The number of international students in Finland has steadily increased in the past years. Nowadays around 20 000 international students are studying degree in Finland. Finnish higher education institutions have worked hard in developing their English study programmes and recruiting foreign talents.
The biggest problem so far has been keeping international talents in Finland after graduation. According to the latest studies, around 50 % of the international students work in Finland one year after graduation. There are differences between the higher education institutions, subject of study and nationality. Those who study in Applied Sciences, for instance, tend to find job more easily than their fellow students in the University.
Considerable challenge is that University’s Master Programmes take only 2 years. This does not provide enough time for international students to network and learn the language. Unlike in Applied Sciences Programmes, the University Programmes do not include compulsory internship that would be useful for all students.
One of the most important factors helping students finding a job would be knowing either Finnish or Swedish. Studying the language should not wait, although it might seem easy to survive everyday life in English. After graduation it might come as a surprise that many employers require at least some Finnish skills from their employees. Also cultural knowledge is important. International students might have hard time finding local friends who would explain them practicalities of Finnish working life. International students are also lacking useful contacts and networks with local industries that local students might more easily have.
International company visits 2015
One of the most important focuses of Student Union’s international sector has been facilitating foreign students’ employment possibilities after their studies. TYY is already involved in “Polku project” along with other local higher education institutions, City of Turku and Institute of Migration. The project aims to establish clear paths of services for international students based on if they intend to stay in Finland after graduation, either as an employee or as an entrepreneur.
As Student Union’s own project in 2015, TYY organised company visits to offer local companies an opportunity to welcome motivated and skilled international students in their premises. At the same time international students got ideas of Finnish working life and opportunity to ask direct questions from the companies. TYY’s International Sector contacted several companies during spring and proposed visits for international students. Finally, around 30 international students attended TYY’s company visits on Friday, 16 October. The students were divided in 2 groups; group A visited Meyer Turku and Deltamarin in the morning, meanwhile group B visited Lyyti.
During Meyer Turku visit, the students were welcomed by Head of Human Resources & Administration Tapani Lankinen and Communication Manager Tapani Mylly. Their presentation underlined the importance of the ship industry in Turku area and gave very good idea of Finnish work life. After presentation group was even allowed to see the next ship that is currently under construction. Next stop was Deltamarin, ship design, offshore engineering and construction company, where Administration Director Jari Nurmi welcomed the group. Deltamarin was a good example of company which’s work language is English. Perhaps in the future more and more companies are able to use merely English languages as their official company language.
Meanwhile, CCO Juho Harmaa and Content Producer Linda Lönnqvist hosted group B at online event management company Lyyti. Lyyti was founded in 2007 by Petri Hollmén and Rami Peltonen and interestingly even after having offices in Stockholm and Berlin its headquarters remain in Turku.
After lunch both groups met in Public employment and business services. The presentations by EURES Expert Tomi Puranen and Tuula Matikainen gave important facts about working and living in Finland. The day ended at Boost where the president of the board, Konsta Weber gave inspirational speech on how any student can become an entrepreneur while studying in Finland. Some successful business ideas started in Boost were also presented to the audience as Hannu Puras from Fakefish, Toni Heinonen from Fellowgames and Satu Lummevuo and Petri Hiipakka from Siroic gave their own presentations. Later on students got to play “Shark tank” and present their business ideas to the “investors”, members of the board of Boost.
Much can still be done
TYY’s International sector wants to be involved with improving the networks between higher education institutions, city of Turku, entrepreneurs and local industries. TYY’s International Sector thanks all the companies for welcoming attitude and international students for active participation. To improve the visits next year TYY will collect feedback from the students participating in the event as well as from the visited companies.
► Interested in knowing more about TYY’s International Sector? Follow our Fecbook page
► Want to host international students next year? Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org