The Best Part of the Job Is Interacting with People

This term’s application period for the adventure and outdoor education Bachelor’s degree program is open until January 22 2020. In this story, we take a closer look at lecturer Tero Lämsä and his work as an adventure education teacher.  

Tero Lämsä is a familiar face at the Humak University of Applied Sciences. However, he is a rather recent addition to the eight-person adventure education staff. He is looking forward to meeting the new group of students, who begin their studies next autumn.

International challenges

Tero has taught community education students for over 10 years. Since joining the adventure education team, the language of teaching has changed from Finnish to English.

It has taken quite a bit of work to learn how to teach the material in English. We have also worked hard to adapt the courses to suit the needs of international students, Tero says.

The new group of students will meet Tero as soon as their studies begin. As a long-time expert in community education, Tero is responsible for the program’s social studies module, as well as the first introductory course.

Tero is also responsible for the majority of the studies in entrepreneurship and communications. Furthermore, he has worked as a visiting lecturer during outdoor practical training, thesis seminars, and internships.

According to Tero, working with people from all over the world has been an interesting challenge.

The best part of my job is meeting and interacting with people — whether it takes place in the classroom, online, or in the wilderness.

An active and versatile job

During spring and autumn, Tero travels to teach the adventure education students at their home campus in Nurmijärvi. The campus is located approximately 45 kilometers north of Helsinki.

In February, he will lead the second-year students on a hike through the Ylläs-Pallastunturi national park. The park, which is located in northwestern Finland, is the third-largest and the most visited national park in the country.

In March, Tero will take the first-year students to a week-long intensive youth work course in Rautavaara, northeastern Savonia. They will be joined by teachers and students from Humak’s partner UAS from Ireland.

During the winter months, the majority of the students do their internships, and there is no contact teaching. Tero and the rest of the teaching staff use this time to plan the courses, grade assignments, and catch up on other important office tasks. The communication with students is done via email, video calls, or at online learning environments.

Lecturer Tero Lämsä
In addition to the Humak campuses, Tero Lämsä and other adventure education lecturers work in various outdoor environments.

Teaching community educators

Tero says that adventure education students are a good combination of young people completing their first degree, and people with more prior experience of studying and working.

Adventure education has students from many different cultures. In addition to the local Finns, there are students from many Asian, South-American, African, Australian, and European nations.

Tero hopes that the 2020 group of new students will be a versatile and international bunch of people who are passionate about adventure education and eager to learn.

I look forward to meeting the new students and having conversations with interesting people, be it in a classroom or around a campfire.

It is worth noting that the goal of the community educator degree program (yhteisöpedagogi (AMK) in Finnish) is not merely to provide travel guides into the workforce. Instead, the graduating students will become experts in group guidance, education, and working with people.

Of course, it is necessary to have some spirit for adventure. It is also beneficial to have a genuine interest in challenging yourself, and developing your skills in kayaking, climbing, or hiking.

Both theory and experiential learning

The studies are well-suited for people who enjoy working in cooperation with others. However, the students must also be prepared to work independently and to familiarize themselves with relevant literature.

It is important to know theory and be able to communicate in writing, even though the majority of the studies are activity-based and organized outside of lecture rooms.

According to Tero Lämsä, the degree program provides the students with strong adventure and outdoor skills, and an excellent grasp on the methods of experiential learning.

The graduating students can find work in many fields, such as youth and NGO work, education and training, and nature- and adventure-based entrepreneurship.

News and further information

Photos: Humak archives.

The 2020 application period for the adventure and outdoor education Bachelor’s degree programme has ended. The next application period begins in January 2021 (the date will be announced later).