CISSI was established in 2014 to represent the Social Sciences students enrolled in the International programmes. CISSI is for both international and internationally-minded social scientists at the University of Helsinki. CISSI has proved to be a very important player in the integration of international students and also a channel for the student’s voices. Having the Vice-Dean, Keijo Rahkonen, as the curator has kept CISSI aware of what’s going on in our Faculty and in the university as a whole.
As a member of the board, you can work on your strengths and interests. Being it communication, student politics, event planning, networking, career connections, or study affairs; your strength and interest is welcome!
Becoming a board member of CISSI is not only important for the students, but also fun! Staying active in the university opens up many possibilities for making new friends, connections, learning, and giving back to the community. By joining the board, you can learn how the university works and make the university a more enjoyable learning environment for yourself and also for other students. CISSI definitely made our integration as international students much smoother and continued to provide its benefits when we joined the board.
Being a part of a board can, at times be challenging but it is a very rewarding experience, not to mention a great addition for your CV!
The mandatory positions are: Chair, Vice-Chair, Treasurer, and Secretary. However, CISSI since its establishment has other positions too. Its the board’s decision on how to organise itself.
Currently, besides the mandatory positions we also have: University and Corporate Affairs Representative,Equality Representative, Environmental Representative, Cultural Events Representative, Events Representative, Study Affairs Representative, Communications, Tutoring.
Sitsit. Isn’t that a funny word? When I first heard it, I thought of some silly children’s game like ‘musical chairs’ (because, you know, you have to SIT down when the music stops) or a new type of exercise for lazy people. Anyway, I would’ve never thought it might be one the best nights you can experience as a student in Finland.
As an exchange student in Helsinki, you probably want to try and experience all the typical things that are part of the students’ life in Finland and well, so I put sitsit on my to-do list. Our lovely tutor Iida gave us the most captivating description of what’s going on during a sitsit and suddenly it seemed so much better than just ‘academic dinner party’. Singing, drinking, eating and talking; come ooon, how can any student not like that? And if there is a sitsit thrown by CISSI, where things mostly happen in a language you can actually speak, you simply must go. However, seats for the best sitsits sell like hot cakes and I wanted to be sure that I got in. So, when the time for signing up came, I was patiently waiting for the registration to begin and I managed to sign up for the first sitsit in my life (yaaaay!).
Sitsits usually come with a theme or a have a slight formal dress code, which troubled me at first since I didn’t really feel like buying a new suit here. However, bright people in CISSI had thought through every small detail and probably realised that a suit of a formal dress doesn’t typically make it into exchange and international students’ jam-packed suitcases. The theme was therefore open, possibilities were endless and I picked my favourite shirt to stick to the smart casual idea.
Well, the day finally came and I obviously needed to prepare for that magnificent night. The most important thing was to read and try to remember as much as I could from the ‘Sitsit for dummies’ manual. It might seem funny, but believe me, there are many rules and punishments that you wouldn’t want to undergo. Although it might sound horrible now, you can get used to that really quickly. Just remember not to leave the table during the dinner even though you feel like weeing yourself and the rest is easy. You can drink, eat and talk as much as you desire but you should not do this when somebody proposes a toast before a song (which happens quite often so eat fast!). I knew that anybody could ask a person giving a toast anything they wanted to but I was quite surprised when after some time questions got really (really really) personal. But you know what they say, in vino (and vodka, and cognac, and beer) veritas. Besides, as far as a stereotype about un-talkative Finns goes, this might be the only chance how to find out who in the room is single and not to leave a sitsit alone.
Although singing Finnish songs without having a clue about their meaning was another funny part of the sitsit, the best part usually comes afterwards. Afterpartaaay! Then you can freely move and dance and talk to people whom you asked about their relationship status. The most important thing is to have fun, though. So, if you’re an international student in Helsinki, experiencing a sitsit is a must. Therefore, don’t wait any longer and sign up! And remember, drink responsibly!
We’re Keshia and Tugce, the two CISSI tutors. Tugce is originally from Turkey and moved to Helsinki in August last year to start her Master’s degree in Media and Global Communication. Keshia comes from Bangalore, India and is a Research Master’s student in Social Psychology. Our main role is to make your transition into university life in Helsinki as smooth as possible which means you can always approach us whether you need some questions about student life answered or just an informal chat. Settling in can be hard but we both felt at home very quickly as we became good friends with the CISSI soldiers and because of CISSI’s events in the beginning of the Fall semester.
At this point, you’re probably wondering what CISSI is. On paper, we have been described as a committee for international social science students under Kannuvalajat ry. Our main aim is to promote integration between Finnish and international social science students and encourage diversity. In reality we do so much more than that.
In the past, we have organised delicious international food events, infamous parties and sitsits, picnics and freshmen activities to name a few of our many projects. We plan to make a tradition of these events for the upcoming academic year as they were such a success.
New exchange and degree students, prepare to be wooed by the myriad activities that we have planned for you. Our tutors will make sure that you do not feel like a fish out of water in your first weeks in Helsinki but instead take a long soak in the incredible bathtub that is Finnish student culture.
With our international newsletters, orientations and weekly updates, we try to bridge the gap that the language barrier might create for new international students. Through our intensive communication with other Finnish student organizations and faculties we strive to keep ourselves on top of things so do not fear, CISSI is here for all your University of Helsinki needs.
So, impressed with what you’ve read and want to join the team? Find us on Facebook: CISSI , follow us on Instagram: instacissi, email us at email@example.com or approach any one of us for more information, we would be happy to hear from you!” We would also love to see you at our first party of the semester this Friday, the 28th of August, 7pm onwards at Kuppala.