Should I stay or should I go?

Many foreign students in Finland would like to stay in the country after finishing studies, but are pessimistic about finding employment.

Foreign students CIMO, the Centre for International Mobility, and Student Research Foundation, have surveyed the willingness of foreign degree students to stay in Finland after finishing their studies. The most common reason for staying is family and the second most common work. Those who are contemplating the possibility of staying in Finland are apprehensive about finding a job that would suit their training and competence.

Free university education, the high educational standard and the chance to study in English were the major factors when choosing Finland as the place of study. The majority of the students have, however, been happy with their studies. The most usual problems are the conflicting views taken by the immigration officials and other authorities in matters of residence permits and visas and the long processing times of permits.

"Another constant problem is the reserved Finnish mentality and the lack of communication, as well as Finnish being a difficult language," says Markus Laitinen, Head of International Services. According to Laitinen, this problem will be addressed by integrating the teaching for Finnish and foreign students and offering study programmes taught in a foreign language. The survey reveals that despite the certain reticence of Finnish people, foreign students hold the reliability and pragmatism of Finnish society in high regard. Only a handful of the respondents said they were going to leave Finland because they did not like it here.

CIMO surveys are available at www.cimo.fi.

Text: Timo Karvinen
Photo: Ida Pimenoff
1.10.2003
www.helsinki.fi/digitalcommunications

Translation: Valtasana Oy

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