Finland Part 1: The Preparation

/* Leaving Tallinn in 9 days */


Some of my readers are well aware of my plans to study in Finland. In fact, the current situation is that I am departing to Finland on 20th August. And today is 11th August. So, at the moment I can say the following: I have been accepted to the University of Tampere. The programme name is Software Development (Master’s degree). But, I want to tell the story from the beginning…

So, the whole thing began when in early autumn 2007. I started thinking about a Master’s degree. I began seeking for opportunities. One thing was clear from the beginning – I wanted to study abroad, not in Estonia. Long story short – I found out that the perfect place for me to study is Finland. Big thanks to Sergei, who pointed out several advantages of studying there. The reasons are:

  • Finland is close to Estonia, so travelling back and forth won’t be a problem (2 hour boat ride to get from Tallinn (the capital of Estonia) to Helsinki (the capital of Finland)).
  • Finnish language is somewhat similar to Estonian.
  • Finnish universities do not need you to know Finnish before you arrive in Finland (for example, Germany wants you to obtain a certificate confirming that you know basic German)
  • Studying at Finnish universities is abso-diddly-utely free (there is a 85€ student union fee per year). Also, you have to prove that you have the money to live in Finland (6000€ on your bank account or a work place with a minimal salary of 600€/month).
  • Finland is a metal country! That is just what I need! 🙂

So, the next thing to do is, obviously, to find some universities that I am going to apply to. So, after some research, I decide to apply for three programmes in three universities in two towns:

The next thing to do: gather everything needed in order to apply for those programmes. The check list is pretty much the same for all universities:

  • TOEFL / IELTS test report. I did TOEFL. i do not know why, but it simply happened. The test was in early January 2008, so I received my test score in early February (this is crucial – always remember that it takes 15 working days (== three weeks) to receive the results. Anyway, I scored 112 (IIRC), which was enogh to satisfy all universities’ requirements.
  • Bachelor’s degree certificate or an equal degree certificate. This was unclear for me, since I was still studying for that one. I mean that I shoud’ve received it in late June and the aplication period ends in March-April. I had to email the universities and ask what I should do. Everyone replied that it is not a problem and that I should send them a document from my university confirming that I am supposed to get a degree before 31st July. No problems here.
  • My record of studies. No problems here, but, again, since I was not done studying it did not contain three subjects, so I had to attach a list of subjects, that are not yet complete.
  • Two letters of recommendation. That is easy. I made even three – from my boss at work and from two teachers from my university.
  • A letter of purpose. No problems here too. You have to write why do you want to study at the university. That is it.

Well, that was basically it. No other documents were mentioned in the application requirements. Except the University of Turku – they wanted to get a copy of my secondary school diploma and a copy of grade list for the secondary school. Well, after some thought, I made those copies (even though I think that this is pretty strange – I am applying for a Master’s programme and they demand secondary school junk).

Anyway, I gathered all the papers (and believe me – that is a hellish load of papers) and sent them all to Finland. And then was the most horrible period of time during the whole process of application – I had to wait and see if I get into some university or not (well, I know that I am perfect, my friends know that, my parents know that… but the problem is that those guys at the Finnish universities did not know that :D).

The first one to reply was the University of Turku. They said that there were not enough documents to prove my educational background (what a pieceload of bullcrap). They did not even says what was wrong, so the “you hve 14 days to protest” phrase sounded like they were just messing with me. Well, I didn’t like that programme that much anyway.

The second reply came from TUT. They thanked me for my time and hoped that I am not too upset about the fact that I didn’t get into to uniersity. Now that made me feel like I’m a dumbass. I had one last chance to get into a university – UTA, or I’d have to try again next year.

Finally, the letter from UTA arrives. What a relief. That was one of the best moments in my life, actually. I can’t remember being so happy when I found out that I got into the Estonian Information Technology College.

Ok. The letter said that I was “conditionally” accepted. “Conditionnaly” meant that I have to send my diploma to UTA by 31st July. Anyway, I filled out the agreement form and sent it back UTA.

I had several things to do while being here in Estonia:

  • I needed to get to a dorm. TOAS is the organisation that deals with dorms in Tampere. So I filled out a form on their website and some time after that I received a notification that a room is reserved for me and that I should pay the 225€ deposit fee. No problemo. I received the letter on 27th June I believe and a few days earlier TOAS added a note on the website, that there are no dorms left – that made me worry a bit. So, anyway, now my deposit is confirmed and I can say that I have a room in Tampere to live in 🙂
  • I needed to send a copy of my diploma to UTA (to get rid of that “conditional” word). Which I did right after I received my diploma.

Well, I think that that is it. Nothing else to say. I am now an accepted student of the University of Tampere. I have a room in Tampere and the next deadline is 1st September, by which I will have to enroll (which is preceded by TAMY student organisation registration).

All in all, the process is quite complicated, really. But, I want to thank Ms. Kirsi Touminen from the University of Tampere, who helped me a lot during the application process.

I hope that I will have the will to continue this series of entries about Tampere, Finland and UTA. And now I am tired of writing. Maybe I forgot something, but I hope that i will remember that by the next time I am going to write something about Finland. Thank you for your attention.


One Response to Finland Part 1: The Preparation

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