International Strategic Partnership Seminar at Campus Horsens

Partnerships gathering for a seminar at Campus Horsens
In week 21, VIA University College hosted an international partnership seminar in Horsens. Universities from Finland, Brazil and China participated in the seminar, which focused on innovation and entrepreneurship.

This was the fourth time that VIA met with its partners at a seminar, but it was the first time as host. The other participants were HAMK University of Applied Sciences from Finland, Feevale University from Brazil and Jiangxi Science and Technology Normal University from China. 

HAMK University of Applied Sciences initiated the partnership which aims at creating a forum for knowledge sharing and mutual development. At the same time, the goal is for the students to work on projects across the countries. 

Tuesday 20 May, the partnership seminar officially began. During the opening ceremony, some of VIA’s international students served their national dishes and performed some dance routines before rector of VIA University College, Harald Mikkelsen, welcomed the guests to Denmark and VIA. 

We work around the sun

Konstantin Lassithiotakis, Executive Director of VIA School of Technology and Business, is pleased with the opportunities presented by the partnership between VIA and the three international partner institutions. He hopes that the seminar will create the basis for an even closer cooperation in terms of innovation and entrepreneurship: 

”We would like to promote the work within innovation and entrepreneurship on our study programmes. Therefore, we dream of putting together students from Denmark, China, Finland and Brazil in virtual groups, where they can work together on different cases”, Konstantin explains and continues: 

”One of the main points of our partnership is that we ’work around the sun’. This is a reference both to the geographical location of our four countries, as well as a reference to the different time zones of our countries which in theory makes it possible for our students to work together on joint projects all hours of the day”. 

Frustration is a part of learning 

First of all, the partnership must benefit the students according to Konstantin Lassithiotakis. Because when the students are challenged to work together in groups across borders, disciplines and languages, they will evolve academically: 

“A Danish saying goes when directly translated: ‘Equal children play the best’. But if we always allowed our students to choose who they worked with, they would always pick someone who resembled themselves”, Konstantin explains and states why this is not always a good idea: 

”The students must learn to work with people from different cultures and academic disciplines. Because even though it can be frustrating to work with someone who might have a totally different approach, this will be the reality which they will face in their work life. Cooperating with the students from the four partner institutions will help make them ready for just that”. 

Partnership will bring new inspiration

The Danish culture is somewhat reluctant when it comes to thinking and working entrepreneurially. And even though VIA University College highly prioritises creating an innovative environment for the students, Konstantin hopes that the partnership will bring new inspiration: 

”I believe that the partnership can inspire our students and give them the tools to work and think entrepreneurially. But I also believe that the inspiration will be mutual – that our students can inspire the Finish, Chinese and Brazilian students in different ways and vice versa”, Konstantin points out and concludes: 

“All in all, I have looked forward to sharing academic and social experiences with our partners during the week. Not least because I have experienced a mutual interest of getting beneath the surface and establishing joint projects”.

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