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International super tutor Suvi Helko: "Exchange students want more local friends”

News | 18.2.2015

Suvi Helko, the international super tutor 2014 has studied abroad as well. Experiences abroad have been beneficial when tutoring international students at the University of Turku.

-I was lucky to have Belgian roommates; otherwise it would have difficult to make local friends, Suvi Helko, the super tutor of 2014, tells about her own exchange student year.

During her exchange year Suvi was studying her major, educational science, and became international tutor after returning home.

-When I was living in Belgium I had no tutor and I wanted to help exchange students here in Finland. I also wanted to be part of Finland’s international atmosphere.

In autumn semester Suvi was tutoring students from Germany, Austria and Australia. She also helped other tutors who could not pick up their own students. She has been spending time with her tutees also after the first busy weeks.

-Last week we visited the Turku Art Museum, the entrance is free on Fridays.

Suvi has stayed in contact with many tutees who have already returned home.

-Almost where ever you go, there is someone who can show around their city, she says.

For many exchange students international tutor is the only local friend

When asked, what exchange students want to experience in Finland, the answer is: they would like to get to know normal Finnish students. For many exchange student international tutor is their only local friend.

For international tutor the first week is very busy as the new students arrive and need a lot of help with practical matters. According to Suvi, the following weeks are calmer as the students know their way around better.

After being international exchange student tutor for two years, Suvi has applied to become international master tutor for those who come to study whole degree here in Finland.

-I expect they will be more committed to Finland and also the language. After all, they are here for two years.


The application period for 2015 tutoring is February 2 - March 2.

Tutoring is an important part of the guidance offered for new students. Student tutors offer new students help with practical matters in the beginning of their studies and in guiding them to the student life in Turku.

The new international degree students are guided by Finnish or foreign students studying in the same degree programme. The tutoring starts already prior to the students' arrival as they confirm they accept the offered study place in July and continues until the end of October.

Read more and apply here

Text and photo: Julia Litokorpi, Executive board member, International Affairs