Scott Lancaster, United Kingdom

  • Master's Degree Programme in Educational Sciences
  • Started in 2016

Hello there! My name is Scott and before coming to study in Jyväskylä for a Master's in Educational Sciences, I was a history teacher in a secondary school back home in the UK. When I talked to people back home about leaving to study in Finland the responses were a mixture of not knowing exactly where it was on the map, telling me how cold it would be and also a general understanding that the Finns seem to understand education. This was one of the main reasons I was drawn to Finland - to live and study in an educational culture which is so different to my own.

I'd visited Finland before, but Jyväskylä  is a bit out of the regular tourist scene for Finland (unless you're a rally fan) so arriving on the first day in a new city, in my new home, was a bit daunting. And yet, from the moment you step off the train you get the sense that you're with a university that's going to look after you. From the individual tutors who have been in contact with you over summer - who take you to your accommodation and show you the ropes, to the teachers and professors themselves who run informal meet and greets, host welcome gatherings and show you how to live in Finland. I guarantee, by the end of that first month you'll feel like part of the family here in Jyväskylä!

Studying in Finland is of course, a fantastic opportunity. Yet, it's completely different to anything I've done before. The responsibility for learning is your own, the courses and paths you choose to pursue are your own and the courses encourage you to think differently, reflect and be critical as often as you can. One thing that surprised me especially was the modes of assessment, they can be very open ended. If your professor asks you for one thing, it's entirely possible (following a discussion with them, of course) for you to produce something completely different! It's more about how you can show your depth of understanding and your skills, than just box-ticking.

Finland is a beautiful country, and Jyväskylä has so much to offer. Don't worry too much about the cold and the dark, everyone is warm and welcoming and there's so many events run by the university, the student union and the city to keep you busy. The University of Jyväskylä is a place where you can really love learning with a fantastic group of both teachers and students.

Scott Lancaster