Student interview: Annamária Payer
Name: Annamária Payer
Home country: Hungary
Study programme and education institution: Master’s Degree Programme in Intercultural Studies in Communication and Administration, University of Vaasa
Academic background: I spent one year in Finland in a high school exchange programme. After one year of university studies in Budapest, I applied to the University of Tampere to a Bachelor’s programme and graduated in 2011. Then I applied to the University of Vaasa, where I have been studying for two years. I am now finishing my Master’s thesis and I also work at the International Office as an intern.
What inspired you to come to Finland to study in this programme?
During the high school exchange I learned Finnish and enjoyed the Finnish culture and lifestyle, so I decided to come back. I applied to this study programme because I love to learn different languages and was interested in learning more about cultural patterns, communication and social structures. I came to Vaasa, because I wanted to learn the Swedish language as well.
What was the process like when you were deciding on a study programme?
I actually searched for options to study Finnish language in Helsinki and Turku as well, but my study background was not sufficient to study the Finnish language at Master’s level. Fortunately, I had other options to choose from, so it was not so difficult to find the right study programme for me.
What was the application procedure like?
The process began by renewing my IELTS certificate. Then I filled out an online application and sent the required documents to the university. First I received a conditional admission, because by the time I applied, I had not yet received my degree certificate. After presenting my degree certificate, I received an official admission to the study programme.
Could you tell us a little about the courses and methods in your study programme?
I could manage to complete all of my courses in one year. Some of the courses needed more efforts to complete than others, but in general the workload was sufficient. Study methods included individual essay writing, group work and presentations. Critical thinking is strongly valued in the Finnish academic culture and this was challenging for me when I first began my studies in Finland.
What were your expectations before you arrived? Where your expectations met?
I expected to study in an intercultural environment and I also had expectations concerning studying the Swedish language. Both of my expectations were met, we had a truly intercultural study group and now I understand the Swedish language better.
Do you have any tips for international students about coming to Finland to study?
Making the choice of coming to Finland has been something I would do again. Of course, everyone should expect some difficulties during their stay, but this is usually the case when people move to a different country. Be open to the culture and the language. You will experience something unique in the long dark winters, the endless light at nights during summer and the undisturbed and pure nature. But be prepared as well, that winter can be really cold and long, so this must not let you down. I have really enjoyed my stay in Finland and I hope to live and work in this wonderful country after my graduation, as well.