The best way to learn about University of Helsinki is from the students who are here now! Our Ambassadors will share their insights and experiences on studies, career and life in Helsinki. So stay tuned!
Meet our International Student Ambassadors for the year 2017!
Sara Haapanen (International Student Ambassador Coordinator)
I’m Sara, this is my second year as an ambassador. I study urban geography here at the university. I’m from England originally and have been living and working in Finland for a number of years (yes, I admit my Finnish is not great either, it’s a continuous work in progress). I’m also a mother and enjoy the balance studying gives me.
I am really enjoying my studies, learning some very interesting things and meeting new people along the way. I love that studying here means you get to study any topic you may find interesting or just want to know about from the history of alcohol in England to something about the global political economy.
The staff are great, the courses are wide and varied and there are some fascinating fellow students. There are no limitations when it comes to learning.
Personally I love to spend time with my family and friends, I’m vegan and love cooking and and baking. I enjoy trying out different sports and UniSport (university provider) certainly aids that. I even enjoy a couple of sessions of ice swimming every year – you have to try it once!
Looking forward to meeting you here, and please don’t hesitate to ask anything. You can email any ambassador or look at our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/uhambassadors/
Terve! My name is Esther and I am a first year student of Media and Global Communication, an International Master’s programme in the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Helsinki. I am originally from Spain, although I graduated with a BA in Media Studies from the University of East Anglia in the UK, concretely in the charming city of Norwich. After graduating in 2016, I decided that in my career, I would like to combine my interest in media and communications with my passion for languages, and Helsinki seemed like the perfect place to do so, while brushing up on my Finnish!
I had been to Helsinki a few times before settling down here to study full time, and funnily enough, I used to hate it! Yet as soon as I arrived, suitcases in tow, it suddenly began to feel like home. It is easy to love the acres of parkland and the neoclassical buildings, but other more urban-looking districts like Kallio or Sörnäinen became easier to love.
The University has so far been a very welcoming environment. My course does not have that many students, so the staff has offered plenty of guidance in matters such as our Master’s thesis, or what courses to sign up to. As for societies, I quickly joined Akateeminen Laulu, one of the many choirs on offer, and instantly felt at home—so much so, that I decided to join the board as a treasurer for 2017! CISSI, or the Organisation for International Social Scientists, has also been a great association to experience, and I look forward to helping them aid international students as a Deputy Board Member next year as well.
I would also advise international students to join a student nation—it might seem a little bit daunting at first, but they put so many events on, and everyone speaks generally good English so there’s not much to be afraid of! And if you decide to learn Finnish (which is anyway so worth it!), these are places where you can immerse yourself in the language and culture. Finland is a very funny little country, with so many customs and traditions; there is so much to learn and explore!
“Moi! Hello! My name is Abhishek. I am a first year Master’s student at University of Helsinki. I am studying Molecular Biosciences with Biochemistry as my major. I am an Indian and moved to Helsinki few months back. University life has been amazing till now. Courses here are well structured and taught by great faculties. Apart from studies, students can join different clubs present at their respective campuses. Student organisation and clubs organises various events allowing students to enjoy their stay at the University.
Helsinki is an incredible place to live in. Although I am from a tropical country, it didn’t took me very long to get accustomed to the weather. Language is not a major barrier over here as most of the Fins know English and are very helpful.
Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any doubts. Hope to see you all at University of Helsinki soon!!”
Moi! My name is Akif, first year PhD student in political science at the Department of Political and Economic Studies. I am from Izmir, Turkey. The University of Helsinki is the fourth university that I am studying in, previously Izmir University of Economics (Turkey), Leiden University (The Netherlands), and METU NCC (Cyprus).
I have been here in Helsinki since September 2016 and I can confidently say that I made the right choice in pursuing my post-graduate studies at the University of Helsinki! My most positive impression in my programme is the fact that our ideas, aims and inspirations are not restricted through strict rules and programme schedules. Being an independent researcher is highly promoted and appreciated at the University of Helsinki! Moreover, university professors and administrative staff are always accessible and helpful.
Helsinki is a peaceful yet energetic and active city with full of professional and social opportunities. I am here not only for academic purposes but also for meeting new people from different cultural backgrounds, learning different languages and experiencing a new way of life in the Nordic region. I enjoy grabbing a beer and discussing about philosophy, politics, history, cinema and music for hours.
Questions? We, human beings are always full of questions indeed. 🙂 Please don’t hesitate to get in contact with me for any questions you may have! I would really love to hear from you!
Hi, my name is Basma, I come from Egypt. I am a first year Master student at the Faculty of Environmental and Biological Sciences (Biochemistry major). Although I came here 4 months ago only, but I feel like I lived here long time ago, Helsinki seems like home to me, it is one of the safest cities in the world to live in. I really liked the quite lifestyle here, the beautiful nature everywhere, Also Finns are very modest and friendly friends, although being shy and reserved at first. Furthermore, the international study environment, the high quality teaching and research and the helpful stuff of the university have all impressed me.
I am now sure that everyone will fall in love with Helsinki and whatever your main goals in life are; studying at the top ranking university will give you numerous opportunities for your professional life. Also you can enjoy your student life and find a lot of activities to do and of course learn a lot. Since I came here I have started to feel more active and productive and I am really so happy and proud being part of the university ambassadors group, this means a lot to me
I would be happy to hear from you guys! Do not hesitate and ask me any questions.
See you in Finland soon.
“I am a Masters degree student at the Faculty of Arts at the University of Helsinki. My major subject is English Philology. I love photography and bowling. You can contact me for matters regarding student life, traveling (student discount), accommodation and the Faculty of Arts.”
Always give excuses to win, it pays to be a winner!
My name is Oyelowo Oyedayo, the youngest of four brothers. I am 22 years old, presently majoring in geoinformatics at the department of Geography and geosciences, University of Helsinki. I hail from the ancient city of Ibadan where I had my primary, secondary and tertiary education. I grew up in Lagos and Ibadan, Nigeria.
After I finished my bachelor’s degree from the University of Ibadan, I started seeking to explore new horizons; a complete deviation from my hitherto experience – different climate, environment, culture, education system etc.
Even though I got several other opportunities to study in my home country and several others in Europe and North America, my best decision was choosing University of Helsinki out of those ten. I am so glad I did! Tranquil study sceneries, friendly and approachable teachers, great people. The list is inexhaustible. Above all, I have managed to survive the cold subzeros. Sometimes, I even sweat in my room because it is well heated. It is so tropical. *pun intended*
I have been here for just four months and what I have learnt and experienced is invaluable. I wish more students – especially African students – would get more involved in extracurricular activities. It is fun and helpful to oneself to make life easy for others.
Even though, you might not be in the group, we all – as students of University of Helsinki – are great ambassadors of the wonderful wellspring of knowledge. Hence, we should always keep the sense of responsibility of promulgating and representing the image of the school. The little information you share to the next person goes a long way! I have equally benefitted tremendously from casual conversations I have had with friends across faculties.
It’s an indescribable feeling to be in the best university in the country that undoubtedly has one of the best education system in the world (In fact, the best!). I encourage you to join us today as one of the top 1% in the world. it’s fulfilling and worthwhile!
I would be glad to have formal and informal inquiries responded to. Furthermore, remember, that I am also a student and a friend.
Others can bring you more joy as you show interest in their doings!
Let’s make it a great year ahead!
Hi! My name is Wang Min. I come from Inner Mongolia, China. It’s the second year of my master’s study in Food Science. I really love and enjoy both the study and life in Finland.
University of Helsinki, I would like to say, is really a good place to start your further study and will provide you memorable experiences. Various courses are quite attractive and practical, for me especially the lab course. High qualities in education have taught and improved me a lot. I feel happy to read books in library because of its pure, quiet and relaxing atmosphere. Also, a lot of activities such as skating, jogging, going for a BBQ and traveling make my life special and interesting.
I hope to meet you here. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.
Hey! I am Pinky from India.
I am a cheerful person, who likes to enjoy Finnish nature while studying at the one of the best universities of the world. I stumbled upon the University of Helsinki as a visiting student and was left awestruck with it. I joined this institution as part of the Erasmus Mundus BRAVE programme and am continuing with my education at the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry. I am currently pursuing my Master degree in Plant Production Sciences with Plant Pathology as my major. I am very passionate about nature and always look for the presence of plant pathogens wherever I go. Finland being a country surrounded by greenery is the best place to be with such an insane hobby. The country also with its exceptionally well planned educational system got me hooked to my study.
If you are planning to join this prestigious institution, just fill in the application and pack your bags… ‘cause this is the best place to be. Don’t be shy to ask questions if you are stuck, we at the Student Ambassadors team are here to help!
Moikka!! (Hello) I am Iftekhar Mahmud Chowdhury. I know it is a big name. You can call me Ifti, short and sweet. I obtained my Bachelor’s Degree in Biotechnology from BRAC University, Bangladesh. I started my Master in Biotechnology from August, 2015. Since I came from one of the most densely-populated countries, arriving to Helsinki was jumping to the opposite end of the spectrum, starting from food, culture, climate, landscape, infrastructure to almost everything. Finland has the best education system and the whole approach towards education is phenomenal. I was pleasantly surprised with the educational philosophy which attracts many international exchange students. 12 years ago, to me Finland was only known for Nokia phones, long lasting durable phones MADE IN FINLAND. Now I have come to realize that Finland has a lot more and better to offer than those Nokia phones.
The capital hosts one of the top-ranked Universities in the world. University of Helsinki conducts high-throughput research which was one of the primary reasons why it was my top choice of institution for my postgraduation. I always wanted to pursue a research-oriented career and the curriculum provided me with a lot of practical experience and multidisciplinary theoretical/laboratory based courses which are an asset when it comes to applying for higher studies or research based career. The students from the University of Helsinki achieve a lot of success, both in corporations and academia due to the strong academic culture combined with practical knowledge.
Finland is a textbook example of a country founded on humanity and morality. I found out that Finland runs on trust which makes it an ideal place for international students. It can easily become their home away from home. Since most of the citizens speak English, communication is quite easy and the helpful nature of the Finns makes integration much simpler. Finland is an amazing country to live in and I would like to welcome the new students to this magical country and hopefully see you in the future at one of the several events taking place every day.
My name is Usama Mukhtar, and this is my second semester in Department of Computer Science, at University of Helsinki. I belong to a small town, known as Tharpal, located about a 100 miles from Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan. I moved to Helsinki about 4 months ago, and have really enjoyed my stay here so far. During this short span of time, I have grown up a lot by meeting a lot of new people from various cultures. I have also had the opportunity to travel to a couple of neighboring countries as well.
I completed my Bachelor’s degree in Software Engineering in June 2016, from National University of Sciences and Technology, Islamabad, and am currently pursuing Master’s degree in Computer Science at Kumpula Kampus. My subprogram is Data Analytics, Machine Learning, and Algorithms. I have previously worked as a Database Specialist at Mega IT Solutions, Islamabad, and as a software engineer for MTM Group, Doha.
I am a foodie so my favorite hobbies are cooking and eating. Other than that, I enjoy travelling, watching movies, following and playing various kinds of sports.
Feel free to drop a message if you want to explore Helsinki or try out a new restaurant, or need any sorts of help.
Best Regards, Usama
Hejsan! My name is Alexandra and I am a 2nd year master student at the Faculty of Law, specialising in International Business Law. Originally I am from the Republic of Karelia (Russia) where people also speak Karelian, which is so close to Finnish! In 2015, I graduated from Petrozavodsk State University with bachelor of law degree and additional qualification of legal translator/interpreter (English – Russian). In future, I dream of combining legal practice with teaching at the university – sharing your knowledge is so inspiring!
Helsinki feels like home for me – distances are short, people are friendly and there is so many ways to escape bad weather getting engaged in student activites. I am an active member of Helsinki Debating Society, fond of yoga classes (which are held just in my study building, so comfortable!), graphic design and learning Swedish. It is already my second year as a Student Ambassador – the first year was already full of amazing events, travelling, learning new about different cultures and people.
The main advice I will give to you is to never doubt your talents and listen to your heart when choosing programmes you are applying to. And always, always ask questions whenever you have even a little concern about admission process. Sometimes small detail or a piece of advice can really change the situation! Just contact me!
P.S. And never trust memes that Finnish is the hardest language to learn – it didn`t took me really much time to start speaking Finnish fluently, as soon as you start liking it, you will succeed.
You can also follow my blog to learn more about life as a student in the University of Helsinki: http://blogs.helsinki.fi/lostinlaw/
Le Bao Ngoc Pham
Hello! My name is Le Bao Ngoc Pham, a 23-year-old student from Vietnam and currently study International Public Law at the Faculty of Law. The University of Helsinki was not my first choice for admission. However, after 06 months studying here, I came to understand that I have made the right decision.
A multicultural environment with high quality teaching, friendly classmates and considerate teachers that the University offers guarantees to be an experience I may never forget.
It is a great honor to be selected as International Student Ambassador of the University and I could not wait to give my assistance to prospective students.
Hey! I’m Nishadh, an international master’s degree student from Sri Lanka. I’m currently a first year student studying computer science as my major at the department of science of University of Helsinki. I completed my bachelor’s degree in Sri Lanka from University of Moratuwa and started my master’s degree in UHe few months back.
I decided to apply to University of Helsinki for the computer science master’s program as I found out the content of the course very interesting with a large number of focus areas. The study programs are flexible and encourages the students to explore the focus areas to broaden the knowledge. I have only completed my first semester here and I’m really impressed with the course content, teaching techniques, lecturers and the student life in Helsinki.
Apart from the academic benefits, student life is full of various celebrations, events from different student organizations allowing the student to enjoy the student life. Further University of Helsinki is rich in the number of international students from all over the world. If you are interested in making new friends and experience different cultures Helsinki is the place to be!
You are welcome to contact me for any questions you may have. Hope to see you in University of Helsinki soon!
Suveda Vignesh Maran
Moi! Hey! Vanakam! Kon’nichiwa! I am Suveda Vignesh Maran (Vikki) from India. I am pursuing my master’s degree in molecular biosciences with a specialisation in Biochemistry at the Viikki Campus of the University of Helsinki. I have a bachelor’s degree in Industrial Biotechnology from India. I have heard a lot about Finland and its education system before coming here from former students at Helsinki. It is a very student friendly nation altogether from my experience.
I was initially planning to apply to Sweden or the US, but decided to come here for all the student benefits and the strong education system that University of Helsinki had to offer. If you are from a tropical country (Like me) or from any part of the world (Not you, Iceland) living in Finland would be a surreal experience for you. The University of Helsinki is one of the leading research universities in Europe. It has a strong academic culture and robust research programmes. The Finnish education system places the responsibility on the student rather being rigid and over controlling. The teachers are quite friendly and helpful.
- I absolutely love the sauna which is a quintessentially Finnish invention.
- Did you know the Finnish national epic, Kalevala inspired a young English scholar named JRR Tolkien to write a small book called The Lord of The Rings?
- Most Finns have almost native English proficiency.
- Finland has 1Mbps internet connection as a legal right. I rest my case.
- Finland is full of surprises. Think Clear. Head North.
I would love to hear from you guys! See you soon!
Moikka! I’m Shirajum Monira (nickname Erina), a 23 year old International Master’s degree student originally from Bangladesh, a small green country located in South Asia. At present I am studying in the second year with major in physics and specialization on Particle Physics. After graduation I would like to pursue a PhD in Astroparticle physics and continue research in this particular field of Particle Physics.
On September, 2013 I moved to Helsinki after completing a Bachelor of Science degree with triple major in Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics from Bangalore, India. Although my Bachelor thesis was in the field of Radio Astronomy but later it seemed my true passion remained elsewhere.
Joining university of Helsinki was a life changing experience for me, and it’s not only because of the excellent facilities provided for students but also for the positive atmosphere which motivates students to learn. Since I switched my discipline after Bachelor’s degree, so first year here had been quite confusing but the immense support and encouragement from the professors helped me finding that true passion. We learn to study independently and effectively grow new skills in a friendly international environment.
The Finnish culture is another thing which impressed me the most. People here are open minded, and welcoming. Finland’s unique nature; beautiful forests, colourful autumn and peaceful people made me feel like a home away from home. On my arrival in Finland I was worried about extreme winter here, but guess what? Now I eagerly wait for more snow!
One thing for sure, Finland is the best country for students to study and enjoy life at the same time. Tervetuloa Suomi!
If you are thinking to apply here and need information, then please do not hesitate to contact me.
We would also like to thank all our former student volunteers who have helped to make our new students feel most welcome to UH!