The first joint Summer School by the educational operators in North Karelia has concluded


Karelia University of Applied Sciences, University of Eastern Finland, Finland University and Riveria (vocational education and training) have accomplished for the first time a joint international summer school for Chinese forestry students studying for the Master’s Degree. A group of 24 students from Xian County, Northwest Agriculture & Forestry University, has studied in Joensuu since the beginning of June, familiarizing extensively with the themes of bioeconomy and sustainable natural resources management.

Studies have included work in classroom, periods in forest, practical assignments as well as visits and excursions. The students have been enthusiastic and motivated. Although planning and coordinating an extensive and versatile summer school together with several operators and international student group in a short time has been a big effort, the end result with satisfied students and partners is very rewarding, says Ulla Asikainen, Head of Education at Karelia University of Applied Sciences.

Three month’s summer school, intensive study in Finland in the summertime, Joensuu and the region’s beautiful nature along with the light summer nights have been unique experiences for the students. The students have been satisfied with the teaching methods in summer school.

Active discussions in class have encouraged me to express my own ideas and this has been a new learning method for me. These discussions have been important considering the learning process. I want to take this active discussion method back to China with me, because you can learn from others and also increase your own knowledge, tells Yu Lei, a student in summer school.

Familiarizing with the Finnish forestry chain has also been a memorable experience for the students.

Learning about sustainable and multiple-use forestry for the whole production chain is a matter that helps us to develop the use of Chinese forests in the future. Forests in China have mainly environmental goals so learning about sustainable and multiple-use forestry can be useful in the future, Yu Lei continues.

Also the teachers of NWAFU have followed actively the studies in summer school and they have been satisfied with the arrangements.

I am surprised by the commitment of the teachers and organizers. Themes related to bioeconomy and developing rural areas have widened the students’ thoughts in addition to things related to forests. I hope that this well started co-operation will expand in the near future, tells Professor Guangzhe Liu.

Idea for this summer school came from Paavo Pelkonen, Emeritus Professor of University of Eastern Finland, and the administration has been the responsibility of Ulla Asikainen, Head of Education and Liisa Timonen, Head of International Affairs at Karelia University of Applied Sciences. The versatile group of teachers included working life experts from University of Eastern Finland, Karelia and Riveria.

The soon ending international summer school is a good example of how educational operators in the same region can produce and implement a versatile whole and at the same time take an important step into common regional development of international co-operation and education export. It is exactly this type of effort that is more and more needed in this region, tells Liisa Timonen, Head of International Affairs at Karelia.