Vietnamese student life in Finland

(VOVWORLD) - Do you know that Finland has been ranked as the happiest country in the world for 2 years in a row? Vietnamese student Ngo Hanh Quyen has been living in Tampere, a city in Pirkanmaa, southern Finland since 2016. As a Tampere ambassador, she will give us fascinating insight into Vietnamese student life in this happiest country on earth.

Vietnamese student life in Finland - ảnh 1 Tampere Ambassador Ngo Hanh Quyen

Reporter: Welcome to our show, Quyen! Can you please briefly introduce yourself?

Quyen: Hello “That’s Life” audience, and many thanks to our lovely host Ha Ngan. My name is Hanh Quyen. I am a Vietnamese student in Finland. I came to Finland for my Master’s Degree in Cultural Studies and have been living in Tampere since 2016. I am now one of the city’s ambassadors. As a Tampere Ambassador, I would like to share useful information to people and assist them in their experiences with the beautiful city of Tampere.

Reporter: Congratulations on being a Tampere ambassador! How did you become a Tampere ambassador? What makes Tampere special for you?

Quyen: Oh, thank you! Actually it’s just a voluntary job that I’m taking besides my studies. I just love Finland and Tampere so much. They’re my second homeland and hometown. And the job came naturally.

I love the pace of life in Tampere - growing fast but remaining peaceful, dynamic in a positive, sustainable way. Tampere has a unique charm of a big city and a beautiful nature all in one. The life is easy with a very well-run system and the people are very nice, friendly and helpful. So I always feel supported here. Finland is the greenest and cleanest country in the world. That means you live close to nature and can always enjoy fresh air. You’re free from lots of health concerns. Every morning I wake up after a sound sleep, and can’t help spending some time just looking out of the window, enjoying the stunning view and listening to the sound of life. I also have good friends and we have good activities too. So it’s not like I’m living all alone in the middle of a forest. There are good shops and restaurants and leisure places in town. You might be surprised, but I feel warm being here. The kindness of the people really warms up the place.

Vietnamese student life in Finland - ảnh 2The serene beauty of Tampere - the best place to live in Finland 

Reporter: Why did you choose Finland to obtain your Master’s Degree?

Quyen: Finland is very well-known for its outstanding education methods and philosophy. Finnish higher education is also of high quality and recognized across the world. The higher education system offers a wide variety of programmes and subjects to choose from and flexible policies that enable students to switch among its member and partner universities. Finland has been showing international students its warm welcome by many open and encouraging policies. There is a great deal of programmes taught completely in English. Students can also find lots of opportunities for funded mobility programmes in which they are able to travel to a third country for an exchange study or internship. At my time, Finland was still offering free education for all international students. Although the government is now taking tuition fee, they offer generous scholarships at the same time.

Vietnamese student life in Finland - ảnh 3

Reporter: Do you need to speak Finnish to study in Finland?

Quyen: You don’t have to speak Finnish to study in Finland. As I mentioned, there is a great deal of programmes taught completely in English. Finland is famous for its high proficiency of English among its population, and Finns are very nice and friendly and always willing to start a conversation with you in a common language. So, you won’t find much of language barriers or difficulties here if you have good English and an open mind that is ready for a new environment and a different culture. However, I have to emphasize that Finnish is not at all required but very much encouraged to learn especially if you want to work in Finland.

Vietnamese student life in Finland - ảnh 4

Reporter: Is it expensive to study in Finland?

Quyen: The tuition fee depends on the institution. I would say the average is 10,000 euros per year. However, Finnish education is generous when it comes to scholarships. There are different types of scholarships and you can search for funding opportunities from different sources. Each university offers a range of scholarships for international students. So the easiest way is to check the website of the university of your choice, look for funding programmes, follow the instructions, and apply for the grant directly.

Reporter: How much does it cost to live in Finland?

Quyen: Everybody knows that Finland is not the cheapest place to live in, but you can manage well if you are well prepared and have a good spending plan. You must have nearly 7,000 euros as financial proof when applying for a Finnish residence permit, so you know that this amount is expected to be the average of the living expenses in Finland per year. But good news is you are in control of what you spend and how you spend. So actually, you can reduce this amount the way you want as long as it’s reasonable. Also, as a student, you are given a wide range of benefits, from housing, health care, sports, public transport and so on. I enjoy the school cafeterias food so much. With less than 3 euros, you can have a full, delicious, and nutritious meal.

Vietnamese student life in Finland - ảnh 5

Reporter: Do Vietnamese students tend to work part-time during their studies?

Quyen: Yes. Vietnamese students in Finland usually have part-time jobs. Not only international but also Finnish students work during their studies. The government is very generous about students having internships or part-time jobs while studying. According to the information provided by the Finnish Immigration website, “During terms when lessons are given, the student is allowed to do an average of 25 hours of part-time work per week,” which is quite a lot already, but “During holidays, that is, during summer and Christmas holidays, students can work full-time without hourly restrictions.” So basically, students are allowed to work as much as they wish as long as their working doesn’t affect their studying negatively.

Vietnamese student life in Finland - ảnh 6A successful event by Em’s Kitchen and Vietnamese students in Tampere to introduce Vietnamese culture to the local

Reporter: Can you provide some advice for those considering applying to institutions of higher education in Finland?

Quyen: You don’t have to worry too much. Just check the university’s website for more information, follow the instructions and you’ll be there. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact the university and ask for advice or information.

You don’t have to carry lots of clothes with you all the way from Vietnam if you plan to buy them after your arrival. In case you do, bring good warm clothes because you will definitely need them when you’re in Finland.

Finns are very nice, friendly and helpful, but they also need quite a lot of personal space. So, just prepare yourself of some cultural differences and remember to respect others and you’ll be all right!

Vietnamese student life in Finland - ảnh 7

Thank you Hanh Quyen for sharing with us your story. Good luck!