Turku and Udmurtia: active cooperation in Finno-Ugric languages

​Sirkka Saarinen, Professor of Finno-Ugric languages at the University of Turku and an Honorary Professor of Udmurt State University is very experienced in hosting international visitors to her department. She has hosted at least 3 staff Grantees during the Aurora and Triple I projects, as well as dozens of other researchers and visitors through various programs and scholarships.

According to Professor Saarinen, it is always nice to get international visitors to the department, especially when it is such a small unit as the Unit for Finno-Ugric languages. Hosting the visitors helps to break the routine, to organize better planning, to find new ideas for projects and cooperation. Often getting for instance visitors from Udmurt University is also the best way to get some news about Udmurtia and its academic community.

In most of the cases, visitors coming to the School of Language and Translation Studies are performing their independent research work during their visits, using various University facilities available. The most beneficial, perhaps, is the library of the School, which offers a lot of useful literature on the scientific topics related to the Unit’s activities. Moreover, some visitors were also involved in the projects. One of those, for instance, was about compiling a Finnish-Udmurt and Udmurt-Finnish dictionaries.

According to Saarinen, It was quite beneficial to have international visitors from Udmurt region to the Unit of Finno-Ugric languages, for example, for the students of the University of Turku who are writing their theses on Udmurt region, Udmurt language and culture. They have been able to consult, interview and get help at first hand. The visits also benefit supporting the cooperation between Universities.

Udmurt State University attracts visitors

According to the analysis of after-mobility reports of Aurora grantees, Udmurt State University became the most popular non-EU Host University of the Partnership by the number of incoming mobilities. According to Professor Saarinen, Udmurt State University is quite attractive academic destination mainly because it is one of those universities that has been very open for international mobility. It is easy to organize academic stay there as the practical and academic matters are taken care of very well and international guests are very welcomed to the University. Udmurt University also has had a long tradition of inter-institutional cooperation, with Finnish Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) as well as many others from Europe. For instance, there are couple of joint degrees developed between EU HEIs and Udmurt University. Numerous staff visitors to Finnish Universities were able to borrow good practices in order to improve and develop administrative mechanisms of proper reception of international visitors. Moreover, there are also quite many courses offered for foreign students, as well as a regular summer school in Udmurt language.

To sum it up, inter-institutional cooperation, researchers and staff exchange is an important component of internationalization, improvement of administrative services and enrichment of science and research fields in the universities. As for hosting international visitors and researchers, it is important to be ready for somewhat different experience. “One has to have open mind”, highlights Saarinen. But in the long run it always pays off in creating new ideas and possibilities, opportunities for further cooperation and broadening own networks.

Published date 9/23/2016 1:00 PM ,  Modified date 9/23/2016 1:20 PM

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