An interview with Hyejin Lee, a Korean graduate student in Finland

Hello Hyejin! Please tell us about yourself.

Hi, My name is Hyejin from South Korea. I am currently studying in the Cultural Studies master’s program.

Why did you choose to study in Finland for your master’s degree?

First of all, education in Finland is famous all around the world so I wanted to experience how great it is. Second, compared to Korea, the difference of the style of studying and living in Finland made me move to Finland.

Did you know any general information about Finland before you moved to here?

I already knew that the improvement of personal competence is an important factor in Finnish education. I have seen the lifestyle in Finland many times through television and articles in Korea.

 

Korean degree student in Finland enjoying a lakeview
Hyejin fell in love with the nature in Finland.

 

How was your first impression of the country?

When I arrived at the Helsinki-Vantaa airport, I was surprised to be greeted with fresh air and clear blue sky.

How do you feel now when you are actually living here?

There are not many as many culture shocks as I expected. I have integrated into Finnish culture and people naturally because of the warmhearted people. I thought most Finns don’t show emotions through their facial expression, but whenever I ask someone a question, they warmly try to help me.

What do you think about Finnish education based on your experience?

It was necessary for me to get used to studying in a new education system which is totally different compared to Korea. For example, I felt the role of a professor in Korea is usually just a knowledge deliver to students, but professors in Finland try to communicate with students and get feedback and comment from class every time. Additionally, they give lots of freedom to students regarding assignment and teaching method so I was quite confused to follow classes for the first time.

 

A degree student visiting Rauma, a small city in Finland, Europe
Hyejin loves traveling around Finland. This picture was taken in Rauma, Finland.

 

Have you traveled to any cities in Finland?

Yes. I love traveling and trying something new. I traveled to Helsinki, Hämeenlinna, Pori, Rauma, Oulu, Rovaniemi, and Kuopio. 

What was the most memorable place during your trips?

The most memorable place for me is Pori, where I did volunteer work at a jazz festival. My role was a assistant driver to help artists and staff who were at the festival to move around. During volunteering, I had many chances to meet interesting people and I enjoyed sharing interests with other volunteers. There is a beautiful beach in Pori so it was the perfect place to spend precious time for 2 weeks.

Do you think there are many opportunities to do various activities?

It is easy to get and find information about different events. If you are interested in a specific event, click on the website and apply to volunteer or send an e-mail to the director of the event. Normally, you can do volunteer work even though your Finnish skills are not perfect.

 

A Korean student doing volunteer work in Pori, Finland with other volunteers
One of the best memories for her in Finland was to do volunteer work in Pori, Finland.

 

What is your goal after graduation?

My goal after graduation is to continue living in Finland. I will go to Germany as an exchange student and spend my last semester there. If I have a chance to work in Germany, I am willing to work and get new experiences in a new place.

Do you have any advice for future students who are interested in studying in Finland?

There are many cases of students who were once exchange students who want to come to Finland again. I think they are fascinated by Finland, which has a different atmosphere compared to Korea. Living in Finland is quite affordable and it is hard to see any visible discrimination as a foreigner. If you want to try something new that makes your life change in a positive way, just come!

 

Korean student in Lapland, northern Europe meeting sled dogs.
Hyejin’s goal is to continue living abroad after graduation.

 

If you want to experience Finnish culture yourself, take a look at the universities in Finland and apply now!

 

 

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