The best place to master the Learning Sciences
My choice - University of Oulu
Daria Zaikovskaia holds a bachelor's degree in Linguistics, and she loves languages and the way they work. "I am fascinated by the logic the languages might share, the ways words changed throughout history and made way into other languages, and why we speak the way we do," Daria comments. Daria has also been happily sharing her passion for languages. "Before coming to Oulu, I was an English as a Second Language teacher for five years. I worked first in China in a kindergarten, where I first uncovered my love for teaching, and then in a college in Saint Petersburg," Daria states.
In 2020 Daria found herself in quarantine. "I was stuck in a tiny apartment for several months, so I figured I needed a hobby to stay sane. So, I decided to start learning a language." Daria has always loved Finland and has been to Lappeenranta several times; therefore, she chose Finnish as the language.
Soon enough, Daria learned some things about Finland and the Finnish language. "Having this tiny connection to this country made me want to check out the opportunities there are." That is how Daria found the perfect programme for her: Learning, Education and Technology at the University of Oulu. "Before I even realized it, I applied, and luckily, got accepted," Daria adds.
"I am amazed by how state-of-the-art the University of Oulu is. I am excited to take what it has to offer."
Unique learning experience
Daria states that according to her research, only the University of Oulu has Education and Globalisation and Learning, Education and Technology programmes which provide a fascinating twist to a master's degree in Education.
Daria chose Learning, Education and Technology (LET) because it has everything she loves. "I am a learner, an educator, and a geek; this LET is a perfect place for me." One of Daria's most exciting projects so far was designing an educational board game. "It might sound like a simple task not fit for a master's degree student but when you actually sit down and think about how to create a board game that would be not only original but also teach you something - it proves to be challenging," Daria explains.
"As far as Learning Sciences are concerned, Oulu University is unique."
"We had an amazing team, and after a long week of brainstorming, drafting, doodling, arguing, and exchanging angry emails, we created a simple and beautiful board game that we all cherish and love. In LET, every day is a school day," Daria further mentions.
Diverse backgrounds with immense opportunities
"My study group is one to die for." Daria loves how everybody is unique and how all come from different backgrounds. "I love how smart my classmates are, and it motivates me to be better at my studies, too," Daria adds.
Daria mentions that joining Erasmus Students Network (ESN) was one of her most excellent decisions. I have never been on exchange, so making the exchange for other students unforgettable makes me happy. I love working with people and having a fun and engaging class would always brighten my day," Daria mentions.
"Only in Oulu will I get access to various educational opportunities that students might not have in a bigger city."
Daria further mentions that the city of Oulu is a perfect combination of being not too big and not too small, making it an ideal destination for international students. "You are bound to experience stress when you are in a different country, and you have to deal with the paperwork and solve problems. But here, I feel safe." Daria feels motivated to learn, conquer the Finnish language and build a new future.
Welcome to Oulu
Daria's family have made a long journey from Ukraine to Russian Far East and finally to Saint Petersburg. "I was lucky enough to experience warm Ukrainian summers eating all the fruits, freezing Siberian winters where the temperature would drop to -40, and, finally, slushy springs of Saint Petersburg, the city of culture and beautiful architecture, where every other flat is a home bar," Daria mentions.
"It felt like a dream. When I landed and heard "Welcome to Oulu, " I knew I was home."
"I was tired, hungry, and anxious, but I was also extremely relieved. Since then, I have had some hardships, of course," Daria adds. As for the weather, Daria believes that she came prepared. "Harsh winters of the far east has prepared me for the snow and cold, and dark and gloomy Saint Petersburg is Oulu in November but all year round. I love the dark. I surround myself with candles and cosy lights and enjoy the evenings," Daria mentions.
Daria is motivated to stay in Oulu as she grew to love it. "Hopefully, I will be able to stay in the university, but I believe I can do better by leaving the classroom. I am learning a lot from my work with ESN Oulu and will soon start my internship at the university," Daria mentions. Working in a higher education institution has always been Daria's dream, and she hopes that Finland will soon become her true home.