Travel stories

Vision Biofuels & Geothermal Energy, Tampere (Finland)
Jenni Kaipainen – February 2017

”Perkele, kaira unohtui”, said one #polkadot14 representative when trying to make a hole in the ice. At the same time, a busload of ESTIEMers, industrial engineering students and our new friends, got off Hene’s bus to conquer a cottage in the forest. Our long awaited Vision weekend had started.

The Tampere part of the event started with interesting company visits to UPM and VTT. After a day full of hard work, what could be a more Finnish way of getting rid of the tiredness than going to the forest with a bottle – or two – of Minttu? Seeing all of our visitors enjoy the sauna, try out ice swimming and relax in the hot tub under the light of the full moon and the bright stars, was heartwarming.

After the sauna, the Finns were the last ones to return to the cottage. That’s when our former Local Responsible turned up the volume on the boom box and brought a bit of energy to the peaceful national park. It was a natural moment to forget about stereotypes and jump on the tables.

In fact, the tables were really practical, if you just managed to stay on top of them, which seemed to cause occasional problems. They worked out even for sleeping purposes. Next day, while our participants solved cases for UPM and Uponor with fresh ideas and full stomachs thanks to TEK and K-Market, the undersigned organizer had to take a nap to top up the previous night’s good sleep of one hour.

After successful case solving the participants switched into suits and dresses and went to the gala dinner in Hullu Poro together with the hosts. Exotic reindeer meat and blueberry ice cream made clearly an impression and that’s when a new hashtag, #tamperebetter, was created.

As a natural continuation we visited the rodeo-themed bar downstairs. The bravest of us even tried to ride the electric bull right in the middle of the bar, with more or less success.

The top of the event was of course the Kyykkä World Championship. Waking up to kyykkä party music early in the morning confused the French I was hosting. Despite the careful preparations, coaching and Minttu-chocolate hydration none of the Vision teams made it to the next round. That didn’t stop us from continuing by switching our focus on the hydration side, since from the perspective of a coach, that was definitely the side that needed more practice.

The details of rest of the kyykkä-day disappeared into the night, including some hats, coats and even some Vision participants, who had vanished by the morning.

Thanks to our amazing organizing team that consisted of students from Indecs and Man@ger, mostly fussis, and our super helpful hosts, we managed to organize this wonderful event. We were left with crazy stories and memories, four huge bags of bread, some nasty bruises from getting out of the hole in the ice and most importantly, plenty of new friends to visit all over Europe.
It was very interesting and a lot of fun to see how international people explore our country and our ways of doing things. That’s why it has been proved, once again, that you need Vision to see.

Vision seminar ended with Kyykkä championships

Regional Coordination Meeting, Tampere (Finland)
Maria Kudinova – November 2016

November has been an ESTIEM-rich month. For a weekend at the end of November we got a bunch of IEM students from other Nordic Local Groups. The event had an innovative start in the form of start-up sits with some high-quality product pitching. Even the food had a real-life tinge to it. Since only 10% of start-ups succeed, 10% of the participants got a Big Mac as a starter, the rest getting a small cheeseburger or salad.

The days were filled with workshops and trainings aimed at developing the local groups whilst the evenings on giving the participants as wholesome as possible a picture on teekkari-culture in Tampere.
Some things learnt during the weekend:
– You can never drink too many cups of coffee and oat biscuits with chocolate are the best to go along.
– Kyykkä can be played any time. Also in the dark when the ground is covered in slushy snow. The most important thing is to have some hot chocolate with Minttu.
– There are university specific cultural differences in the right way to play beerpong.
– Starting up a business is hard. Selling your ideas too. Sometimes you don’t only lose money, but have to drink a shot with a chili pepper in it.
– The wind on top of Pyynikki tower can steal your hat.
– If you walk a random person’s dog in the centre of Tampere and then propose, you will be accepted.
– You can sit forever outside in a hot tub. Especially if the temperature is below zero.

ReCoM started with a very energetic, start-up themed sitsit party

BrainTrainer Heaven, St. Petersburg (Russia)
Tina Hietasalo – August 2016

What are the end products when you combine the following ingredients: brain training in negotiation skills, the beautiful city of St. Petersburg in our fascinating neighbor country Russia and excited ESTIEMers from every corner of Europe? A considerable amount of useful knowledge, new unforgettable experiences and a lot of new amazing friends. Sounds quite intriguing, right? That’s ESTIEM! With Karim Hafez, we were the lucky ones who got selected to participate in the BrainTrainer event from LG Tampere. I was thrilled to be able to join this amazing group of people, since there were so many applicants for the event. Furthermore, our generous guild Indecs even supported our trip with 100 euros.

So, what really happened during our stay in Russia? Our exciting week consisted of many different kinds of activities all the way from intensive brain training in negotiation skills to interesting cultural activities and parties. Our lectures and exercises in negotiation skills were built around different kinds of stimulating themes: business communication, how to manage in managerial duels, negotiation planning and conflict management, cross-cultural aspects in negotiations and also secrets of non-verbal communication. Actually, I was really impressed with all the things we learned during the week. The lectures were a perfect combination of various exercises that really made our brains do the work.

In addition to intense learning, we were also able to experience the Russian culture in various forms and have a considerable amount of fun while doing so. For example, we had a Russian language session, a Russian dance class and a traditional family dinner in the Russian way. In fact, we were even able to show our Russian dancing skills in our international night! The idea behind the international night was to bring traditional foods and drinks from our home countries to share with the others – and see the reactions of course! It was one of the greatest nights during the event. I was able to taste things I couldn’t even have imagined to exist. Also, another unforgettable experience was our city tour with a party bus! And yes, the party bus was actually a bus with everything you could fantasize to need in order to have fun.

St. Petersburg is also known for being one of the most beautiful cities in the world. After seeing it myself, my only choice is just to agree – the city really impressed me. During the event we visited one of St. Petersburg’s most famous and popular visitor attractions Peterhof, which is also referred as the “the Russian Versailles”. In addition, we also visited the State Hermitage Museum which is one of the largest and oldest museums of art and culture in the world. To be honest, I have never seen anything as fascinating. It is hard to try to describe these experiences, so I will just warmly recommend you to visit them yourself.

To conclude, this ESTIEM BrainTrainer event was a perfect combination of learning and collecting new experiences and friends. For myself I can say that I am already looking forward to other exciting ESTIEM events to participate in. Meanwhile, I send greetings to Finland from my ERASMUS semester in Germany.

Student Entrepreneurship Training, Tel Aviv, Bremen & Einhoven (Israel, Germany & the Netherlands
Samu Ahola – July 2016

Probably the most amazing event ESTIEM has ever done

I was sitting in a conference room with 20 fellow European students in Beersheba in the middle of the Israeli desert on a blazing hot Monday afternoon, wishing the local beverages match the name of the place. Ceremonious speeches marked the beginning of ESTIEM SET 2016. Having spent the past seven weeks volunteering in Brazil and the previous weekend wandering around Israel with my backpack, I felt exhausted. It did not help to find out that we were up for what was to be the most intense three weeks ever.

The week was full of touring the country with our bus, company visits and fancy dinners. On top of that we conquered a mountain with the sun rising above the dead sea and went for a swim – or float – afterwards, saw the old hoods of the big J in Jerusalem and dug into the mad party scene in Tel Aviv. Still, we were missing one thing and that was sleep. After having absorbed all the start-up buzz during the week we were divided in teams to work with for the following two weeks.

I ended working on a Starbucks-esque tea franchise concept with an Indian buddy who was an expert in the field. Along the way three other guys joined our team. It was then time to move to Bremen, Germany for the second week where we confronted vast amount of weißbier, a verbally aggressive pitching jury and loads of Pokémon running in the street. After a week of group work and trainings we traveled to Eindhoven, the Netherlands to finalize our projects. Besides of that, we were rolled on our mighty bicycles all around the city and tried some local specialties such as… stroopwafels. Soon it was time for the final pitching and the gala dinner. We managed to win the first prize with our presentation which obviously was an incredible finish for an awesome trip.