Flexibility of studies and supportive staff at UTA
Master's degree programme in Comparative Studies of Social Policy and Welfare (COSOPO)
Haoxue Wang, who also goes by the Finnish name Lumi, is a 25-year-old student from China. She is doing a Master’s degree in Comparative Studies of Social Policy and Welfare, also known as the COSOPO programme. It is jointly organised by three European universities: University of Tampere (Finland), Johannes Kepler University (Linz, Austria) and Mykolas Romeris University (Vilnius, Lithuania).
Lumi has previously completed a Bachelor’s degree in Finnish Language and Culture as her major subject in Beijing Foreign Studies University.
She has also spent a year in Helsinki during her Bachelor’s degree studies as an exchange student. She chose to apply to Tampere for her Master’s degree studies because she was interested in Social Sciences and the University of Tampere has an especially good reputation in the field.
The COSOPO programme begins with a two-week intensive contact teaching period and then continues in an online learning environment.
“My studies have been online-based for some time, so almost everything can be done via Moodle. It enabled me to do a lot of things in China, so I enjoyed the flexibility.”
In addition to the flexibility of studies, she enjoys the freedom to choose courses in a variety of fields regardless of her major subject.
“For example, I took programming courses as a hobby, although I major in Social Studies. This would be very unlikely in China. After the first year which includes a lot of mandatory courses, I could choose the courses I wanted to take more freely. However, this freedom also has a flipside – I have been procrastinating on my Master’s thesis for too long.”
Another difference to studying in China is student accommodation. According to Lumi, students in China often live in dorms on campus, whereas in Tampere she lived in a TOAS rental apartment.
Lumi praises the teaching staff for being supportive and helpful. She also thinks that the library services are good and that the university cafeteria food is convenient. In addition, the university sports fascilities and especially the gym are cheap.
Lumi describes Tampere as a student city to be “just the right size with lots of foreign students to hang out with.”
Contrary to the classic stereotype of Finns, Lumi found them talkative and reliable. She liked the fact that most Finns are very punctual and plan things well ahead of time. She also enjoyed working together with Finns in class.
“I took courses in which I was the only foreigner in the class. The classmates are considerate and also the lecturers are very supportive.”
Lumi would like to stay in Finland after her studies, which will surely be aided by her fluency in the Finnish language that she has acquired with her Bachelor's degree and during her stay in Tampere.
Text and photo: Sanni Irjala