What is it like to study Education in Finland?

The two things that I knew about Finland before even applying were that it is cold, and second, it is the number one country in the world for education. So what is it like to study education in a country which is ranked at the top globally for education?

My choice - University of Oulu

Coming from the Indian education system, first, there were many shocks. After spending my first few months here, the adjustment was thrilling yet challenging. But I learned that I was not alone, my programme - Education and Globalisation, has students from all over the world, and it is comforting to know that we are all going through this process together. Luckily, most of us arrived in Oulu within a month of our studies.

The Kummi (student pro) offered great support every step of the way, making the transition much smoother and easier. Oulu is a student-friendly city with a great second-hand culture to help you adjust to your new surroundings. There have been many noticeable aspects that I find are unique to my programme.

Discussions and peer learning

Education and globalisation is a programme dealing with diverse topics. My class has students from different countries and various educational backgrounds, which makes any discussion that we have very interesting.

We learn so much from each other’s experiences. It is amazing to find similarities in culture or schooling even thousands of miles away. Sometimes the differences can shock you, but they only add to the learning. The discussions are always refreshing and enriching. I get to learn something new about a completely different part of the world.

Diverse ways of evaluation

As someone who was used to exams as the form of evaluation of your learning, it is great to see so many diverse forms of evaluation such as group presentations, essays, and book exams. All of these require you to engage with the content in great depth and practice a lot of self-reflection. Self-regulated learning goes well along with these diverse forms of evaluations.

Independent study

The university emphasises and encourages the students to engage in independent studies. The learners are required to do a lot of independent studies and engage with the curriculum themselves as well.

There are some great places to sit quietly and read or discuss topics within groups. I am surprised that I liked studying at the library both at the university and in the city. Finding spaces at the university can be easy and helps you get out of your room and stay motivated to learn. Another aspect that goes well with self-studying is the choice of electives. There is no dearth of electives for you to choose from across faculties.

Innovative methodology

One of the most intriguing courses has been Language, Education, and Society, where we are required to get onto our feet and think with all our senses, it can be emotional, but you are always learning something new about yourself.

The language is much more than what we speak, and the realisation was very helpful to me for self-reflection. Our teacher always comes up with new and innovative ways to get thinking, and we are encouraged to reflect by writing and drawing after the class. This methodology was unlike anything that I had ever engaged with.

About the author

Sugandha Vats from India is pursuing her master’s in Education and Globalisation at the University of Oulu. Since coming to Finland, her favourite thing to do has been experimenting with food.