Introducing Spanish students to local youth and NGO work on the Turku campus

After a long break caused by the Covid pandemic, international guests have been welcomed to Humak again. The so-called international weeks that are so vital to cooperation are being organised again. This week, Humak’s Turku campus received guests from the Spanish University of Girona.

The University of Girona is one of Humak’s many European partner universities. The Social Educator degree offered by Girona is very close to our Community Educator degree. Our cooperation has been fruitful and it has been rewarding for both sides to learn about the other’s education programmes.


The International Week increases our understanding of different cultures and approaches

The International Week provides a good opportunity for the guests to learn about the host institution’s operations, as well as about approaches to their own field and its impact on society in another country. In addition to social events, the week contains lectures and visits to organisations doing youth work and NGO work.

On the Turku campus, the International Week is integrated with the course “Human rights and diversity” that is also emphasised in the week’s theme.

Auditoriossa ihmisiä istumassa ja kuuntelemassa esitystä.
University Lecturer Kaisa Ilmonen presented the INTERACT project and explained the concept of intersectionality and its linkage to Black feminism and human rights activism.

Among other things, the programme includes Gary Spolander’s (Scotland) lecture on human rights, Suvi Tuominen’s introduction to game-based learning and visits to International House Turku, Turku Vocational Institute’s TUVA education and Vimma Art and Activity Centre. Humak and Girona’s students also visit the University of Turku, where they are introduced to the “INTERACT – Intersectional Reading, Social Justice, and Literary Activism” project that is led by Associate Professor Kaisa Ilmonen. The students are introduced to intersectionality-themed education and a diversity-conscious way of reading and narrating literature.

The International Week has started out great and we have already discussed diversity, non-discrimination and human rights from different points of view.

“The lecture was interesting because in our university, we have mostly focused on issues from a Spanish point of view, but this gave us more of an international perspective on human rights. It left us thinking about social inequality and how important it is for us, as future professionals, to promote human rights,” said Amy Maddocks from the University of Girona.

The rest of the programme includes traditional ice swimming, going to sauna, touring the city and having student parties.

Vasemmalla neljä opiskelijaa poseeraa Posanka-patsaan edessä ja oikealla ihmiset leikkivät ryhmäleikkejä.
The Spanish students also got to see Turku’s tourist attractions and hear about youth work at schools and Fendari workshops in Vimma.

The week planned by students

The International Week was planned by a group of eight Community Educator students who implemented the planning as part of the course “Development of international and multicultural activities.” UAS studies often include project work related to the courses and their learning goals. The projects done as part of the studies give the students an opportunity to carry out challenging work tasks guided by their lecturer coaches. The skills needed in working life also evolve with concrete practice.

The week was full of different workshops and lectures. Among other things, the students discussed who they would go to dinner with if they could choose anyone in the world.

Our students asked for the Spanish students’ wishes regarding their visit beforehand, considering both professional development and free time. After this, the students started planning the International Week – a long process which called for the students’ commitment, imagination, networking skills and diverse communicative skills.

“One surprisingly difficult task was accommodating the students! The Spanish students wished to stay in Finnish homes and we succeeded in finding a place of accommodation in the Turku area for all 26 students,” recounted the Community Educator student Maisa Fyrqvist.

The International Week is especially important for third-year Community Educator students, as the Covid pandemic has impacted their studies the most. “This is our first big project since we started our studies as we have mainly studied online due to Covid. In planning the International Week, we’ve had an opportunity to practice our international skills, improve our language skills and create international networks. We have worked closely together with our own team and the Girona students to create the best week possible,” said Annabella Peltonen.

“Humak’s coaching pedagogy gives us great opportunities to plan these kinds of international projects where students get to apply their learning and develop their working life skills on a broad scale. The students have committed to this project and really given their all in organising it, so the biggest praise belongs to the planning team,” says Lecturer Tiina Toivola.

International cooperation continues strong in Turku: soon the campus organises an Erasmus+ BIP course with the theme “Youth Work in Finland and European Solidarity,” on 13-17 March 2023. The event will welcome a total of 35 students from Finland, the Netherlands and Spain.


Original text: Tiina Toivola
Editing: Emilia Reponen, Jarmo Röksä

English translation: Noora Nurminen