Internationally recognized programme
The reputation of the MDP in Photonics of the University of Eastern Finland has travelled far and wide, as Ria first heard about the programme from her professor at the University of Calcutta, India.
– Some of my seniors had already completed their Master’s degree at UEF with flying colours and some were continuing with PhD. I was convinced to apply after hearing only positive things about the innovative teaching methods and the high quality of education that Finland overall is famous for.
Ria’s interest in photonics was sparked during her Bachelor degree studies in Physics. She wanted to continue with physical optics and laser physics.
– I decided to take up B. Tech in Optics and Optoelectronics back in India. This course was an eye-opener for me, clearly pointing out that my real interest lies in photonics, so I’m very happy to be able to pursue my passion at UEF now. During my journey, one of the most important things which I have learnt is that, there is no shame in failing or sometimes not performing the way we want; all what matters is what we learn from those failures and how we make a comeback.
This dedicated spirit can also be seen in Ria’s extracurricular activities. Throughout her studies, Ria has been actively promoting physics and photonics outside university classrooms as well – spreading knowledge and sharing enthusiasm about the subjects among young people.
– I believe that education is one way we can contribute to making our societies better. At the University of Calcutta, I was an active member and president of the Student Chapter of SPIE (International society of optics and photonics). I organised many outreach programmes where our members went to schools and colleges to spread knowledge about optics and photonics in an interesting way - such as letting the students understand science in an easier way through science models.
Her active role continues also at UEF, as she is currently the Student Ambassador of the Photonics programme, taking responsibility for the promotion of the programme.
Thought-provoking teaching methods
As Ria had heard about the programme from her peers, it obviously set the expectations pretty high. However, she says that the study content has exceeded her expectations.
– I especially like the way the education is designed here. It focuses more on visualising what we are studying, in order to build a clear understanding of those facts, and not merely memorising the facts on lessons for passing the exam. I feel that the studies really prepare us to work in a team as well as individually. Moreover, all the students get access to huge collection of resources like books, journals, etc. in the library whenever needed.
The modern teaching methods that emphasise students’ own initiative and responsibility get full support from Ria.
– For instance, in one of the subjects we were given a one-month window in which we got the liberty to select our own examination date, as the professor thought that it is not necessary that everybody does it on the same day. This kind of arrangement makes a student self-motivated. They don’t feel pressured and at the same time they have to make a proper study schedule in order to succeed in the exam.
For Ria, it is relieving to know that help is always at hand when she has any kind of queries.