Congratulations to the new CISSI board 2017!

In our Annual General Meeting on Monday, the 05th of December, members of CISSI have elected the new board for 2017. Its board members are:

Adam (Chair), Emilee (Secretary), Sam (Treasurer), Clayton, Lou, Saga and Steve! In addition, Dina and Ester will be Deputy members!

The CISSI Board 2016 says congratulations and good luck! We hope that the integration of the international students into the Finnish student community will proceed even more successfully than it has been doing in the last year!

The newly elected CISSI Board 2017
The newly elected CISSI Board 2017

Conclusion of CISSI 2016 by the Chair Keshia

Hey everyone! It’s strange to think that a little over a year ago that I, one of the biggest commitment phobes you’ve likely met was nominated for the position of Chair of CISSI which I surprised myself and a lot of people around me by accepting. I suppose as the Elvis Presley song goes, I couldn’t help falling in love. One year on CISSI as tutor representative prior to becoming Chair convinced me that I had a real connection to the organisation, the people on it and the shared goals and values we worked towards.

Keshia, CISSI's Chair
Keshia, CISSI’s Chair at our Cottage Trip 2016

I have to admit, getting used to all the responsibilities that accompanied my new post felt a bit intimidating at first. In particular, learning all our rules so that we do things by the book, sorting out paperwork, being the first point of contact of the organisation with the rest of university and having to constantly check up on other members to make sure that the organisation functions cohesively as a whole were things I struggled with and still do but I was lucky to have a supportive unit that overall made my time in CISSI worth it, if not easy.

All good relationships offer opportunities for growth and I’d like to think my role of chair pushed me out of my comfort zone from being the quiet, laidback anything goes girl from India to someone who spoke up about things on the board that I felt could be improved as well as any instance I saw that failed to take account of the needs of international students at the university. Unfortunately, candidates from our sister organisation Tsemppi that represents the political interests of international students did not manage to attain seats in the HYY Representative Council, making it all the more important for international students to have their voices heard through alternative channels such as CISSI and Tsemppi.

At CISSI, I’d like to think that we try to create an atmosphere that makes international students feel at home in Finland and Finnish students to feel international at home. If this is something that strikes a chord, give us a chance to serenade you by dropping by our Annual General Meeting on the 5th of December at Weber in the new student house J




Greetings from Svenja, CISSI’s Communication Representative!


I am Svenja, CISSI’s Communication Representative (as many of you might know from my recurring Wednesday morning greetings in CISSI’s Weekly Newsletter)! I moved to Finland the first time in 2013 for an exchange year at the University of Turku. Because I found that Finland is such a nice and friendly place, I decided to come back for my Master studies –  this time to the University of Helsinki. Here, I have been studying, together with three other CISSI board members, the Media and Global Communication Master’s program (MGC).

Svenja, CISSI's Communication Representative
Svenja, CISSI’s Communication Representative

In my first weeks in Helsinki, I enjoyed the student life here a lot: There were so many things going on and I met so many nice people that I immediately felt at home in this new city. That was mainly because of the very active subject organizations and interest associations at our faculty. As already before in Turku, I got the feeling that student organizations have a way bigger role in influencing the university life than in my home country Germany. So I decided that I do not only want to enjoy, but instead be an active part of this lively student culture. The consequence was that I joined CISSI, today about exactly one year ago!

As CISSI’s communication representative, my main task is to communicate our aims and activities to the internationally-minded student community. I am sure you all have seen this happening in our posts on Facebook, this blog or in the newsletter. An equally important task is however to inform international students about what is happening in the local student and university life. This is crucial when it comes to the integration of international students in the Finnish-speaking student community: Because even though we could achieve that nearly all organizations of the Faculty of Social Science publish their statements and event announcements also in English, our Weekly Newsletter has been an important tool to make this information visible to non-Finnish speakers and to achieve the integration CISSI stands for.

However, communication can also be very flexible and a great problem-solver: In the beginning of this year, for instance, we realized that our board was personally not so well known amongst our members as we would have hoped for. So we decided to publish personal introductions and position descriptions, such as this one, on our blog and Facebook. Now, when our time as a board slowly but surely comes to an end, we can for sure say that this introduction series helped to show up who the right contact person is and to make CISSI more visible amongst international and Finnish students. In my view, the communication work thus has quite a great significance for our organization, and the best thing is that in CISSI there is a lot of space for new and innovative ideas!

As a media student, being the communication representative of CISSI has been great! Through my position, I could gather a lot of practical experience and could try out a lot of different practices. Unfortunately, I will not be able to run for the next CISSI board again since I am going to graduate in the upcoming year. So if anyone out there is interested in becoming the next communication representative of such an open-minded and original organization as CISSI, please feel free to contact me and I will tell you all you want to know about the position, its responsibilities and difficulties!

Our AGM in which we will elect the new board for 2017 is on the 5th of December, so you have about two weeks time to think!


My name is Ana Toledo, former CISSI soldier, and food lover! I have always loved food since I was very little. All the colors, flavors, and feelings that food brings have always filled me with joy. After living in five countries and staying for quite a while in some others, experiencing local cuisine and food related traditions have always been on the top of my list. One of the best ways to integrate and learn about a new culture as well as showcasing your own is through food. I have no doubt about it!

CISSI’s International Food Event

In 2014, Anna-Liisa Allas and I were formulating events for the new students that would help with integration but would also be fun. What’s the best way to get in touch with another culture as well as with your own? Food, of course! When people experience food together they relate to each other; they learn more about one another and about themselves. Eating and preparing food sounded like a great way to have our students “share internationality and locality”.

CISSI’s International Food Event had its first instalment in 2014 and since then has filled the hearts and bellies of many international and internationally minded students. During the food event, participants bring savory and sweet meals from all over the world to share with each other. Before the meal starts, each student tells a bit about the meal they have prepared and why they wanted to share it.

Monday, November 21st is time for another opportunity to share and taste different dishes! Check CISSI’s event and sign up! This event comes only once per semester and it is always a success! Bring a dish that means a lot to you; it can come from anywhere not necessarily where you were born or grew up. It just needs to be a dish you enjoy and want to share. Bring something delicious and meaningful to you and get ready to amaze and be amazed by all the world’s delights!

Ana Todela (middle) and other participants of CISIS's International Food Event
Ana Todela (middle) and other participants of CISIS’s International Food Event

As the cook and author James Beard once said: “Food is our common ground, a universal experience”.

Greetings from Mohsen, CISSI’s Treasurer!

A couple of years ago, when I got admitted into the University of Helsinki, I told a friend of mine that I was going to Finland, and asked him whether or not he had any sort of advice or heads up for me. He said, and I just quote: “No, I don’t have any advice for you. What I do have is a question mixed with a genuine concern: Are you out of your mind?” I recall I freaked out: “Why? Why would you say that? Why?” He said, and again I just quote: “Well, you know, Finland is a cold, dark country, full of shy people who speak a funny, impossible-to-learn language”, and then he said: “and of course it has some problems as well.”

Now, it’s been more than three years. Finland is neither as cold nor dark as I was told, and the language is not so tough: on a good day I can even say thanks to the bus driver.

Mohsen, CISSI's Treasurer
Mohsen, CISSI’s Treasurer

My name is Mohsen. I am from Iran, and I have been involved with CISSI from its beginning. I am the treasurer. My duties included:

1- Sitting in front of Alina hall’s door before Sitsits with a mean face and a cashbox, to make sure everyone has bought the ticket,

2- Being at the board meetings to make the quorum,

3- Stalking and harassing people who owe CISSI money and haven’t paid yet (Hi A. O! I am watching you!),

4- Planning the budget for the whole year, which at the end no one follows,

5- Setting limits on the money we should spend on specific events, which normally no one cares,

6- Collecting receipts and scanning them, which is probably unnecessary,

7- And, after doing all of these, and when I have nothing better to do, trying to cheer my mates up with ‘funny’ jokes and free compliments, which usually works in the contrary way and just makes them feel uncomfortable and awkward.

So you see that I am a crucial member of CISSI.

I have had a lot of fun in CISSI. Great experience, great environment, and most importantly, great friends. I am proud of what I am doing, as small as it is, and wish I could do it again next year. But I can’t because I won’t be a student anymore (OK, you got me, I am not sure about that one). I am going to need to step out, and it is harder than I thought.

Greetings from André, CISSI’s Study Affair Representative!

Hey everyone!

I’m André, the Study Affairs Representative of CISSI. I’m a Social Psychology student from Brazil.

My aim is to facilitate the communication between the international students and the our faculty. Given the on-going changes in our faculty, I came up with a form to get more information about the study experience of international students. With this data we are hoping to have a clearer picture on how CISSI could intermediate the relationship between the students and the faculty, focusing on issues that are perceived as more timely.
Even if you don’t have an opinion on all the questions, it’s important to use this form to express what do you think is more urgent! If some aspect of your studying experience has not been covered, you can also talked about it in the last question.

The Big Wheel Project aims to restructure the degrees (Bachelor and Masters), in order to meet the expectations of the market labor. More information on the project can be find here:

You can find the form on our Facebook page. Or you can contact and ask that I send the form directly to your e/mail:

Greetings from CISSI’s new Deputy Member Saga!

Hey everyone!

I’m Saga, the fourth newly appointed Deputy Board Member of CISSI. I just started my third year of bachelor’s majoring in social psychology after spending a year abroad in France. During my exchange I met a lot of amazing international students and when I returned to Finland I wanted to meet more!

CISSI's Deputy Member Saga
CISSI’s new Deputy Member Saga

I had heard about CISSI during my first year of studies and when I started as a tutor for this fall’s exchange students, other international tutors told me more about the organization. I wanted to be a part of the internationally-minded community that CISSI promotes and help to make it grow even more. I find that it’s in the best interest of both Finnish and international students to reinforce the internationality and inclusion at our faculty. That being said, I’m looking forward to all the forthcoming CISSI events, like the Halloween party we’re organizing on Friday.

If you want to meet the new deputies and celebrate Halloween with CISSI, we hope you join us in Kuppala this Friday!

Greetings from CISSI’s new Deputy Member Iina!

Hi all!

My name is Iina and I’m an anthropology major in the Ethnic Relations, Cultural Diversity and Integration program. I moved back to Finland from the U.S. a year ago and recently became one of the four newly appointed Deputy Board Members of CISSI.

CISSI's new Deputy Member Iina in Myanmar gathering data for her thesis
CISSI’s new Deputy Member Iina in Myanmar gathering data for her thesis

Being a second year student, I’ve had the opportunity to get to know CISSI prior to becoming a member. Over the past year I have attended CISSI parties and events and gotten to know some of the board members – and I must say, this organizations dedication to international students is praiseworthy and made me want to get more involved this year. I feel that it is crucial that international students have the same opportunities and experiences that Finnish students have, which is exactly the reason CISSI was founded. 

Although I am Finnish, I have been an international student my entire life. From elementary school in Mozambique to middle school in the UAE to high school in the US, I have always been a foreigner in a new environment, so I’m passionate about assisting and advocating for international students here. I’m excited to join the CISSI team and hope my experience in dealing with international student matters will help me guide new students with the ins and outs of the University of Helsinki.

Greetings from CISSI’s new Deputy Member Emilee!

Hello! I’m Emilee and I’m from Orlando, Florida. I’m excited to be one of the newly appointed Deputy Board Members of CISSI. I have just started my first year in the Media and Global Communication master’s program.

CISSI's new Deputy Member Emilee
CISSI’s new Deputy Member Emilee

I came to Helsinki on very short notice and was determined to meet as many people as possible. I learned about CISSI from my tutor Valeriya and I immediately knew I wanted to be involved in some way. In Orlando, I had the opportunity to help international students learn English and through them I learned the importance of integration and community involvement. So, with the shoe on the other foot here in Helsinki I found CISSI to embody much of what is important as an international student in a new country.

I am excited to continue my involvement with CISSI and to help more international students feel at home in Finland. I can’t wait to plan more events and meet like-minded students in this lovely city. CISSI has already been so welcoming, I hope I can continue to grow our community at the University of Helsinki.

Greetings from CISSI’s new Deputy Member Sam!

Hi everyone! My name is Sam and I’m from the UK. I’m currently studying on the first year of my Master’s programme in ‘European Studies’. I’m one of three other new Deputy Board Members for CISSI that were appointed at the recent EGM!

Before I came to Helsinki as a student I’d heard a lot about how welcoming the student societies at the University of Helsinki are so I signed up at the welcome fair in my first week (well done to CISSI secretary, Mong, for being able to read my disastrous handwriting).

Sam, one of CISSI's new Deputy Members on Lammassaari
Sam, one of CISSI’s new Deputy Members on Lammassaari

I moved to Helsinki from Glasgow earlier this year, and though it’s an exciting and beautiful city in which to live as a student, integration can be difficult. I’ve spoken to many international students who have had trouble outside of the university with the language barrier – contracts have been exclusively in Finnish making simple processes like opening a bank account more difficult. This can also be the case with something as simple as a Facebook event which you might miss entirely if it’s written exclusively in Finnish.

What I admire about CISSI, and why I’m excited to get more involved as a Deputy Board Member is how inclusive CISSI is as an organisation. Not only do CISSI plan their own events with consideration for international students by always including an English language option alongside the Finnish, they encourage other organisations to do the same! So whilst CISSI might not be able to help with that bank contract, they’ll definitely help you to never miss a party!