Why Filipino Students Choose to Study in Finland

GROUP INTERVIEW: Jamie Nicolas (J), Alvin Nonan (A) and Ralph Rabang (R) – foreign students from The Philippines.

“Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.”  – Gustave Flaubert

Three students from the Philippines have decided to pursue their bachelor’s degree at Satakunta University of Applied Sciences (SAMK) in Nursing and Tourist Development and embark on their new journey in the Northern European country, Finland.

What comes in your mind when you think about Finland?

R: The thing that comes to my mind is peaceful, because it is so much more peaceful and tranquil than the Philippines.

J: For me, it’s all about safety! Also the way of living in Finland is one of the best because you can have a balanced life: family, friends and good work, benefits that are totally different from our country.  Balance of life is really a good thing about Finland.

A: Work opportunities, because we came here for a job and also equality in the work place.

Hall in SAMK campus Pori, Finland with students and staff talking to each other and working on computers
SAMK academic community

Describe in three words the education system at SAMK

R: Excellent, affordable and high-tech.

J: Teachers are approachable, everybody is equal. It is super easy to manage studies, because you can have a great discussion with your teachers. And I really like how I can manage my personal study plan which gives me the opportunity to speed up my studies.

A: You can also choose your study path. Studies are not very hectic.

R: Everything is already on the internet, like we can access our lessons through internet, we don’t need papers or write anything. Everything is online.

J: Aside from that, they also apply real life cases to teaching. You have the benefits of both theory and practical side and are not limited to just one book.

Finnish student life

A: I’m taking an English class, so I meet many people from different countrie. It is a new thing for me to learn about their culture.

J: Having a multicultural environment where you can improve your communication skills.

R: For me, I would say it is the school itself, the campus building, because it is very high-tech and student friendly.  You can charge your mobile phones and gadgets anywhere, for example.

Are you happy in Finland?

A: I’m happy but it is different without your family and friends.

J: I can say that I’m happier here, because of the quality of work, job benefits, the security. But I’m lacking on the emotional side; I don’t have many friends here, I don’t have my family. If I could bring my family and friends here, then it would be more fun.

R: There are good things about Finland that I would like to have in the Philippines, but there are also good things in the Philippines that I would like to have in Finland.

Everyone: Filipino food!

J: Filipinos are known to be, sociable, family-oriented and here, I have only my husband.

A: I have no relatives here.

J: You can’t have the best of both worlds, you need to sacrifice something.

Campus halls and student lounges

Nursing studies at SAMK

A: I like it because nothing is new to me, it’s just a refresher course for me. But I’m in my first year so I don’t know yet. Life is a continuous learning process. I like the school environment because you learn something new each day.

R: I think I like it because the learning environment is so relaxed, not strict at all. But I like how Filipinos teach: they really want their nurses to be prepared for their duties and familiar with practical training, but here it’s more laid-back.

Campus buildings with trees

International Tourism – Course perspective

J: In the Philippines, I’ve graduated in hotel and restaurant management. Now I’m taking up international tourism development since it is in line with my previous degree. I can still use my experiences in hotel management and apply it once I got a job or use it for career development.

Are you learning the Finnish language?

R: Yes, especially at work because my colleagues speak Finnish, but I don’t go to school to study it.

Last thoughts about studying in Finland?

J: For me it is always a nice experience going abroad! The experience is incomparable because you can share it with others.

What I like most about Finland is safety, I feel much secure here and you know that Finnish people will not fool you or use you. People are honest. The education is top-notch, world-class! Cleanest air in the world! The only thing that you need to consider is the cost of living and the loneliness.

A: I think you should come to Finland, experience the top-notch education and experience Finnish culture. Learning about other cultures and living like a local makes you more mature as a person. It definitely provides a different perspective!

R: It is a great experience living in Finland because it is a totally different culture, even the education is very different from the Philippines. So please come, visit and experience it and you will enjoy it here, for sure!


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