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Finland – the quintessence of education: story of a SAMK alumnus

In my last blog post, I have introduced you to Nguyen Le, a graduate from Satakunta University of Applied Sciences (SAMK) and Hanken School of Economics, and I have promised you would have the chance to know even more of her stories. So here we are, let’s listen to Nguyen’s journey in Finland and at SAMK!

Hi Nguyen, would you like to introduce a bit about yourself?

Hi, my name is Nguyen. I did my Bachelor of Business Management in International Business at SAMK and Master’s degree in Marketing at Hanken School of Economics. After 7 years in Finland, I returned to Vietnam last year to work as a full-time data analyst at a multinational corporation, but I still have the charm with Finland – I’m working as a part-time Math teacher that helps students revise for Finnish universities’ entrance exams.

Vietnamese student
Nguyen during her student life in Europe

How did Finland become your study abroad destination?

It was very sudden! Back then, I was focusing on applying to universities in Japan, actually. But then a friend told me that another friend of his just went to Finland to study, with entirely free tuition fee. I was so amazed by this, so I started to gather more information on Finnish universities. It was only 2 months since that until I submitted my application.

How did you choose Bachelor of Business Management in International Business at SAMK? And how was your experience there?

I was then a Bachelor’s student in Accounting in Vietnam, so International Business was something new yet familiar. I looked through the curriculum and study modules very carefully and the course offered by SAMK was the best fit for me.

I was very impressed by the facilities at SAMK. I was supported a lot by lecturers and staff there. As a university of applied sciences, I got to work with many practical projects from SAMK’s partner companies. This practical aspect gives SAMK graduates a competitive edge when finding a job after graduation.

Student working on laptop
SAMK graduates have a competitive edge when finding a job after graduation.

What did you find the most different between the studying experience in Vietnam and Finland?

In Finland, teamwork is an essential part. Students have group discussion and group projects a lot. They are encouraged to give their own opinions and that’s how students learn things in Finland. I remember, for a group project I used to have at SAMK, students in the same group give grades to each other in the end, not the supervisor. We don’t have things like that in Vietnam. At SAMK, I learnt to express my own opinion confidently.

Also, thesis is an important thing for your study in Finland. In Vietnam, we have that too but it feels more like a compulsory thing. In Finland, you are entirely responsible for your thesis, from finding materials to executing research. And you learn a lot from that.

Studying in Finland and at SAMK has shown me the quintessence of education.

Happy people dancing in Finland
‘Studying in Finland has shown me the quintessence of education.’

Did you have any struggle when you first came to Finland?

My biggest struggle must have been the use of English in communication. I came straight from Vietnam – where I didn’t use much English in my daily life, to Finland – where I had to use English completely. I wasn’t familiar with that but I got used to it gradually. Plus, Finnish people speak very good English so I didn’t have much trouble to do with that after all.

Nguyen’s story does not end here. Stay tuned for my next blog post about her stories at Hanken School of Economics! In the meantime, you can read more of our student stories and apply to universities right now with Edunation.

-written by Sophie Nguyen, coordinator at Edunation.

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