“The support from my university has been the biggest highlight for me when studying at the University of Helsinki”

This time we talked with Esther Veas, a Spanish 21-year-old Master’s programme student at the University of Helsinki, and found out what are the best things about studying here. Esther also revealed us her opinions about Finnish food.

Where are you from and why did you choose to come to Helsinki for studying?

I am originally from Northern Spain. I studied a BA in Media Studies in the United Kingdom, so continuing my studies abroad was something I had no questions about. Coming to Finland had been on the back of my mind since before I studied my bachelor’s; I really wanted to experience the Finnish culture first-hand. However, the lack of English-language programmes in my field discouraged me from doing it at the time. Therefore, Finland was one of my main destinations when researching for English-language master’s programmes, and Helsinki University stood out particularly because of its International Master’s programmes.

What do you study at the Uni Helsinki?

I study Media and Global Communication (new programme: Global politics and communication), which is an International Master’s Programme offered by the Faculty of Social Sciences.

Do you study the Finnish language? Why?

I do! I love Finnish. I used to study German before but I switched it to Finnish. It is extremely mind-boggling at times, but it is so beautiful and, most of the time, rather logical too! I started studying Finnish on my own first, so I’m quite happy that I was able to find a class that suited my schedule this semester.

In your opinion, what are the best things about the Uni Helsinki?

The first thing is definitely the flexibility: there is no set amount of credits to complete each semester; you can take it as easy or as hard as you need depending on how much time is at your disposal. I also think the variety of student organisation is a great asset; there is something for every taste, and there is almost always something going on! Finally, the support has also been a highlight for me. In my case, I need to write a Master’s thesis by the end of my programme, and we get help with it in nearly every aspect, be it in Master’s seminars or Methodology classes. It’s great!

You mentioned the student organisations. Have you taken part to your student association's happenings?

Quite so! I am a Deputy Board Member in CISSI, the Organization for International Social Scientists, and I was also recently elected Treasurer at my choir, the university’s Akateeminen Laulu. It will be a busy year but I’m looking forward to it!

Are you also working while studying?

I am not at the moment, but I hope to find an internship or a summer job, especially if they are relevant to my degree and career ambitions. Right now I volunteer as a Student Ambassador and I am also a Language Assistant for Spanish at the University’s Language Centre.

What do you want to become when you graduate? Do you have a dream profession?

My goal is to work in the public relations or communications sector, preferably in a company that is multilingual and would allow me to use my languages in day-to-day tasks.

Your thoughts about Finnish food? What's your favourite Finnish dish?

In general, I am a fan of Finnish food. I love karjalanpiirakat, I could eat them all day every day without getting tired. Leipäjuusto was also one of my absolute favourites before I went vegan. Salmiakki is definitely not for me, though!

My favourite restaurant in Helsinki is Sandro in Kallio. I’m delighted that it’s so easy to find restaurants that serve vegan food in Helsinki.

What's the funniest thing you've bumped into in Finland or the Finnish people? (culture related)

For some reason, the first thing that came to my mind was the tendency to make Finnish-language covers out of every possible song is hilarious. I got a “Beatles in Finnish” CD for my birthday a few years ago and it’s hilarious; there's even a Finnish version of “YMCA”. Queuing and number-dispensing machines at every possible opportunity is also rather funny.

Finally, could you imagine staying in Helsinki (or somewhere else in Finland) after finishing your studies?

I do! It’s funny, because I used to really dislike Helsinki before I moved here; I much preferred the Finnish countryside. However, after moving here, I honestly can’t see myself living anywhere else! I’ve also met some lovely people so it would make it all the more easy. I really hope I will be able to start my career in Helsinki or nearby after I finish my master’s.

Thanks for the talk Esther!