International students Student interviews Contact Information

Department of Teacher Education
PO Box 9 (Siltavuorenpenger 5)
FI-00014 University of Helsinki

Home Economics and Home Economics teacher education,
Craft Science and Textiles teacher education

PO Box 8 (Siltavuorenpenger 10)
FI-00014 University of Helsinki

Special education
PO Box 9 (Siltavuorenpenger 3 A)
FI-00014 University of Helsinki

Centre for Educational Assessment
PO Box 9 (Siltavuorenpenger 3 A)
FI-00014 University of Helsinki

tel. +358 294 1911 (switchboard)
fax +358 2941 29611

Student Interview: Visiting student Fusayo Yamamoto

Fusayo Yamamoto (25) appreciates the Finnish teaching practice system.

Wearing Lapplander folk costume.Fusayo Yamamoto celebrated Christmas in Lappland.

Where do you come from and what is your home university?
I come from Japan. My home university is the University of Osaka.

What is your exchange programme?
I am a visiting student.

How long have you stayed in Finland?

I have studied here for almost a year, since September 2009.

What do you study?
I major in sociology of education. I am writing my master’s thesis here.  My thesis is going to be a comparison between Japanese and Finnish school culture and special needs education. I am going to analyze the sociological aspects.

Why did you choose to come to study at our department?
I am interested in Finnish education and school. I have been to Finland before too. Finland is also a kind of educational icon around the world. Everyone wants to know about the Finnish teacher education. Also the most popular educational sociologist work here, like Hannu Simola and Elina Lahelma. They are known in Japan too, because there are many references of them in Japanese books. Helsinki University was the only university that gives good benefit also for visiting students.

What are the things that you have liked most at our department?
The library and its atmosphere is cool, there is always hard-working students. In Japan we have a certain seminary group and we always study with that same group in the same seminar room. I like the informality of teachers here. In Finland, professors are more close to students.

Are there some things that haven’t worked as well as you expected?
It’s a bit difficult to get into the Finnish student society. For a visiting student, it’s more difficult to get into the student life. It would be cool if the university organized some activities also for visiting students. Fortunately, I have got some good Finnish friends and I sometimes speak Finnish with them.

Have you taken the courses offered in English or have you also participated courses that are taught in Finnish?
Yes, it’s quite nice to have English courses. At the same time it’s a bit too organized as we are among other foreign students and can’t get to know what the Finnish students do. My favorites were the “Citizenship education” and “Child welfare”- courses. But on the whole I would prefer the courses to be mingled.

Do you think there is enough teaching in English at our department?
Well, the more the better. I think the foreign students would like to know what the Finnish teacher education is like. Would be nice to have a possibility to participate in some normal courses taught in Finnish and then maybe somebody could translate them into English.

Did you get to know the Finnish students? How?
Yes, through tutor system, and some of them I met in Peduca’s (the educational sciences and class teacher student organization)party or someone’s party.

How does studying at our department differ from your studies at your home university?
You have to be more independent here. In my university the students who belong to the same seminar courses have an own study room where they can hang out and exchange ideas. Here I have to catch all information myself and have to try to meet people by myself. Also the students are more active Finland. It was interesting to see the student elections and campaigns and demonstrations.

What do you think about Finnish teacher education in general?
It’s a very wealthy system compared to the Japanese system.

Is there anything in the Finnish teacher Education system that you would like to bring back home to Japan?
The practical training system with a mentor system is very good. In Japan we practice teaching only for one month during the studies. Also I think the Finnish education system guarantees that the teachers are more motivated. In Japan it’s easier to graduate and get a teacher’s license and this isn’t always so good.

What do you think of Helsinki or Finland in general?
Cold winters but warm people.  But I still need to learn more about the Finnish culture…

Text: Meri Siippainen
Photo: ""Wearing Lapplander folk costume", Sinikka Siivikko