Within attending two classes in Turku University of Applied Sciences, I realised how much university life in Finland differs from my home institution. The phrase “independent learning” has a different definition to it; here, there are no lecture notes posted online and no online resource system – I was totally lost at the beginning! TUA’S university online system is solely used for class enrollment and notifications. I have found this challenging when trying to complete assignments as I would always make use of the resources given to me at home – for example module guidelines. However, I was ready to accept the challenge of becoming more responsible for myself – after all I have just started up a new life in a foreign country!
Additionally, the lack of referencing in Finland took me time to adjust to. Studying in Finland, the tutors mark assignments mainly based on personal opinion, as they are interested in your views as a reflective Practitioner. Therefore, I have also had to adjust to not supporting my point with relevant reading, as Finnish lecturers view this as a waste of content. I like how there is such a strong focus on what YOU as a student think, instead of a random critic – it makes the work much more enjoyable as you feel more valued. However, despite this, both universities in Finland and Northern Ireland share the same focus on relating your work to placement, which is reassuring to know that “hands on experience” is valued in both European countries.
Although my time studying at university is limited, the classes are always interactive and informative. Overall I am impressed with the focus on group work and independent learning within class, as I think this will be a useful skill to apply to my studies at home.
An Easter craft activity I organised by myself at my Finnish practical placement… enjoyed by the children!
By Rachel Cunningham