I am Pauline and I am just starting at Study Advisory being in charge mostly of marketing tasks. I am also translating SA’s website into my native French. While my background is in politics and international relations, I have been passionate about Finland since the country joined the EU in 1995. Actually, one reason behind my interest was the Finnish reputation for innovative education (maybe more at primary and secondary levels). This is the first time I will stay in Finland for longer than a few weeks and into the winter, too, which is exciting!
I studied in my home country, France, as well as in the UK and I also interned in South India. In 2013 and 2014 while working abroad in Switzerland I enrolled on a Finnish language and culture summer course at the University of Jyväskylä and I loved the teaching methods and the international atmosphere of the course.
I look forward to embarking on the great adventure of connecting students with universities worldwide! In addition to the start-up culture welcoming new ideas I have found at SA’s office, it has already been stimulating for me to speak Finnish with my colleagues alongside our lingua franca – English.
I have been at Study Advisory for a week now and I really value the creative, forward-looking and international spirit! Last but not least, I find it really stimulating to be working in a social enterprise in itself, with also boasts an additional commitment to UNESCO.
I look forward to posting blog posts here and to reading your comments about more thematic topics!
Autumn is coming and the intern season starts again. Many current students and graduates will begin their journey in the working world trying to gain a valuable career experience. An internship is a good possibility to practice what you have learned at your school, enhance your skills, get a solid contribution to your CV, increase your network and surely get a full-time position. Here we have summarized some tips how you can make best of your internship.
Get to know your company
Before your first working day, make a research about the company you are going to make your internship for, e.g like company’s history, culture, vision, mission, products and services etc. Read also about the industry and the competitors in the field. Moreover, you can track the recent media. Some basic research on your company will help you to feel more confident and will give a good first impression right from the start. More specific, inside information you will gain later.
Take care about your dress
Depending on a country, culture and a company there might be different requirements on how to dress. Some companies might not care about it but some really do. It is advisable to find this information before you begin with your practical training. You can contact HR manager or to check company’s website. Employees should not be judged by the way they are dressed but dressing properly will present you in the best light and demonstrate your effort to look professional.
Internship = real job
It happens often so that students do not work properly during their internship thinking that the internship is just a way to earn the school’s credits since it is usually not paid or low paid. Generally, interns are given boring and not challenging tasks that nobody else in a company has time to do. However, you should always treat your internship as a real job and therefore invest all your efforts in it. Think about that your activities even if they seem to be minor, they still impact the whole organisation helping it grow and develop. You will surely be rewarded for your engagement!
Be curious, show interest and initiative; dare to ask questions and be ready to go out of your comfort zone. Remember, you are here not to do what you already know. On the contrary, you must learn possibly many new things from different fields and from different people – your colleagues, bosses etc. As our summer intern Anna mentions: „It was not easy for me to start writing blogposts and web content pages. I did not have any professional experience with WordPress before. Anyway, I pushed myself and started doing it. And I was satisfied with the result! Moreover, training my writing skills will help me in the near future when I start working on my thesis. So my advise: overcome your fears and embrace the challenges”! You can read one of Anna’s awesome blogposts here.
To be active is good, anyway you cannot be always ready for everything. Try to choose the tasks that interest you most and might help you to gain valuable knowledge for your future career. Having the courage to say „no“ to certain tasks is also a part of your intern experience.
Communicate with your internship mentor
While doing your internship you will be provided a person who will guide you, supply you with tasks and help to organize your work. Do not be afraid to ask difficult and stupid questions. Remember that your eagerness is a demonstration of your interest, motivation and desire to learn. If you have some problems or you cannot manage doing your project or task by the certain time, feel free to discuss it with your internship supervisor. Asking for a feedback is an important part of the practical training.
Develop your network
Socialize with your colleagues, during working time and outside of it; show them what you are able to do. The better they know you, the more chances you have for the support from their side when it comes to the decision on the full-time position for you. Use all given chances to participate in events outside of the company, as fairs, conferences, meetings with customers etc. Our intern Nelli had an excellent opportunity to network in a start-up hub Hong Kong. Read more about Nelli’s awesome experience as a Study Advisory’s intern in this dynamic business megapolis.
And here there are some tips from our colleagues and interns about their internship experience:
Hazel (Hong Kong):
I think internship gives me a really good opportunity to put the theory into practice, to understand how business is going. I can apply my knowledge in my work. Also, I can learn some of the skills that I could not learn from school, like establishing interpersonal relations and communicating with clients. To make best of it , I think you should be humble, modest and open-minded to learn as much as you can, including accepting the negative comments.
An internship is often as good as you make it. You should not swallow anything and do tasks that you feel have no purpose for your personal or academic growth. Of course you have to start from somewhere, but to make an internship great, I feel like it has to be a two-sided thing, where both the employer and the intern feel like they are getting something out of it (other than study credits). It’s an amazing oppotunity to put one’s skills into practice and find out if your study field really is your cup of tea in the real working world.
Doing an internship is usually a great way to learn completely new skills, as well as to get more practical know-how of the things you have studies in the university. Personally I found myself for example learning some basics of HTML coding, even if I had never considered myself a technical person before. The new skills learnt during my internships have helped me very much later on my career. An internship can also be an opportunity to discover what you would like to do in the future – as well as a way to realize what you don’t like!
I’m Nelli Koutaniemi, a fourth-year business student from Oulu, Finland and I did a three-month internship for Study Advisory in their Hong Kong’s office this Summer 2016. Basically I’m here to tell and describe why it’s freaking awesome. Challenging, independent and rapidly changing – and everything awesome.
How did you end up to Study Advisory’s Hong Kong office in first place?
I was studying as an exchange student in Hong Kong for the spring semester 2016. I was very keen to find an internship placement from the city since Hong Kong made such a good impression on me during the first few months. I was lucky to notice Study Advisory’s internship position and meet Tuomas, the head of the Hong Kong subsidiary, in the office in Kowloon. Before the interview I made some research about the company and I was impressed by the work that they have done and the overall mission of Study Advisory: they share a lot of same values and ideas that I do.
What do you study and what were your tasks during the internship?
As said, I am a business student majoring in International Business Management and minoring in Marketing and Corporate Law. I was a marketing intern for Study Advisory, which gave me possibility to combine my major and minor subjects efficiently.
In short, I handled a lot of different kinds of marketing practices from social media to bigger projects and on the other hand I had a chance to work on the field networking and meeting higher education professionals. Together with my colleague we participated in some education expos and events and met the students and the university staff at campuses – there are 8 big universities in Hong Kong area! Outside office hours there were a lot of professional networking events from salsa classes to insightful workshops and presentations.
As a business student I learned the most when participating in Study Advisory’s crowdfunding campaign (I am so flattered that as an intern they gave me such big responsibilities in it) and when I got a chance to negotiate some cooperation possibilities with local and foreign business representatives.
What do I need to take into account if I want to work in Hong Kong?
The basics! Get the trainee visa, find yourself an apartment, take some vaccinations and book your flight tickets. Study Advisory provides you with an intern guide with all the basic information. Take a look also at the training visa’s requirements and enclosures from Immigration Department’s website. You need to gather a lot of papers and prepare to wait a few months, but generally the visa process is quite pleasant.
Apartment situation in Hong Kong is a bit trickier question. 8 million people packed in such a small area means that the apartments are small and the prices are quite high. Nothing to be afraid though, if you are not able to find your dream flat from Facebook groups such as FindYourRoomInHongKong, you can always ask for a single room in a dormitory like Apple Dorm and keep seeking while you arrive. Or maybe do it like I did and stay there for the whole time!
Hong Kong is too awesome. I mean it, to me it is a paradise of contrasts: the high-end, skyscraper-filled metropolis with more local areas and they special atmosphere. The nature is close: Hong Kong is a city surrounded by beautiful steep mountain sides.
How’s Hong Kong as a working environment?
Although working in such a huge city is challenging, it rewards you with a can-do attitude and offers amazing networking possibilities. The atmosphere is competitive and busy and local people are very hard-working by their nature. Study Advisory’s Hong Kong office pretty much follows the headquarters in Finland when it comes to working habits and hours. Local people are very hard working and can stay in the office more than 12h a day.
I really miss lunch hours in local restaurants, they get packed around noon to 1pm with cheerful business men and women chatting with their colleagues, gathering together with their steaming hot bowls of tasty noodle soup or something else delicious. After dinner time you can easily find some relaxed or more professional events or grab an after-work beer with colleagues. The city provides excellent opportunities for networking!
Comparing to headquarters in Finland, do you concentrate on different field in Hong Kong?
Hong Kong’s office is there to concentrate on Asian markets: half of the world’s university students living within a 4-hour flight from Hong Kong! The city itself is one of the biggest start-up hubs of Asia. Internship is a great way to get introduced to Asian markets, business and higher education.
Study Advisory operates in one co-working space in Kowloon and we also spend hours in campuses, “coffice” (taking office or your laptop into a coffee shop) or in Wanchai Small & Medium Size Enterprise Center. Whatever was the most convenient at the time!
What was the most challenging part working in Hong Kong?
I don’t think that the city itself caused any big challenges to my internship. Before my exchange I had already spent 4 full months in Hong Kong so I kind of knew what to expect. Prepare yourself for the inevitable culture shock, I’d say. Everyone who moves abroad for more than one month is going to experience in one way or another. For me the biggest cultural shock was my tiny apartment but with a right attitude (and a good-night sleep) everything falls into place pretty quickly.
… and the most fun?
Where do I start. There was something special excitement to work in Hong Kong. Generally, while interning for Study Advisory you get to experience a very modern way of working. You take your laptop and take a seat at Starbucks or in co-working space with other start-up companies, meet people and feel the pulse of the busy metropolis while taking a fully packed metro back home in the evening. I consider myself very lucky to experience all of that. So, for the “most fun” part I’d say the modern way of working, the atmosphere of the city and of course – my amazing colleagues. Hong Kong team was (at my time) relatively small but they were all nice and genuine people.
Any final words?
If you are considering to work for Study Advisory in Hong Kong, go for it. It is amazing time not only because of the city, but Study Advisory provides a great learning environment in a start-up business. Basically, you get as many responsibilities as you ask for and everyone in the team is important for the company. It truly was an experience of a lifetime.
With Pokémon Go already available in some parts of the world, and opening soon in other parts, it is already taking the world by storm! There have already been millions of downloads, and students who are starting school this year or returning to their university this autumn will be happy to find that most universities have quite a few Pokestops and even an occasional gym on campus! In fact, our friends over at Tampere University boasts around 7 Pokestops!
So if you are one of the few who haven’t started playing yet, it’s pretty much a fact that this will be the next big trend of your Autumn semester, and maybe even for the entire time of your studies! So what are you waiting for?
Here’s how we suggest you become the Pokémon Go master of your university!
Everyone wants to be the very best like no one ever was, right?
First things first, how to play the game:
Download the game app with your iOS or Android device and log in with your Google account or with your Pokémon Trainer Club account. Customise your avatar and select a starter Pokémon.
Pro tip: If Squirtle, Charmander or Bulbasaur are not really for you, simply run away from these starter Pokémon about four times until a Pikachu appears!
Now that you are ready to go, there are three very important features of the game you should know about. Firstly, you can catch Pokémon by simply walking around campus until they appear. Tap on the Pokémon to initiate a battle, and fling Pokeballs at it until you catch it!
Keep your eye on the colourful circle around the Pokémon. When the circle is the biggest, it is easier to catch the Pokémon, so press and hold the Pokeball until the circle grows as big as it can, then toss the ball at the target.
Green circles mean the Pokémon will be easier to catch, yellow circles may be more challenging, and red circles even more difficult still. The Pokémon might spring out of the Pokeball after you catch it, but there are certain items that you can use such as higher level Pokeballs (that start to show up around level 12) and treats to distract the Pokémon with.
Secondly, visiting the local Pokestops is a major part of the game, as light blue colored Pokestops will drop items for you to use in the game, such as Pokeballs, treats, potions, and Pokémon eggs!
Pro tip: Eggs can be placed in an incubator which is powered by walking. Eggs will then hatch after walking 2 KM, 5 KM or 10 KM.
When you grab the loot from a Pokestop, it will turn purple and it wont drop loot again for another 5 minutes. Pokestops are also the place to use a Lure Module, which attracts a multitude of Pokémon to that Pokestop for 30 minutes. If you see a Pokestop near by and it’s surrounded with little hearts, head on over to grab some loot and catch some Pokémon!
Pro tip: It has been said that the more people who come to a Pokestop with an active Lure, the rarer the Pokémon will be! Grab your mates and head to a Pokestop between classes and wait and see what shows up!
Lastly, gyms are a pretty big deal in Pokémon Go. You can use gyms to earn gold coins that can be used in the Pokeshop after successfully taking over the gym. In order to battle a gym, you first need to be a level 5 and select a team from either Valor (red), Mystic (blue) or Instinct (yellow).
Once you have a team, you can find other members by hanging around Pokestops or in a local Facebook group. Together, you will be a force to be reckoned with as you take over all the gyms you can find! Once you and your team take a gym, leave a Pokémon there to defend it and level up the gym by training your Pokémon. There higher the gym level, the more Pokémon can be left there to defend the gym against rival teams!
Battle Pokémon at gyms by tapping on the enemy Pokémon, press and hold the enemy Pokémon to unleash special attacks, and dodge attacks by swiping left or right.
Pro tip: Do some research on what types of Pokémon are strong or weak against other types of Pokémon, such as Water > Fire, Fire > Leaf, etc.
Put those legs to good use! Explore the landmarks of your university city as you play, and use the app to not only get some exercise between studies, but also to make new friends and find the hidden gems (and gyms) of your city. Host events with fellow students like a Pokémon pub-crawl, or a Pokémon walkathon, and seek out the local hotspots which double up as a Pokestop!
Already a Pokémon master? Leave us some tips in the comment box below!
Remember to stay alert and play responsibly, keep up with your studies and pay attention to your lecturers. Who knows, maybe they will drop a lure on your university campus as a reward for your hard work and dedication!
Volunteering at university can benefit and enrich your life in many ways. By volunteering we mean an altruistic activity done for the good of the society. It can be help to disabled people, caring about homeless animals, organising social events etc.
Students are offered plenty of possibilities for voluntary activities. However, some students ignore them because of lack of time or because they underestimate the perks such type of work can bring them.
Gain new competencies
Volunteering is doing new things in a fresh working environment. You learn general skills such as goal setting, planning, organising and team work, but also gain specific competencies, e.g how to encounter challenges and take responsibility. Your communication and social skills will be enhanced greatly. And who knows what kind of hidden talents could be discovering then! You might even become so skilled that you will get some money compensation for your work.
Enhance your career
While volunteering, you build networks and communicate with people from different working environments and backgrounds. You get precious insights into a specific career. Volunteering at university stage benefits your life track and makes a good contribution also to your personal development. It enormously raises the chances of your employability: hiring managers prefer job applicants with a volunteer experience over those without it.
Expand new horizons
Volunteering opens new horizons as you might socialise with people from other cultures and explore new places and even get the possibility to travel. For international students it is a good possibility to fit in a local life style or learn a new language etc. Benefit from the deep immersion into new cultures!
While working for your student union you can make impact and change something you feel unsatisfied with. It is your chance to take decisions and improve study environment around you!
Those who do unpaid work gain a sense of satisfaction from their involvement. By helping others, you will get recharged by positive energy and maybe discover a new perspective of life. Make the best of your study time!
Where to find information about volunteering
Be open and active! There are multiple sources of information to get involved. The information about volunteering can be found on the webpages of universities and student unions. The higher education institutions might have special events for students interested in volunteering. E.g University of Eastern Finland (UEF) participated in various campaigns and events with a goal to promote the integration of asylum seekers into Finnish society. (1)
Moreover, you can check the webpages of different volunteering organizations. There are also internet platforms that connect people interested in volunteering worldwide . E.g Volunteer World is the first independent platform that connects volunteers and social projects globally. This platform provides a community marketplace to present, discover, and apply to international volunteer options. Volunteer World aims to provide cost and service transparency of volunteer programs as well as significantly facilitates the search and application process. The portal has more than 1000 registered users and offers about 600 programs in more than 70 countries. You can easily compare the options based on cost, price and purpose. In addition to valuable peers feedback, the website contains a lot of useful information you might need if you going work as a volunteer.
Look, whether you are in high school or already working on your higher education degree, we’ve all been there. It’s a rollercoaster of great achievements and even bigger failures, especially if you happen to be Kanye West. Let’s look at the best quotes and pieces of wisdom from Yeezy himself, and imagine for a while:
How is the student life working out for you, Kanye?
First of all, you kinda have to change your attitude right there.
“I am not a fan of books.”
Since, you said it better yourself:
“Our work is never over.”
It’s not going to be a piece of cake after high school or your Bachelor’s degree…
“Second degrees, man, they’re even scarier than the first ones.”
(Or in fact, instead of degrees he might have mentioned “albums”, but true either way.)
But once you get the flow, things become truly inspiring.
“Visiting my mind is like visiting the Hermés factory. **it is REAL.”
“I’m doing pretty good as far as geniuses go… I’m like a machine. I’m a robot.”
University is also about friends. Like when you open a pack of gum and share it with your classmates.
“I’m like a tree. I feed the branches of the people.”
Friends equal competitors? Like when you get the only A in your study group.
“When you’re the absolute best, you get hated on the most.”
Essays got you all thinking and stuff.
“Would you believe in what you believe… If you were the only one who believed it?”
But then you remember you studied ZERO.
“You should only believe about 90 percent of what I say. As a matter of fact, don’t even believe anything that I’m saying at all.”
Don’t become too “extremist” when it comes to your grades:
“What’s a B+? I’m an extremist, its either pass or fail! A+ or F-!”
And when the year finally comes to its end, stay positive about the future!
“So if you learn from your mistakes, then I’m a *freaking* genius.”
Jokes aside, it’s good to wrap this up with some actual study inspiration from the great Yeezy.
“I have millions of ideas and I represent a new generation just trying to express themselves in a broken world. I will go down as the voice of this generation, of this decade. I am so credible and so influential and so relevant that I will change things.”
“There’s nothing I really wanted to do in life that I wasn’t able to get good at. That’s my skill. I’m not really specifically talented at anything except for the ability to learn. That’s what I do. That’s what I’m here for.”
Hope you had a productive semester and remember: stay humble with a little bit of Kanye.
According to our new international survey, more than three out of four students think that academic rankings had no influence when choosing a university.
The research was carried out in order to better understand and compare student satisfaction and traditional academic rankings. A global survey compiled statistics on the satisfaction of 2049 student respondents, representing 77 different nationalities.
Choosing a university: Academic performance… or maybe student services?
These student respondents rated their universities on the following six categories: Teaching, Campus, Student Services, Internationality, Value for Money and Security. The ratings of these categories were then combined and evaluated to create a “Satisfaction Index” for the 231 participating universities of 54 different countries. These categories are the same Study Advisory uses on their popularity rating on our website.
The student respondents rated an overwhelming 86% of their universities “Good” to “Very Good” overall on the “Satisfaction Index”. However, only 28,6% of these universities was listed in any of the top rankings of the four leading academic ranking platforms that were used for comparison.
Academic rankings may not measure relevant factors for student audiences
In fact, when asked outright: “Did any traditional rankings of this university influence your decision to study at this university?” 77% of the student respondents answered “No”.
We are starting to see a trend that many students are still quite satisfied with their place of studies, even if it doesn’t currently shine on any of the traditional academic rankings. Academic rankings still have value to some, but many are looking for a place to study based on other very important elements instead.
Stay tuned for the final results
The final results of the research will be published as a bachelor’s degree thesis in August of 2016. To get the latest updates, follow Study Advisory on our social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.
A real-life example
The survey was conducted by Melissa Demel, a US citizen completing her second higher education degree in Finland. The survey was carried out together with Study Advisory.
– I am currently completing my studies at Savonia University of Applied Sciences. As it is a university of applied sciences, my institution is naturally not performing very well in academic rankings. Nevertheless, they offered me an excellent education, and a good start for my future career. Melissa explains.
– I ended up in Finland, firstly in Kajaani, by chance; in the US I could never have received such a good quality education without an enormous student loan. Young people need a way to find affordable and qualified smaller universities on a global level, and Study Advisory offers a solution to this.
A bridge between every university and every student
The Study Advisory Popularity rating aims to complement traditional academic rankings by bringing a whole new social aspect into ranking universities. We are offering a new alternative for everyone around the world to find the perfect university, based majorly on the satisfaction ratings of our peers. Study Advisory is also offering every university around the world a chance to showcase their value with the help of reviews from their satisfied students.
There is already a bridge between highly ranked universities and the small amount of students who have the ability to study there. This research proved something Study Advisory was fundamentally founded for: students need a bridge between every university in the world, and everyone looking for a higher education.
The 2049 reviews left by the student respondents of the research have already been published to the participating university profiles, giving these universities a head start on the nearly 12000 universities already listed in the Study Advisory platform.
Investor’s name: Miika Kallasoja Profession: International Advisor Degree: Master of Arts (M.A.), University of Vaasa
Since the beginning of the silent phase of Study Advisory’s crowdfunding campaign on the 2nd of May 2016, Miika Kallasoja got a hint of this opportunity and was the first one to make an investment. Study Advisory decided to interview Miikka.
For what reason did you decided to invest in our crowdfunding campaign?
I have several years of experience in investing in funds. I’ve had the intention to decentralize my investments and this crowdfunding campaign offered me an opportunity to enter an industry that is of my particular interest.
I believe in this business since the entrepreneurs behind Study Advisory have already managed to create one international success story in the educational field, Asia Exchange. I’ve been impressed by the growth, and I count on Study Advisory’s future success.
What are you expecting from your investment?
In addition to getting a return on my investment, I want to support an important industry and a great business idea. I like the idea of supporting a young and honest start-up.
What differences can you identify between crowdfunding and traditional investing in stocks or funds?
Investing via Invesdor is fast and easy. Crowdfunding makes investing effortless and pleasant. You don’t have to engage in any separate contact with a bank nor invest in faceless funds or corporations. In addition to these reasons, crowdfunding is very popular nowadays because of the certain “game”-spirit and the ability to have an influence on something collectively.
A lot has happened since the first investment. Go ahead and see our progress so far on: https://www.invesdor.com/en/pitches/667. And if you want to own a part of future success story, make your own investment!
Crowdfunding has changed the game for businesses to collectively gain capital from various small sources. Whether you are willing to build a start-up company for your innovation or to get some external money for an existing idea, you should get to know the concept. Mostly known for the possibilities it provides for start-ups, there is a growing portion of mature businesses also exploiting the opportunities of this fast and global capital raising method.
Crowdfunding In a Nutshell
1. Exploiting networks.
Rather than traditional investment models (such as picking up the briefcase and marching to a bank), crowdfunding relies on stakeholders and the networks of people working for the company. The investor can be anyone: a friend, family member, former colleague or a beginner business angel. Most importantly, it emphasizes on the huge potential of your business networks: small drops of water can quickly create an ocean.
2. Going online.
The raising trend for crowdfunding is to go online via social media and crowd fundraising websites. There is a great variety of options available; Indiegogo, GoFundMe and Kickstarter being some examples of the larger global platforms. Despite the amount of choices, they all work according to same basic rules. They provide the company a page to engage investors with a pitch, usually including a video and other marketing materials for a fixed number of days. The underlining idea is to sell your story and to get more eyes on your fundraising campaign. Don’t be misled, the campaign can also be carried out in traditional ways, such as contacting possible investors via e-mail, personal meetings and newspapers as well.
3. Equity crowdfunding.
There are a few crowdfunding models in existence, but equity-based crowdfunding is growing exponentially. The company provides the contributors an equity share in return for capital, and each individual investor becomes a partial owner of the company. Investors have strong expectations for the future growth of the companies they invest in, to build value and to get a return on their investment.
How To Make a Successful Crowdfunding Campaign?
Building a crowdfunding campaign is an exciting project, but not an easy one: simply putting yourself out there and providing a pitch and video doesn’t really make any good come overnight. You have to be active, reaching out to contacts and media regularly, rallying your campaign in social media and finding new innovative ideas to get as many eyes on your fundraising as possible. Planning the campaign should start as early as possible, and the first days of going public with your crowdfunding will be extremely busy; your eyes merely on your computer screen.
Study Advisory is Now Crowdfunding!
Study Advisory is now proud to announce that the company has launched a crowdfunding campaign. We aim to raise capital to ensure a positive cash flow in the future in order to invest both in research and technical development, as well as to hire new professionals for our sales and marketing team. We are certain that with the help of collective investments, Study Advisory can facilitate its’ growth and ensure that our ultimate vision will come true. There are many small and bigger steps to take, but success already gleams on the horizon.
Our first investor, Miika Kallasoja stated: “I’ve been impressed by the growth and I count on Study Advisory’s future success.”
Study Advisor has launched the crowdfunding campaign online using Invesdor.com. We have already received our first investments, and we are thrilled for the confidence our new owners have in us.
Education is changing the world. On a global level, the amount of students studying abroad has more than doubled to 4,5 million between the years of 2000-2011. We are currently providing the world’s largest database of nearly 12,000 universities. We have acknowledged the fact that the majority of students looking for higher education are interested in finding out more information on mid-range institutions, and not only just the top-ranked ones. The Study Advisory Popularity ranking provides a social aspect for students to choose their higher education institution – for most people, this reviewing system is the most meaningful one.
We didn’t set a goal, we set a vision for our crowdfunding campaign. A vision cannot be measured by euros or dollars. Our vision is to raise awareness, connect our networks and spread the idea of our business. We want to help students find the most suitable education options out there, and for universities to find the best student prospects worldwide.
It seems all too often these days, we are waking up to devastating news involving terror. There are so many terrors in the word every day that we don’t even hear about, but whenever it comes close to home, it makes it much more personal.
The more recent attacks in Brussels, Paris, Jakarta, Bangkok and in Turkey have shocked me the most: These are all places I have been or have seen myself going to, and I can’t help but feel that it could have been me among the hurt and injured, or any one of my dear friends from all around the world. If you live a life in which traveling frequently brings you the bulk of your happiness, unfortunately this seems to be a risk you face in today’s world. Here are a few of my personal views as a student abroad about how we can begin fighting terror in our own way.
A students perspective
It all began for me when I started my student life abroad, diving right into a bachelor’s degree in Finland in 2009. I have since then wrapped up a second bachelor’s degree in Finland in 2016, with a semester abroad in Indonesia under my belt to add to my study abroad experience.
During my 7 years of studying abroad, most of my free time has gone to traveling around Europe, Asia, Australia and a little bit around back home in North America. Although I continue to hear the news of terror attacks primarily targeted at innocent travellers, carried out by either ISIS or by other radicals who feel obligated to use violence to get their point across, and although my anxiety kicks in every time I get on an airplane, I refuse to submit to terror and stop travelling . You shouldn’t let these fears limit you either, and this is why:
How studying and traveling abroad changes us all
I am tired of hearing from articles online that terror is a valid reason not to study or travel abroad. For all of the young people out there who are currently weighing terrorism as a heavy con against studying abroad, I ask you to reconsider. For all the parents who are begging their children not to study or travel abroad, I ask you also to reconsider.
If I have learned anything at all during my time studying and traveling abroad with people from all over the world, it’s that these experiences are what shape our youth for the better. These experiences are the ones that will break our borders and destroy the grudges that go back way before this generation was even born.
Studying abroad with other international students from all over the world will teach you or your child an unbreakable love and respect for diversity, and will ultimately teach the world how to coexist over time. This generation has a gift that many generations before lacked: The ability to travel abroad more easily and more affordably than ever before. This gift is not just one that is given to its’ receiver, but it is also a gift for those who are touched by the wanderers.
I truly believe that the only way we can fight terrorism is with an emphasis on global education and intercultural understanding with an open mind. We need to let our youth break down the walls we have created, and we need to let them venture out into the world and understand just how small they are, no matter how risky or uncomfortable it may seem.
Let’s not limit ourselves in the face of a challenge, but rather, let’s continue to come together and embrace our neighbours with a clean slate and an open mind. Let’s embrace intercultural interactions as a learning environment rather than an obstacle, and take away as much as we can from those experiences.
The future lies with diversity
In these 7 years, I can say I have seen the future blooming everywhere I have had the honour of visiting. I see the future here in Finland: A start-up team proudly standing under the brand “Made In Finland” with smiling faces from as broad a range as Finland, Brazil, Pakistan, the USA and the Netherlands.
I have seen the future in Dubai: Meeting the passionate people who are educating students from all over the world in their classrooms, some hosting well over 100 nationalities!
I have seen the future everywhere in between when I have met new friends in hostels: That guy who was originally from France, off to a business meeting in Singapore to get funding for their company in Indonesia, or that guy originally from the USA, taking a break from his work in South Korea and exploring Hong Kong.
I have seen the future in Airbnb hosts who open up their own homes to complete strangers and create an environment ripe for cultural sharing. I dedicate the firm majority of my life skills from all those amazing people who embraced me with an open mind, and in return, opened my mind!
Yes, I truly believe that the future lies with diversity, and with those who are brave enough to take on the challenges of studying or living abroad along with the priceless experiences they receive in return.
The future lies with those who embrace all of the cultures they are lucky enough to interact with along the way, and who understand that being different is what makes us all beautiful in our own way.
It may seem like a scary world we are venturing out into, but it’s worth it, and it’s up to us to change the world one mind at a time in return as we carry out our journey.