Christina Hess, Kuopio campus: “Studying is relaxed but ambitious”Christina Hess, Kuopio campus: “Studying is relaxed but ambitious”

Christina started her studies in the Master’s degree program in Biology of Environmental Change in the fall 2018 - and for her it was like returning to her second home, since she knew Finland already from her exchange period a few years earlier.

“I can say that I totally fell for this country back then! After I finished my Bachelor’s degree in Germany, it was clear to me that I needed to go abroad again. I applied to a few Norwegian universities and the UEF and got accepted, so I had the choice of going there or coming back to Kuopio. It was a heart decision, because I really love Finland. “

Important study topics concerning everyone on our planet

Christina describes herself as a person who has three main interests: natural sciences, travelling and reading. In her studies, she has managed to combine all these - first she studied Environmental Geosciences in Germany, but then she wanted to broaden her perspective from geological processes to the living environment, and that’s what the current Master’s programme is all about. 

The independent nature of Finnish university studies suits Christina very well.

“I love it that you can choose the courses you are interested in and just have a small number of compulsory courses. Our department is great with very nice and helpful people. Studying here is not stressful at all and there is no competition between the students. I really appreciate this.”

As the most interesting course so far she mentions “Green Chemistry” where the students learned about the 12 principles of green chemistry and how they are applied in real life.

“It’s about reducing or eliminating hazardous substances and waste by working more energy-efficiently. I had never heard about this in such detail and it is an important topic that more people should learn about. It’s not only a topic for environmental scientists, but for everyone.”

Finding the uniqueness of Finland

Christina thinks that the quality of the Finnish education system is a well-known fact outside Finland too, but for the potential students who are considering whether to apply to Finland it might be the weather that raises doubts.

"Yes, in the winter it is cold and there is no sun. If you are used to warm temperatures and all-year-round sunshine, it might be hard for you at first. However, the trick is to just start the journey and you will adapt. You will have friends who will bring light and fun into dark hours and home sickness. In the winter you will see wonderful snow and it is not as dark as you might think. On the other hand, Finland in summer is the most beautiful explosion of nature you have ever seen.“

Christina also has learnt to appreciate the lack of hierarchy in the Finnish society and university setting.

“The people here are very friendly and helpful, especially the personnel of the UEF. They answer e-mails pretty fast, which was surprising for me. Another great fact is that you do not have to go to three secretaries before you can talk to a teacher or lecturer. I really appreciate that.”

For Christina, the future scenarios are clear.

“I  want to be a researcher, hopefully in an arctic or sub-arctic environment.”

We hope to see Christina and other talented students at our Master’s degree and  PhD programmes!