Finding the peace and fire within ourselves

“School, work, assignments--it’s not just about learning objective knowledge, it’s about our experiences,” says Yan Pan, a Chinese Master’s student in the Education and Globalisation programme at the University of Oulu.

Yan says that her previous learning experiences seemed to focus on the individual, as everyone was concerned with their own goals. Even if people shared the same class for many hours, all the students were studying for their own good, for their own scores. Yan wanted to experience a different learning environment, and in Oulu, she found a very good fit for her: an interdisciplinary and international Master’s programme.

“While I have had a lot of practical experience before, I hadn’t developed very well academically. My interests have led me to want to become a researcher in education. I want to develop a system of knowledge in the critical theories of education and build a solid foundation for the research I want to do in the future,” Yan explains.

In Oulu, Yan says that she has been exposed to a culture and attitude that seems to be able to balance societal well-being, work, progress and sustainability at the same time. She says people also like to get together and do many things collaboratively.

“There are many different student associations and groups that organize different events, there are many activities in the hubs and centers at the university and many programs run by the university to provide additional opportunities for people to get to know each other and generate activities from their encounters,” Yan says.

Yan says it’s important that people care about creating meaningful opportunities to work together. This connects students from very different backgrounds and disciplines and improves the overall environment. Yan says that her class is a diverse group of people from 14 different countries, but they all share the same goals.

“In schools and in society, many people feel left out and alienated, but when people come together for reasons regarding their interests, goals and research, they feel connected. Community and collaboration are important also because of the changes we wish to make in societies: we need to build shared values and consensus to push for sustainability, social equality and emancipation,” Yan says.

While Yan is inspired and motivated by her studies, she says that there have been some challenges in balancing her school activities, courses and self-development. However, she is adjusting well to her life in Oulu.

“I feel that it is important to be patient, open-minded and proactive during our study and life here. For me, the goal is to coexist well with diverse people and the environment. To find the peace and fire within ourselves,” Yan summarizes.

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Last updated: 12.6.2020