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.
See also this story featuring one of our students: ”I want to get people excited about democracy”.
Having done my undergrad degree abroad, I was attracted to the idea of returning home to Helsinki for an international master’s programme. I was particularly happy to discover that I could study my chosen field, global political economy, within an interdisciplinary programme. This has allowed me to learn about a wide variety of topics alongside specialising in GPE.
The GPE track looks at large-scale politico-economic developments, such as global inequality and changes in economic thinking. I have got to dive deep into topics with contemporary relevance.
Finally, the University of Helsinki is well-connected and recognised in Finland and abroad. During my studies, I have got to enjoy amazing opportunities, such as an international exchange semester and interesting internships. I would recommend the GPC programme to all those hoping to become part of an inspiring international academic community.
I chose the Global Politics & Communications programme because I studied a very interdisciplinary programme for my Bachelor’s Degree and wanted to deepen my knowledge in global politics. Also the prospect of returning home from my 4 year trip away from Finland was a major plus along with continuing to study in English. My track inside the programme is Governance, Organizations and Communications (GOC), and I’ve very much enjoyed my studies here. The freedom our track offers to specialize yourself to the aspect you most enjoy about your studies is really nice and offers a rewarding variety to the course offering. Overall our programme has been a very good experience on learning a variety of different perspectives, and considering different approaches to global politics.
I always knew that I wanted to do a master’s that combined communication and politics. Global Politics and Communication at the University of Helsinki seemed like the perfect choice because it does just that and more. In GPC, you can count on accessing free education (as an EU student) with great value from the lecturers to the lectures. As for choosing Media and Democracy as a track, it came from my prevalent interest in the media. Now that I have studied in it for over one year and a half, I can say confidently that the mandatory courses are interesting, but what makes it a great academic experience is the freedom it gives you in completing the track. With courses from populism to propaganda to feminism research to media activism, one can really have fun and learn freely what interests them the most.
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
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
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