“I feel happier when I’m with my class and teaching at HAMK. It was a great experience!”
– Adeyinka, Häme University of Applied Sciences
Adeyinka Abass came to Finland 10 years ago from Lagos, Nigeria to chase his dreams and explore great opportunities. Looking back, he really wanted to pursue his goals abroad and he’s proud that he took the leap. He’s happy to share the challenges he overcame while living and studying in Finland. We hope his success story will also inspire others.
Currently, Adeyinka works as a successful Structural Analyst at Konecranes. He’s happily married with a 1-year old daughter. Although, sometimes he misses his home country and the festive vibe of Nigeria, he says he enjoys Finland even more. Its weather and the fantastic opportunities it provided for him and his lovely family.
Why did you choose Finland?
Reason is very simple, at first, I had no idea about Finland. Ten years ago, I was a 2nd year university student in Nigeria studying physics. I should say I was very ambitious at that time, so to maximize the opportunities handed to me – to make me feel like I have utilized my full potential – I looked at universities in USA and UK. But a friend of mine told me about Finland, it was free that time, no dime. I applied for Häme University of Applied Sciences (HAMK), and went for a bachelor’s program in Mechanical Engineering. Back then, my parents, my family had no money to send me to study abroad, so I took the entrance exam in Ghana. Thankfully, I passed and was admitted. That was a long time, ten years ago.
What was the most exciting experience during your study abroad?
There were some ups and downs, I’ve been lucky that HAMK supported me a lot. Very friendly campus community, supportive classmates, I made friends, and had a job while studying. It has been all nice. If I must choose, the best moment was when I managed a class – HAMK hired me as a lecturer after I graduated, I was a HAMK lecturer for mathematics. I feel happier when I’m with my class and teaching. It was a great experience.
How was living abroad compared to your country of origin?
Quite different in terms of infrastructure, transportation and education. Finnish people are not as social which took time to get used to at first. But in Nigeria, everybody there is always saying hello and hi everywhere, people are happy in general. Nigeria has 50 different ethnic groups, different languages, full of diversity. But what made Finland a fantastic study abroad destination? What I enjoyed the most in Finland was the education system, I mean wow! I really like the system: academic design and structure are really great, students have a lot of autonomy.
In Finland, students can design their own study program, take courses when they like, very independent! I did not feel that in Nigeria. The autonomy in choosing, for example, academic modules, courses, etc. Nigeria, has no options like that, but in Finland – it’s flexible! The education system really works, the autonomy is fantastic! I compare it to cooking your own recipe, and making it more special based on your chosen spices. It’s your own menu! In my home country Nigeria, there are limited opportunities. Here in Finland, there’s no competition, no best students of the year. The competition in Nigeria is fierce, it prevents you from collaborating.
How do you balance student life and home life?
Good question! That’s very important. Ah, taking up doctoral studies while working and balancing a hectic family life? I started working at HAMK after graduating, but before, way back – at night, I worked as a newspaper delivery man. I woke up at 2am at dawn and was up until 6am delivering newspapers. Back home at 6am, took a shower then headed straight to my campus for a class lecture. Sometimes I slept 3 hours or less. That was quite challenging, but I still had time to party and dance whenever there was a chance. I was also able to finish my master’s degree here in Finland and made good friends too. I truly believe that if one enjoys what he/she is doing, everything will be good and nothing is really impossible. I’m planning to start my Ph.D. this year. My wife and I agreed already that it’s important to me and I’m excited about this new journey.
Any advice to new students coming to Finland?
Find the balance – figure out work and study life. My tip to students planning to study in Finland is to balance your work and home life. First, you need to find a good work method that suits you. I came to Finland primarily to study, but finding a job is essential too. Balancing all that can be tricky. You just have to find how it works for you. No secret formula and no remedy cookbook. It’s not going to be easy, but it’s not impossible.
If you want to follow in Adeyinka’s footsteps and create your own success story, click here to read about the study options at HAMK.
If you want to read more student stories from Nigeria, check out Ayokunle’s story.