How Universities of Applied Sciences in Finland Offer Top-Level Working Life Orientation

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Finnish Universities of Applied Sciences (UAS) are professionally oriented higher education institutions with a strong connection between the studies and the world of work. But what does this mean in practice? How do you make sure your Bachelor’s is relevant for your future career? In this article, three students - one current student and two alumni - provide examples of the different ways in which the working life orientation makes up an important part of the studies in Universities of Applied Sciences.

Dair, Kazakhstan, 2nd year student of Information Technology

When I was first applying to study in Finland, I chose Oulu as the city because I knew there is a strong IT foundation in the area. I knew beforehand that our curriculum and study methods at Oulu UAS would be practical, meaning that we would have real case tasks, which we would try to solve in teams of developers. However, I did not expect it to be such a fascinating and unique experience!

student of Information Technology

The way each student handles the problem is defined only by themselves, and it helps us to reveal our personalities. I feel so encouraged and inspired after classes that I self-study to develop my skills even further! I know a lot of Finnish companies look for Finnish or Swedish speaking students and workers. That is why I dedicate time studying the Finnish language. However, what is so great about the IT field is that it connects people from very different backgrounds to work together.

Although I have not started working yet, some of my classmates with previous IT background are engaged in projects and work for different companies already. I expect my career to start here in Finland, a country with lots of opportunities for young and passionate thinkers like students of UASs.

Sales Representative

Lada, Russia, Sales Representative

I have lived in Finland for about seven years first completing a high school and then gaining a Bachelor’s degree in Tourism at Lapland UAS. From August 2017, I started working as a sales representative in Rovaniemi, in a travel agency specialising in activities in the Lapland region.

I really appreciate the skills and knowledge that I have acquired in my studies because they are now helping me a lot in my work. Especially team working skills are necessary in my job. Everyone in the company should understand what the others are doing and help each other when necessary, dividing tasks and maintaining a positive atmosphere; just like in the university projects, teamwork requires responsibility, task delegation and support.

At Lapland UAS, the Degree Programme in Tourism is highly concentrated on Experience Design and Tourism Management as well as on regional development. During my studies, I learned about local businesses, Lappish culture, Finnish nature etc. I consider knowing these things as a big advantage because when I started to work, I already knew most of the local tourism companies and had general information about Lapland. Now, I am happy to be able to use my potential in a great travel agency, where I can continue to advance my knowledge in the tourism field.

Marketing Specialist

Samar, Portugal/Lebanon, Marketing Specialist

I graduated from Kajaani UAS with a Bachelor’s Degree in International Business at the end of 2016. During the studies, I did my first practical training in Kajaani in a regional development company within an international team.  While I was on student exchange in Spain, one of my teachers recommended me to a job in Valmet, in Kajaani as well. I never expected to get that job as they were looking for someone close to graduating. But, luckily, they found my skills suitable for the position, and I started to work there in April of 2015.

Valmet is the leading global developer and supplier of technologies, automation and services for the pulp, paper and energy industries. I started working in the automation department part-time while studying and did my second practical training there. After graduation, I continued working full-time in the same position, as a Marketing Specialist. As marketers in Valmet, we support our sales, business, and product managers, and are responsible for both internal and external communications to make sure our products are well presented as solutions to our customers.

When I started working there, I did not know what to expect. My previous working experience had a very international and quite relaxed environment, as our team was quite small. Starting in a multinational company, in a very technical environment, where most of my colleagues were engineers, was a new kind of challenge. However, I noticed that they are very open-minded and interested in new perspectives, always encouraging everyone to express their opinions and bring fresh ideas. This has also allowed me to apply the expertise gained within the UAS studies into practice.

Tips from the students and alumni to enhance your potential for employment

The studies in UASs contain a lot of group work, which is the best practice for working life. You learn how to interact with others from different backgrounds – an important requirement for any work environment.

In addition to studying in an international programme in Finland, a study exchange or practical training period abroad are recommended to further enhance your international experience.

Although Finland is a very international country and all the studies in international degree programmes are in English, it is advisable to learn at least some Finnish, if you want to pursue a career in Finland.

Find the right Bachelor’s programme for you and become a future professional

Check out the Finnish Network for International Programmes (FINNIPS) to find over 30 professionally oriented degree programmes designed to build up your expertise in the study field of your choice.

You can choose your programme from the network’s 13 UASs located in different cities in Finland

Application to these UASs’ English-taught programmes takes place on 9-24 January 2018!

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