The University of Tartu Pärnu College has been offering international Master’s studies on Wellness and Spa Service Design and Management for 10 years now. It is time to look back and admit that it has been an amazing journey for all of us.
10 years with ups and downs, success and disappointments and most important – a lot of learning! We want to thank everyone who has worked with us and contributed to the programme; our partners and supporters helping and encouraging us. And first of all we thank our students for trusting us! Your trust has kept us going, working hard to meet your expectations. You have been our teachers and guides, we have learned from you and we are still learning!
We have welcomed students from very different countries with different cultural background: Thailand, Nepal, Russia, Iran, Kenia, also Costa Rica, Ukraine, India, Latvia, Finland and Croatia, Belarus, Germany, Poland, South Korea and many more. Every year a new multicultural study group starts its journey here in Pärnu. Students from far countries are positively surprised by our small resort town Pärnu where they are going to live and study. It definitely has its own character and charm. Usually what strikes the most is pure green nature that surrounds the town. Openness, silence, secure and calm environment are the main keywords the students are mentioning when it comes to description of the place. At the same time the silence can also be experienced as lack of friends, lack of supportive community that makes the survival in a foreign place more difficult.
Students who decide to come to Pärnu, to Estonia are already winners. They have a mission. They know exactly what they want to achieve in their lives. It allows the lecturers and teaching staff to be very focussed and precise in terms of content and tasks. Research and study cases are all targeted to specific topics that contribute to the main goals of the studies.
There have been many internationally well-known professionals and experts who have contributed to our Master’s programme. The knowhow, experiences and background make their contribition very unique and precious that cannot be learned from books. Small study groups allow very personalised approach to study process: professors are working closely together with students, exchanging knowledge, organising workshops and leading discussions. Personal touch was and still is one of our main strengths.
Over the years the content of the programme has not been changed so much. The main focus is still remained the same: service design and management. More changes are still to come, every study programme is like a living organism, constantly developing, changing and improving. The next step will be a mobility window that offers more study freedom to the students. But this is something for the next post.
An important part of the programme is internship that every student has to experience. It makes sense if we think how useful it is to get a good understanding of the industry, a hands-on experience even before starting career. Our students are keen to go for internship already in summer after the first study year. The college has a good network of spas and wellness centres in many resorts and regions in the world. Every student is free to apply for his favourite location and enterprise, also for ERASMUS internship financial support. Many students prefer warm Southern countries like Spain, Portugal and Greece but others decide for a complete opposite and go to Finland or Iceland. Students usually work as spa receptionists, spa attendants or assistants to spa managers. The working time can be easily combined with leisure and discovery of new countries and cultures. Time of the internship is 1-3 months (can even be extended up to 6 months) and that gives a pretty good overview what actually happens in spas. Some of the students have even found their future work during the internship, we have some really nice success stories to tell!
This spring 7 students from Hong Kong, China, Ukraine, Pakistan, Turkey, Belarus and Estonia successfully finished their studies, Chen Li, Piibe Kadak and Ying Yuk Rasy Siu with outstanding results cum laude. Congratulations! And good luck for everyone!