We had an interview with Philip Sword for our newest pathway student testimonial. He has successfully progressed to university in the Fall of 2022.
Last spring, he entered the Edunation Pathway program. He has been very enthusiastic about his university studies and Pathway studies. In his pathway student testimonial, we discussed his background and story before and after completing the program.
This blog is from Philip’s narrative and how he experienced studying and living in Finland.
About Philip Sword
Philip is 41 years old. He is from the USA and previously completed Edunation Pathway Program in the spring of 2022.
He worked in IT – system administration for ten years in his home country and did volunteer work before applying for the pathway program.
His native language is American English. The British English in Europe is hard for him. In Europe and Finland, people speak a more British style of English, and the structures and words are quite different from American English.
After completing Edunation Pathway Program, he enrolled in HAMK university in August 2022. Philip is currently taking up ICT-Bioeconomy!
Pathway Student Testimonial Interview
1. What made you decide to take the pathway to Finland program and enroll at HAMK? Why do you want to study in Finland?
“In 2017, we were on vacation in Helsinki, Finland. My wife and I thought the country was a great place to live! A couple of years later, in 2019, we lived with the whole family in the metropolitan area of Helsinki.”
“Also, the Finnish people are open and trustworthy citizens!”
Philip started to look up study options in Finland. He found Edunation’s pathway program and began studying in 2021.
He enrolled in the Engineering and Technology of Pathway program, which offers a guaranteed study place university in Finland.
“Edunation’s Pathway team’s messages to me were encouraging! The guaranteed study place is the ultimate goal of living in Finland. Studying at university to settle down in the country is an excellent way to learn how Finnish society and culture work”.
2. What is ICT-Bioeconomy in HAMK?
“I didn’t know ICT-Bioeconomy was before I enrolled and started the degree. When I figured out what the ICT-Bioeconomy was about, I liked the program as I was able to make use of my previous ICT skills!”
ICT-Bioeconomy is a degree with two significant subjects rolled into one: sustainable development and circular economy, within the ICT- field of the package, all wrapped together.
International students can learn and further understand these specialized processes, for example, circular economy within efficient use of natural resources.
3. How would you describe your overall studies in HAMK? What courses are you learning in your studies?
“Studying at HAMK is focused on gaining knowledge of sustainable development and process in that field. Courses and classes are hands-on, where there is much to do, but lessons are rewarding!”
Additionally, Philip had a lot of writing assignments where students could show what and how they learned.
“I also like the student ID from HAMK. It provided me with free courses in other universities in Finland, for example, language courses.”
4. What was the most challenging part of studying and living in Finland? How were you able to overcome it?
“In the beginning, most students learn remotely in the first semester. The structure of studies in teams and group work was new to me. When I started my first group work, I had to work as a group facilitator while we were remote”.
“Learning and doing group work is normal in Finland. It was hard at the beginning, but eventually, things got easier”.
“In group work, I overcame this by doing a lot of communication and facilitator work. Being a native speaker of English helped my role as the facilitator of groups of studies, and I helped others students to speak English in group work”.
“In studies and classes, the team encouraged students to do group work. The team orientated students on what they will face later in Finland’s universities and workplaces”.
Additionally, Philip thanked Edunation’s staff for preparing students to participate in the Pathway Program group work.
The Finnish culture
Another tricky thing for Philip was the cultural adjustments in Finnish society.
“The Finnish people were initially timid. Also, some practical information is only in Finnish towns and on the internet”.
“Eventually, my family and I adjusted well to the Finnish culture.”
Valuable apps for international students
Philip uses mobile apps in English, which give practical information about studies and paying bills in Finland.
“The website of yle.fi/en, which offers news Finland translated in English, allowed me to learn the Finnish language”.
Other applications that Philip found helpful are a Tuudo and a Wise. Tuudo is a mobile phone application that offers study courses.
On the other hand, Wise is an application for money exchange. Philip noticed that Finnish banks debit money exchange with significant interest. Wise is an efficient application with less interest exchange rate.
5. What is the best part of the pathway program?
“Teachers do an excellent job in giving tasks. Students can practice speaking, do presentations, and team works like in workplaces in Finland. The presentation skills Edunation teaches are a valuable addition for students!”
“Also, the structure of Pathway was perfect. The three and five months of studies are indeed structured well!”
“Finally, the teachers and Edunation’s team always help and give assistance 24/7”.
6. What are you hoping to more experience in Finland?
“I would like to immerse more in Finnish society and local culture and live in Finland after graduation!”
To sum it up
The Pathway Program of Edunation is undoubtedly the best way to start your journey towards living in the happiest country in the world. Philip and his family now enjoy the many benefits of living in Finland.
His pathway student testimonial proves that all nationalities are welcome to live and study in the country. All you need is the determination and willingness to work hard, successfully finish Edunation Pathway Program and take Finnish language courses.
For international students with families, you can lessen your living cost in the country by working 30 hours a week and earning eight to 12 EUR!
Book a free counseling session now to be like Philip!
About the writer
Aleksi has been studying Administrative Science at Tampere University for four years. He plans to study for another year for his thesis. He is an active student that does a lot of organizational work such as volunteering, filming, planning events, collaborations, and tutoring.
STUDENT LIFE IN FINLAND: VALUABLE EXPERIENCES FROM OUR PAST AND CURRENT LEARNERS