Main building of Aalto University School of Business
Last weekend, I spent the day in Helsinki to visit the my new academic home for the next few years. Overall, I like the city. It has a metropolitan feel without being too large, like for instance New York. After all, the population is only approximately 600,000 people. The city truly was an international city. Within minutes of getting off the train, I had already heard a few different languages on the street, including English and Spanish. The streets contained people of all different shapes, sizes, looks, and clothing styles. It feel so much more comfortable to blend in to the diversity instead of standing out as foreigners typically do. I believe I will like it there.
Despite the fact Helsinki will be a nice place to be, I am too excited about being educated in the Finnish educational system. I did some light research about it as part of a research paper about Finland a few months ago. To state my perception on the difference as simply as possible:
In the USA, we are pumped full of facts, which we memorize, regurgitate for a test, and then promptly forget. In Finland, students are taught how to learn.A few interesting facts about the Finnish educational system: (Source)
- Homework and tests are rare.
- There is only 1 mandatory standardized test taken around age 16.
- Education is free. Yes, even university studies.
- 93% of Finns graduate high school.
- Teachers are given the same status and lawyers or doctors.
- Worldwide, Finnish students are ranked in the top in the areas of science, math, and reading.
No homework or tests, and they are still ranked at the top worldwide?! They must be doing something right.
I believe I am truly an academic. (Wait, can I get paid to be a professional student?) Therefore, the thought of getting to experience this renowned educational system from the inside is truly exciting.