First ever International Graduation Event

International graduates and alumni were invited to the Small Ceremonial Hall on Thursday 12 May to celebrate and be celebrated at the first graduation event conducted entirely in English at the University of Helsinki.

First ever International Graduation Event

The University organised its first ever international graduation event on Thursday, May 12, which took place in the Small Ceremonial Hall in the University’s Main Building. Both alumni and graduates as well as their friends were invited to the event to celebrate the newly graduated and welcome them into the alumni community.

The initiative to organise these festivities came from the University’s Alumni Services, who wanted to start off the international alumni activities at the same occasion. In her speech, First Vice-Rector Ulla-Maija Forsberg expressed her gratitude for all of the international students and graduates who are helping the University of Helsinki become even better.

– We realised that international students weren’t attending the Finnish graduation events so we wanted to address this by organising an event especially for you, our international degree students.

After Forsberg’s speech the graduates were called up to receive roses and a round of applause. The event was mostly attended by graduates, students and alumni from different Master’s Degree Programmes, but PhD students and graduates were also present. Johanna Wahlroos, M.Soc.Sci, had the honour of holding the first international graduates’ speech.

– Handing in my Master’s thesis was probably the most relieving moment of my life, she expressed in her speech.

Before starting her studies at the Media and Global Communication programme Wahlroos, a native Finn, had studied in Germany.

– Studying at the International Master’s Degree Programme taught me new aspects of my home country. The flexibility, openness and independent studies were the parts I appreciated the most with the university studies.

Tianyan Liu, M. Sci., who finished his studies in Computer Science in 2010, spoke from the alumnus’ perspective. In the end of his speech, Liu said that the thing he missed the most from his student time was meeting people who were doing something completely different than himself.

– I still don't get the biology jokes, and my ignorance of history is usually a joke itself, but I still love meeting people and everything that comes with it, which is why I really appreciate that the university is bringing the alumni together with the graduates today. I hope we will all use this opportunity to meet one and another, after all, University of Helsinki is the one identity that we all share.

After the speeches and a musical performance all the graduates present participated in a group photo, after which there was a cocktail reception.

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Text: Jockum Hildén
Photo: Veikko Somerpuro

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