When an international student decides about their dream country for studies, it is good to understand the driving forces behind. What is that they are aiming for, how to reach the meaning in life and success in the future career? In this blog post, we will discuss things affecting the international applicant’s decision-making and how the Metropolia University of Applied Science’s collaborative learning in ecosystems attracts international talents. How to make the world yours?
According to ICEF Monitor (25 Nov 2020), students rely now more on education agents with study abroad decisions, as several other marketing channels, such as face-to-face student fairs, are unavailable due to the pandemic.
However, according to Kriti Shroff (Global University Fair, Ludhiana, India), there are certain facts that students should think about, when seeking international study options. When selecting the country, in addition to visa and immigration matters, the applicant should think about:
- the study goals
- course choices
- budget allocation for studies
- language requirements.
Once selecting the institution of higher education, students should consider:
- the geographical location
- international student mix
- placement records.
Students should focus more on the degree programmes and not so much on the different university rankings. There are so many ranking lists available with different criteria for evaluation. The one with the best rankings might not be suitable for the applicant in concern, says Kriti Shroff.
Therefore, we at Metropolia strongly encourage to Make the World Yours – as summerized in our campaign slogan. We believe that our students want to influence how the world looks in the future. Our focus is on student whose learning, future goals and networking we support. Our students are trained to be competent professionals in their field, work with community spirit, solve challenges together with our industry partners and thrive in international networks.
Learning in an ecosystem attracts international students
The pandemic does not hinder interaction with the potential applicants. This autumn semester we have conducted around 20 webinars to attract international tuition fee paying students to Metropolia, with the goal of getting future workforce to Finland. During the interaction with our potential applicants, we have noticed a considerable interest once showcasing our innovation activities and collaboration platforms. The new way of learning in an ecosystem is attractive. Our student ambassadors have played a significant role in this, talking about their personal experiences in innovation projects.
Finland is a leading country in innovations. Metropolia’s innovation activities are implemented at the core of its operations. Modern collaboration platforms in each of our campuses, play a key role in speeding up learning:
- Urban Farm Lab, an urban indoor food platform
- Helsinki XR Center – the gateway to Finnish VR and AR
- Metropolia Workshop – a unique project workshop for automotive and transportation RDI projects
- Hymy village’s wellbeing and health services.
They offer the framework for quick experimentation, testing and piloting and a physical location for new kind of active cooperation between students, staff members, industry and citizens.
We see Metropolia’s top strengths in the following aspects:
- The largest university of applied sciences in Finland with the largest offering in the fields of Technology, and Health Care & Social Services
- Location at the capital area of Finland – Great opportunities to work beside studies and after graduation (one year stay-back after graduation)
#1 Helsinki, Finland best place for work–life balance (Kisi Work–Life Balance Index 2019)
- Top-notch RDI projects – strong industry collaboration
Finland #3 in Innovations (Bloomberg Innovation Index, 2019)
- Safe four campuses with modern learning environments
Finland #1 in safety (Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report 2019, World Economic Forum)
- Scholarship system supports those motivated in learning Finnish language and interested in building a career and life in Finland.
As evidenced by ICEF report (9 Dec 2020), the most important thing for parents or students is the return on investment and the facts about the employment after graduation or the starting salary. Therefore, Metropolia’s location at the capital area of Finland with excellent industry collaboration possibilities and working opportunities with competitive salary play a significant role in attracting new potential applicants.
New trends in international student recruitment
According to StudyPortals (November 2020 Covid-19 & international education; Finland) there are changes in the country trends as well as discipline trends within on campus programmes for Finland. In the beginning of year 2020, there was more interest towards the degree programmes in the field of Engineering and Technology. However, this interest was gradually decreasing towards the end of the year, but there was a slight interest in growth towards the degree programmes in Business & Management.
According to ICEF Monitor (9 Dec 2020), India has become an important country in international student mobility over the past decade. Between the years 2015 – 2019, India has become the world´s second largest sending market in addition to being one of the fastest-growing sources of outbound students. India is one of Metropolia´s selected target markets and this autumn we have conducted 10 marketing webinars to India in collaboration with our educational partner and completed targeted digital campaigns.
This year has been an extraordinary in many ways. According to ICEF Monitor (9 Dec 2020), as the pandemic remains a risk for months to come, student recruitment agents might be also looking at countries’ border policies when giving recommendations to the students next year.
Many international students have faced challenges in applying residence visas to Finland since the Finnish Embassies were closed in many countries. The statistics by Migri also indicate, that the number of residence visa applications based on the studies in Finland has dropped between June and September. (OPH 2020) In Metropolia, most of the fee paying students started their studies online from their home country and are now waiting to apply for the residence visas once the embassies open. Only few students have asked to defer their studies to the next academic year. Metropolia’s instructions have been based on the regulations or recommendations of the Finnish authorities and legislation.
According to StudyPortals (November 2020 Covid-19 & international education; Finland), the interest from Asian countries towards Finland was growing at the beginning of the year compared to 2019. There was a sharp decline in interest once Covid-19 impacted border closings, but it is showing signs of recovery though remaining below the levels of interest experienced in 2019. The interest from African countries has remained stable.
In our opinion, despite the current pandemic situation, Finland has a tremendous potential with its top higher education to be a rising star as a dream destination among the international students.
- Bloomberg Innovation Index, 2019 (opens on timesnownews.com)
- Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report 2019, World Economic Forum (opens on weforum.org)
- Kisi Work–Life Balance Index 2019 (opens on getkisi.com)
- Kriti Shroff, Education & Career Consultant, presentation 04.12.2020 in Global University Fair Event, Ludhiana, India presentation 04.12.2020
- StudyPortals November 2020 Covid-19 & international education: Finland (report by StudyPortals analytics and consulting )
- ICEF Monitor 12/2020 (opens on monitor.icef.com)
- ICEF Monitor 11/2020 (opens on monitor.icef.com)
- Opetushallitus, uutinen 25.11.2020
Aija Ahokas, Manager of Education Export / Senior Lecturer (MEd, RN, Specialist Qualification in Product Design). Ms Ahokas has many years of working experience abroad in the Middle East, in Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates. Her core competencies are in different international activities, networks and partnerships. In addition, her competencies include teaching and tutoring multicultural students especially in Nursing. Transnational education is close to her heart.
Sirpa Rutanen, Communications & Marketing Specialist (MA, Specialist Qualification in Product Design). Ms Rutanen is a strong professional in International Marketing and Communications, fluent in 7 Languages. Her core areas of expertise are International Marketing, Branding, Communication and Public Relations. Having lived in France and Germany, with relatives in four different continents, and worked over 10 years in International Sales for a major airline, her passion is in Intercultural Competence and Communication.
Together Ms Ahokas and Ms Rutanen have worked for over six years to develop and promote Metropolia and its international student recruitment and other educational services.