Students are people and not customers

MDP in Peace, Mediation and Conflict ResearchLauren Stevens

Young and ambitious Lauren Stevens is in the second year of her studies at UTA. Recently selected for her second year as a University of Tampere Student Ambassador, she is enjoying her life here in Finland. “Perhaps because of both chance and visiting Tampere beforehand, I found my place here at this university, where students are people and not customers.”

According to Lauren, UTA is an open-minded, diverse and quite modern place, which offers many opportunities to build a career. “Here, everything is quite practical, which is more important and useful to me than learning some abstract things. We have the opportunity to participate in events in both Finland and abroad, and quite often we have guest speakers.”

This programme is a good choice for Lauren, who aspires for a career in the UN or EU. There is a huge need for enthusiastic involvement with public interest organisations in order to develop a network necessary for job seeking, and this is exactly why UTA is the best choice for her. This university provides students with the opportunity to participate in many events and student organisations, which is essential for individuals whose future career activities include mediation, intercultural diplomacy and community service.

The Finnish academic educational system is organised in a way that students can experience joy and success of learning according to their own capabilities. There are often several ways to complete a course and no pressure to carry out more tasks than necessary. Furthermore, students have the freedom to choose additional courses, which enables them to make correct and appropriate decisions about their goals and career path.

The university also emphasises the need for well-being and developing healthy habits. “Compared with the British concern about the health and well-being of students, here healthy meals are cheaper and more accessible to students.”

“Tampere is a city with high quality of living and social equality. Whether it was fate or not, Tampere was the first Finnish city that I visited. It has a good location not too far from Helsinki, a very interesting history such as the Finlayson factory, and it has a multicultural community. Walking on the streets you can sometimes hear many different languages. I can describe it as an international city.”

“I admire that most people have equal access to high-quality education. In my opinion, all citizens should be able to have the same access to education irrespective of their ethnic origin, wealth, age, or where they live. I am disappointed with the introduction of tuition fees for non-EU citizens.”

Everything is well-organised and there are lots of associations and institutions helping international students to integrate better into this society. These kind of support institutions are Demola and Talent Tampere. Living here in Finland has both advantages and disadvantages. However, besides the darkness of the winter, Finland has lots of nature.


Text: Sanya Mihailova

Photo: Jonne Renvall