The education system in Finnish universities

Hello everyone!

My name is Kamila Lepková and I am from Czech republic. I studied Bachelor degree in Czech republic and currently I study Master degree in Medical Physics in Kuopio campus. I would like to describe the education system in Finnish universities because it is little bit different than in Czech republic. Maybe some programmes have not the same structure but I hope it is not so different.

The year is divided into two semesters – autumn and spring. Moreover, each semester is divided into two periods so in total there are four periods (1,2 = autumn 3,4 = spring). That was really new for me because in Czech we just have two semesters and all courses are going simultaneously in the semester. In Finland, most courses are taught in only one period (half of the semester). It means that you have 3-5 (depends on you) different courses in each period. I really like this system because you have more time to study and concentrate on them. Courses are taught more intensively – you have lectures more times a week. That also means that you hopefully will forget less and remember more. In Czech republic we have each course once a week and every time it was really hard to remember what we did last time.

There are exams after each period. The first examination time is before Christmas so after your exams you can enjoy Christmas time, eat Christmas sweets (nom nom) and do not worry about your exams. New semester stars very early for me – right after New Year’s Eve (around 6.1.). In Czech republic, we end our semester before Christmas and after that, we have one month examination time without any lectures. It has own cons and pros:
– You can‘t enjoy Christmas properly because you are still thinking about what you have to do and learn.
– We have one month to prepare and learn everything and what I have found out that I really miss this time. In Finland, you have to study really hard during the whole period because right after the last lecture you have just a few days to study for exam. Once, I have just two bloody days and like you can presage sometimes it is impossible to make it.

Exams are also little bit different. You have 4 hours to write everything you know. It is really often that students bring snacks and (of course) coffee. I found out that Finnish students are precise. They have rulers, rubbers, pencils, pens and they write everything so clear especially tables and charts !!! Sometimes, I am so sorry that my teachers have to read my exams. In Czech, we are used to writing quickly because often we don’t have much time for the exam. If any teacher is reading this please be kind to these (not so precise) students.

Moreover, really like that courses have the theoretical part (lectures) and practice part (exercises, demos, project works). We have the same system in Czech. New was just one thing – we need to be prepared (do calculations, tasks) for exercises. That means lots of work during the week but it is nice that you will practice things that you have learned in lectures and you can ask teachers if you don’t know anything.

I hope that I described the system in Finnish universities in more details. Thank you for your time!

Kamila Lepkova

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