Student testimonials
Meet students from the Master's Programme in Global Politics and Communication (GPC).

Our students share their experiences about studying at the University of Helsinki, how it differs from their previous studies at other universities and life in general in Finland.

  •     Stinne Vognæs, student of the Media and Democracy study track
  •     Eli Bassett, student of the Global Political Economy study track
  •     Jasmin Kopra, student  of the Governance, Organizations and Communications track
  •     Emilee Jackson, student of Media and Communication Studies
  •     Meng-Han Chau, student of Political Science (Politics)
  •     Mariia Kukkakorpi, student of Media and Communication Studies
  •     Ran Goren, student of Political Science (World Politics)

See also this story featuring one of our students: ”I want to get people excited about democracy”.

Stinne Vognæs

My name is Stinne and I’m a student in the Media and Democracy track. Throughout my high school years and while studying for my bachelor’s degree I couldn’t really figure out the professional path I wanted to take. I was interested in languages, communication and writing but also excited about political matters, societal issues and being in a position to make a difference. When I first read about the Global Politics and Communication master’s programme, I just knew that this was what I had been looking for.

Moving to Finland from Denmark was a bit daunting. However, I was positively surprised to find that my fellow students were a diverse mix of Finns and international students. Everyone I met were passionate about societal matters and current affairs and brought new perspectives to my thinking. To this day whenever we go for lunch together, we always end up staying another hour discussing whatever course we just went to, current issues, or what is going on in our home countries. It’s a very exciting and stimulating environment to be part of and I have gotten so much new knowledge both from the courses but also from my fellow students.

One of the biggest strengths of this programme to me, is having the three different tracks, which brings students with different interests and knowledge together. I have never really been too interested or good at economics. However, during my studies here I have been in discussions with people who have shown me new perspectives or been in classes where it’s put into the context of politics or media that makes more sense to me. I have learned to see the connections between all these different fields of study and gotten a more interconnected perspective. Being in this programme there has been a lot of freedom to choose between many different classes and I have been able to explore many new areas.

Helsinki has now become my home and I’m hoping to start my career here when I graduate. Being in a country and a city that so deeply appreciates and values learning, innovation and curiosity is exciting and I can only recommend it.

Text: Stinne Vognæs

Eli Bassett

My name is Eli and I study in the Global Political Economy study track in the Global Politics and Communications master’s programme. I grew up in Northern California and I have now lived in Helsinki for a year and a half. With a background in international relations, the master’s programme at the University of Helsinki was a perfect fit for me. Studying global political economy involves an interdisciplinary look into the complexities of inequality, capitalism, and economic theory. Through the coursework, I have studied the evolution and variations of political economy from a global perspective. I have also developed a more profound understanding of the mechanisms that influence everyday life. I can now confidently answer complex questions at the synthesis of society, politics, and economics. How has capitalism evolved over the past two centuries? How does the current global economic system exacerbate inequality? What are the alternatives to mainstream economic theory? In other words, I encourage anyone who is interested in these questions to take the leap and study at the University of Helsinki.

The university only compounds the benefits of the master’s programme with a wonderful learning environment. I found that studying here is intriguing and accessible through the help of world-class scholars, incredible facilities (especially the Kaisa Library), and a wide array of student benefits from affordable student lunches to public transportation discounts. I love that the university is right in the heart of Helsinki, which personally created such a sense of closeness to the dynamism that the city is regularly recognized for. After a year and a half, I can say that studying in the University of Helsinki gave me a more intimate look into the dynamics that make Helsinki one of the happiest and most livable cities in the world.

Coming from a small town in Northern California, I also love that Helsinki is so close to nature. It is a mix of a city with excellent public transportation, clean streets, and a constant flow of intriguing cultural activities. I can’t imagine a better city to live in. Better yet, Helsinki is full of libraries, museums, and a thriving start-up scene to stimulate any of your intellectual curiosities. Among my favorite stops is the Think Corner, which acts as a hub for interesting lectures, study areas, as well as hack-a-thons or start-up incubators. Another of my favorite places to study is just a short walk from the university. That is, Oodi Library, which has been voted one of the best new libraries in the world. In short, coming to study global political economy at the University of Helsinki has been one of the biggest and best decisions I have ever made.

Text: Eli Bassett

Jasmin Kopra

I am Jasmin, student on the Governance, Organizations and Communications track. I applied for the master’s program of Global Politics and Communications after having finished my bachelor’s degree in the Finnish-speaking program of Political Science. I was interested by the global focus of the program, combined with the perspectives of communications.

The diversity of the students enriches our discussions during lectures. As there are people from different countries and backgrounds, we can compare how the studies' universal phenomena take place in different contexts. The topics range on wide variety of societal phenomena, such as digitalization of communications and politics, artificial intelligence, institutionalism of governance and policies and globalization. The aim is always to try to understand them profoundly.

Text: Jasmin Kopra

Meng-Han Chau

I finished my Bachelor degree in Political Science  back in National Cheng Kung University, Taiwan. In my last year of Bachelor degree, I went for exchange semester at Jagiellonian University, Krakow. That was an eye-opening experience for me. I realized there were some fields in this discipline that I am still very eager to learn. So, after I finished my degree and military service i started to search online for master’s program which was suitable for my interest.

Back then, I was enrolled into two programs. First one was International Masters in Economy, State & Society coordinated by University College London. The second one was Democracy and Global Transformation master’s program by University of Helsinki. For financial reasons, I chose to come to University of Helsinki instead and started my adventure in Finland.

I started my degree at University of Helsinki in August, 2015. It was quite a different than my previous study and frankly speaking i enjoyed my stay in Helsinki so far. For example, in political science there were more emphasis on qualitative subjects like political thoughts or political economy. This was the topics that i am interested in and professors were also engaging and approachable.   

Secondly, the new and comfortable library gave each of its students to enjoy wide range of books, journals and reading spaces. Also, Aleksandria learning center offers public computers for students to use and it was convenient and free for all.

On the other hand, there were all kinds of activities going on ranging from student parties to conferences on diverse topics. In my personal experience, research institutes like  Aleksanteri Institute offered all kinds of talks, conferences and degree opportunities in Eastern European and Russian studies. Anyone who was interested in this area would find this place has a lot to offer.

Finally i would recommend to come and study here, because it would gave you a chance to learn how to conduct research independently and opportunities to pursue your study interests.  

Text: Meng-Han Chau
Photo: Lena

Ran Goren

My first encounter with the University of Helsinki and Finland in general was when I came here in autumn 2012, as an exchange student during my last semester of bachelor's studies in the University of Jerusalem. I really liked the city, the study atmosphere, as well as the overall experience of studying abroad. I decided to apply for Master's degree here while I was still here in my exchange semester.

My return to Helsinki 8 months afterwards, as a full-time degree student in the Master's degree program of Democracy and Global Transformations, felt therefore like homecoming. Helsinki, by its safety, simplicity and intimacy makes one feel at home quickly, and this feeling of familiarity and comfort allowed me to get integrated in the city and student community rather smoothly. When I say student community, I refer first to the student organizations and extra-curricular activities that take place within the University and city. Helsinki is a heaven of student communities, with thousands of students in the capital region. There are hundreds of student organizations which provide countless of academic and non-academic student activities every week.

My own integration into this wonderful scene of student organizations of Helsinki started when me and several friends established the committee for international social science students CISSI. It has since then have become a proper organization that does great things for the welfare of students in our faculty. In my second year, I ran and got elected for the representative council of the University Student Union HYY, becoming later the chairperson of the list for international students in the union. Through these activities, I allowed myself to get involved and influence in significant matters for us students, as well as get integrated as a foreigner in the society in Finland.

The student activities, as well as the truly global perspective and academic freedom of the studies here, are to my opinion the greatest virtues of studying in the Faculty of Social Sciences in the University of Helsinki. The studies here allow you a real freedom to enquire the world, search for your genuine interest and develop ideas that you believe can really make an impact. These freedom, global perspective and diverse international community in the university have stimulated me to delve into and research the topic that I always dreamt of, and provided me the courage to realize it.

Text: Ran Goren
Photo: Elena Gorbacheva

Emilee Jack­son

After living in Florida, “The Sunshine State,” for 23 years, many people have questioned why I would move to Finland. But with one of the best educational system in the world, there was no question in my mind.  There are so many positive aspects about studying at the University of Helsinki that outweighed the leap I needed to take to move abroad and leave Orlando for the first time.

My background is in Journalism. During my time at the University of Central Florida I also studied Entrepreneurship and Digital Media. The Media and Global Communication studies at the University of Helsinki seemed like the perfect program to pursue my interests and build on my previous education. The global platform provided by studying in an international program is incomparable to anything I have experienced.

It has been an incredible opportunity to come here and receive a world-class education. We have guest lecturers visit us from all over the world. Not only are the students in this program international but the education is as well. Compared to education in the United States, Finland provides so much more freedom with how you learn. Discovering your passion is often the number one interest of professors. Once you have found your niche, or your specialty, there are so many outlets to pursue whatever it may be. The wide range of courses and topics lets you choose what to focus your degree on and gives you the flexibility to personalize your education.

Not only are there an array of courses to choose from, there are student organizations for every interest. If there isn’t a course on a particular interest or hobby, you are sure to find a club for it. And if you find yourself with nothing to do on the weekend, there is almost always a student event going on.

If the education isn’t enough of a draw, there are so many opportunities to travel. Norway and Sweden are a short plane ride away, Estonia can be reached by boat, and I plan to eventually fulfil my childhood dream of meeting Santa Clause himself in Northern Finland.

Attending the University of Helsinki has been lifechanging for me. Without hesitation, I can say that taking the chance and applying has been the best decision I’ve made.

Text: Emilee Jackson
Photo:  Ilze Nartiše

Mariia Kukkakorpi

My background is in Film studies (BA) from London South Bank University. Master’s degree has always been something I wanted to do but I knew I didn’t want to focus only on studying films. After browsing the website of the University of Helsinki, I came across Media and Global Communication programme. The course content sounded fascinating when it combined different aspects of media, politics and culture in the global context. Also, studying in my hometown and near nature sounded tempting after years of living in a hectic metropolitan city. Besides, one of my silly dreams was becoming a student in the University of Helsinki, where the famous Finnish composer Jean Sibelius and a writer Mika Waltari studied in their times

The University of Helsinki offers flexibility in the studies and a wide range of elective courses where to choose from based on own interests. When during the bachelor’s degree we were given a set-timetable, in Media and Global Communication at the University of Helsinki, we students are required to select courses and design our own schedules. The university brings many guest lecturers to teach courses and they are often the very best in their own field. I find the lectures inspiring, when often more than one lecturer gives a lecture to the class during a course. The courses also bring good theoretical knowledge and in-depth insight to many perspectives and they often respond to the current issues too. The study environment challenges the students and can be sometimes demanding but very encouraging. The staff and lectures are extremely helpful and supportive and the main campus is easy to access when it is located in the heart of the city.

The University of Helsinki provides a huge newly renovated library, which has wide range of books, articles and eBooks available but also plenty of places to study. The cafeteria offers tasty lunch and many different lunch options for a student-friendly price. There are also facilities for exercising almost any sport you can imagine in Unisport.

The vibrant student life in the University of Helsinki is full of many student events from casual get-togethers to formal balls and party cruises. Everyone finds surely something from the diverse range of student organizations and associations. They offer new experiences, hobbies or engagement in student politics and societal issues. Joining to one or why not several of the student associations is the best way to find new friends. They also allow you to get to know more about the Finnish culture and thrive in complementary arenas with respect to the studies.

I can highly recommend applying to the University of Helsinki. It provides great settings for studying, learning and succeeding; the future is up to us students.

Text: Mariia Kukkakorpi
Photo: Noora Lipponen

Fran­cisco Moreno

My profession has a strong social emphasis. As a journalist, my obligation is to be an observer of the decisions of the State that impact on the lives of people. Two of the main reasons that pushed me to move to Finland and study this two-year master’s degree in Global Politics and Communications were first because Nordic countries have the most remarkable governance, transparency, and public administration based on agreements. They are an example of equal societies, where education play a transcendental role.

As a master’s student, I had the chance of being involved in highly international reputed organisations: The Finnish National for Education, OPH, and the University of Helsinki. I worked as a communications intern and as an academic assistant, respectively. Those were unique opportunities as I could observe how the internal dynamics and a collaborative environment impact on the final results.

The master in Global politics and Communication definitively enhance my skills and competences. It also improve my chances of better employability, my view, and my critical analysis.  I developed myself in a way that I did imagine; I have opened my entrepreneurial mind and spirit. I feel prepared to work in other matter apart from journalism. I have visualized opportunities as a self-worker.

My main strength in life is determination, and this determination leads me to new challenges. Modestly, I do believe that my capacities; my professional interdisciplinary knowledge, and personal background might be useful towards show that new projects and ideas. I have a keen ambition to contribute to the development of my society. 

Francisco Moreno, journalist for Chile’s Public Broadcaster, TVN.