Internationality is a very popular word and theme in today’s education. When I did my studies in the University of Applied Sciences between years 2001 and 2005 I did not know anyone who went to student exchange abroad. We had just two exchange students in our faculty. A lot has changed in 10 years. (I’m starting to feel old)
From Lahti UAS over 300 students go abroad for student exchange every year. There are also many intensive weeks organized abroad that students can take part in. But not everyone has the possibility to move to another country for 5 months. Going abroad luckily is not the only way of getting intercultural competence and being international. You can get international experience also by staying in Lahti. How?
There are different ways of internationalization at home. First, maybe the most obvious is to study in English degree programs. Well, it is quite easy to be international in an international study environment. But how about if you study in a Finnish degree program? There are about 300 international degree students studying in Lahti UAS at this moment. We also have around 160 exchange students from all over the world coming to Lahti UAS every year. How about just getting to know the international students studying in your own faculty. I know that Finns are not very familiar with small talk, but you can just start by “Hello, how are you? My name is Heidi”. Not as easy as it sounds? I guess not, but trust me, the students are usually very pleasantly surprised that you want to get to know them and they are eager to get to know you and to make Finnish friends.
If neither of the previous ways suits you, you can take part in activities organized by our student union. You can become an international tutor. More than 60 international tutors every year take care of the international students arriving to Lahti UAS to study. Many of the students are abroad for the first time, many living away from their parents for the first time. Tutor is in many ways the first friend an international student has in Lahti. Tutors’ most important job is to make the moving to a totally new country and culture as easy as possible. Tutors help with every day things. Things that seem very easy for us living in Finland, but can be quite different to someone coming from another country.
So remember, you don’t need to leave Lahti to be international!
Secretary of tutoring