Consider yourself in a situation where you have two options: comfortable and frightening. This is a philosophy Jouko Turkka, a renowned theatrical figure, lived by. He’d consistently choose the path that pushed his boundaries, embodying the Finnish concept of ‘Sisu.’ It’s more than just courage; it’s the ability to persist through challenges.
In the realm of interviews, success hinges on more than just knowledge—preparation and focus. Even if you’re a top-performing student, acing exams and leaving peers in awe, the prospect of an interview can be downright daunting.
Interviews, the universal dread. We’ve all had that mix of anticipation and fear before sitting across from an interviewer.
In the Pathway to Finland program, a recent addition has been a game-changer—the focused interviews. This essential element ensures that students are on the right track and have the right mindset and expectations for success.
In this blog, we will break down the Pathway’s focus interviews. We’ll go over their structure, why they matter, how English proficiency impacts academic success in Finland, and how to prepare for each focus interview.
The Pathway to Finland’s Focus Interviews: The Quest for Purpose
Life is a constant journey of change, and the Pathway to Finland program is no exception. It continuously evolves to set higher standards and prepare international students for success in Finnish higher education.
For those unfamiliar, the Pathway to Finland program is designed to equip international students with the skills necessary for successful university studies in Finland.
However, adding focus interviews to the program raised some questions and concerns. Nevertheless, we are committed to this enhancement because we genuinely care about our students’ success and believe it will benefit them.
But what exactly are these focus interviews? Focus interviews allow students to showcase their communication skills and ensure they have the right mindset and expectations for their studies in Finland. Focus interviews are not just routine conversations. They are carefully designed to achieve specific objectives.
The questions asked during these interviews are general, covering a range of topics rather than focusing on specific subjects.
To ease the process, we’ve introduced Hireflix, a one-way interview tool that allows students to record their responses at their convenience. This approach minimizes stress compared to traditional panel interviews, helping students stay focused and relaxed.
Just as a river’s course changes over time, our Pathway students transform their journey. We are committed to preparing them for success and helping them thrive in their new life in Finland. A student’s progress from pre-Pathway to post-Pathway studies is substantial, and we aim to maximize their growth.
Focus interviews aren’t just about assessing knowledge and skills; they also teach adaptability and resilience, which are essential for success in academics and life.
Demystifying Focus Interviews: Their Purpose and Content
Let’s delve into these interviews to uncover their purpose:
1st Focus Interview – Setting the Stage
The first focus interview is where students begin, usually during the third week of their studies. It assesses their English proficiency, explores their program expectations, and uncovers their goals upon completing pathway studies. This interview delves into their motivation for choosing Finland as their study destination, focusing on language skills, program perceptions, and academic aspirations.
2nd Focus Interview – Tracking Progress
The second focus interview tracks the students’ language development following the first one, typically occurring in the middle of their studies. It serves as a checkpoint for language growth and may touch upon their overall pathway studies in Finland. This mid-way assessment ensures that they are on the right track academically and linguistically.
3rd Focus Interview – Reflecting on the Pathway
The third interview is all about reflection and growth, usually taking place in the later part of their studies. Building upon language progress, it delves into the students’ pathway experience, challenges, and how they’ve overcome them. It’s a moment to celebrate successes, share motivations, and emphasize their commitment to the program.
As students’ progress through the focus interviews, they undergo a process of self-discovery and growth. These interviews act as essential milestones, ensuring they are on the right path to succeed in their pathway studies, with a particular focus on their language skills. With reflection and unwavering determination, students strive to achieve their goals of studying in Finland.
Why should Edunation assess your communication skills in focus group interviews?
Because at Edunation, we believe this is an essential part of every student’s toolkit for a successful life and studies in Finland. Effective communication is more than a skill; it’s a lifeline when adapting to a new environment and excelling at university. At Edunation, we use focus group interviews to ensure every student is well-prepared to prosper in their new life in Finland. Think of it as your essential toolkit for student success. Communication, in particular, takes center stage in this toolkit.
The ability to speak well matters greatly when moving to a new country to study. It’s not just about learning the language; it’s also about adjusting to a new environment and succeeding at university. If you’re concerned about your communication abilities, don’t be; we’re here to help.
The Slam Dunk: English Proficiency’s Role in Academic Success in Finland
In the world of Finnish higher education, proficiency in English isn’t just a box to check—it’s the key that unlocks a wealth of opportunities. It’s the linchpin that ensures students not only keep up with lectures and coursework but thrive in them. Beyond academics, it’s their ticket to seamless communication with classmates, professors, and locals, enriching their study-abroad adventure. But it’s not just about language; it’s about diving headfirst into Finnish culture, understanding its intricacies, and forming connections beyond the surface. And once they graduate, this proficiency becomes a lifelong asset, opening doors to a global career. In Finland, English isn’t just a requirement—it’s their partner in success, guiding them towards a fulfilling and accomplished educational journey.
Furthermore, consider a student who struggles with English; the effects go far beyond their academic goals. It is not only their academic performance that will struggle due to their limited language abilities; their daily lives in Finland will become difficult. The inability to communicate effectively can lead to isolation and a gradual loss of motivation, significantly limiting their ability to completely immerse themselves in Finland’s rich academic and cultural setting.
Preparing for Success in Your Focus Interview
Getting ready for your focus interview is crucial for a successful experience. Here are some invaluable tips to help you ace your preparation:
1. Get the Details
Make sure you understand what the focus interview covers and familiarize yourself with the guidelines. Edunation provides comprehensive guidelines to ensure you’re well-prepared for the interview. These guidelines align expectations and ensure that everyone is on the same page. You won’t be walking into the interview blindly, as the guidelines are sent to you in advance.
2. Check Your Internet Connection
It’s essential to have a reliable internet connection before starting the interview. A poor connection can hinder your access to the interview link.
3. Test Your Equipment
Ensure your equipment and internet connection work before the interview. During the interview, your camera must be turned on, as it’s a part of the grading criteria. A closed camera could affect your score. Also, check that your microphone works correctly, ensuring you can be heard clearly.
4. Minimize Interruptions
Silence any devices that may disrupt your focus, such as email notifications on your computer or your phone. Choose a quiet environment to do the interview to avoid distractions.
5. Read the questions carefully
Pay close attention to the questions during the interview. Stay in the moment and make sure you understand the question. This is the key to giving responses that genuinely hit the mark. Give your full attention to each question as it comes your way.
6. Plan, Practice, and Build Confidence
Effective communication is all about accurately conveying information. Plan your responses, practice your delivery, and approach the interview with confidence.
7. Be Authentic
We want to see your genuine self. Be sincere in your responses, as authenticity is highly valued.
8. Speak Clearly
Take your time and enunciate each word. This ensures that your responses are heard and understood during the interview.
9. Keep it Concise
Provide brief and to-the-point answers. Respond directly to the question to make the most of your allotted time. In the online environment, eye contact is important—even though it isn’t true eye contact.
10. Check Your Email:
On the day of your interview, check your email for the interview link. Each student receives a unique link, and you’ll have a specific duration to complete the interview. Stay alert and ready to proceed with your interview when the time comes.
In conclusion, the journey to mastering focus, the Finnish way, is paved with resilience, determination, and the ability to adapt to new challenges. Just as Jouko Turkka embraced the unfamiliar, we, too, face choices that might seem daunting but lead us to extraordinary growth.
The additional focused interviews in the Pathway to Finland program might have raised concerns, but it is a testament to our commitment to student success. These interviews, designed to evaluate knowledge, communication skills, and mindset, serve as stepping stones toward achieving your academic and life goals in Finland.
To excel in these interviews, careful preparation is essential. With clear guidelines and invaluable tips, you’re equipped to tackle each question with confidence and authenticity. Remember that success is not about getting everything right on the first try; it’s about the journey, the growth, and the resilience that comes from adapting to change.
As Heraclitus aptly noted, change is the only constant in life, and in embracing change, we find the strength to master our focus, purpose, and ‘Sisu.’
In essence, the focus interviews and the Pathway to Finland program embody the philosophy of ‘Sisu,’ pushing students to overcome challenges, adapt to new experiences, and strive for excellence in their academic journey in Finland.
About the Writer
Keezzia is a Program Manager who has worked with Pathway to Finland and Edunation for around two years. Her passion lies in helping international students achieve their dreams of studying in Finland through the Pathway program.