International students are highly satisfied with learning at the University of Oulu, but more focus needed on employability

Overall, the 2023 International Student Barometer had 577 respondents at the University of Oulu. The final answer rate of the entire target group was 32 %, including degree and exchange students and doctoral researchers.

According to the 2023 International Student Barometer, second and final-year master's degree students are increasingly satisfied and happy. About 90% of international degree students and doctoral researchers reported to feeling overall happy with all aspects of their experience at UniOulu.

The impact of the qualification on future career remains the most important decision factor (74%) in choosing UniOulu, while the cost of education (73%) and opportunities for full-time work in Finland (70%) have grown in significance. Quality of research has also become a major decision factor with an 11.4% increase from 2022 results.

Students are engaged and satisfied in education

International degree students and doctoral researchers rate the learning experience at UniOulu highly. The subject area expertise of lecturers scores especially high, as over 93% of students are satisfied with the expertise of their teachers.

However, the value for money in their courses for degree students decreases from the first (93%) to the second year (88%).

Students confirm strong engagement with their studies, 97,8% for the first year and 94,9% for the second year. Students and doctoral researchers also convey that their feedback is taken seriously and acted upon, especially during the first year of study when the satisfaction is at 93%, decreasing to 87% for more progressed students.

Studying is considered safe – challenges in making friends

A staggering 100% of first-year students state that they feel safe and secure on campus. Satisfaction in the quality of accommodation has also improved from last year.

The institution's eco-friendly attitude is highly appreciated. As many as 97,7% of first-year degree students and doctoral researchers report being satisfied with the University of Oulu’s sustainability activities.

Making friends in Finland seems to be a challenge for our international degree students and doctoral researchers, as less than 60% of respondents report being content with how to make friends locally. More activities and opportunities to meet are needed, especially at the start of international degree students’ and doctoral researchers’ studies.

Over 70% of respondents report feeling comfortable asking for mental health support from the University of Oulu should they need it, and this is a good thing. The University of Oulu offers support in many types of issues and situations related to study life.

Experiences of discrimination have slightly decreased from last year’s results for first-year international degree students. However, overall, as many as up to 7% of international degree students and doctoral researchers have experienced discriminatory behavior based on their nationalities.

Support services are satisfactory, but employability needs more support

Overall, about 94% of first-year international master’s degree students are satisfied with general support services, but satisfaction drops to 91% for later years, with the biggest drop regarding tutor teachers’ support.

However, more focus is needed on employability support. Careers advice from academics scores only approximately 70% satisfaction for first and second-year international degree students and doctoral researchers. Altogether, all services related to careers and employability score an average of about 60% satisfaction among degree students leaving a lot room for improvement.

As many as 86,7% of students feel that their experience at UniOulu has prepared them for their career goals.

Personal safety is attracting exchange students to the University of Oulu

Out of all the respondents in the survey, only 3% were exchange students. Overall happiness among exchange students at the University of Oulu scores 100% for the second year in a row. Exchange students’ social activities and events rate a bit lower, 91,3% in 2023.

According to this year’s results, exchange students have not experienced discriminatory behaviour during their stay at UniOulu.

Social life is the most important decision factor (86%) for exchange students, but personal safety and security (85%) continue to be major reasons for choosing UniOulu as their exchange destination.

Regarding living in Oulu, exchange students feel fully welcome in Finland. The living experience scores 100% in 2023.

Also, satisfaction in student societies and guilds and their activities is at the top level (100%) satisfaction for exchange students.

Next steps

The University of Oulu will analyze these results further and faculty-specifically. The results and the development needs that follow will be started during this Spring. Already, in late March, an open workshop for students was organized as a kick-start to find the right developmental actions. We want to thank every student who participated in the workshop or answered the survey!

Your feedback and insight will help the University of Oulu in creating an even smoother study experience for all students.

Last updated: 18.4.2024