Liisa Leppävuori is one of the current International Business and Sales Management Master’s Degree Programme students at the University of Eastern Finland. She is doing her master’s thesis about students’ experiences of the programme. An interview with Leppävuori gave us insightful views from the students’ perspective.
First of all, students expected a lot of independent studying and actual contact with companies when they were applying for the programme. After proceeding in the programme, students realized that there was a great amount of group work, which many of them found very supportive of learning. Through those group work experiences, there was also a lot of cooperation with companies, and students appreciated that. One of the most fascinating reasons why applicants had been interested in our programme in the first place was its uniqueness: it cannot be found at any other university. Also, applicants expected Finland to be a very peaceful and safe country.
After completing the studies in the programme, the students were very satisfied. The courses were challenging enough, and thanks to the programme being taught completely in English, presenting and speaking in English raised students’ confidence. Some of the students wanted there to be even more presentations held during classes. One of the favourite courses was Cross-Cultural Communication and Negotiation, because it was seen as highly practical.
Courses with mixed learning methods were successful and pleasing. Instead of only theoretical studies, students get to do group work, which prepares them for working life. Participants in the programme include Finnish and international students. Cultural differences between students might be challenging, but they are seen as learning experiences! Many students praised the freedom offered by the programme: students can freely choose which courses they take and when to accomplish them. The teachers are very approachable. Students and teachers are pretty much on the same level in Finland, which makes it easy to approach lecturers, teachers, professors and other personnel.
At the end of the interview, Leppävuori gave some advice.
“Everyone who wants to apply for this programme should be open-minded. Be prepared for the Finnish winter, and if you are selected to study here, remember to keep in touch with your family and friends back home. Remember to do the things you loved doing in your home country, but also try new things and hobbies typical of Finnish culture. And remember to join ESN KISA’s activities! They have been very popular among and liked by international students.”
ESN KISA arranges all kinds of activities, from movie nights to trips abroad, for both Finnish and international students. Finnish people might seem shy and reserved at first but in reality, we are very nice, friendly and approachable people. Our city, Kuopio, is a very nice place: not too big but not too small either. There are a lot of events going on throughout the year. Our university is amazing, and our personnel is approachable and eager to help!
Interview and text: Tiia Alina Heikkinen, Student Ambassador of the Programme