Kazakhstan Student in Finland: HAMK Changed My Life

Yedil is a Kazakhstani student in Finland who studied at  Häme University of Applied Sciences in the degree program of Electrical and Automation Engineering. He grew up in Kazakhstan and then moved to Finland four years ago to pursue higher education. After his graduation in February 2019, Yedil successfully found a job in his field in Finland and is happy to share his experience with us!

What comes in your mind when you think about Finland?

Definitely, Finland has been famous for Nokia mobile phones and as the country of Santa Claus. Moreover, for many people darkness and cold weather can also be the first association with Finland.

 

Kazakhstani student in Christmas market in Finland

Did you experience culture shock as a student in Finland?

Yes, absolutely. It was related to the early closing times of offices, stores and grocery shops. In Kazakhstan, the working hours are different and, accordingly, the closing times are much later.

Other noticeable characteristics of Finns are their flexibility, politeness and awareness of the surrounding environment. Even though the nation itself is full of slightly closed introverts, they are always ready to help and guide.

Describe the Finnish education system in three words

Practice-based, equality and freedom. Those three words truly describe the education system for me and perhaps, for many others.

 

international students studying around a table in Finland
Photo courtesy of Häme University of Applied Sciences

What was the thing you liked the most while studying at HAMK?

Pointing out only one thing would be unfair, cause HAMK changed my life dramatically as a student in Finland. Those ones that I especially want to highlight are the equal chance for everybody to have an exchange/double degree study experience abroad, being able to be a part of different student organizations and traveling. Opportunities, knowledge and experience gained through all those highlights are irreplaceable for me, helping me out to broaden my horizons and think out of the box.

How studying at HAMK differs from studying in your homecountry?

Education in Kazakhstan is more theory-based, while Finland places more emphasis on the practical part. It’s more flexible in terms of studies and the relationship between the teacher and the student. Here you can take numerous amounts of optional courses of your choice. For instance, if you find business courses attractive while studying engineering, there is a possibility to take additional optional courses like economics or statistics.

Comparing the teacher-student relationship in both countries, I certainly see a contrast regarding teachers and the attitude itself. It’s impolite to speak to a teacher without his/her full name, while in Finland it’s pretty common. For a student in Finland, there is no pressure and stress at school and full freedom of action.

 

Student from Kazakhstan standing in front of a Finnish and Kazakhstani flag

How easy it was to find a job in Finland?

The job market is very competitive nowadays, but in my case, I would say that I was in the right place at the right time. Finding a job requires quite a lot of time, patience and certainly good contacts. However, if you are confident with your competencies and eager to learn, and have a positive attitude, I think you can find what you want.

Initially, I was looking for a company to write my final thesis for and meanwhile to have the possibility to do a traineeship. All the procedures of finding a place and getting a job were quite simple, exactly the same as looking for a job on the internet. After a successful interview and approval, I moved to Espoo all the way from Valkeakoski. While writing my thesis I had a chance to get hands-on experience and practically learnt more while working.

Fortunately, as soon as I finished my thesis work, I was offered a job and continued to work in the company. At the moment, I work in the product management team of automation and digital solutions business department.

It’s quite challenging to find a job for international students here, so my advice for all the future graduates is to write a thesis for a company. It will boost up the probability of getting an appropriate job and staying in Finland.

 

Kazakhstani student standing in front of Santa Claus' village in Lapland, Finland

What do you think about working life in Finland and is knowing Finnish essential?

The working environment is very diverse at my company. No racial discrimination and equal treatment is the main priority of the company. Although, as a resident in Finland, I respect the language and culture, and I try to speak Finnish with my colleagues during our informal meetings. The chance is much higher to get a suitable professional job if you speak fluent Finnish, but if you are lucky enough, it’s also possible to find a job with no or small knowledge of Finnish. Additional language is always an advantage.

Any advice for students coming to Finland?

Finland is the happiest, the safest, the cleanest country in the world. Definitely, it is worth to come and experience the best education system. I highly recommend to take the courage and select the right profession and always be open-minded and communicative with people. People are the main source of the community, company, country. So it is vital to be sociable and proactive.

“Every small step leads to the something big.”
– Yedil Dauletyarov.

 

If this story got you inspired and you want to follow in Yedil’s footsteps and create your own success story, click here to read about the study options at HAMK.

If you want to read more stories about international students in Finland, check out our latest student stories.

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