This year, the University is participating for the fourth time in the International Student Barometer, a survey targeted at international students. The launch of the survey will be communicated to international students by email. Survey results will be used for developing teaching and other activities.
Based on last year’s results, international students valued the University of Helsinki particularly for its quality of teaching and level of research. On the other hand, making friends with Finnish students and integration into working life were considered difficult.
Arim Lee, a master’s student, encourages international students to respond to this year’s survey.
“The data collected in the survey will genuinely be used to develop the University’s operations,” says Lee.
Lee, who moved from South Korea to Helsinki to study, is working at the University’s Career Services unit while studying in the Master's Programme in European and Nordic Studies.
Career Services supports networking
Career Services has taken international students’ concern over the lack of professional networks seriously. The unit is organising, among other things, walk-in job-hunting advice and personalised career guidance.
Career Services wishes to actively support international students’ networking in working life. Together with the Alumni Association of the University, the Alumni in Finland with an International Background network brings alumni activities closer to international students.
Students’ networking is also supported by mentoring programmes and a traineeship programme. An international traineeship programme targeted at international master’s students was launched in autumn 2018. Lee herself found work through the programme.
“After beginning my work at the University's Career Services, I have realised how diverse the information and services are that they provide to make finding employment easier. I am also trying to work as an active communicator, recommending the services and events to my friends,” Lee says.
Campaigning engenders a closer University community
Interaction between students originally from abroad and those local to Finland has been facilitated by providing opportunities for integration. The Ask Me! campaign, first organised in 2017, was implemented again this year. The campaign, intended particularly for new students and employees, aims to make it easier to engage in conversation with previously unknown people at the University.
Eat’n’Meet, a campaign based on communal meals, was organised at the University for the first time in early September. Lunch-time companionship and new acquaintances were available at the UniCafe Eat’n’Meet tables.
Yu Zi, a student in the Master’s Programme in English Studies, saw the campaign as positive.
“I initially sat at the campaign table by mistake, only later realising what it actually was about. The Eat’n’Meet tables were an excellent arrangement that encouraged people to meet strangers and to have a dialogue with them.”
Feedback concerning the campaigns has been positive, particularly from international students. Both campaigns promote community, and the plan is to continue them in the coming years. Zi considers continuing these campaigns to be important.
“Often students don’t at first realise the purpose of these campaigns. Their recognition and impact among students only become apparent in the longer term,” Zi elaborates.
Have a say and participate
An invitation to the International Student Barometer survey will be emailed to students in early November once the survey opens. By answering, students have a chance to influence the University community. Lee finds it important that the University also hears what students have to say. In her experience, international students wish to give feedback and leave their mark.
“We want to make our voice heard, but at times it’s difficult to find the right arena for feedback. The ISB survey is one such channel.”
International students, remember to check your email.