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).
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!
On this chilly autumn evening I was enjoying warm memories of what had brighten up my days back in Helsinki. CISSI, of course!
As a deputy member I was helping Valeriya with the field of corporate affairs. Actually, our research showed that there is a convincing number of social sciences organizations in Helsinki. And experience of organizing a visit to one of the leading business and policy think tanks in Finland was truly inspiring. It assured me that dreaming of a researcher’s job in Helsinki is not a dead end. Even for an international.
Besides this, I found a way to really enjoy parties (given that previously I was not a big party-goer). Helping with them is indeed doubling the fun. Moreover, you will never feel awkward anymore arriving at Kuppala (you’ll always find someone from CISSI and something to do).
Board meetings always provided me with some food for thought. You never know what’s in the heads of people surrounding you in the Uni. Turned out to be they are full of surprises! Pleasant ones. Still, even more exciting than brainstorming for ideas was seeing them actually implemented.
And integration into Finnish culture could not get any better. Just imagine a lovely evening in a traditional Finnish cabin with a stunning lake view. Sharing stories (and meals) from all over the world, practicing a couple of foreign languages at once and watching ice hockey after a sauna. This is a CISSI-lifestyle. Feeling envious of those who are just joining the CISSI team and are on their way to discover the perks of being a CISSI-comrade.
Hei! My name is Alina, and I’m a deputy member of CISSI. I study in the Research Master’s Degree Program and I am originally from Germany. I know about CISSI already from my time as an exchange student where I visited their events but the organization really started to thrill me when I became a Master student at the University of Helsinki and I realized how much more is into it beside organizing events. It is about meeting interesting people from different countries, working in a multicultural environment, implementing ideas for events or integration of international students but also having a voice for international students and being involved in University matters. 😊 as you can see it is quite diverse and that’s what is the fun part about it.
As a Deputy member I am basically a helping hand at the events but I also give my ideas & comments in the board meetings of CISSI where we plan & discuss events & international student matters. Technically speaking there is a difference between a board member and deputy member but this difference is not really executed in CISSI. Everyone has a say 😊. Nevertheless, becoming a deputy member is less serious and less committing than a board position. So for those of you, who are worrying if they have enough time for working in CISSI or just want to try it out how it is to be in a Finnish student organization, I warmly recommend to you to run for a deputy position at the Extra General Meeting at Weber in the New Student House on the 11th of October at 20.00. However, you are also very welcome to CISSI if you just casually want to contribute with ideas or helping out at our events. So see you on the 11th 🙂 !
In order to approve some changes in our board, CISSI will hold an Extra General Meeting at Weber in the New Student House on the 11th of October at 20.00.
The most important tasks of the EGM is to officially elect Maria as our second event coordinator, and to elect a new deputy member to our board. Every member is entitled to vote in those decisions. However, at an EGM it is also possible to revise the organizations rules and discuss other matters. CISSI will provide our members with needed document a minimum of 1 week before the EGM and with an agenda a minimum of 2 days before the EGM, as stated in our rules.
If you have any questions about the EGM, do not hesitate to contact us by emailing cissi-board(at)helsinki.fi or saying hey in person.
My name is Valeriya Kushchuk, and I’m the Corporate Representative of CISSI. I study Media and Global Communication and am originally from Russia. I learned about CISSI just an hour after I went to my first university Welcome Fair and met my tutors, one of which was excited talking about CISSI events (which I, of course, started attending right away). Through CISSI I met many of my current friends who don’t let me feel lonely in the new country.
One of the first things I learned when I moved to Finland was that for expats it’s extremely difficult to get a job here. I experienced it myself, and having work experience from my home country, it was a bummer. Many international students find themselves in such situation, and I’m sure it hurts everyone of us when we are told that our expertise is not needed because we don’t speak Finnish.
But we, internationally-minded students, can help each other. If we unite, help each other with networking and information, it’ll become easier for many of us. That’s why at CISSI we organize visits to companies and organizations to get to know people who work there and inquire about opportunities for international students. There’s no harm in asking — so let’s do it together! And this Thursday CISSI is going to the Labor union of social science professionals. The union is a perfect place to ask all questions you have about working in Finland, so welcome to join us: https://www.facebook.com/events/1742625399320014/
My name is Marguerite Beattie, and I am the Vice Chair and Environmental and Equality Representative of CISSI. I study social psychology, and I am originally from the US. I have been with CISSI since its founding so this is my third year with CISSI (–yeah, I am feeling old 😉 ).
Before CISSI, we international social scientists felt a little left out. The “independence” approach from the university and the language barrier left us lost in the new country we had moved to. So Jaakko Haarala initiated CISSI to help us to integrate into student life. Now we have our own English-speaking events, events coordinated with Finnish-speaking organizations, and international student inclusion is promoted in the university and among other student organizations. And ta-da! A social life for international students was made more attainable. 😀
One big reason I came to the Nordic countries was because I admire its high rankings on gender and income equality and its environmental conscientiousness. So naturally I wanted to promote these values in our events. Moreover, if you have any discrimination or equality concerns while studying here, I am here to listen and try to improve the standards of equality. The University of Helsinki and CISSI stand against discrimination based on gender, age, ethnic or national origin, nationality, language, religion, conviction, opinion, health, disability, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, and other discriminated personal characteristics. You can send me an email at email@example.com.
My name is Mong-Han, Chau or you can just call me Mong. I am from Taiwan and I’m doing my Master’s degree in the program ‘Democracy and Global Transformation’.
My position in CISSI is the secretary. As that, my tasks are keeping track of all the files and minutes of each meetings and publishing them on our blog so that everyone can read what CISSI is dealing with at the moment. Also, I am in charge of membership forms and email-list – to be honest, sometimes it’s quite hard to understand handwritten email addresses 😉 Besides this I however also help in other events because in CISSI we valued teamwork a lot and we can not accomplish each event without the effort from the whole board.
I moved to Helsinki about one year ago, it was a big change in my life and a completely new environment as well, but joining CISSI has helped me to make the most of it. By participating in CISSI, I have made lots of good memories and, more importantly, good friends! Living in a foreign surrounding can be tough sometimes but that’s where CISSI as an organization for international students in social science comes in handy: we keep you company during the long and dark winter!
I hope you will experience the same thing whenever you join our events. If you want to know more about CISSI just contact us through Facebook or come to our meetings in the future, you are more than welcome!
Last but not least, if you haven’t done it yet, you can sign up here to become a member and so I can add you to our emailing list and you won’t miss any future events:
My name is Maria, I’m a second year master student in the REMS programme majoring in Urban Studies. I moved to Helsinki just one year ago, so I sometimes feel I am as new to this city as the international students I study with. CISSI has been a big part of my life here, and joining the board has really been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made (sounds dramatic but it’s true!). I have been an integration specialist at CISSI since the beginning of this year and events coordinator since this autumn, and am loving both of these roles. I feel they really fit my personality, since I love talking to people and I love hosting parties, so, there you go!
My goal in CISSI is to make it an open, warm and fun community for everyone – exchange students and degree students, international or not. There are so many ways to make this: to translate Facebook events (and everything else) in both languages, to have a fun vibe at our events, to collaborate and have conversations with other organisations about how to develop student organisations further. Even though organising events is a lot of work, it is such a rewarding feeling to see people having fun and feeling included.
Our last two parties WTF Welcome to Finland and CISSI’s Introductory Sitsit were both absolutely awesome, thanks to everyone who came! Hope to see you at our next events!