Studying and skiing in Vierumäki

I attended the European Diploma in Adapted Physical Activities (EUDAPA) 2019 on the support of the KENFIN-EDURA project. I attended the programme as a member of staff and PhD student at Kenyatta University. My research and practice specialization is disability sports. EUDAPA is a 3 months international diploma course designed to give students international experience and skills in adapted physical activity. EUDAPA is hosted by the Experience and Economy Unit of Haaga-Helia’s Vierumäki campus. 

To begin with, this is probably the longest I have been working with an international group. We had 7 nationalities among the EUDAPA students; Africa participated in EUDAPA for the first time. There were Finnish, Czech, Belgian, French, Spanish, Kenyan and Zimbabwean participants. In addition, we had even more nationalities among the visiting lecturers, thanks to Erasmus support. The international networks become very important for my professional and academic growth. I look forward to undertaking future collaborative research and consultations within these networks. In addition, the networks provide good grounds to benchmark against best international practice as one learns how colleagues are handling adapted physical activity (APA) in their home countries. Anyone aspiring to be a professional in APA should consider applying to participate in the EUDAPA programme.

Haaga-Helia is a great benchmark in regard to learning by doing. This pedagogical approach is well implemented in EUDAPA through various practical classes as well as projects. Running inclusive PA and sports program will require more than a theoretical foundation. It is important that students learn responsibility; they learn by doing it. As a teacher in APA in my country, we are seeking to use this pedagogical approach. By attending this course, I have gained more experience in this approach which will help us improve on our existing APA programs.  

From Haaga-Helia, I also bring home experiences in terms of implementing different learning environments. Comparatively, my university produces sports and exercise scientists, sports and recreation managers and physical educators, whereas Haaga-Helia facilitates learners to experience three learning environments – sports products, sports for health, elite competition, and sports management. 

EUDAPA 2019 was total fun in learning. There is no space for gloom as one undertakes various classes and projects. My highlights for the spring semester were the 1-week down-hill and cross-country skiing trip to Ruka, running a 2 day Special Olympics program, and the tour to the UK for wheelchair basketball and London marathon, and visiting the Paralympics UK organization. Given that these programs were student-planned there was a lot of room for groups to decide where learning can be happily experienced. Indeed for me, Vierumäki is a place I look forward to returning maybe in a different role or have students from my university come for the experience.

Being in Vierumäki has also enhanced the collaborations between my university and Haaga-Helia. I look forward to being a continuous collaboration between the two institutions. The hallmark for the collaboration would be exchange programs for students and staff from the institutions.

I register my gratitude with the leaders and the KENFIN-EDURA team, Kenyatta University fraternity and my hosts at Vierumäki. I am much better than I was. I stand a better APA practitioner, researcher and tutor. 


Daniel Njenga