Last modified 15.3.2011 at 13:22
Straight from London Zoo
Text: Laura Myllykoski Photos: Milan Kolarovic
The classroom at the University of Applied Sciences' campus of Raahe is filled with students from different cultures. Lecturer Dave Bradburn is observing carefully as the students carry out their final test.
- It's their first English course here so I try to concentrate on their skills in speaking clear and understandable English, Dave explains.
Even during their final exam the class is filled with laughter from time to time. The multiculturalism of the study grop is apparent. Dave Bradburn himself is an Englishman.
Even the final exam is a presentation held in front of the whole class. The atmosphere is relaxed and the presentations aren't lacking any humour. Students really seem to get on well with their lecturer. Despite the easygoing spirit of the exam they try to do their best.
Dave himself ended up in Finland because of a woman. There really seems to be a woman behind everything.
- I met my current wife Päivi in London in 1990 and moved to Finland in 1991.
Dave has studied business and software at a university in the United Kingdom and before moving to Finland he worked as a software engineer at the London Zoo.
- I was developing a database that allowed people to adopt animals for a certain price. After adopting they got their name printed on that particular animal's info board.
After coming to Finland he worked for a while in a software company at Oulu and was asked to hold an intensive English course at the University of Oulu. After all, even though Dave hasn't studied any English he is a native speaker.
- Someone from the administration of Raahe School of Engineering and Business saw me with the study group. When I started my own consulting company at Raahe, he contacted me asking if I was interested to start working for them too.
That was in 1996 and at the time the UAS was planning a Degree Programme in Information Technology to start at Raahe. Dave took part in preparations of the programme that started in 1999. Since then he has also worked as an English and software teacher for the programme.
The programme has been popular. During these eight years there have been hundreds of students.
- This year we had altogether 42 freshmen.
To interact and articulate
The presentations go on in the class. Every student starts by introducing himself and telling where he's from. There's only one Finn in the entire class, most of the students seem to be from African countries such as Nigeria and Ghana.
- The intention is to tell ten reasons for choosing Raahe as a study place. The students also get to tell one reason why they love Raahe and one thing that the hate in Raahe.
While listening to the presentations one really understands why Dave is trying to get the students to talk slowlier and more clearly. All the different accents make it very difficult to understand what the students are saying - at least if you think from the point of view of an average resident of Raahe.
All in all the students tend to think that it's a good thing that Raahe is a peaceful town because it gives them more time to study. They also find Finns friendly and helpful and they seem to embrace the climate. One of the Nigerians laughs that he is certain that he has lost some of his colour after coming to Finland. Well, it doesn't really show.
- The multicultural group really forces students to speak English and interact with each other. That is a great thing. After all English will be their first language for the future four years, Dave notes.
According to Dave even the Finns get more social when placed among the foreign students. That is an achievement I must say.
Degree Programme in Information Technology
- In autumn 2007 there were 25 freshmen. In 2008 the enrolment number? will be 20 students. - The studies will take approximately four years, that is 240 ECTS credits.
- The curriculum consists of Basic Studies, Professional Studies, Free-choice Studies, Practical Training and a Bachelor's Thesis
- The language of instruction is English and the students are both Finnish and international. At the moment there are international students for example from as far as China, Nepal, Ghana and Nigeria.
- The students are able to participate in an exchange programme during their studies or complete their practical training abroad.
- Raahe School of Engineering and Business is known for its close relations with the local industry; that way students have excellent job opportunities in their own field even during their studies.
- The students graduate as Bachelors of Engineering. Their future job descriptions may be something like hardware/software analyst, harware/software designer, programmer etc.