© MCI / Niederseer
© MCI / Dumfort
In the last week of September, a group of 3rd semester bachelor's students went to Finland to visit the partner university Centria University of Applied Sciences. There they spent five days in Kokkola together with the two representatives of the department, Alexander Dumfort and Corinna Niederseer. A full program of lectures, company visits and, of course, impressions of the Finnish natural landscape awaited them. After a warm welcome at Centria, the first day was dedicated to getting to know the culture, the way of life and the Finnish educational system. This was provided through lectures and a guided tour of the city by two Centria students. Despite its almost 50,000 inhabitants, Kokkola is a very peaceful and quiet town. Life there - probably also due to the long winters and colder temperatures - takes place preferably indoors. But that didn't stop the students from exploring the city and the surrounding countryside on foot. For the more hardcore among them, such a walk even ended with a jump into the sea. At a water temperature of just 10 degrees, it was probably quite a refreshment-.
The main topic of the week was "Environment & Energy in Finland", which was also reflected in lectures on biomass and the storage of renewable energy and waste energy. The students were then able to take a closer look at practical applications of these theories during a visit to a biogas plant. Particularly memorable was the visit to the KIP (Kokkola Industrial Park), which impressed not only by its sheer size, but also by the diversity of the companies located there. From long-established family-owned zinc producing companies to recently founded start-ups in the area of hydrogen production, everything was on display. The students also visited WALKI, a company that produces paper and packaging materials. The last day of the Study Tour was dedicated to outdoor activities. After an extended hike through the Finnish forests, a campfire with all kinds of delicious barbecue awaited the students. Along the way, they were also allowed to snack on one or two berries. Because also in Finland, as in the Scandinavian neighbor countries, the “allemansrätten“ ("everyman's right") applies. This means that everyone has the right to use the wilderness to a certain extent, for example to camp, to make fire or to collect berries and mushrooms.
The last day outdoors - with mild temperatures, untypical for the Finnish autumn - represented a successful ending of an eventful week. The UVET team would like to thank the partner university for its successful organization and warm hospitality, as well as the students who participated in this year's study tour with great interest, scientific curiosity and joyful commitment.