Making settling in a little easier

Fifty new Master students received the University of Helsinki International Student Grant ISG this year.

Making settling in a little easier

From left to right: Emilia Pitkänen, Sun Won Shin, Ma Qian, Jessica Lynn Latus and Rakesh Pandit

Since the 1980s, the University of Helsinki has given start-up grants to qualified students coming from abroad. This year’s grants were available for international students admitted into one of the university’s 29 English language Master programmes. The grantees were selected on the basis of their Masters application file. Of the 170 eligible applications, fifty scholarships worth EUR 1,600 were granted. The winners were officially celebrated and welcomed to the university yesterday by Vice Rector Ulla-Maija Forsberg.

– The sum is not meant to cover living expenses, but it helps the students to settle in a little easier, says Emilia Pitkänen, Student Services Planning Officer.

– I see it as an added bonus, considering that tuition is free. In the United States, the costs for Masters programmes are astronomical, adds grantee Jessica Lynn Latus, who has come to Finland to study urban environmental issues.

On the grantees´ shopping list are books, furniture, winter clothes, a desktop computer and a bike. However, not every Euro goes to the grantees themselves.

– I already donated Christmas presents for Iranian kids through an international church, says Sun Won Shin from South Korea, who studies adult education and developmental work.

When asked about their first weeks in Helsinki, the interviewees seem impressed.

– My first week here was amazing, because the university has got a nice orientation programme which helps you get acquainted with the city and with being a student, says Rakesh Pandit from India, a student of the international programme in Network and Services.

Ma Qian from China, who studies adult education, praises the University´s impeccable equipment, the considerate service and the general enthusiasm of the students. Accordingly, the grantees’ expectations for their time in Finland are high:

– I expect to get a high-quality education. I also look forward to embracing as much life experience as I can and soaking up as much Finnish culture as possible, comments Latus.

The University has expectations of its own.

– We hope to get the grantees interested in supporting the University’s future marketing and international promoting activities. We are also planning to involve them in volunteer groups to help to improve the University’s services, says Pitkänen.

From next year on, grant application will be easier for both staff and applicants, as the new grant application system Aava is released.

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Text: Claudia Gorr
Photo: Ari Aalto
University of Helsinki, digital communications

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