"Oh my god! There's so much to do, the courses are all different from what I expected and even my English doesn't seem to be good enough to cope with all this new information. What can I do? Argh...!" Sounds familiar? No worries, there's still hope. Here's a little help for all of you who wish to know a little more about studying in Finland. Just click on the links to jump to specific topics.
These guys and gals should be your lifeline when you arrive. They are 100% volunteers that strive to make your arrival to Finland as smooth as possible. They are usually from the same, or similar field of studies as you, so can also assist you with finding courses. Tutors should be applied for in advance before arriving.
Since tutors are also people, and people come in all kinds of manners and habits, you should be pro-active with them. It isn't wrong to call your tutor if you have some doubts about something. That's what their there for.
Most study programs do not have a set timetable for courses. It is up to the student her/his self to come up with one. Each department has a guideline telling you at what point of your studies to take a certain course. These guidelines can be seen on the webpages of your faculty.
Internet is your number 1 tool when picking courses. Each faculty lists its own courses on their webpages. In addition to picking courses of your own subject, you are free to pick courses in other fields as much as you like (only exception is medicine and some few courses may be only for major students). On the course description it will say if pre-registration is required. Most courses only require you to show for the first lecture (language center courses are exceptions and always require pre-registration).
Take your time to browse through the courses on each faculty's web page. You can find a listing of them by clicking the "Departments and Faculties" link at the university front page.
Once in the course, most emphasis will be on individual work. You may be required to produce a literary document, or extended essay as proof of comprehension. This task should be done with care, since plagiorism and copying is considered a very serious offence and is many times cought. Make sure you list your sources.
Some courses have an exam. These may be specific questions as is the case in computer sciences, or general essay questions, as is the case with international relations. Do not take excesive stress if you're running out of time to study for them. Almost all courses have a re-do exam with no penalty incurred.
There is an option for most courses of doing a "book exam". This means you read the required literature for the course at your own pace, then reserve an exam date from the list of department prescheduled dates (can be found in your Tamy calendar, or department home pages) or if your department offers the option, you can do an electronic exam at the university library. You should reserve the exam time and computer from NettiOpsu. Usually each literary source will have 2-3 optional questions for you to elaborate an essay answer on.
Studying hard is all good, but one can't do it all the time. Almost every field has it's own student association, with a lot of extracurricular activities. Consider joining them, or at least find out of their existence. Since they bring together people of the same field, they are usually quite like-minded too.
The university has also a number of organizations for different kinds of hobbies and freetime activities.
ESN FINT organizes a lot of activities with specifically exchange students in mind. Some of the activities can be quite large scale, such as our trips. ESN is part of the international Erasmus Network. Everyone is welcome to any ESN activity.
ISOT is the International Student Organization of Tampere. It organizes parties and activities much like the subject specific organizations. ISOT strives to bring forth exchange student's rights at the student union. They're website can be found at www.tamy.fi/isot.
Both ESN FINT and ISOT attempt to integrate exhcange students with finns and with each other.
You can find a complete listing of the different student organizations in your Tamy calendar or at the Tamy website (only in Finnish).
You may notice that many finnish students wear colorful overalls when going out to student parties. This custom has been gaining popularity year by year. It began from the technical university as an identifying mark of each guild (equivalent to our student associations), but has now become comon at the university and polytechnical also. The color of the overalls is tied with the faculty you study at, or the student association you belong to. For example: green for social sciences, grey for computer sciences and math and statistics. Most student associations handle ordering of overalls.
The colour is not the only identifying feature of overalls. Each becomes unique as its owners begin to sow more and more badges on them. The overall becomes a sort of historical map of events and happenings one has been to, although it's main purpose still remains to protect your civilian clothing when going out for a wild night.
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