In a survey conducted by the Dutch company StudyPortals, international students reviewed their university experiences in different countries. This year, Finland rose to second position among European countries. Finland’s average score was 8.95.
Ireland was number one with an average score of 9.04, beating last year’s Nordic winners, Finland, Sweden and Denmark.
The University of Helsinki was deemed the best university in Finland, with the students giving it a score of 9+. The University of Jyväskylä came second and the University of Oulu, third.
Vice-Rector Anna Mauranen believes the University has earned its high ranking. “This result proves that our international service staff have worked hard for student satisfaction.”
Good, demanding education
In the ranking for the academic year 2013–2014, the University of Helsinki received nearly full marks, with particular praise given for high-quality teaching and good services.
Mauranen says that the University of Helsinki has traditionally been lauded for its demanding teaching, good reception process and high level of accommodations. Many events are also organised for international students to help them feel at home immediately.
“One problem is the high cost of living in Finland, which is something the University cannot change. However, International Exchange Services makes sure incoming students are aware of it. Then, if things have gone better than expected, the students are pleased.”
According to the StudyPortals survey, international students are even fond of the weather in the Nordic countries.
Finnish students more critical
Vice-Rector Mauranen believes the University of Helsinki could still stand to improve the speed at which important information is communicated to students coming to Helsinki. “We have already improved in leaps and bounds, but we could be even faster. In addition, we could work on increasing contact between local and international students.”
We are in the process of increasing traineeship placements and business contacts,” she continues. “This, along with living expenses, is something that Finland could stand to improve."
The lowest-ranking European country was France, which students criticised for its poor student services and excessive bureaucracy.
Finnish and Dutch students were most dissatisfied with their international study experiences. StudyPortals suggests that this could be due to high expectations arising from the high level of education in their home countries. The most satisfied international students hail from Italy, France, Belgium and Hungary.
The student experience survey is conducted annually on approximately 17,000 young people around the world who have studied abroad.