Master School International Seminar 2: Exchange in the Master School of Health and Well-being
Turku University of Applied Sciences (TUAS) has every year a priviledge to host international students from different countries. Most of the students in the Faculty of Health and Well-being conduct their studies in Bachelor’s degree. However, each year we have four to five students also in the Master School, and Gizem Cakir is one of them.
The students in master education are completing very tailored courses and other activities planned for them during their stay. We also have had each year PhD-students from Turkey in Erasmus exchange. In Turkey, the PhD students first have to complete two years of theoretical studies such as research methodology. After that they are given a possibility to go to Erasmus exchange from three to six months.
Foreign students, like Gizem Cakir (the first author), have been doing TUAS master courses and courses specially tailored to them with learning assignments. Gizem will be the last PhD student coming to TUAS with this model. Due to legislation changes in Finnish residence permits, we need to create a new model for PhD students to come to TUAS. The new regulations requires other type of residence permit to those who already have Master’s degree prior their arrival to Finland.
Studying at TUAS
Finnish higher education is dynamic in integrating theory, practice and technology. TUAS has its own innovation pedagogy to guide the implementation and development of education. Studying in Finland requires from the students a strong sense of responsibility to develop their own professional expertise which is supported by interpersonal communication and creativity of the students. For many students, especially at the Master School, it is strange not to have that much lectures and face to face teaching that they are used to.
During Gizems exchange, there were few common lessons together with undergraduate students. So she was able to experience studying from the Bachelor to PhD. There is no PhD program in TUAS. So the level of requirement of education was done by individual learning assignments. In the undergraduate education group studies are frequently carried out. ”I think this method aims to strengthen interpersonal communication, develop creativity and ensure productivity. Students’ thoughts are respected. I experienced that freedom of thought and expression emerges as a factor that increases productivity. ”Evaluation and feedback are important parts of students development. Timely feedback is a valuable factor also for the student’s self-evaluation. Otherwise, preliminary preparation or homework for the lessons cannot fully achieve its purpose. In other words, feedback and evaluation in education can ensure that the education system achieves the desired results.
For teachers and students in the Master School, the international students can bring new ideas, and support development of international and cultural competences. International seminar and international week are always part of our exchange students program and they have valuable role in these.
For a teacher, it is always eye-opening to get the chance to know different cultures, education and social and health care systems. Often we tailor some visits, and participate also ourselves. That is always a pleasure. And most importantly, you never know if you will meet the students in exchange some day in a conference or such.
What about Finland and Finnish people
First of all, Finns are a people that care and respect individuality. Finns might have their own private territory but they respect each other as well and listen others opinions. This is a feature that positively affects the level of welfare in my opinion. ”As an exchange student, I am happy to have been in Finland. One reason for this is the importance and care given.” There are many activities in which you will find the opportunity to learn Finnish culture and meet new people. What is also an excellence opportunity in Finland, is that it is located close to Scandinavian countries like Sweden, Baltic countries like Estonia and eastern neighbour country Russia. During the stay, you are able to easily visit also these countries and widen your experiences.
The foundation of Finland dates back to a very old time. Finland has been under the administration of different countries and you still can observe this history in different textures of art and architecture. There could be no better place to learn the history of Finland than museums. There are plenty of them here. If you want to observe the traces of culture and history, I recommend you to visit the museums. Each one is worth seeing and unique.There are dynamic exhibitions of art. Finns are a nation that cares about art. If you have the opportunity to listen the classical music in Finland, do not miss it, you will see the view of different cultures in the music. In Finland, you will have the opportunity to participate in many of these artistic activities. If you are a dancer, don’t forget to bring your dancing shoes to Finland. And you can also practice with the piano in public libraries.
Some special features of Finland
You can become a member of public libraries for free and take advantage of it. In libraries you can find books in many languages, not only in Finnish or Swedish. You can benefit from the text books in the library at the university. You will see that public libraries are actively used by citizens. Especially the elderly often use libraries for reading daily newspapers and magazines.
You will find that people of all ages, children or elderly, use bicycles. Exchange students can easily rent and buy bicycles. You can become a member of the gyms and have the student discount. You can go hiking or cycling in the nature.
In university cafeteria you can choose a vegan or vegetarian lunch menu. If you have a special diet or preference for gluten free or lactose free meal, you will have no difficulty in this regard. There are also some flavors unique to Finland. For example, you can have Finnish chocolate with peppers. I suggest you try the cake, which is unique to Finland.
So, if you are thinking to come, know that you are welcome to Finland, you will have great possibilities to study, but also to enjoy the Finnish nature and culture including the neighbouring countries, says Gizem.