Development Manager’s view on International Wellbeing Week
The planning of Wellbeing International Week 2022 was started with the idea that it will be held live at Visamäki Hämeenlinna campus. We were wrong. Then we thought that at least hybrid model would be possible. Wrong again. While the semester proceeded it became clear that the situation had not eased enough with the pandemic for us to feel safe organizing a live event. Hence once again we decided to arrange a fully virtual event week to ensure the quality and diversity of the week’s online material. This turned out to be the best decision of the year.
This year’s theme was Sustainable Community. The lectures and speeches brought up topical themes around sustainable development, social services, and health care. The week started 21.2.2022 with a seminar day in which the keynote speakers were Tero Ahvenharju ja Ulla-Maija Knuutti from HAMK’s sustainable development program. Other speakers completed the day with expert speeches and the week soon became a place to share knowledge and experiences. As the custom is, the week ended with Master´s degree program on Friday. To conclude the feedback from the week we can say that the Wellbeing International Week was interesting, informative, and inspiring. On the other hand, the week was also an intensive and challenging platform where practicing the language skills was part of the thrill.
A big thanks to all our international partners for flexibility as lectures and workshops had to be transformed into online versions. HAMK’s IT-team, Mikko and Marko, also deserve an appraisal as they made sure that the execution of the online event was good quality and well managed. In addition, we need to thank a small but active exchange student group who enlivened the atmosphere in the studio. Our weeks student assistants also played a big role in organizing the event and bringing an enthusiastic and positive vibe to all of us. Thank you all!
Wellbeing International Week through the eyes of assistants
This year we got the opportunity to participate Wellbeing International Week as student assistants. We wanted to share what the week included and what did we learn. Even though everything was new and exciting we gathered a lot of experiences and important lessons during the week. We enjoyed the cheery week in the dark winter months.
This year the student assistant group consisted of four social care students. We are all second-year students. Matilda Packalén is a wellbeing tutor, interested in social care for adults. She also likes plants and pigs. Riikka Johansson is interested in child and youth matters and during the pandemic her weekdays consist around school and family life. Sometimes you can even spot Riikka relaxing at festivals. Ville Kivitie is interested in preventing drug abuse and during his free time he jogs and reads all kinds of books. Iida Salminen is a tutor and an international tutor interested in mental health work. She loves animals and knitting. We are all interested extra curriculum activities and ready to throw ourselves into any kinds of challenges. For this reason, we were fully involved in organizing Wellbeing International Week.
We started preparing the week well ahead. Before the week everyone made their own introduction video and a short video of some sight in Hämeenlinna. Matilda and Iida interviewed a couple exchange students.
The week started on Monday. In the morning we filmed a video about social care studies and introduced ourselves in the opening of the Wellbeing International Week. In the evening we got to enjoy the virtual dinner, in which the staff and some lecturers participated. During the week we helped with the broadcasts and worked as a link between lecturers and participants. We helped with the online lectures, introduced the lecturers, and supervised that everything was going smoothly and according to the plan. We also created material for social media. Each of us made one picture post and one Tiktok video.
Ville and Riikka participated in a video interview, which was made in co-operation with HAMK’s information and communication students. They were working on a video project related to a module in which they produced, and post processed the material. The goal was to film students’ thoughts about what is a good instructor like. Material is going to be used to train instructors in Moodle.
During the week and before it, we worked as a team but each of us got an individual experience and perspective from it. Working as a team did bring us comfort and courage to act as assistants. Through teamwork we learned a lot from the process and from each other.
Thoughts after the week
Iida’s week started great, but as the current pandemic situation hit her in the face, she had to quarantine herself for the rest of the week. Even from home Iida found the lectures to be interesting and inspiring. The filming of the Tiktok video did cause some headache but luckily a park nearby offered beautiful material about Finnish nature in winter.
Ville thought that the week was rewarding and interesting. It brought variation to the remote studying. Especially the interview project they did in Riihimäki was a bit challenging, but looking back it was a really special experience. We learnt a lot and you don’t often get to experience something like it. Using English in this context was a challenge for me personally, but it was perfect opportunity to practice professional English and international exchange of ideas, says Ville. It’s a shame that we did not get to organize the event live, but nevertheless everything went according to plan, he adds.
Matilda thought that the best part was to act in new situations and challenge herself in creating the material. It was rewarding to see every part finally form into a functional Wellbeing International Week. Watching the week ending and remembering all the week’s events made her feel like a winner.
Riikka enjoyed the role of a Wellbeing International Week assistant. She got to work with the organizers and got to know the teachers and lecturers. The best part was the video interview as it gave an experience of a studio environment. Lectures and workshops were interesting and working as an assistant gave it a nice new twist. She is more confident to use English after the week.
The week can be summarized into few words: interesting, inspiring, and busy. We all enjoyed the opportunity to get to know new people and to see what it takes to arrange a week like this, especially as an online event. Even though the event itself only lasted for a week, it had been prepared for quite some time. We are eagerly waiting for next year and the possibility of a live Wellbeing International Week at HAMK. We surely recommend the position of a Wellbeing International Week assistant to everyone who is interested. You get to practice your English and the week is a fun experience.
For no special reason (other than for your amusement) here is a clip of a video the assistants made in Finnish during the week. They took apart in the ”Read lips and answer” -challenge. Hope you’ll have a laugh with us!
Ps. remember to put on subtitles for English translation.
Blog writers: development manager Toni Leander and student assistants Ville Kivitie, Riikka Johansson, Matilda Packalén ja Iida Salminen