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Malla Haaparanta, international officer

Malla Haaparanta works in HAMK’s International Services. Her role is to help outgoing exchange students with all questions related to their exchange. Her work also closely involves issues related to the mobility of students and staff from RUN European University partner countries. Malla is part of the RUN-EU Mobility Innovation working group. 

“Bettermaking” in Malla’s work is naturally linked to promoting internationalisation.

“It’s about helping people to go abroad, learn languages and to understand different cultures. It’s meaningful to me to be able to help students get something extra for their degree. I feel I am an important link in that,” Malla describes.

Of course, increasing internationality is also a basic requirement for any higher education institution, but Malla also finds differentiating factors in HAMK’s offer.

“By being part of the RUN European University, we can also offer shorter exchange opportunities, where the physical exchange usually lasts about a week. This also makes it possible for our students with families or permanent jobs, for example, to go abroad.”

Malla feels that there are constantly inspiring things in her work, but the most recent experience was also within RUN.

“Our mobility working group met last spring in our partner country, the Netherlands, at the University of Stenden, and it gave us motivation for a long time to come. In RUN, you can work more deeply with your international partners,” says Malla.

At least one concrete idea came out of it, when the NHL Stenden colleagues told us that they had set up a Teams group for exchange students. It is a place to have a focused discussion, often answering the same questions at once and creating a sense of community.

“We are likely to introduce a similar Teams system. It will make us more accessible during the exchange, so that we don’t always have to rely on the e-mail.”