Elena Plyakina, 2016/2017
Elena Plyakina, first year programme student shares her impressions from the exchange semester at the University Jyvaskyla.
«I always assumed that it is a great success to get scholarship for participation at exchange programme. More importantly, I realized that this success is real during the competition to the exchange programme. My mobility to Finland became possible due to the contacts between the History Department at the Higher School of Economics in St. Petersburg and University of Jyvaskyla.
Apparently, the issue of intercultural differences appears always in question of living on another country. All these differences are taken into account at the University of Jyvaskyla and perfectly managed. Students from European countries, Eastern Asia, Latin America and other parts of the world are welcome here. The University is aimed to create very friendly environment for all exchange students. My exchange program was started by the orientation week. I and other exchange students acquainted with all technical tools for study process, adapted to the new environment and explored the city.
The tutorial system is developed in Finland very well. Each exchange student is accompanied by Finish student, who is responsible for formal matters, provides information about the campus, learning specifics and living in the city. This system helps to join the university environment effectively.
Talking about language and communication I concluded that good English language proficiency is sufficient for daily life and studies in Finland: the most part of Finns speaks English very well, especially youth. It seems that each university fellow knows English perfectly.
Of course, the main aim of exchange mobility is studies. The first thing which attracts attention is that students have a lot of free time, more precisely a time which is not dedicated to lectures and seminars. It is supposed that students are working self-directly. Therefore the library is a significant space where it is possible to concentrate on studies. Students use electronic resources and read books. The library provides the possibility to make photocopies or print out all necessary materials for free. The library is also the space for group discussions and presentations, the space for formal and informal meetings.
The curriculum at the University of Jvvaskyla is very flexible and students have opportunities to combine an individual study plan. The length of courses varies from several classes up to three months. The curriculum is developed in such a way that courses does not interfere with each other. Thus students have an opportunity to concentrate on subjects. The most common form of assignment is writing (essay, practical task etc.).
It is important to tell about lecturers and professors. In spite of lack of free time they are ready to discuss students’ initiatives and ideas. Even if lecturers have no deal with the topic they are always ready to share their practical experience with interested students and direct them to colleagues who are more oriented in the topic. Therefore, it is important to realize that: the more students are prepared for the discussion and the more s/he elaborated the topic, the more a dialogue with lecturers becomes productive. Lecturers are opened to discussions and ready to answer students’ questions.
Aside all other advantages mentioned, there are very good opportunities for foreign languages learning at the University of Jyvaskyla. It is not only possible to take regular foreign language courses, but also there is an opportunity to learn languages by the system ‘Each One Teach One’ (EOTO). Two native speakers in different languages teach each other their native language. Moreover this learning and teaching could be registered as a course and estimated in ECTS credits.
It is rather early to summarize my mobility to the University of Jyvasklyla, but apparently I am satisfied by my choice and already gotten experience. I think it is important to concentrate on my course paper and use available library resources. Undoubtedly, I appreciate the Department of History at the Higher School of Economics in St. Petersburg for this opportunity and hope that this international exchange experience will be helpful in my further professional development”.