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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 honour 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 honoured 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 honour 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 behaviours 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.

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.

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