Rovaniemi is my second home now
My name is Thao Nguyen and my friends call me Tibby. I am from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam where I have graduated from a college specialised in Import-Export Business. However, I decided to change my major into Tourism and Hospitality Management and Lapland University of Applied Sciences in Finland caught my attention. After searching for information about the programme online and from the Admission Services, it was time to take action. I filled in an online application and sent all the needed documents by post and then received an invitation to take the entrance exam in Vietnam.
In 2015, the entrance exam consisted of three parts: motivation letter, essay and math. You can prepare for the exam by considering your motivation for the studies and reading information related to your study field. However, the most important tips for the exams are the following:
• Before the entrance exam day: eat, relax and most importantly, sleep well.
• Entrance exam day: concentrate, stay calm and believe in yourself -you can do it!
I was so delighted and proud of myself when I received the results and information about the study place. Then I just followed the instructions to confirm the study place, found an apartment through the student housing organisation and applied for the resident permit. On August 25, 2015, a Vietnamese girl finally went her own path and started a new life in Rovaniemi. A year in Finland has been wonderful for me. I have learned and experienced new things and have gained lots of friends from many different countries. Rovaniemi is my second home now.
- Thao Nguyen, Tourism student
Our classes are not traditional classrooms studies but we learn also in the actual working environment; in kitchens, restaurants and hotels
Hi, my name is Hung Ngyen and I come from Vietnam. I started my studies in the Multidimensional Tourism Institute in Lapland UAS here in Rovaniemi in August 2014.
Here in Lapland, I see a lot of friendly people and have made many good friends. My teachers and tutors are very supportive. Our classes are not traditional classrooms studies but we learn also in the actual working environment; in kitchens, restaurants and hotels. We have even climbed up a mountain just to learn guiding. How amazing is that!
At MTI campus here in Rovaniemi we have two amazing study environments called Dream Factory, which I like the most. I was wowed by the colorful and stunning design when I first started my studies there. The Dream Factory is a modern environment with high-tech equipment like smart board for you to have the most interactive lesson ever, and also private enough for you to have a nap when needed.
- Hung Nguyen, Vietnam, Tourism student -
I feel much older since I first came to Finland. And it is not because of how many years I lived here, but because of HOW I lived. I gained plenty of life experience studying at Lapland UAS.
I was 17 years old, when left Russia and I came to study Tourism here. Probably, as any other newbie would be, I was nervous about making friends in a new place. I mean, it’s quite common to worry, whether you will fit in a new community or not, but I was twice more concerned that I would study in an international group. But, you know, all of my fears flew away as soon as I got to know my classmates. They were very friendly and open.
Originally, I decided to study tourism, because I loved (yes, loved very much) languages! At high school, I learned Finnish, German and English. Finnish and English were my favorite languages, so I decided that the international degree in Finland would suit me the best. The second reason was my wish to travel the world and I thought it would be easier for me to start from the study exchange. Last spring, I spent 4 months studying in Austria in the Alps. It was a very memorable experience and, more importantly it changed me! I recommend a year abroad to everyone! You not only learn new things about other cultures, places and history, but you also learn new things about yourself!
Another thing, which appealed to me, when I was applying for Degree Programme in Tourism, was the specialization in Experience Design. I am an artistic person and I don’t like spending the whole time in front of the books or a computer. The tourism degree offered exactly what I wanted: different projects, international environment and practicality, so I applied to study Experience Design.
For me, it was a pleasant surprise that we would have a lot of study-trips. Since the beginning of my studies here, I’ve traveled the whole Lapland, visited Sweden and went to Central Europe. Furthermore, I have worked in several positions, including animator, guide, interpreter, receptionist and cashier, but I am still searching for my real calling. This is like a journey of life, and I do like journeys! ;)
-Lada Stukolkina, DPT’13-
Now here is a story for you guys who are pondering whether to apply to DPT (Degree Programme in Tourism) or where to head after graduation.
My background to start with is far from a usual one; I was working as a prison officer in Helsinki when I saw an advert of a Tourism programme where tuition was completely in English, but in Rovaniemi where I was born. Wow! Having lived in England for a while I got interested, applied and in the end got accepted. Then came the decision making process at home where my wife and two daughters came seriously into play. In the end we decided to pack our gear and return to Lapland as both of us have roots in Kittilä.
School started and my motivation was sky high! My wife took care of the children at home and I went to school every day thinking; "I must be effective with my studies as she is working hard at home so that I can study at peace!" Exams and essays followed one another and the group of students started to grow together. The first training during December came quickly and I wanted to split it in two in order to create an opinion of what I would like to do. First I went to a local hotel for a few weeks and liked it. The second place was an assistant guide with the UK charters at Korvala. I was a bit unsure of the whole thing with the Elf costumes and all, but I decided to give it a go with a company called Emagine Travel UK Ltd. It was a decision that I didn't have to regret!
The next Christmas I had a larger role and I also expanded the guiding experience to Saariselkä over New Year. Then came the last year of my studies and I was asked whether I would like to work year round for the company after graduation! Soon the school was out and new challenges were waiting ahead. Building my knowledge upon the issues learned at school had started. After a lot of clients and programme services in various locations in Lapland, I wanted to try the programme service sector more in depth with Lapland Safaris in Levi. Selling the services became more familiar and so did the comprehension of distribution channels of tourism in general. New groups from different countries and cultures broadened my knowledge further and I was lucky to work with a few of the very top of their business in and outside of tourism branch.
Developing something new has always fascinated me and so the next step was my current position as a Project Manager with the Kittilä municipality and Kideve, Kittilä Development. The first project combined culture and tourism into better conversation and understanding one another. I had to challenge myself to new branches and issues where I had not been thinking to work while studying tourism at the university of applied sciences. After the first one, new projects have come along where culture tourism, events, villages of Kittilä, tourism education and many other issues related to tourism have been the subject of development.
The growing understanding of the scale of tourism sector has broadened my view and also raised the hunger for further knowledge of tourism. Therefore I started studying alongside work in the Master of Hospitality Management programme at RAMK (now Lapland UAS). It was the right choice for my personal growth as in addition to the tuition itself I got the chance to challenge other colleagues and tourism teachers with conversations related in and outside the branch.
Now after about 10 years of tourism experience from different positions I still feel that I have the passion to develop and challenge myself for future challenges that are ahead. What they are remains to be seen.
In the end here is my advice to you who are currently studying and soon entering the tourism branch:
1) Go abroad at an early stage of your career. It will extend your personal view and you will learn more from yourself.
2) Ask questions and challenge yourself and others from time to time. You will learn more from the branch and the scope of it.
3) Future employees need to look at branches outside their own and understand how to modify the signals back to their own branch.
4) Be proactive, not reactive and you can be a future professional!
- Veli-Matti Hettula, Alumni / DPT graduate -
Kuvaaja, Vesa Rönty
Hey! My name is Elina and I am a third-year tourism student at Lapland UAS.
Originally I am from a small village next to the Swedish border, only about 100km from Rovaniemi.
After I graduated from high school I had no idea what to study, so I just applied for some degree programmes that just came to my mind. Before the applying period was over I knew that I would not start my professional studies this year. So, I headed to Äkäslompolo which is a winter destination in Lapland. I worked there for a year in a tourism company where I had been working during my high-school studies.
Äkäslompolo has only few hundred permanent inhabitants and during one season the amount of people grows up to 60,000, so, when I worked there, I was constantly rounded by tourists and tourism in general. Then, I realised that this is what I want to do; working with and for people in an international environment and solving unexpected problems and exceeding customer expectations. Internationalization is also the reason I chose to study in English instead of Finnish and also because of the fact that I would already learn professional terms in English.
Here, the tourism studies combine theory and practical real life experiences together. There are many projects and working life practices during the studies, so that the students are able to apply their theoretical knowledge they have learned, into practice and analyze its usability in different situations. Also every project which is done has a real commissioner or customer evaluating the outcomes of our projects. Personally, I think it is good that students are not shut down inside the walls of the university but they are actually well aware what is going on in real working life.
As an example of one project: every year the third-year students organize a gala dinner for international students and faculties in Rovaniemi. The students need to form a project group and manage all the tasks and responsibilities by themselves such as management, finance, marketing, programme, catering and outer appearance of the venue – basically everything. And it is important for them to also remember how to make it a memorable experience for the guests.
Tourism definitely is an international field and, therefore, I think studying in a multicultural group is a great learning process where you need to learn how to compromise and also learn to understand other ways of looking at this world of ours. The programme also enables exchange periods abroad, both study and training. I have used the both opportunities. First, I did my basic training in Germany and then, continued from there to have a study exchange in Austria. Those eight months were the most challenging and rewarding time period not only in my studies but also in my personal life.
Time has been flying and I cannot believe it is already time to start the thesis project. We have had inspiring challenges and also a lot of fun with my classmates. After my graduation, I will probably start working, but I think that at some point I might continue my studies in tourism. I hope to be able to work in an international environment, although I am not sure yet in which sector (marketing, customer service, event management etc.), since there are so many that interest me! Soon, I will start my advanced training, so hopefully it will give me some ideas!
-Elina Nousiainen / DPT'13-
Three years ago, I convinced my parents to allow me the opportunity to study abroad in the official hometown of Santa Claus!
With a strong desire to learn different cultures in a famous tourism city, my plan was to enrol at the tourism degree programme offered by Lapland University of Applied Sciences. Years in a multinational environment made me grow and improve rapidly. More importantly, the Finnish model of education taught me to construct and share my own ideas through project and training opportunities.
One example of this occurred during my advanced training period as a receptionist with a destination management company, which always exceeded their legal obligations to manage their environmental impact. I was greatly impressed with their practices to reduce energy consumption, provide job opportunities to local people, offer high quality products to customers, increase job satisfaction amongst their employees and sponsor local associations. Yet, there was a problem within this small business. Their operations were fragmented and did not integrate into the company’s culture and policies. At that time, I began preparations for my bachelor’s thesis and I was wondering if this could become my thesis topic. Fortunately, after discussions with the managers, I chose integration of corporate social responsibility (CSR) into small-sized tourism company strategies for my thesis topic, and they agreed that they could provide me an environment to conduct my thesis project research. Therefore, I finally got a chance to independently finish a project with a real company under supervision of my two thesis supervisors. Later on, I had my thesis presentation, which was successful and unforgettable. After the presentation, my supervisor said I had improved a lot during these three and a half years and she still remember that I was a student who was always afraid of expressing my own ideas in the first year.
In one week, I will leave Rovaniemi and go back to China. After half-a-year gap, I will continue towards my master’s degree next September in another country. However, I will never forget Lapland University of Applied Sciences, the MTI campus, all teachers and my classmates. The decision of getting the tourism degree at Lapland UAS is one of the best choices I have ever made.
Tang Tian, “Tity”
A Tourism student / Lapland University of Applied Sciences