a short journal from the University of Turku (Turun Yliopisto) by Judit Kerpics, study advisor
Thanks to Erasmus+ I have spent the first week of the year 2017 in Turku. Turku is the oldest city of Finnland, and it was built at the shores of the great archipelagio of the Baltic sea and the Aura river. Tall pines are guarding the rocky shores, and the frozen snow is sparkling int he evening lights, like thousands of tiny christals. Besides the uniqe beauty of winter landscape, the city is soaked with history and art from the middle ages. One can only understand the cool dignity of the north and nordic people by breathing in this frosty air.
As a study advisor I was the guest of the University of Turku Faculty of Law Study Administration. The first working days of the year were relatively quiet in the office, so my host collegues had time to talk with me one by one about the structure of the university, and their personal tasks. They were also curious about our work in Szeged, so I consider it as a very useful exchange of experiences.
Finnland is very proud of free education – higher studies included. The University of Turku was not found by a king or the state, but the people of Turku; their motto is „From a free people to free science and learning”. This freedom is much more than no fee for studies. The finnish academic culture requires independent, active, and responsible students. The system allows them to plan their own studies with the help of online curricula guides; there is no limitation for exams or passive semesters, but this freedom comes with the burden of responsibility. If they do not graduate in time, the state cuts their student benefits, and they have to write a professional plan about the followings for the sake of being activated again.
The system seems to be highly efficient; practically the only exit from the university is graduation. Of course we have to see the greater picture as well: those students are coming from one of the best public educational system in Europe. They can accomplish their tasks without being pressed from above. For example professional practice is not obligatory for law students, but the Faculty offers a lot of help and various options to do it, so in the end no student graduates without professional parctice.
I learned in Turku not only useful techniques to solve some of our problems, but a completely new attitude as well, wich will be very helpful to improve my skills and make my work here, in Szeged more efficient.