Combining Kenyan and Finnish expertise in physiotherapy studies

The beginning of August was a memorable moment for the group of Kenyan students who arrived to Tampere University of Applied Sciences to study in the Degree Programme of Physiotherapy (3,5 years).
Long flight from home, mind full of excitement and a new city to adapt into. Despite the burden created by travelling, spirits were high. This is Tampere, our new home!

The first tailor-made Degree Programme in Physiotherapy
This is the first tailor-made Degree Programme in Physiotherapy at TAMK, so the students are important pioneers in developing the tailored services of TAMK even wider. The tailor-made programmes, in general, offer the Finnish educational know-how and learning solutions to all the partners and organisations interested. At TAMK, there are several other tailor-made degree programmes running, for example Degree Programmes of Nursing, Risk Management and Circular Economy and Business Administration.
First days of the orientation were hectic for the students. Opening new service accounts and making registrations, made the students overwhelmed and tired, but at the same time absorbed them into the Finnish system and society.

First impressions and observations

The students have been studying now for few weeks and they are getting to know Tampere. It is normal to make comparisons with one’s home country, when first moving to a new place. The students have been impressed by the public transport system in Tampere and the cleanness of the city’s public spaces. Also, they are pleased with the student housing although the Finnish midnight sun keeps some of them awake at night.
In general, spontaneous and open interaction with TAMK staff has been a nice surprise – and generous, helpful people of Tampere. The students say that they have been kindly helped in situations where they have been a little bit lost.

The teachers describe the students as a group of openminded, very positive and delightfully active students, who participate in the discussions lively. Only the differences in the concept of time have created some difficulties in starting the lessons. A small, but important cultural integration has also taken place; the students have been strongly encouraged to pick up the healthy bilberries in the forest, and the stories tell that due to a great season, berries have also been found!

Orientation day

Exploring cultural differences

The students have experienced challenging moments when they have tried to find someone from the grocery store to help them with the supplies. The stores seem empty with the personnel and after buying something, one might end up having something totally different that was planned. Through trial and error the differences for example between milks have been found.

In Finnish society also the concept of family is very different than in Kenya, and it has been a big surprise for the students, that our grandparents usually live in elderly homes instead with their children.
Kenya is very famous for the athletes of the country, especially for the marathon runners. Experience of training and caring these top athletes is long in the country. TAMK strongly encourages students of physiotherapy to bring out their expertise and knowledge from home into their studies in Finland. The best part of studying abroad is not only learning.

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