Archive for the ‘International Affairs’ Category

Kaikessa on kysymys Euroopasta

maanantai, syyskuu 17th, 2018

Mitä Euroopan unionille kuuluu näin kahdeksan kuukautta ennen eurovaaleja? Maailman suurimpaan demokratiatapahtumaan on yli puoli vuotta aikaa, mutta siitä puhuminen kannattaa Aallossakin aloittaa nyt.

AYY:n hallitus kävi kesällä Brysselissä kertomassa Aallon opiskelijoiden kuulumisia EU-päättäjille ja keskustelemassa EU-yhteistyöstä ja unionin ajankohtaisista teemoista, kuten globalisaatiosta, kiertotaloudesta ja digitalisaatiosta. Matkaseurueessamme oli mukana myös yhteistyöylioppilaskuntamme Tsinghuan delegaatio, jonka kanssa tapasimme mm. komissaari Jyrki Kataisen.

Vuoden 2014 EU-parlamenttivaalien jälkeen on tapahtunut paljon.

EU-alueen talous on taas kasvussa, mutta niin pakolaiskriisi kuin ennennäkemätön jäsenvaltion eroprosessikin ovat koetelleet unionin yhtenäisyyttä. Jännitteistä huolimatta Brexit-neuvottelut ovat muistuttaneet eurooppalaisia siitä, miten paljon EU vaikuttaa jokapäiväiseen elämäämme.

On ainutlaatuista, miten EU:ssa voimme pitää ihmisten, ajatusten ja asioiden vapaata liikkuvuutta itsestäänselvyytenä. EU:n keskeiset arvot ovat edellytys maailmanluokan koulutus- ja tutkimusyhteistyölle myös kansainvälisessä Aalto-yhteisössä.

Taloustutkimuksen hiljattain tekemän tutkimuksen mukaan 89 prosenttia suomalaisista nuorista identifioi itsensä Euroopan unionin kansalaisiksi ja 81 prosenttia pitää EU-jäsenyyttä hyvänä asiana.

Tutkimuksessa korostuu myös EU:n rooli globaalien haasteiden ratkaisijana. Suurimmat yhteiskunnalliset haasteemme, kuten ilmastonmuutos ja työelämän murros, eivät ratkea kansallisella tasolla.

Tulevissa EU-vaaleissa valitaan uusi Euroopan parlamentti, joka säätää EU:n lakeja rinnakkain jäsenmaiden hallituksista koostuvan ministerineuvoston kanssa. Suomen EU-suuntaa määritellään siten myös eduskuntavaaleissa, jotka järjestetään niin ikään ensi keväänä.

Vaalien voittajapuolue astuu johtamaan paitsi Suomea, myös Eurooppaa: tulevilla ministereillä on EU-vetovastuu Suomen puheenjohtajuuskaudella syksyllä 2019 ja mahdollisuus vaikuttaa EU:n suuntaan. Myös Suomen tuleva komissaari määräytynee eduskuntavaalituloksen perusteella.

Niinpä koko vaalikevättä kannattaa lähestyä yhtenä kokonaisuutena – yhteistä tulevaisuutta tehdään päätöksenteon kaikilla tasoilla.

Nyt onkin opiskelijasukupolven aika sanoa, millaisen tulevaisuuden haluamme.

Syksyn ja alkuvuoden aikana AYY aikoo nostaa vaalikevättä ajatellen keskusteluun opiskelijoiden tärkeiksi kokemia tulevaisuusteemoja. Millaisen Euroopan sinä haluaisit? Nyt tehtävillä päätöksillä on eniten vaikutuksia juuri meidän mahdollisuuksiimme.

Rosa Väisänen
Edunvalvonta-asiantuntija: kansainväliset asiat ja uudet opiskelijat

Welcome to Espoo – let’s develop the community together!

torstai, elokuu 30th, 2018

Why did you come to Finland?

I’ve heard that’s the question people with foreign background are most often asked here. I’m not going to ask that. Of course you came to Finland! It’s the happiest country in the world with top quality education and a super active student culture. We have fresh air, lush nature (and snow!), room to breathe and to develop yourself. Now it’s up to you to make the most of your journey in the land of Nokia, Rovio and Junction (all from Espoo, by the way)!

I’m especially happy you chose to study in Espoo! Espoo is the second largest city in Finland (with 279,044 inhabitans, to be precise) and you’re one of the about 18,500 students in town. Innovation is a word you cannot avoid when talking about Espoo – we’re home to the biggest innovation ecosystem in Northern Europe, Espoo Innovation Garden, and we were named the Most Intelligent Community in the World in 2018. Not bad, eh?

Maybe the best thing about the innovation ecosystem in Espoo is that it’s strongly based on the idea of cooperation, peer-support and community, so don’t hesitate to get involved. Your journey into the community might start in the student organizations, continue to the startup scene, evolve to masters thesis work at one of the research organizations or companies, and before you notice, you’ve decided to stay here. All it takes is a curious mind, an active attitude, and building your networks from the day one.

Espoo is one of the most international cities in Finland – currently home to 155 different nationalities. According to estimations, the amount of foreign language speakers in Espoo will double by 2030, when we’ll have 30% of the working age population not speaking Finnish or Swedish as their mother tongue. We encourage everyone to learn Finnish or Swedish, as it makes integration into the job market and into the society much easier, but we also want it to be easy to settle down in Espoo and to use the services you are entitled to as our resident.

In 2017, the city council made the decision to introduce English as one of the languages of service in Espoo. We’re the first city in Finland to do this, and as there is no guide book for a process this size, we need your help. Please share your ideas and experiences about public services (e.g. health care, libraries, sport venues) and help us develop a city that works for everyone. The survey is open until 10.9.2018.

Kiitos paljon, and once again, a warm welcome to Espoo. we’re happy you decided to study here!

Milla Ovaska

The writer works as the Head of International Affairs in the City of Espoo and her favourite lunch spot in Otaniemi is in Dipoli. See you around!

P.S. My colleagues at VisitEspoo would get angry at me if I forgot to mention how awesome nature and culture Espoo has! National park, island hopping, museums and activity parks can all be found at www.visitespoo.fi

Kiinasta oppia Aalto-yhteisöön

maanantai, kesäkuu 11th, 2018

Aalto-yliopiston ylioppilaskunnan nykyinen ja edellinen hallitus vierailivat toukokuun alkupuolella Kiinassa ja Etelä-Koreassa tutustumassa paikalliseen opiskelijatoimintaan. Tässä blogitekstissä hallituksen jäsenet Mikael Liimatainen ja Julius Luukkanen kertovat, mitä kaikkea matkasta jäi käteen.

AYY:n delegaatio Pekingissä

AYY:n Kiinan-vierailun ensimmäinen viikko kului suurimmalta osalta Shanghaissa (Opiskelijakeskus-delegaatiomme vietti tämän viikon Etelä-Koreassa, lue blogipostaus sieltä) ja jälkimmäinen viikko Pekingissä Tsinghuan yliopiston ylioppilaskunnan vieraina.

Oppimismatkan tarkoitus oli laajentaa matkaajien ja sitä kautta ylioppilaskunnan ymmärrystä yliopisto- ja ylioppilaskentästä Suomen rajojen ulkopuolella. Kiina tarjosi tähän loistavat puitteet erilaisuutensa vuoksi.

Yksi matkan tärkeimmistä opeista on, että huolimatta Kiinan ja Suomen välisistä eroista molemmissa painitaan samantyyppisten ongelmien kanssa. Hyviä esimerkkejä ovat kansainvälisten opiskelijoiden integroiminen paikalliseen opiskelijayhteisöön ja hyvien keskustelusuhteiden ylläpitäminen yliopiston kanssa.

Kiinalaisten ja suomalaisten näkökulmat ja ratkaisut kuitenkin poikkeavat huomattavasti toisistaan. Niinpä ”sharing best practices” ja ”benchmarkkaus” onnistuivat hyvin. Ajattelutavan laajentaminen ja erilaisiin ratkaisuihin tutustuminen tuovat piristystä ja uusia näkökulmia AYY:n toimintaan tulevaisuudessa.

Samalla delegaatiomme kehitti taitojaan globaalissa ilmapiirissä toimimisessa – tai toisin sanottuna oppi ottamaan huomioon kulttuurieroja ja käyttämään vierasta kieltä sekä asiapainotteisissa että kevyemmissä keskusteluissa.

Kansainvälistyminen on todella tärkeä taito nykypäivän maailmassa. Oppimamme auttaa meitä toimimaan paremmin myös yhä kansainvälisemmässä ylioppilaskunnassamme ja välittyy sitä kautta muille Aalto-yhteisön toimijoille.

Kiinalaisiin isäntiimme, Tsinghuan yliopiston henkilökuntaan ja poliittisiin päättäjiin saimme tutustua monenlaisissa tilaisuuksissa. Pääsimme myös tutustumaan yrityksiin ja kulttuurillisesti arvokkaisiin kohteisiin.

Erityisen kiinnostava talouskeskus Kiinassa on Shanghai, jossa kävimme etusijassa tutkimassa suomalaisen mahdollisuuksia Kiinassa ja saamassa myös suomalaista näkökulmaa Kiinaan ja sen toimintaympäristöön.

Sekä matkaamme Kiinaan että kiinalaisten vastavuoroista matkaa Eurooppaan pyritään rahoittamaan pääosin ulkoisin tuin, rahastojen ja yritysyhteistyön turvin. Matkan tavoitteet liittyvätkin monella tapaa yrityselämään.

Kiina on suomalaisille ja muille länsimaisille yrityksille todella mielenkiintoinen liiketoiminnan kohde eli myös Aalto-yliopiston opiskelijoille mahdollinen tulevaisuuden työpaikan sijainti. Niinpä AYY:n, aaltolaisten ja Aallon positiivinen esilletuonti Kiinan parhaan yliopiston piireissä on tärkeää.

Toivomme, että yhteistyö on tulevaisuudessa juuri sen pienen, tarpeellisen etulyöntiaseman tuoja, jolla me kaikki saamme paremman mahdollisuuden menestyä yhdessä maailman suurimpiin talouksiin lukeutuvista maista.

Yleinen länsimainen kiinnostus Kiinaan myös avaa ylioppilaskunnalle uusia ovia yritysyhteistyön parissa ja mahdollistaa tärkeitä ja opettavaisia tapaamisia vaikuttajien kanssa niin Suomessa, Euroopassa kuin Kiinassakin. Tapaamiset puolestaan synnyttävät uusia mahdollisuuksia ylioppilaskuntamme vaikuttamistyöhön.

Lakkiedustus Kiinan muurilla

Jokaiseen vierailuun liittyy totta kai vastavierailu. Odotamme jo innolla, että saamme myöhemmin tänä kesänä toivottaa Kiinan-vieraat tervetulleiksi tutustumaan eurooppalaiseen korkeakoulutukseen ja AYY:n toimintaan!

Mikael Liimatainen
AYY:n hallituksen jäsen (kansainvälisyys)

Julius Luukkanen
AYY:n hallituksen jäsen (taiteellinen toiminta, brändi, viestintä, arkisto ja museo)

Kampusinspiraatiota Koreasta

tiistai, toukokuu 29th, 2018

Aalto-yliopiston ylioppilaskunnan hallitus vieraili toukokuussa Koreassa tutustumassa paikallisten korkeakoulujen kampuksiin. Matkalla heräsi monenlaisia ajatuksia siitä, mihin suuntaan Otaniemen kampusta voisi kehittää.

Tutustumassa kansainvälisyyteen kampuksella Korean Design Factroyssa. Yonsei. Kuva: Emma Savela

AYY:n hallitus matkaa joka toinen vuosi Kiinaan ystävyysylioppilaskuntamme Tsinghuan yliopiston ylioppilaskunnan vieraaksi Pekingiin.

Joka kerta matkaan liitetään jokin toinenkin kohde, jonka tarkoituksena on oppia uutta toisten yliopistojen ja ylioppilaskuntien toiminnasta. Tällä kertaa osa AYY:n delegaatiosta kohdisti viikon vierailun Aallon korealaisiin yhteistyöyliopistoihin KAISTiin, Yonseihin ja SNU:hun (Seoul National University).

Ympäristötekniikan laitoksen katolla testataan uudenlaisia viljelymenetelmiä kattopuutarhassa. SNU. Kuvassa Rosa Väisänen, Niko Ferm ja Tapio Hautamäki. Kuva: Emma Savela

Etelä-Korean korkeakoulunäkymät ovat monella tapaa mielenkiintoiset. Kulttuurieroista huolimatta yhtäläisyyksiä Suomen kanssa on paljon: PISA-menestys, koulutusosaaminen, panostukset teknologiakehitykseen… Myös Koreassa väestö ikääntyy ja tarve muualta tuleville osaajille kasvaa, joten kansainvälisiä opiskelijoita houkutellaan sielläkin.

Eroavaisuuksiakin toki löytyy. Suomen koulutusleikkauksista poiketen Korean koulutus- ja tutkimusinvestoinneille ei näy loppua, ja esimerkiksi vuonna 2015 jopa 69 % Etelä-Korean nuorista aikuisista oli korkeakoulutettuja. Luku on OECD-maiden korkein ja 28 prosenttiyksikköä Suomen vastaavaa lukua korkeampi (OECD 2017: Population with tertiary education).

Vierailulla riitti paljon opittavaa, ymmärrettävää ja benchmarkattavaa! Haimme vierailumme kohteina olleilta neljältä kampukselta oppia etenkin Otaniemen kampuskehitystä silmällä pitäen ja AYY:n tärkeään projektiin, Opiskelijakeskukseen, liittyen.

Istuskeluportaat KAISTin uudessa kirjastossa. Näistä voisi ottaa mallia esimerkiksi Opiskelijakeskukseen? KAIST. Kuva: Emma Savela

Urheilu on vahvasti läsnä kampuksella. KAIST. Kuva: Emma Savela

Yleisvaikutelma korealaisten yliopistojen kampuksista on se, että niiden ulkoalueet on hyödynnetty erityisen hyvin. Miellyttäviä ulkotiloja on paljon.

Esimerkiksi KAISTissa kampuksen keskeisellä paikalla sijaitsee vesielementti (paikallisten nimeämä ”Ankkalampi”), joka avautuu keskeiselle aukiolle ja terassialueelle. Myös muilta kampuksilta löytyy paljon viihtyisiä paikkoja, joissa opiskelijat voivat viettää aikaa, opiskella, pitää taukoa ja vaikka syödä jäätelöä.

Näin kesäaikaan Otaniemessä tällaisten paikkojen merkitys korostuu – AYY:n keskustoimiston edessä sijaitseva pieni terassi on aurinkoisina ja lämpiminä päivinä täynnä ihmisiä nauttimassa kesäsäästä. Ehkä tällaisia paikkoja tulisi meilläkin olla enemmän?

Kampuksen keskeisellä paikalla sijaitsee lampi ja sen ympärillä aukio- ja terassialueita. KAIST. Kuva: Emma Savela

Yonsein kampuksella miellyttävät istuskelu- ja oleskelupaikat syntyvät kasvillisuudesta ja erilaisten pintamateriaalien käytöstä. Yonsei. Kuva: Emma Savela

Kampusalueilla myös vihreys, kasvillisuus ja monipuolinen luonto nousevat esiin.

Usein Aallon kampuksesta sanotaan, että sen parhaita puolia ovat luonnonläheisyys ja vihreys. Silti Koreassa nämä teemat korostuvat paremmin.

Vaikka luonto on Otaniemen kampuksella merkittävässä osassa, esimerkiksi Otaniemen merellisyyttä ja rantoja ei ole hyödynnetty juurikaan. Kuinka usein edes huomaa sitä, että kampus sijaitsee aivan meren läheisyydessä?

Otaniemessä on kuitenkin paljon potentiaalia. Tulevan kampuskehitystyön myötä myös ulkoalueisiin keskitytään varmasti yhä enemmän.

Vihreä miljöö Yonsein pääkampuksella. Yonsei. Kuva: Emma Savela

Opiskelijakeskuksen osalta korealaisista esimerkeistä ei löydy suoraan sellaista, joka toteuttaisi Otaniemen kampukselle visioidun hankkeen tavoitteet.

Yleisellä tasolla benchmarkkaus antoi kuitenkin paljon. Oli opettavaista nähdä, miten paperilla olevat, ideatason konseptit on toteutettu toisenlaisessa ympäristössä. Löysimme esimerkkejä niin työskentelytiloista, tulostuspisteistä kuin kerhotiloista.

Bileitä järjestävän yhdistyksen tilan persoonallinen sisäänkäynti. SNU. Kuva: Emma Savela

Tanssitreenit paikallisen opiskelijakeskuksen käytävällä. SNU. Kuva: Emma Savela

Yleisesti Korean yliopistomaailma vaikuttaa aika erilaiselta verrattuna Suomeen.

Kenties mieleenpainuvinta jokaisessa yliopistossa olivat Aallossakin ajankohtaiset hyvinvointi- ja yhdenvertaisuusteemat ja niiden näkyminen jokaisella kampuksella.

Ihmisoikeuksia ja puuttumiskeinoja häirintään mainostetaan isoin julistein ja verkossa. Apua saa sekä puhelinnumeroista että kampuksilla sijaitsevista apukeskuksista. Kampuskehitysoppien lisäksi saimme siis myös paljon uusia ideoita AYY:n yhdenvertaisuustyöhön.

Ihmisoikeuksiin viittaavia julisteita kampuksella. Yonsei. Kuva: Tapio Hautamäki

Parasta vierailussa olivat lukuisat keskustelut paikallisten opiskelijoiden ja henkilökunnan kanssa. Kiitos siis KAISTille, Yonseille, Korean Design Factorylle ja SNU:lle yhteistyöstä!

Emma Savela
AYY:n hallituksen jäsen (kiinteistöt ja opiskelijakeskus, asuminen ja muut palvelut)

Rosa Väisänen
Edunvalvonta-asiantuntija (kansainväliset asiat ja uudet opiskelijat)

AYY <3 Tsinghua

perjantai, elokuu 25th, 2017

Where Finnish people pride themselves in high standard of education, so do the Chinese. Beijing, a bustling city of 20 million people is the third largest in the world, but in technological education their Tsinghua University is ranked number one, unrivaled even by the famous MIT. And just as in any educational facility, they have a student union to improve the lives of their nearly 40 thousand students.

The cooperation between Tsinghua University’s Student Union SUTU with Finnish students started by chance in 2004, when two students and active members of their respective student unions met at a European Conference and decided to bring their worlds closer together. Since then the original party to cooperate with SUTU, the Student Union of the Helsinki University of Technology (TKY) has ceased to exist and merged with other student unions into AYY, Aalto-university Student Union. Despite this, both parties have worked ceaselessly to strengthen the bonds between them. A SUTU delegate visits Finland every year, and in return two of AYY’s boards travel to China every other year.

This year the visit of Chinese students fell upon mid-August. Knowing the Finnish summer AYY’s board members had been worried about the activities they had organised all summer, scared they might be foiled by fickle storms. As Monday came and the guests arrived, they were greeted by the oh so familiar summer drizzle. But they weren’t unprepared, and soon the bleak grey skies were obscured by umbrellas, one more colourful than the other.

First day in rainy Espoo.

The Chinese students’ flight had been long, so Monday’s programme was kept brief: a short introduction of both student unions’ functions, as well as a few ice breakers. A tour around the campus ended in the newly renovated Dipoli, where students met up with newly appointed President of Aalto, Ilkka Niemelä. The night ended on a high note as the company gathered at AYY’s Rantasauna, the seaside sauna. The guests were greeted by an old AYY spokesperson of 2013, Piia Kuosmanen, who had taken her turn visiting SUTU and who now works closely with Chinese businesses in the field of technology. With her lead the two groups talked about the similarities and differences in Finnish and Chinese cultures. Naturally the guests also got a first-hand experience of the Finnish culture, as they got to warm up in the sauna as well as take a dip into the cold, cold sea.

As Tuesday rolled around, so did the sun, finally gracing Helsinki with its warmth. The Chinese guests were given an extensive tour of our beautiful capital, its nature and architecture – most notably Kamppi’s Chapel of Silence, The Parliament House and its surroundings, as well as more industrial areas such as that around Nosturi.

The first company visit planned lead the delegation to Naisasialiito Unioni, the feminist non-governmental organization. Its Secretary General, Milla Pyykkönen, lead a conversation that interested both the Chinese and Finnish representatives. The parties got to hear about the development of gender equality in Finland, as well as Naisliitto Unioni’s project to increase gender sensitivity in early childhood education.

Board member Onni guiding the tour around the campus.

 

As the weather continued to surprise and delight, the visit continued with a trip to the national park of Nuuksio and its picturesque lakeside. As could be expected, the programme constisted of grilling, sauna and general wandering around the forest. As citizens of an industrial metropolis, the guests were most fascinated by blueberries, right there for their picking.

To balance out the relaxing day surrounded by nature, the next day was filled with excursions to Helsinki area’s businesses, starting with Metso Automation in Vantaa. The company’s Director of Technology, Jukka Borgman, walked the party through the workings of the organization, as well as the physical facilities. Highly automated valve and flow control device producing plant gave our guests interesting view of Finland’s advanced manufacturing industry. The tour ended in lunch in Metso’s own cafeteria.

Board member Pyry explaining the blueprints of Dipoli.

 

Obviously one excursion a day is not enough, so in the afternoon the delegation headed to Finnair’s headquarters, located at the Helsinki-Vantaa airport. A general introduction was lead by Finnair’s VP Group Treasurer, Christine Rovelli, followed by a workshop on the development of Finnair’s services on the Chinese market, facilitated by the Project Lead in Corporate Development, Henrik Balkin. Afterwards Finnair kindly invited the students for snacks and a great view over the whole airport. And as if that wasn’t enough excitement for one day, the night ended with a headfirst dive into the culture of Finnish academic table parties, sitsit.

The Chinese guests’ last full day in Finland began together with the chair of board of Espoo City Council, Markku Markkula, who also serves as a chair of board in EU Committee of Regions. He walked the students through the development of the city. The afternoon was spent at Eteläranta which houses the headquarters of Elinkeinoelämän keskusliitto, Confederation of Finnish Industries. EK’s leading economist, Penna Urrila, told the delegation about how the Finnish economy is constructed and how it is going to develop in the future.

In the evening the guests had some time to pack up before meeting up for a dinner party that also served as Aalto’s former President Tuula Teeri’s farewell party. The party continued long into the night, but by 5 in the morning the Chinese part of the company had to leave for the airport, accompanied by a few sleepy-eyed members of AYY’s board.

The Finnish boards’ reciprocal visit to Beijing will have to wait until next year. But we are sure that the bonds we built will last and that our visit will be as much of a success as SUTU’s trip here – full of smiles, excitement and mutual appreciation. 再见 (zài jiàn) – it doesn’t mean goodbye, it means see you later!

Text: Noora Vänttinen/Katarina Vesikko

Photos: Petteri Heliste

Why Small and Medium Enterprises Need to Focus on Internationalization of Workforce

tiistai, elokuu 22nd, 2017

In this blog post Alok Jain from AYY’s Corporate Relations section writes about the internationalization of Small and Medium Enterprises and how AYY aims to boost it by arranging My Career in Finland event for the international talent of the Aalto community.

In Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) internationalization of workforce might not be a priority. Usually, the need for the international workforce is felt when SMEs venture into a new market or when it requires specific skills. However, internationalization of workforce in SMEs can prove to be much more useful. In today’s turbulent industrial environment, internationalization can help SMEs in its survival and early recognition of opportunities.

SMEs ride on the wave of turbulence that exists in today’s business environment. The business environment of almost all the industry is changing at a fast pace and it is not going to stop in near future. Change is real and it is coming! The success of most of the SMEs today may be attributed to their ability to foresee opportunities in turbulence and capitalize on it. Consequently, it can be said with utmost certainty, that survival and success of SMEs in future will depend on its ability to ride the wave of turbulence in the respective industry. In such business environment, stability or equilibrium is the precursor to death. Organizational stability is the greatest risk for which SMEs need to plan its strategy. Strategic planning in a complex and unforeseen environment is always a difficult task, however; the positive aspect of a complex environment is that it has the capacity to self-organize! Therefore, to avoid organizational stability, it just needs to be disturbed! The dots do connect, and connect for better if the lattice is disturbed in just the right way!

This is achieved because bounded instability is the breeding ground for innovation. A perfectly stable organizational environment does not generate innovative solutions, nor does a highly chaotic one. A right mix of chaos can instill the capability to innovate. The right mix of chaos can disturb the organizational lattice and reorganize it with innovation! The right mix of chaos can help SMEs survive in the turbulent business environment. The right mix of chaos has always been a key for survival; it is the law of nature. Nature has created diversity to induce right mix of chaos and help survival. The species without diversity among it is the most vulnerable to external threat. This is because a lack of diversity makes it easier for external agents to plan their move against such species.

This is true for organizations as well. People are the chromosomes of organizations. People are the genetic material of the organization that creates diversity and induces right mix of chaos! Such diversity within the organization makes them less vulnerable to turbulent business environment. Internationalization of workforce, thus, is an urgent need of SMEs.

True, SMEs can hire international people to achieve this objective, but here’s the rub: this alone is not sufficient to bring the required diversity and right mix of chaos. The existing social order and organizational culture act as ‘antibodies’ to neutralize the advantage of diversity. Internationalization of workforce can be achieved when the organizational culture allows accommodating different opinions and encourages personal development.

To facilitate this AYY is organizing a career event targeted to international members of the community with the name ‘My Career in Finland’ on the 21st November of 2017. The event is expected to see participation from 400 international students representing 95 different nationality. The event features different career related workshops, talks and networking opportunity with companies. Register an employer stand at the event now! Follow this link to know more about the event.

Alok Jain
AYY’s Corporate Relations Section


Blog text Adapted from Pascale, R.T. ‘Surfing the edge of chaos’, Sloan management review, 1999.
http://sloanreview.mit.edu/article/surfing-the-edge-of-chaos/

Survey on health care services and health insurances of international students – the alarming results

torstai, kesäkuu 15th, 2017

Students from outside of the EU/EEA need to have a residency permit to start their studies in Finland, and having a private health insurance is one of the requirements for getting a residency permit. Degree students of all nationalities are entitled to a home municipality in Finland and can use public healthcare services. Students from EU member countries can use public health care services with a European Health Insurance Card. All university students who are members of any student union can also use the Finnish Student Health Service (FSHS/YTHS). However, international students do not have access to KELA benefits (unless they work in Finland for a certain time period).

Aalto University Student Union (AYY) in cooperation with the Student Union of the University of Helsinki (HYY) has conducted a survey on the use of these healthcare services and health insurances among international students in Finland. The survey was produced by the research foundation Otus. The anonymous survey collected 475 answers from students in Aalto and Helsinki universities, 246 of which were degree or exchange students from Aalto University.

In the survey we wanted to find out how well international students know the health service providers, how do the health insurances work and what kind of channels are used to get information on these issues. In the next sections we will first go over receiving care, then health insurances and issues with these.

 

Receiving treatment

In this section we will present results on how well international students received treatment. One of the questions was how well international students received required health care services while staying in Finland. These results are covered in table 1.

 

Table 1. Have you received the required care or health services in Finland? (n= 303)

 

There is a clear difference between students who have come from EU/EAA countries and students from outside EU/EEA in attainment of health care services. Only 64% of non-EU/EEA students said they felt they got the required treatment always or on most occasions, whereas 81% of EU/EEA students report the same.

Out of the students from both EU/ETA and other countries those who did not always receive the care they needed brought up different reasons. These results are represented in table 2.

 

Table 2. If you have not always received required healthcare, how often did you receive care despite these reasons? (n= 475) (NB. there was an option to choose several reasons)

 

The main reason for not getting treatment among participants was not knowing what their insurance covered. 64% of the respondents felt that unawareness of these issues lead to them receiving required treatment sometimes, seldom, or never at all. The other major reasons were not being aware of available services and being deemed not eligible for aid by health care services.

 

Health insurances used by international students

In this section we will go over different health insurances used by international students and their experiences with applying for compensation and dealing with insurance companies. These questions were asked only from students from outside EU/ETA for whom the insurance is required.

There are several health insurance providers international students use. The insurance recommended by Finnish authorities and universities is SIP Insurances, according to a tendering process done in the early 2010s by a consortium of universities. SIP Insurances have a market share of 26% among the respondents. As seen in table 3, other popular insurances are Swisscare (27%) and International Student Insurance (13%).

Table 3. Health insurance provider (n=323) 

 

The respondents were also asked about the process of acquiring an insurance. Only 38% of the respondents felt they had received enough information regarding the contents of the insurance and the terms of compensation, as seen in table 4. Buying an insurance does not seem to be a difficult process for the respondents, but it seems that students just get the insurance for the sake of getting the residency permit – without really knowing how the insurance functions or what its coverage is.

 

 

Table 4. Opinions on getting the insurance among students with insurance (n= 323)

As seen in table 5, the biggest problem of getting insurance was not knowing what kind of insurance one should buy, which 35% of respondents found to be an issue. 30% felt it was difficult to find information on the different available options. According to the official report the most popular source of information were university pages (32%), Migri web pages (22%), friends (21%) and Study in Finland web pages (19%).

Some students (4%) found that their general health, such as pre-existing conditions made it hard to get an insurance. This is extremely worrisome and against the principle of equality.

 

Table 5. Issues when getting the insurance (n=323)

 

Table 6. shows the issues stated above as complied into different insurance providers. Note that in some of these the amount of answers was very low.

 

’Table 6. Insurances as complied by different providers.

 

Conclusion

International students are required to have a private health insurance in order to commence their studies in Finland, but they are left alone with the problems they face with insurances. There is not enough information provided by the authorities, Study in Finland page or the universities, and when compared to similar pages in other European countries, the level of detail on Finnish pages is rather low.

Finnish authorities and universities only thinking about providing international students with degrees is unsustainable. A more holistic approach to internationalisation of universities is needed in Finland. Putting efforts into developing degrees and teaching is important, but if basic services like health care, banking or immigration services have grave problems, Finland is hardly a dream destination. What needs to be taken into account is the whole experience of integrating international students into the Finnish society, and problems with basic needs such as healthcare reflect negatively on the image of Finnish education.

International students have the right to a well-functioning, affordable and accessible insurance, as well as proper information on healthcare and health insurances. Issues with health care and adequate compensation for health care costs need to be taken very seriously. If Finland truly wants to welcome its international students, all parties involved need to step up their game. A new tendering process is needed, as the health insurance now recommended by the universities and authorities has the gravest problems and lowest customer satisfaction among students. Immigration authorities, universities and the National Agency for Education need to sit down together and start developing solutions.

 

Milla Ovaska, Specialist, International Affairs

Aalto University Student Union

contact: international(at)ayy.fi

Day 7 with Tsinghua: Finnish business and farewell to our friends

keskiviikko, elokuu 31st, 2016

Theme for the last day of Tsinghua University student visit was Finnish companies and business. We visited Metso, a big Finnish exchange-listed machinery company serving eg. mining, construction, oil and gas, pulp, paper and process industries and Supercell, a successful gaming company behind HayDay and Clash of Clans. The day was concluded by a happy farewell dinner with our friends.

Our visit at Metso began with a bus ride to Metso Flow Control facility at Hakkila, Vantaa where the primary manufacturing focus is on valves. We were welcomed by the Head of Offering Management Taina Rajala who introduced us to the company.

The visit continued with an interesting tour at the manufacturing floor. Robots picking up components to be assembled into products verified the vision of a modern and progressive facility and company. One other thing that really caught our Chinese friends’ attention was the safety of all personnel, which was visible all around the facility. Even though most of our group weren’t previously familiar with the technology, there was a great deal of interesting things to see. It was our common opinion that Metso would certainly be an interesting and attractive employer.

Our visitor group at Metso Flow Control facility in Vantaa. Safety first!

Our visitor group at Metso Flow Control facility in Vantaa. Safety first!

After Metso we visited Supercell at their HQ in Ruoholahti. This was one of the most anticipated visits for our guests and they had a lot of user feedback and suggestions about the successful Clash Royale mobile game. During the visit we were told about the ideology around which the whole company is built: best people make best games. It was interesting to see the freedom and independence of the Supercell. For example the CEO Ilkka Paananen has little power on what the teams decide to do and people are free to switch teams. We want to thank our AYY board alumni Janne Peltola for hosting the visit!

CEO Ilkka Paananen was also one of the founding members of the hugely successful and international Slush startup event so it was only natural to invite Slush members Josefiina Kotilainen and Olga Balakina along to tell our guests what it is all about. The Aalto University Startup ecosystem intrigued us a lot and our Chinese friends found it especially interesting how large portion of it is accomplished volunteers and students.

Taste of super awesome mobile gaming atmosphere at Supercell!

Taste of super awesome mobile gaming atmosphere at Supercell!

In the evening we had to bid our dear friends farewell. We had a nice dinner and finnish dishes including roast reindeer, meatballs and salmon. The entire week was over very fast with interesting program and interesting people. It was very nice to get to know our guests and to know that the connection between us and our student unions will last.

AYY would like to thank Tsinghua Student Union for precious gifts and our partner Metso for support!

Tsinghua university student union sightseeing in Helsinki and academic dinner party with Aalto-Tsinghua startup bridge

maanantai, elokuu 8th, 2016

Saturday with our guests started with introducing the wonders of our public transport system by taking the bus 102T. The view of coastal Espoo got compliments from the Tsinghua students and we discussed the history of Helsinki and the differences between Helsinki and Beijin on our way to Kamppi.

For our sightseeing tour we chose to walk from Kamppi to Stockmann and from there to the Senate Square, talking about the architecture and different landmark buildings like the modern arts museum on the way as well as pointing out the main spots for shopping. It seems like everything in Finland is currently being renovated but this did not seem to bother our guests much, likely because construction sites are such a common sight in China.

We left our guests off at the Market Square to have a free reign on how to spend the afternoon in Helsinki and went off to prepare for the main event of the day which was an introduction to the academic sitsi party culture! The dinner party was at Aalto Design Factory in Otaniemi and attending were our guests, the Aalto-Tsinghua startup bridge group and a number of former AYY board members. The sitsi party was a great success, with brilliant musical performances by some of the guests, remembering past visits between Aalto and Tsinghua and an all-vegan menu featuring the Finnish innovation pulled oats.

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View from the sitsi party on saturday.

The second day in our schedule was on the more relaxed side in anticipation for the upcoming week full of formal visits from the morning until late in the day.

Hallitus esittäytyy: Rosa Väisänen

lauantai, maaliskuu 19th, 2016

Well hello there, sweet thing!

RosaI’m Rosa, one of the four advocacy wizards in the board of AYY and a fourth-year architecture student. My sectors are international affairs, new students and development cooperation, a groovy combination of educational policies, juicy meetings and organizational activities. After three years in the board of my dear guild and two years as a volunteer at AYY’s international sector I made the best decision of my life and applied for the board and, well, here I am, still quite startled that I get to be surrounded by this bright community every day.

This year my goal is to encourage and support associations in their internationalization objectives, develop Aalto’s student mobility and promote the acknowledgement of tutoring as an important part of the reception, orientation and engagement of new students both to the academic and student community. Golden projects, right? In addition to these my mind will be dancing with questions concerning the new tuition fee system: as you might already know, Aalto University is preparing the tuition fee system for non EU-ETA students and the system will start operating in 2017.

This of course means big changes in our university: what does this mean to the programs, services and teaching? What about internationalization and the number of students? In this new situation one of my projects is to update AYY’s policy paper on tuition fees. The aim is to have a broad opinion on how the system should work and what has to be done when the university starts charging our students. If you’re interested in influencing this, I’d love to have you at the tuition fee workshop on the 30th of March, 17.30 at the rooftop sauna of Vaasankatu 10. Don’t hesitate to contact me whether it is about tuition fees or anything else, I am here for your questions and comments!

Lots of love,

Rosa

P.S. Check out the background material on tuition fee policy paper and send your comments to international@ayy.fi .