Studying at RUN European University: First student experiences


RUN European University (RUN-EU) studies started in February as HAMK and Portuguese IPCA organized together the first Short Advanced Programme: Design Expedition.  Students from various disciplines in eight RUN-EU’s higher education institutions took part in the virtual programme in which business design, emotional intelligence and artificial intelligence were combined to create new shopping experiences for a business partner. What do the participants think about the experience after the dust has settled?


Louise, International Business student from the Netherlands

Facial picture of a girl“I am second year International Business student at NHL Stenden in Leeuwarden.

I am part of NHL’s xHonours course and there I heard about the opportunity to work in this project. I have worked on a project about a Finnish supermarket and I am very interested in the possibilities of emotional intelligence. I also studied computer science before I came to NHL Stenden, so I was interested to combine those in this project.

I already work with multiple nationalities in my studies but it was new to work with other universities and people from other disciplines. I think the experience to work with different cultures and expertise is a really valuable one! You learn a lot about other people and yourself whilst trying to figure things out together. Obviously I would have preferred to meet the other people in person but overall I can absolutely say that I feel happy about participating and I would recommend this project to other students!

I really enjoyed the combination of all lectures: it was a good mixture of knowledge about Emotional Intelligence and also some really interesting new information about technology and the possibilities of Artificial Intelligence. Some of the more technical lectures were harder to follow but still very interesting and valuable for the experience.

The most important thing I learned during the project was how to work together with a completely new team and how important the emotional experience is for us when it comes to basically anything. It really showed me, how emotions and focusing on the experience itself affects our opinion and perception of things and how technology is constantly developing to fit those needs.

I also learned a lot about how different people perceive the same experience. We could all sit in the same room but at the end have totally different opinions about the same situations!”


Johanna, Equine Business Management student from Finland

Girl and a horse“I am a first year Equine Business Management student from HAMK. I find business design something extremely interesting, so as I heard about this programme from HAMK cSchool’s Business Design instructor I decided to join.  I also want to challenge myself in studying and working in English even if sometimes I feel a bit shy about it.

During the Design Expedition I was lucky to have such a great team of students and our team work was successful. We used as a platform of flexible working in different time zones: My team’s students were studying in India, Portugal and Finland, so basically in all times someone of us was always working with the project. Everyone had their own important roles within the team so we were really happy with the team work.

We also took part to the online lectures and I found all the Emotional Intelligence lessons so interesting and rewarding! We also had lessons on Artificial Intelligence which is another interesting topic, but the level of the lessons was pretty challenging, especially in a different language and in a starter level.

During the Design Expedition week I experienced so many feelings of  succeeding! Especially those days when we carried out the business project in practice were extremely interesting. It was really challenging and required a lot to get the result ready on three days but with hard work we ended up having great results! And no reason to understate that feeling when my team’s solution to the business partner’s challenge was selected as a winner of the whole programme! It was amazing!

Now I feel very happy that I had the courage to join this new kind of programme. I also hope that one day I can work again with the same team for an another project, because together we can achieve so much!


Elaine, Nursing student from the Netherlands

Girl on a bike“I am currently in my first year of the bachelor of Nursing. When I saw an advertisement in my Honours programme of a Short Advanced Project of the RUN-EU I was excited! In these COVID times it is a challenge to keep developing your international skills. Design Expedition was the closest I could get in developing international skills in practice. Even though the subject of this SAP was not necessarily my field of study, I decided to sign up and give it a try.

To be honest, the first days were difficult. The days were very long and full of high quality super difficult lectures by professors that were really the best in their field. Luckily there were two Finnish coaches who seemed to be available for questions day and night. They were very patient and helpful.

Because literally everything was new to me, I learned so much I don’t even know where to begin! The progress I made together with my subgroup of students was mind blowing. Who would’ve thought that I, as a nursing student, would develop and create a prototype smartphone app?! It felt good to broaden my horizon and explore skills I never knew I had. We had to hand in assignments alone and as a group that were part of design thinking. We worked late hours to get everything done in just one week.  And we were amazed how well we succeeded together!

Honestly in the beginning of the SAP the online team work felt a bit strange, as you are put together in a team with a bunch of strangers. But after working together so closely and intensively during the week, it is very sad that this project is over. It feels strange that we actually never met in real life, and we don’t know if we ever will. Honestly that made all of our team members quite sad.

The best thing in participating to this RUN-EU experience was to meet so many like-minded students. We were all from different disciplines and different countries, but all of us were so open-minded, motivated, dedicated and internationally oriented. We all liked the challenges and we were prepared to take the extra step. It really opened new perspectives and new doors for me as a nursing student.

The experience has also opened up new opportunities. One example is that I was asked to solicit to be a member for the RUN-EU student advisory board for NHL Stenden. And another example is that a professor from IPCA (RUN-EU partner from Portugal) asked me to join his master-students’ project on biochemical sensors! This project is very relevant for Nursing: biochemical sensors can play a role in detect COVID19 in a human body, potentially help speed up the opening of our world and societies again… which would make it possible to actually travel to the host university and the next SAP!! Fingers crossed! After participating in the Design Expedition I am even more motivated to excel in my studies than ever before!”


Text: Saara Lindén, Louise, Johanna and Elaine
Pictures: Anni Pajunen (the article picture), Louise, Johanna and Elaine

What’s RUN European University all about?

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