Student stories

Please meet Emilee Jackson, the student of Media and Communication Studies, Meng-Han Chau, the student of Political Science (Politics), Mariia Kukkakorpi, the student of Media and Communication Studies and Ran Goren, the student of Political Science (World Politics).

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, and 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

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 because I realized there were some fields in this discipline that i 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 program, first was International Masters in Economy, State & Society coordinated by University College London and second 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, Alexsandria 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 institute like  Aleksanteri Institute offered all kinds of talks, conference 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

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 and 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 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 and there are 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, which 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, 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 because it provides great settings for studying, learning and succeeding; the future is up to us students.

Text: Mariia Kukkakorpi
Photo: Noora Lipponen

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 bachelor's studies in the University of Jerusalem. It was my last semester as a bachelor's student, and as 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 which operate in hundreds of student organizations, providing 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 have established the committee for international social science students CISSI, that 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 reseach the topic that I always dreamt of, and provided me the courage to realize it.

Text: Ran Goren
Photo: Elena Gorbacheva