point of view.
“I asked the Finnish students whether they consider Finland to be the happiest country of 2019, which was stated by the UN earlier this year. Some agreed as they are enrolled on an international course which provides the opportunity to interact with other people. However, most of the students didn’t agree as they are living in a cold country which does not have as many warm, sunny days as other countries have.”
Gheorghia Constandachi said: “Getting to know the foreign students, visiting a frozen beach and seeing the capital were the things I enjoyed a lot. The trip was very useful as it helped to gather information of how to promote a destination, no matter in which season.”
Iva Shopova said: “The trip to Finland was amazing. We met new people sharing the same interests with us – tourism. We learnt so many new things about Finnish hospitality and Finnish people.”
Accompanying the students on the trip were Nick Naumov, Senior Lecturer in Hospitality & Tourism Management, Gary Mason, Senior Lecturer in Travel & Tourism Marketing, and Ivna Reic, Senior Lecturer in Events Management.
While the students’ trip was covered by their tuition fees, the lecturers’ visit was supported by a staff training grant from the University’s Erasmus+ fund.
Erasmus+ is the European Commission’s flagship programme that provides funding for students, recent graduates and staff to study, gain work experience, teach or train abroad.
Ivna said: “This year’s field trip to Finland provided our students with an exceptional opportunity to broaden their horizons and explore a culturally different approach to tourism and events management. The students thoroughly enjoyed it and have benefited from a broader understanding of how tourism operates in different cultural contexts.”
Nick said: “The trip to Finland was an excellent opportunity for both students and staff to learn about the hospitality and events management in a different socio-cultural context. Our partnership with SAMK allowed our students to work on a student project and exchange ideas and good practices.”
Ann Pillans, Erasmus & Mobility Officer for the University of Northampton, said: “Staff mobility which directly supports and enables short-term mobility for students is an excellent use of the University’s Erasmus+ grant and makes it possible for students who are unable to undertake longer periods of exchange within their course or for personal/family reasons to benefit from a real international perspective during their studies.
“This type of activity can be pivotal in encouraging our students to consider a longer-term period of studying or working abroad in future. The Erasmus+ grant already supports similar activity in occupational therapy, education, nursing and sports science and it’s fantastic to see this model expand into these subject areas.”