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Impact of the war in Ukraine on UEF

Female student.

Student stories: Master's Degree Programme in Public Health

Christian Muragijimana

Globe, Culture and Public Health: A Milestone for Career Growth

It is a great honor to be part of the graduates’ community at our University, University of Eastern Finland (UEF). I remember back in 2020 when I took a long-haul flight from Kigali-Rwanda, East Africa, to this beautiful relaxing city of Kuopio that offers a great taste of the natural beauty of Finland, I had one mission that was to acquire knowledge, real-life skills required for sustainable impact-driven public health interventions to improve health, well-being, and quality of life for the remote vulnerable communities as part of our current Global village.

Adjacent to my previously acquired work experience with the remote drought-prone socially disadvantaged communities living in Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASALs) in the horn of Africa, my study plans were wrapped around my burning desire that was to have a good grasp on Global Health concerns, and practicalities for research-driven adjustments (or reinforcement) prerequisite of our modern Public Health approach, to tackle pressing health concerns including lack of basic human needs such as access to water and sanitation and resilient WASH systems among the world’s most deprived communities.

The diverse areas of Public Health studies at the University of Eastern Finland promoted and reinforced my personal growth, interpersonal skills, and gave me a unique perspective of not only our current Global and Public Health burden but also the necessity of Culture that frames and shapes our perceptions and experiences. My past two years of studies as a student in MPH/ Globe, Culture and Public Health, gave me an invaluable perspective that at a personal level I consider to be the key guiding component for the rest of my career. The study materials, knowledge, and skills reflecting the on-ground Global and Public Health realities, alongside the delightful learning environment at the University of Eastern Finland, provided me with a great opportunity to not only enrich and focus on my studies but also find my career meaning through guidance, help, and support from our department.

As an MPH graduate, looking forward to my next career opportunity working with Governmental and Non-Governmental Organizations managing public health-driven interventions to improve health and quality of life in the horn of Africa, at the same time reflecting on the exigency to alleviate and address our current health burden and disparities alongside the growing climate emergency focusing on the most vulnerable amongst us, I am deeply honored to have had this great opportunity to join the University of Eastern Finland and fulfill my dreams by acquiring the updated public health tools and high-quality expertise that should allow me to contribute to fulfilling our greatest quest for providing more equitable, resilience-driven, and sustainable Global and Public Health interventions.  

On a final note, this has been so far the most rewarding and fulfilling decision of my life, and it would be a great honor to further my studies here at our University of Eastern Finland. If you have passion towards Global and Public Health improvement, with a burning desire to acquire more rigorous research-driven skills for more impactful Global and Public Health action to improve not only the conditions but also behaviors that affect health, look no further! You are in the right place. I encourage you and wish you all the best in acquiring the most wonderful and rewarding experience for the next phase of your career, where aside from learning more about yourself, every class and school-based interactions will be a new adventure for your personal, intellectual, and professional growth.

Welcome to our beloved and esteemed University of Eastern Finland.

Saima Thakur

Dreams coming true in Finland: Story of Saima Thakur

UEF has a glorious history of research from the past twentieth century, and it is the most multidisciplinary university in Finland. Currently, I am pursuing my Master’s in Public Health (MPH), which was my dream. I am from Bangladesh, a country in Southern Asia. The journey to Finland was not very smooth during the COVID-19 pandemic, but the warm welcome and support of UEF eased all the hurdles. Now Kuopio has become like my hometown, and I enjoy every bit of life here. I can still remember, before coming here, how I was very worried about the new culture and environment, but now I realise that if you have supportive people around you and prepare properly, there is nothing to worry about.

UEF provides a student tutor for each student, and they provide whatever practical support is necessary. My tutor came to the railway station to meet me, and guided me in how to handle the washing machine, drying room, and so on. Some surprises were still waiting for me. When I entered my apartment, it was full of necessary things, such as food, utensils, and a blanket. Guess who sent them -- our international coordinator.

Attractive campus and support from the staff

The outdoor scenery and internal amenities at UEF are both very impressive. The picturesque view of UEF always provides a kind of mental support. UEF is surrounded by an attractive lake. You can spend time with a laptop beside the lake, with a breathtaking view and no chance of being tense with homework and assignments. You rarely find that something is unavailable inside UEF: the IT service, library, printing facility, restaurant, and even packets of masks are all available.

Furthermore, with Student Union of the University of Eastern Finland (ISYY) membership, students get discounts in restaurants and on bus and train tickets, the cheapest housing facilities, and more. In addition, the Finnish Student Health Service (FSHS) provides health services to all Bachelor’s and Master’s degree students. The support that the student counsellor facilities provide for the mental wellbeing of the students is another strength of UEF, as every student always has someone around them for assistance and guidance.

I have completed my first two semesters online with awesome experiences. The teaching methods of the teachers are very interesting and unique. Each of the teachers has their own teaching style and evaluation technique. The most interesting thing is that not only can you participate in MPH major courses, but you can also join different disciplines as elective subjects, and every course is so interesting that you will have difficulty deciding which ones you will choose or not!

Our department is very rich in both qualitative and quantitative research. The professors offer you the data sets according to your knowledge and interest in quantitative research. From my point of view, this is the most valuable part of the MPH programme, as we all know that data is not an easy matter. For qualitative research, you are the king of your own kingdom, as you can choose your own thesis topic under the guidance of an experienced teacher. Last but not least, this MPH will provide sufficient knowledge with regard to public health challenges, epidemiology, and statistical analysis, which will support our future endeavours.  

For a person who is keen on public health topics and interested in research, this is the perfect place to come. I believe I have found my best option for building my career and academic path by choosing UEF.

Behnam Tajik

MPHN, PhD, Postdoctoral Researcher, Institute of Public Health and Clinical Nutrition, UEF

I found my passion for the career I want to pursue when I was still in high school. I started taking health and nutrition classes my junior year, and that’s when I knew I wanted to pursue a career in the health field and I did my undergraduate degree in Nutrition Sciences in the University of Science and Research, Tehran, Iran. During my bachelor, I gained a basic understanding of the complex and varied nature of public health and nutrition issues affecting people today. Hence, I decided that I wanted to pursue higher study in the public health nutrition field which is how I came across the MPHN program and the UEF had this really fantastic looking program, and I was really excited to do it. So, I applied and got accepted and travelled a long distance to follow my scientific goals at UEF I completed my master’s degree programme in Public Health Nutrition at UEF in late 2015.

During my master’s study, I developed a very big interest in the research in health science. I have gained scientific research skills, including scientific writing and independent data analyses, which helped me a lot during my PhD study and my postdoctoral fellowship. I received my doctoral degree in health science in early 2020 and since that time I have been working as a post-doctoral researcher at the Institute of public health and Clinical nutrition at the University of Eastern Finland working in the area of cardiovascular disease’s prevention.

I think one of the best things about this program is that there is really something for everyone. There is such a board range of specializations or majors that you can do and even border range of subjects to choose from. Another great thing about the MPHN program is the incredible teaching and research teams. They are masters in their fields. During my study at UEF I had a great chance to study and work in a stimulating international environment and interacting with different scientists and international students. Apart from making such great friends during my master study, this program really helped me what I want out of my career and how to make it happen

We all might be regretting some of the mistakes that we’ve made and wanting to turn back the hands of time to do things over again. But honestly, Studying MPHN at the Institute of Public Health and Clinical Nutrition was one of the best decisions that I have made in my life, and I will never regret my decision to study here. this program has provided me with a wealth of professional growth opportunities during my PhD, for example guest lecturing, research experience, and teacher assistant experience, which will definitely help me in my career in future as a researcher and lecturer.

So, to finish up, I believe if you are looking for opportunities to enter public health careers focused on making real differences to people’s life and if you have a passion for public health, this could be the degree for you. So, best of luck for the prospective master’s students in MPHN at our beloved UEF. 

Laura Inglin

Project Researcher, Institute of Public Health and Clinical Nutrition, UEF

The decision to start the MPH (Epidemiology track) at the UEF in Kuopio in 2017 has changed my life in ways I could never have imagined. Initially, it was challenging as I was not used to English medical academic jargon, coming from social- and communication sciences. However, wonderful friends, as well as inspiring mentors, came into my life so that I found support when needed from peers, professors, and study coordinators. The learning atmosphere and exchange were very good, and I learned a lot from my classmates, coming from different cultural and professional backgrounds. 

During my studies, I started working part-time in health services research: as a research assistant for the UEF (research group IMPRO) and occasionally as an individual contractor for the WHO. I enjoy the process of working with complex data - from designing the survey tool and collecting data through the processing of raw data to the analysis and visualization of the results. A few times now, I got the opportunity to share my experience (and enthusiasm) with other students within a UEF course on data management and analysis.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, new possibilities to design my life have opened up. Since fall 2021, I have lived and worked transnationally between Switzerland and Finland. I work part-time for the Swiss Federal Statistical Office, supporting a nationwide survey on the medical ambulatory structure, and part-time in research. As a next step, I would like to enroll in the UEF health sciences doctoral program.

For me the University of Eastern Finland in Kuopio was definitely the right choice, and I highly recommend coming here if you are a fan of nature, sports and cozy studying atmosphere.

Simonetta Zieger

Exchange student Simonetta Zieger