The best way to learn about the 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!
If you want to contact our student ambassadors please visit their Facebook page!
Meet our current International Student Ambassadors!
Hi, my name is Katie and I am an international student from Australia. I am in my second year of the Urban Studies and Planning masters programme (USP). I have been in Finland for little over a year now and have began to adjust to the Finnish way of life, but not yet the weather!
I have a bachelor’s degree in science from the University of Melbourne and I worked in Australia as an environmental scientist. After a few years working, I decided to go back to studies and pursue a masters degree. Studying masters in Australia is extremely expensive and student life is very difficult due to the high cost of living and lack of government funding or student benefits. For these reasons, I decided to seek alternative opportunities abroad. To be honest Finland was not my first choice, however I liked the sound of the USP program and the flexibility in its structure. The only thing I knew about Finland before moving here was Santa and reindeers. My friends and family in Australia did not know where Helsinki was and kept confusing it for Sweden!
Student life in Finland is very affordable and even as an international student you have access to subsidised housing, transport and student lunches. None of which is available to students in Australia! I feel that Finland values education of its citizens and internationals highly and there is a lot of support available to help students. I am also extremely lucky as the USP program is joint between UH and Aalto universities, so I am kind of a student in two universities at once!
The Finnish way of life, weather and education system was a big surprise and a little difficult to get used to at the start. The winter was a struggle for me as I had not experienced temperatures below zero before. However, now a year in I look back on all the experiences I have had here. For my birthday was I in Tallinn with a group of my classmates. As my birthday is usually in summer, spent by the beach in Australia, celebrating in the middle of a medieval city covered in snow was something very different! Other highlights have been berry-picking, boating and grilling in the Turku archipelago, visiting my friends home cities and weekly saunas with my housemate! Also, I have been a board member of Mesta, my programs student organisation and arranged and hosted a traditional Finnish academic Sitsit! Opportunities at UH and in Finland are abundant so make the most of it!
Being an avid traveller, I have taken advantage of Finland’s proximity to many fascinating countries. I have explored Sweden, Norway, Estonia and Latvia. Over the summer my family visited, we travelled around Finland and even went hiking during the midnight sun in Lapland! Next on the list are Russia and Lithuania! This semester I will study in the Netherlands as part of an Erasmus exchange between UH and the University of Groningen. I will be moving and getting used to a whole new university and country! I am looking forward to exploring Dutch culture and seeing how student life in the Netherlands differs from Australia of Finland. UH offers many possibilities to go abroad to enrich your degree such as summer schools or exchange and I encourage you to investigate these.
Packing up your life and moving abroad to study is a huge step! Deciding to quit my job and study in Finland really was a great decision and has opened many opportunities for me. I hope that you can do it too and I am here to assist you with the process! If you have any questions about UH, Helsinki, Finland or anything really, please feel free to contact me or the other student ambassadors.
Moikka! My name is Gregory Michael Andreou and I am working towards achieving a master’s in Microbiology and Microbial Biotechnology.
Any Greeks reading this may have guessed by my name that I am Greek! My parents are from Cyprus and we often go home to visit our lucky family members that still live there. I’d be more than happy to help other Mediterraneans adjust to living here in beautifully cold Finland.
Although I haven’t been here for very long I have discovered the perfect way to replicate a sunny island is to visit a sauna. There are also lots of great Finnish tactics to overcoming the cold including drinking lots of beer and eating lots of dopamine inducing foods like chocolate. Yes in this country, chocolate is good for you!
Minä opiskelen suomea ja minä puhun vähän suomea. I found learning Finnish a great way to connect with the culture and become more comfortable with living in a new city.
Although I come from a science background I enjoy art and love music. Helsinki has some great museums, modern art exhibitions, and music festivals. I look forward to exploring these alongside the stunning natural parks and coastlines.
As a member of the LGBTQI+ community, I am also interested in the rich history activists and trailblazers have created. I love reading new queer theories and listening to queer podcast.
So if you’re looking for an upbeat friendly face when you first arrive, contact us on the student ambassador team and we’ll be more than happy to help you with any questions you have on the application process, or adjusting to living here in Helsinki.
Moi, I am Ansung from Seoul, South Korea. I just start my life in Finland also Masterʼs programme in Human Nutrition and Food-related Behaviour at the University of Helsinki. Sounds really interesting right?
To be honest, before I found the master’s programme in UH, I’ve never thought about to study in Finland. (Actually, I wanted to study in the UK and I got the permission in there too.) Anyway, I have made my choice to study in Finland because the programme is closer to what I want to study and wonder what it the famous Finnish education system like. (Actually, my most exciting and wondering part of Finland is that the picking berries. – I would love to try picking berries in next summertime)
I am here around a week now, I still have a kind of jet lag. But I think it is not
that bad because I’m really early bird in Finland and some lectures are starting
quite early like 8:30 am so I wish I keep this habit with me.
Before I came and also after I arrived in Helsinki, I got so many pieces of advice about taking Vitamin D and managing well daily life during the wintertime. However, there is a really great chance to see the Auroras (Northern lights). It must be really beautiful. It is one of my to-do lists while I’m in Finland.
Why I choose to study my master’s degree here in UH is, They provide a
multidisciplinary programme. I studied Food and Nutrition and Psychology. I
always wanted to combine these two areas and I found out here in UH provide
such a wonderful programme.
If you have any question about the application process or student life at the
University of Helsinki, feel free to contact me or any of us.
Also If you have any question about Korea, I’m really happy to answer your
Hello! My name is Leah Martin and I am an international student from the United States pursuing a Master of Arts Intercultural Encounters. I’ve lived in frigid Minnesota and mountainous Washington State and am excited to put my sauna skills to the test here in Finland.
I knew I had chosen the right place to study on my first day in Finland. I landed in Helsinki at 4:00 am and was not able to check into my apartment until 11:00 am. I was so sleepy but decided to walk around the city like a zombie, attempting to cure jet lag, rather than sleep on the floor in the airport. I stored my bags in lockers and caught the train towards City Center. As the train approached the station, my sleepiness dissipated as the city revealed itself. I remember walking up the Helsinki Cathedral steps as the morning light grew and thinking, it really can’t get better than this!
My international student experience has just begun but has already made a giant impact. The crash course in Finnish, from Helsinki Summer School, was a fantastic introduction to the language. It acted as a challenging yet fun transition back to student life. The Welcome Fair and other events organized by the school, have shown me that there are endless opportunities here, both academic and social.
Applying to graduate school internationally and then deciding to get up and go do it, can be intimidating. It was for me. I graduated with my bachelor’s degree in 2013 and had many insecurities about pursuing further education after a long break. Rest assured, there are students from every walk of life and they all contribute to the amazing diversity of the University of Helsinki. I’m happy to answer any questions you might have about returning to studies, moving overseas with a partner, searching for work, or anything else I can help with.
Hello! My name is Andreas and I am originally from the very north of Germany. I have recently graduated from Germany’s most northern university, the Europa-Universität Flensburg, holding now a B.A. in European Cultures and Society. I have arrived in Helsinki just a couple days ago and am excited to pursue my studies in European and Nordic Studies. (I guess one could discover a certain pattern here 😄.)
As I am fresher myself and therefore not aware of the things our university and city have to offer, I would be quite happy to embark on this quest together with you and to share all the exciting things I stumble upon. My first impression is, however, a positive one as the city and the university both welcomed me with a big smile and plenty of sunshine. Though, some people have told me already that I should prepare myself for November … what does it mean? No clue, but I am sure that we will find it out once November arrives!
If you have any need for advice about the life here in Helsinki and the admission process, feel free to ask me or my colleagues. We will provide you with an answer!
Moi, I am Matilda Carol Dok from Nairobi, Kenya (the Green City in the Sun) 😊. I am a student at the prestigious University of Helsinki (UH), in the Faculty of Science, with keen interest in Human Geography, Urban Geography and Spatial planning. I commute between two campuses, the City Campus and the Kumpula Campus. Both have unique architectural designs and situated in different backgrounds. The City Campus is located next to the historical White Cathedral forming part of the great square while the Kumpula Campus being a few kilometres away surrounded by nature, neighbours Arabia, which was designed to be part of Helsinki City’s expansion but ended up as a beautiful suburban area.
While taking a Geographical Information Systems (GIS) course at the University of Nairobi during my undergraduate studies in Geography, I came across the University of Helsinki Taita Land Use Project and this ignited my interest in the institution. At that very moment, I made a vow that UH is where I wanted to be. I therefore gathered all the information I needed for my application process.
The journey was not easy, I must confess. First, because everything was to be done online with no contact person in my home country, and coming from a Non-EU region, there were so many requirements and preconditions to be fulfilled. This required a lot of consultations here and there and proper planning. The good thing is that, UH has a very detailed online system that has all the information regarding the institution (do not let the zillion links in there intimidate you; they almost made me give up 😊). The immigration website migri.fi also came in handy regarding moving to Finland. But getting that Residence Permit was not a walk in the park. The three months wait can be traumatising as you put everything on hold not knowing whether you will be leaving your home country in the next few months or your application will be rejected. What I want to categorically state is that Finns religiously observe time. You must plan and allow enough time just in-case you have made a mistake and need to correct something, or in-case you forgot to submit something before the application deadline cuts you out.
The moment I landed here, I experienced a culture shock! From the weather, to the food, to the everyday practices of the inhabitants of this “land of a thousand lakes”. I was amazed by the big difference between the tropical and temperate regions. It was like living in two different worlds. Finland is a modern welfare state and is well planned. Autumn is breath-taking and serene. In winter, Finland is a very lonely quiet country and can drive you to depression if you don’t indulge in social activities. But do not panic, the university has more than enough activities to see you through the season, on top of the beautiful icescapes, the white Christmas, and the charming Northern Lights. At the beginning of spring, Vappu is celebrated, and I have never seen a country so proud of its education, going by the number of people, both young and old having their graduation gear on. Come summer, the streets buzz with life and everybody is happy. Laughter and music fill the air, the midnight sun is beautiful, parks are full and parties’ beckon.
The education system is top notch. They do not just test memory, but their research culture allows in-depth exploration of phenomenon. The student’s opinions are respected, and the teacher student interaction is very accommodative therefore allows collaborative origination of knowledge. Students mental health and social welfare is also considered.
So, welcome to the University of Helsinki. You will never regret it!
We the International Students Ambassadors are here to help in any way we can. Feel free to engage us 😊
Hey guys! I’m Anna-Lena from Germany and I have been studying the master’s programme Global Politics and Communication here at the University of Helsinki since last autumn. This means that I am able to study right in the heart of Helsinki in the city center campus. I still walk in awe past many of the buildings on my way to and from my classes. One of my favourite building is the language center, which might be a reason why I have chosen to spend so much time in it, either learning different languages or assisting in the German classes as a course assistant.
The first time I have considered about studying in Helsinki (as brief a thought as that might have been) was during the first year of my undergraduate studies. My parents had visited Helsinki for a couple days and my mum told me about this beautiful city full of students I’d probably enjoy to study in as well. The possibility seemed at that point too far away and I soon after forgot about it, but now that I am here, it feels as if that might have been the first step of my journey here.
Before arriving here, I have graduated in International Relations from a small, but quite modern university in rural Germany. Coming to Helsinki has, therefore, been quite a change, but one that I wouldn’t miss. Autumn is wonderful here and the nature is such an ingrained part of the city. It is very easy to get lost in one of the many parks or go hiking in the national parks close by. Winter’s darkness can be quite a challenge (especially for those of you who are used to long, sunny days), but with Finland’s saunas and good friends, it was not as hard as I feared it to be. Coming from a region in which we are lucky if we get a few weeks (or rather days) of a slight powdering of snow, I have been amazed by the winter wonderland the city has turned into. That is certainly something you do not want to miss – even if I felt sorry for my frozen nose from time to time.
Moving to a different country to live in can be quite hard and overwhelming. But everyone I have encountered so far has been happy to help, so don’t be afraid to ask. If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact me and I’ll do the best I can.
Hi, I’m Li Jing from China. Currently I’m studying Computer Science as a Master student in UH. I arrive quite early because I participated in Helsinki Summer School of Intensive Finnish, after that I found Finnish are interesting – not as difficult as I had heard about at all.
Although I have been here for almost half a year till now, there are still many places remain to be explored in Campus and Helsinki City. The Main Campus is actually embedded into the heart of the city, which surprised from time to time. I’m not even aware of the fact until one day, when I walked out from a door after lecture, the splendid view of the White Church(tuomiokirkko) flooded me and I was totally refreshed. Besides, I strongly recommend you to take walk in the Kumpula campus and don’t be cheated by its low-profile appearance. The interior decoration and displays would take you into a fantastic world of rationalism and science.
Before Helsinki is buried by tons of snow, my favourite season here is autumn – golden trees standing along side the road. Sometime I’m amazed by the trees with bright red leaves all over. Now I can’t move my eyes off the snow world, especially when it’s shining in the sunlight. In Helsinki, we live in nature and enjoy every moment.
If you want a guided tour or any advice? Just contact us, student ambassadors are always here to help!
“Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get”- of all the chocolates I have savored, one of the best one is starting journey in University of Helsinki!
I am Nabila Jahan Joyee from Bangladesh. Being graduated from International Relations of University of Dhaka, I am currently pursuing my master’s in European and Nordic Studies at University of Helsinki. I am a 1st year master’s student and it has been five months I am in Finland. Within this short period, I feel really passionate about my university. It’s not only about studying in a world ranked university, also, the unique education system and overall environment of the university is incredible.
From a totally different society, culture, education system, even weather, I dared to come to Finland crossing thousands of miles and this was my best decision indeed! Now when experiencing this life, I can confidently say this University undoubtedly has one of the best education systems with high quality research, unlimited learning opportunities, great and approachable faculties, enriched libraries, flexible learning ways, helpful university stuff, several student organisations and clubs with so many events for students. Beforehand, I had a fear in mind, I am so different from them, how would I socialize or make friends but all the students- Finns, Europeans or other nationals I have met so far, are so friendly and talks always in a positive manner. I feel University of Helsinki allows a student to learn and live together which makes it something extraordinary.
In terms of living, Finland is undoubtedly an exemplary destination! The transport and housing are the most convenient. I am totally amazed by the well managed transport system where you can easily find the route even being totally foreigner in the land! There is bus, train, metro, tram and you can travel through all of these with your one student travel card. The student housing is quite cheap though well equipped for all your needs. There is well heating system, internet connection, laundry, storage, sauna, electricity everything included in your housing. On the top of that, you have no security concerns as once I have slept keeping my door unlocked for whole night :p and nothing happened! I found Helsinki really safe for a girl to live as you have transport service available most of the time, even at night and you can move without any fear what I feel so relieving.
Having a different appetite, I thought I have to cook my own food at home but luckily students have Unicafe, university cafeteria where you can get the best food in a plenty of amount at a reasonable price. Not only it has wide variations, the food is tasty and even being an Asian girl, I like the food! As Finland is widely known for its coldness and darkness but the beautiful snow would melt your heart and keep you survive the winter. I have also survived the darkness and now enjoying the mesmerizing snowfall though sometimes windstorm of snow really troubles a lot.
I have so many things in my mind to say about my university life and Finland! I really hope you join the university to become a part of this best institution and get the best out of it for your successful career and valuable learnings for lifetime! For any confusion or doubt or question, we, the ambassador team is there to help you. Just contact me or any of us, we would be glad to help you with anything regarding your application, studying and student life here! Let’s hope for the best for everyone 😊
Hi! I’m Sofie! I’m 24 years old (as of January 2019!). I’m from Northern Denmark (no, not Copenhagen!) and moved to Helsinki in August 2018 to start a Master’s Degree in Intercultural Encounters. I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Politics and International Relations from the University of Aberdeen in Scotland, where I spent 4 wonderful years prior to moving to Finland.
The answer to why I came to Finland is either very trivial or semi poetic, depending on how I choose to frame it on the given day that you ask me! The trivial side has to do with money: the Danish Kela would only pay me for my Master’s degree if I ‘returned’ to the Nordic countries. The Danish government makes no differentiation within the Nordic countries as to what you are entitled to, which is pretty awesome. So I applied to Sweden and Finland, and was lucky to get into Helsinki, which was my #1 choice! The cute side of the story is more rose-tinted: I went to Helsinki waaay back in the summer of 2010 with my whole family to cheer on my brother who was competing in the European Swimming Championships in Mäkelänrinteen uimahalli. It was SCORCHING hot that summer and I think we all fell in love with Helsinki. I remember thinking that I really wouldn’t mind living in Helsinki one day, AND HERE I AM!
Like my brother, I also have a passion for swimming but I’ve unfortunately not found a team in Helsinki to practise with. Maybe some day! I like to read (who doesn’t?), to write and to enjoy the amazing nature of Finland. I am also very fond of travelling, in particular in and to Latin America. I have a very soft spot for Argentina, where I spent 4 months before undergrad working at a hostel in downtown Buenos Aires. This past summer (2018), I worked at a hostel in Sayulita on the Pacific Coast of Mexico. Working at hostels is something I would recommend everyone to try at least once. It’s given me life long friends, invaluable life lessons and incredible memories. If you need advice and guidance on how to do that or travelling advice for Latin America, a friend in Helsinki, if you want to learn Danish, if you feel affected by Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) or if you simply just have a question about Helsinki and our wonderful university, feel very free 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!
Want to work as a Student Ambassador?
Read more in Instructions for Students.