The many opportunities of Open Universities, including flexible study methods, enhancing one’s own competence, and getting acquainted with higher education studies are already widely recognized among Finnish speakers. Expanding the English-language course selection provides similar opportunities for individuals whose first language is not Finnish.
The University of Eastern Finland (UEF) has expanded its English-language course selection in Open University. There are currently over a hundred English-language courses covering various disciplines. Starting from autumn 2023, individuals who are not Finnish speakers can apply for degree studies in the Open University by completing Open University studies (the Open University route). Study opportunities in English have reached a growing number of students, but the proportion of non-native Finnish speakers among Open University students remains relatively small. We at UEF’s Centre for Continuous Learning aim to increase awareness about study possibilities and make them more accessible.
What’s in it for you?
1. Exploring Your Interest and Capabilities in Higher Education
Whether you currently reside in Finland or not, the Open University provides a unique chance to test studying in a higher education institution. If you find yourself intrigued by a specific field and are thinking of applying as a degree student, why not kickstart your studies flexibly through the Open University? The Open University offers the same courses taken by degree students to a wider public – with no age limits or prerequisites for your educational background. Accessible to everyone for a fee, these studies provide a gateway to diverse learning experiences.
Finnish students engaging in Open University studies often discover that it offers an excellent opportunity to assess their motivation for a particular study subject. If the subject proves to be as captivating as anticipated, studying at the Open University can serve as a motivational boost on the path toward degree studies. Conversely, if you realize that the subject isn’t as enjoyable as initially thought, it may guide you to redirect your interests elsewhere. For those residing abroad with an interest in Finland’s study opportunities, the Open University provides a flexible way to explore studying in Finland from the comfort of your home country. You can, for instance, delve into studying Finnish before arriving in Finland.
2. Gaining a Head Start in Your Degree
If after studying at an Open University you decide to apply as a degree student, one of the most rewarding outcomes is that you’ll have a part of your degree studies completed before officially starting as a degree student. This provides you with a valuable head start, offering advantages in terms of both orientation and motivation compared to your peers. Orientating to a different country, culture, people and studying all at once can be stressful: Having a foundational understanding of study basics can significantly ease the start of your degree studies, making the transition into your academic journey here much smoother.
3. Applying as a Student Through the Open University Route
Open University also offers an alternative route to apply as a degree student. While the Open University route to degree studies has been a longstanding option, the first English-language Open University route to degree studies has been opened as of autumn 2023. In a nutshell, the Open University route means that you complete a specific set of studies granting you eligibility to apply for admission as a degree student. The studies that are required for admission become a part of your degree if you are admitted as a student. This unique opportunity offers a flexible and accessible route for individuals seeking to pursue degree studies in English at our university.
4. Opening doors to career development and strengthening your employment prospects in Finland
Do you already live in Finland and wish to find a job better suited to your abilities? Finding employment as a highly educated immigrant in your own field can sometimes be challenging. Some end up pursuing a new degree at the secondary or tertiary level, but another – more flexible- option is to boost your professional skills through Open University studies, increasing your chances of finding a suitable job in Finland.
Through Open University studies, you can efficiently update your skills and build professional networks. Imagine tailor-made language courses or current affairs studies that enhance your expertise in sustainable development or workplace readiness. You may, of course, also study Finnish language which is an invaluable asset when it comes to landing job offers here. In the end of this post, you can find some examples of our broad selection of courses.
5. And last but not least – studying for your own pleasure
Open University is a great way of educating yourself on various themes. Studying what you’re interested in just for the joy of it can boost your brainpower, help you relax, and make you more confident. You get a lively learning experience, and understand more about the world, making your life more interesting and helping you grow, both personally and professionally.
Regardless of your situation, you can contact our student guidance counselors to talk about study opportunities in the Open University for you. Our guidance services are free of charge and are available in Finnish, English and Russian. You can start by browsing our broad study selection in over 20 academic subjects or guidance services on our website.
Examples of interesting possibilities:
- Career Planning self-study course
- Job Seeking self-study course
- Basics of Finnish Working Life self-study course
- Finnish Education and Society
Further information from:
Sanna Vikla works at UEF’s Centre for Continuous Learning as an open university coordinator of Language and Communication studies and the Basic Studies in Lifelong Learning and Sustainable Development.
Heli Kaarniemi works as coordinator, student counsellor and project manager in UEF`s Centre for Continuous Learning. She has practical experience in social integration, employment and qualification of immigrants.