Melting Pot of International Flavours

The University of Helsinki welcomes international scholars, staff and students.

students A greater level of internationalisation is an important goal for the University and the country of Finland in this decade and the one to come, says Rector Thomas Wilhelmsson.

Like many universities worldwide, the University of Helsinki takes part in the global competition to attract the best brains and nurture a creative atmosphere of teaching and research.

The Rector presented international student grants to 38 students from 19 countries, spanning 4 different continents. The undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate students come from neighbouring Russia and Estonia to as far as Bangladesh, Peru and Canada.

According to Markus Laitinen, Head of International Affairs, €80,000 worth of scholarships were handed out. Laitinen is pleased that about 2,400 students from 170 countries are represented at the University, and that both the number and the diversity are growing.

Roshan Devja a graduate student from Nepal, is one of the recipients of the International Student Grant. He is pursuing a Masters degree in Food Biotechnology and he is eager to learn the latest techniques in food processing, e.g., the use of bacteria in cheeses and yoghurts.

His compatriot, Prasanna Sakha, who is pursuing a Masters in neurosciences, is thrilled by Finland’s culture and architecture. “This place is completely different from where I came from!” he said.

The high level of resources and time put into neuroscience research here impresses Sakha. He also likes the open communication links between teachers and students.

What are students without teachers? Dr. Asger Albjerg, who teaches Danish and literature at the Department of Scandinavian Languages and Literature, was honoured with this year’s Best International Teacher Award. He attributes his success to love for the students, love for the subject as well as a healthy dose of humour.

Text: Han Mui Ching
Photo: Ari Aalto

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