Three universities in Tampere (UTA, TUT, and TAMK) have proudly presented their English-taught programs to Vietnamese students and parents in the Vietnam Educational Fair in Hanoi (3.11) and Hochiminh City (4-5.11.2017). The fair attracted many institutions, mainly from Europe, Australia, and the US, as well as many high-school pupils, university students, graduates, and parents.
‘Studying in Tampere’ booth seemed to be among one of the busiest places at the fair. My colleague, Noora Hartikainen, and I did not even have time to scan students’ badges with the organizers’ apps, or take pictures of our booth. Students and parents stood around us and asked questions most of the time, even after the fair already closed. Some parents came back several times to ask for more detailed information; some went to the fair by themselves, and then after talking with us, they called their children to come to the fair and talk to us directly; some stayed at our booths to discuss with other parents what they think about Finnish education. We are very glad to see their interest in sending their children to Finland and that Finnish higher education is getting more and more popular in Vietnam.
As we anticipated, the majority of students were interested in bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in Business Administration, Information Technology, Education, and Engineering. In general, students have an idea of what they would like to apply, as they request information about specific programs, such as International Business, Human Resource Management, Marketing, Architecture, Data Analytics, or Educational Leadership. Interestingly, there were also requests about studying in Finnish secondary schools. The reputation of Finnish education has obviously spread out in Vietnam. In fact, there has been a project of building a Vietnam-Finland Elementary and High school in Hochiminh city.
Main questions we received at the fair were about:
- Admission requirements
- Scholarship, tuition fees, and living expenses
- Job prospective after graduation
- Possibility of working part-time while studying
- How to apply for visa, and housing
As an alumnus of University of Tampere, and a Tampere Ambassador, I received many questions about my own experience of studying and living in Tampere. Students were surprised to hear about Tampere as a peaceful, natural and student-friendly city rather than a frozen land as they imagine, and the possibility of accessing to various student support services and study options. Students often compared this information with other countries and regions that are more well-known to them such as the UK, the US or Australia.
Similarly, there are many aspects of studying in Finland which is not known among Vietnamese students. For example, some students think that programs in Finland are offered in Finnish, and that they need to take Finnish courses in Vietnam or in Finland before starting their major courses. They were excited to know that the application procedures are rather simple, and free of charge. They were also motivated to know about chances to receive scholarships, as long as they take courage to apply. Therefore, it is crucial that Tampere universities are presented at the fairs to provide accurate information and encourage students to apply.
At the end of the day, Noora and I were both having a strange voice, because we talked continuously with students and parents at the fair. However, we were glad and proud to represent Tampere universities in Vietnam Educational Fair. There we got to know many new students. Who knows, many of them might join our student community one day soon, and even more, become a Tampere ambassador!