Saunas and Sea Ice: Studying in Suomi and Sussex

Visiting graduate student Daniel Cutting was back in Helsinki for a week and in that time attended the Fall Meeting and Christmas Dinner of our Doctoral Programme in Particle Physics and Universe Sciences. He was invited to give a presentation but, rather than speaking about his research–which includes one paper based partially on work done in Helsinki with Helsinki researchers–Daniel gave a rather different kind of talk. Here is what he has to say:

This year I had the opportunity to visit Helsinki University for a series of months to continue my studies as a PhD student in Theoretical Particle Physics. While I am usually based at the University of Sussex in the United Kingdom, I quickly warmed to the atmosphere and culture at the University of Helsinki and greatly enjoyed my time here. My latest visit to Finland happened to overlap with the PAPU Christmas meeting, and I was asked to give a short presentation on some of the differences I had noticed between studying in Helsinki and Sussex as a PhD student.

One of the more substantial differences I noted is the culture relating to PhD students – and whether they are treated more like employees or students. In the UK we lean towards the latter, whereas here in Finland it seems like the former is more applicable. Another big change is that in the UK it is common to have set time limits on how long our PhD’s can take to complete – in my case I have a hard cut off after 4 years of study before which I must have submitted my thesis. On the other hand there is no minimum number of papers required to submit your thesis.

The meeting itself was a fun event with many fascinating presentations from current and recently graduated students on their research projects. Learning more about what everyone does within PAPU was a great way to spend the day.

I’ve enjoyed my time at both Sussex and Helsinki, and I am sure this won’t be my last visit to Finland!

Read about Daniel’s experiences at the LISA Cosmology Working Group workshop here.

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