What we realised when we moved to Helsinki to study

Published: 13.02.2024 / Blog / Student life

Meet Chau and Phuong, two of Arcada’s International Business students who took a leap of faith and moved to Helsinki, Finland, from Vietnam to study at Arcada University of Applied Sciences.

Hello Chau and Phuong! What was your first impression of Helsinki, Finland, when you moved here to study?

Chau: Moving to Helsinki has been a transformative experience, both academically and personally. The first thing I realized when I landed is that Helsinki's public transport is excellent, with efficient buses, trams, and a well-connected metro system. The schedules are punctual, and the services are well-maintained. I appreciate the real-time tracking systems, which made it easy for me to plan my journeys and avoid unnecessary waiting times. There were very few instances of disruptions, and even then, the information provided was clear and timely. Acquiring a travel pass made commuting easy and allowed me to explore the city effortlessly. It became a gateway to explore all of Helsinki's features, from its bustling markets to its peaceful parks.

Phuong: Upon arriving in Helsinki, I was struck not only by its natural beauty but also by the lively and incredible international atmosphere that fills the city. The fact that most locals are fluent in English has made it so much easier for me to connect with people, make friends, and take advantage of job opportunities, seminars, and events. Not to mention, having access to unique Asian restaurants, dishes, and ingredients that are typically only found in larger cities has been a wonderful comfort for me as someone prone to feeling homesick. However, be prepared to use Google Translate often as many supermarket products and documents are in Finnish.

Sunset view from Arcada's big square.

Do you have any tips or advice for new international students who are thinking of moving to Helsinki to study?

Phuong: Many folks, like me, may be concerned about the high cost of living and the cold winters in Finland. After nearly six months, I've come to realize that by knowing where to find second-hand items, shopping at budget-friendly supermarkets, and taking advantage of regular discount programs, you can manage your expenses when buying essential products. Additionally, students can benefit from special incentives. While summer and autumn in Finland are truly beautiful and poetic, the winter isn't as daunting as one might think, wearing specialised shoes and layering up with clothing helped me survive my first winter here.

Chau: When I moved to Finland the thing that surprised me the most is that everyone uses public transport here. You should download the HSL app for real-time information and maps to navigate around the city. Besides, the HSL student discount has been a game-changer for my budget. It significantly reduces the cost of public transport, making it an affordable and convenient way to get around the city. I highly recommend new students to apply for this discount as soon as possible; it's accessible, and the savings over time are substantial. And if you do not have a Finnish bank account yet, do not worry, you can contact the school Student Services to get the form for applying for the student discount on the HSL Travel Card.

Phuong enjoys the lively and international atmosphere that fills Helsinki.

Would you recommend Arcada to international students?

Chau: Without a doubt, my experience here has been incredibly positive. Arcada is very welcoming to international students. From the initial orientation week that helps newcomers settle in, to ongoing support from the International Student Advisor, Arcada is committed to ensuring that every student, regardless of their background, feels welcomed and supported throughout their academic journey. To me, Arcada is an environment that promotes individual growth, cross-cultural learning, and the development of valuable skills on a global scale.

Phuong: I'm feeling really lucky that I chose to study at Arcada. During my first week, the school provided all the necessary information for first-year students, and the tutors really helped me adjust to the new environment. While I did face some challenges with the language and specialised knowledge in class, the teachers were all so enthusiastic in answering my questions and creating opportunities for me to pursue additional studies if needed. Plus, the school offers a wide range of fun activities, opportunities to bond with others, and events to boost our careers, all focused on and regularly updated for our comprehensive development.

Chau loves how every student feels welcomed and supported throughout their academic journey.

Can Machine Learning aid in finding key factors to improve the Finnish healthcare system?

Finland is in the process of change in our health care system. The Nordic well-fare system is challenged in Finland, for instance, due to difficulties in attracting nurses, changing demographics in Finland, and a general pressure to reduce costs in the whole public sector. This poses severe challenges for the entire healthcare sector. Can Machine Learning (i.e., the subfield of Artificial Intelligence, which focuses on having a machine imitate intelligent human behavior) be used to understand relationships between different critical properties of our healthcare system? Yes, it can! An excellent example of how this can be done is found in a scientific paper by Hu et al. (2020), where the authors investigated nurses' willingness to report errors in a specific geographical area of the US.

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