You may recall that I was awarded a John Campbell Trust Bursary earlier this year to help me with some of the practical elements of my PhD. With the bursary, I have decided to use the money toward a trip to Finland where I will be able to carry out come data collection for another case study in my PhD. From this, I will be able to explore whether an organisation in Finland works differently to the UK case studies I will be carrying out across England and Scotland on their workplace learning practices and how they support employees to innovate.
My trip is being ‘hosted’ by Åbo Akademi (university) in Finland and my main point of contact will be Professor Gunilla Widén from the School of Business and Economics. Professor Widén is currently working on a project very similar to mine but it explores information literacy in learning in the workplace rather than factors (including information) that support employees to learn in the workplace. Prior to submitting my application, Professor Widén agreed to be my host and to support me to find and access an organisation for my PhD case study in Finland. I am very much looking forward to this if we are able to successfully gain access as the application of my research to a case study eternal to the UK is something I have wane to do for a while (but finds have never permitted).
I have been working with our school office to help me book flights and accommodation for my trip, and to find something suitable for me to travel around Turku as needed. The only downside has been the time of year that I am flying – apparently December is not too great! I am therefore having to get six flights (three there and three back) during my visit to Turku travelling through Newcastle, Heathrow and Helsinki before getting to Turku then making my return trip to Edinburg.
Although the flights are not too convenient, I am looking forward to my visit and what Turku has in store for me. Whilst there, I will be visiting the school and department where Professor Widén is based and I will be able to present my research to academics who are slightly more international than me. I am hoping that the language barrier is not an issue, and that my accent holds up quite well. I fully understand that I will need to annunciate and make my speech clear but I also understand that my accent makes me who I am and I will not be changing the way I speak for anyone.
I do have some free time whilst I am there (I hope) so apart from keeping on top of my PhD work I will hopefully find some time to explore the local area whilst there. I already know there is a lot to see in Turku and I doubt I will have time to see anything too extravagant but I hope I can get out and about in the local area and see what Turku has to offer (that is after I have recovered from my 15 hour travel time from home to Turku!).
That being said, I do need to prepare for my trip and make sure everything is in place before I go both practically and emotionally too. I need to make sure I am able to push my PhD work aside for two weeks and just take with me things that I know I can get done That means, not taking lots and lots and lots of work to do and getting annoyed when I have little time, but taking things I know I can access whilst away and things that I can work on in small amounts. I also need to make sure I prepare for the weather as I have heard that Turku weather in December can be brutal. I will need to prepare for harsh conditions such as snow, wind, rain etc and make sure I have packed enough for my trip. I may need to see what winter clothes I have and invest in some more appropriate attire to keep me warm and dry. I have already carried out some google searches to help gather information on my location, conditions and my future trip! Next on my list to purchase is a travel kettle and a phrase book to help me fit in! 🙂