Thursday, 13 November 2008

What do the foreigners think?

Ann Seppänen has interviewed 30 foreign degree students during the past few weeks. She tells that the worries of the first year and second year students vary.

The first year degree students are still trying to get used to the climate and our educational culture and the idea that one should get up when it's dark and cold outside. When this is put against the Finnish very strict idea of punctuality, trouble might follow.

The second years are already starting to worry about their job prospects, particularly if they want to stay in Finland. They find that the job market is quite inward-looking - even the big companies whose official language is English, require functional Finnish. Ann says that the key is to improve funtional, professional, work-related Finnish skills.

What do the foreigners hope from us Finns then? The answer is straightforward: more informal interaction. We are at home here and in an excellent position to help in ways which are too obvious to notice! Think about the grading system. If I get one, am I good or bad? Also help to manage with the Finnish fixation with everything technical. How is one supposed to act when teachers inform that "this you will find on the internet".

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