Positive and negative feedback from international students

According to the International Student Barometer, international students appreciate the high standard of teaching and research at the University of Helsinki. They would like more support for creating contacts with both employers and Finnish students.

The first results of the global survey for international students, the International Student Barometer, have been published.

University’s strengths: the quality of teaching and the level of research

The University of Helsinki scored well in key study-related issues: the quality of teachers and teaching, the level of research, the expertise of lecturers and the teachers’ competence in academic English. These have been the University’s strengths in previous Barometers as well.

Students had requested the addition of a new question on the eco-friendly attitude of the universities. The University of Helsinki ranked near the top also in this section.

Other study-related spaces, such as laboratories, teaching facilities and multi-faith prayer rooms, received praise.

Transportation in the Helsinki metropolitan area was rated as excellent. Housing is thought to be of a high standard, but expensive.

Lacking contacts

The improving economy is already visible in the better employment opportunities available to students. However, it can be difficult to create employer contacts, and students would like more help. Making friends with Finnish students is also seen as challenging. Luckily most respondents said they had made friends with other international students.

The students feel that the feedback they provide during their classes is not given the attention it deserves. They were also unhappy with the lack of transparency in assessment criteria or the way the assessment criteria had been explained.

All in all, international students seemed happy with their lives in Helsinki. Nearly 96% said they were satisfied or extremely satisfied with their everyday lives here.

Help for internationalisation

Feedback is extremely important for the University of Helsinki if it wants to reach its internationalisation goals. The intention is to increase the ratio of international students of all Master’s students to 20% by the end of the year 2020.

In addition, major changes have taken place in the degree programmes and in the service structure of universities, and feedback on these changes is also very useful.

“The results provide us with valuable information on how we should develop our work. We can also follow what other universities in Finland and abroad have done for international students,” says Rebekka Nylund from the University of Helsinki’s Teaching and Learning Services.

We also want to study the results in more depth, and we intend to organise a workshop with students for this purpose.”

More information:
Rebekka Nylund, University of Helsinki’s Teaching and Learning Services
rebekka.nylund@helsinki.fi, tel. +358 50 3167357

Background of the barometer

The International Student Barometer (ISB) included a total of 120 universities and universities of applied sciences around the world. Just over 900 international students from the University of Helsinki participated, resulting in a response rate of 38%. This was the third ISB survey to be conducted. The previous surveys were in 2010 and 2014. The University of Helsinki also intends to participate in the upcoming International Student Barometers in 2019 and 2020.

ISB supplements the University’s own feedback systems. It lets the University compare itself to other institutions of higher education in Finland, Europe and elsewhere. In addition to general feedback, the University has requested benchmarking of the following universities: Aalto, Turku, Copenhagen, Tartu, Groningen and Amsterdam.

The International Student Barometer is organised by I-graduate, an international benchmarking and research organisation specialising in education.