‘International students and staff make our future! Why? They are such a central group when it comes to influencing our competitive position compared to other international universities. We cannot afford not to use them. Attitude is all it takes in the end, even among us language enthusiasts: just forget any unnecessary fears and use your language skills!’
– Ulla Tuomarla, Head of the Department of Modern Languages at the University of Helsinki.
International students are an important part of our university community. The fact that the administrative languages of the University are Finnish and Swedish cannot be allowed to prevent international students, teachers and other staff members from participating in our common affairs.
Creating equal opportunities for international students and staff members to participate in decision-making is a challenge for all of us. At HYY, we have made an effort this year to improve their opportunities to participate and in this way integrate into our community. However, there is still a lot to do.
This is why we want to encourage and challenge the rest of our community both to participate in the effort and to offer concrete solutions that would help us increase and improve the involvement of international students and staff in the creation of an equal university community. This really only requires small acts, but even a small act from a Finnish-speaking person may be huge for a non-Finnish-speaking member of our community.
It is important that every member of the University community, from students to professors, has the opportunity to influence decision-making at the University regardless of their language. HYY has compiled some instructions on how international students and staff members who do not necessarily speak either Finnish or Swedish can be included as a part of the University community in administration, too!
"International students at the University of Helsinki are interested in participating in University administration and governance, but real integration of international students will require outreach from the administration. If programs are interested in international students participating in administration, they need to be less reluctant to communicate and hold meetings in English."
- Lea Urpa, Doctoral Student, Institute for Molecular Medicine (FIMM)