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ITKO study trip to Ukraine

From 17 to 22 May, six ITKO-students went on a successful study trip to Western Ukraine with Bjarne Rerup Schlichter, Sune Dueholm Müller and Karin Hørup.

2015.06.15 | Merete Elmann

From 17 to 22 May, six ITKO-students went on a successful study trip to Western Ukraine, arranged by Bjarne Rerup Schlichter who has many years of experience from travelling to and doing research in Ukraine. Along went also ITKO Study Coordinator Sune Dueholm Müller and Secretary Karin Hørup.

The purpose of the trip was to visit Danish and Ukrainian software companies that work with IT outsourcing, to gain an insight into other university students’ everyday life and the Ukrainian society in general. Another purpose of the trip was to hand over a new cooperation agreement between our department and Ternopil National Economic University, viz. Dept. of International Management and Marketing/Business Communication and Organizational Behaviour.

During our visits to different university departments and companies, the ITKO-students gave well-prepared presentations of Aarhus, Aarhus University and their study programme in IT, Communication and Organisation. Further presentations also included themes like outsourcing/crowdsourcing and process innovation. The different presentations were met with openness and curiosity and often followed by a lively debate.

The main reason for choosing to Ukraine was that our department has good connections to the country and also that West European companies are increasingly looking for IT-skilled personnel in this part of the world. This makes good sense because Ukraine ranks very high among the countries with the best educated IT experts. Here, ITKO graduates could play a main role in for example outsourcing projects for their future employers.

We visited two cities: Ternopil and Lviv. Ternopil is a cosy student city with +250,000 inhabitants. In Ternopil, we were hosted by Ternopil National Economical University who educate many students in IT every year. During our stay, a group of Ukrainian students took good care of our Danish students and this meeting between two cultures was a real eye opener for both parties. In Ternopil, we also visited the software company MagneticOne.

After three days in Ternopil, we had an unforgettable two-hour train ride to Lviv; a city of app. 800,000 inhabitants where we visited Conscensia; an Aalborg based company providing off-shoring services (+150 staff). The place had a very good atmosphere, and the visit was a very interesting way to learn about that type of company. Several of the students could easily see themselves working in that area after the visit. The last company visit went to Eleks where we were also met with great interest for future collaboration, both regarding possible project work for current students and future cooperation between ITKO graduates working in Danish companies.

Among the many cultural highlights on the trip was an evening in the beautiful Lviv Opera where the whole group watched a ballet. This took place on our last evening and was followed by a Ukrainian dinner in the lively and beautiful city centre.

As participants we saw this trip as a unique opportunity to visit this exiting country, to learn about how division of labour is done in praxis including the challenges of outsourcing, and to meet students, staff and professors from a very warm and welcoming culture not so far from Denmark. Further, it was very rewarding to learn about Ukraine from “real” Ukrainians.

Eventually, we would hereby like to thank IT-Vest and our Department for kind support to the trip. We are also very thankful to our Ukrainian contacts, not least our local coordinator, Lesya Danylchenko, who did everything in her power to make sure we had a good trip and provided a fascinating insight into Ukraine and its culture.

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