Master's in Science, Technology and Engineering – Aalto Open Days 2022
(Amr) Once again, welcome everyone to the session. My name is Amr and I study digital systems and design in the School of Electrical Engineering. And I'll be your host today. So let's get started. Uh, so what you will be expecting today in this webinar is a panel discussion with three of our lovely students, and we will be discussing what it's like to study a master's degree in the fields of science, technology and engineering at Aalto university. And as previously mentioned, you can drop any questions that you have in the Q&A section, and they will be answered at the end of this presentation. And any questions regarding admissions and applying can be answered in tomorrow's webinar by the admissions services. All right, so here are our panelists.
And then if you could introduce yourselves, that would be great. Let's start with Willow. (Willow) Hi. My name is Willow. I'm from Canada. I'm studying at Aalto University and the Biochemical Engineering for Sustainable Bio Economy program. Bio sub for short, it's a joint degree program. So I'm here for a year and I'm in the last year of my Masters. (Amr) Thank you. And Chenyu?
(Chenyu) Hello, everyone. My name is true and I came from China. I'm a second year master student in human computer interaction, and since there's two year program I have already been here for one year Nice to meet you. (Amr) Thank you, And then Simone. (Simone) Yes. Hello, everyone. My name is Simone, I'm from Italy and I'm in my first year of the EIT Urban Mobility Master's School program. It's also double degree program. So I'll be here for one year and then I'll move to another university next year. And I'm in the Sustainable Urban Mobility Transition Track Program.
So nice to meet you all. And I'm part of the School of Engineering, as you can see. (Amr) Thank you very much. So let's now go on to our first theme, studies. So would Willow like to start by telling us what got you to choose Aalto university as your place of study. (Willow) Yeah. So Aalto University was participates in a number of joint degree programs.
Simona also in one and for me I was looking to get a different experience than something that I would have gotten in Canada and from Alberta, which is very. Oil prominent place. So studying chemical engineering, you get one very strong influence of the dominant industry. But then Aalto university also in Finland is is a country that's well recognized for for innovation in the biobased materials space, which is something that has interested me for quite a long time. And so I especially wanted to come here in order to learn more about using forest resources to make materials in a more sustainable way than we currently do. (Amr) Thank you. And then how about Chenyu? Why did you choose Aalto university? (Chenyu) Yeah. I think for me it was very intuitive because I came to Aalto
in 2019 and there's like an activity called Junction 2019. And I went here, I found that it's a pretty beautiful campus here and it's autumn as well and everything is cool. And I want to come here for my master's studies. So I just came here. And also I think human computer interaction is like a top major in our school. So it's nice to be here. (Amr) Yes, that's great.
And finally, Simone what drove you to pick all of the university? (Simone) Yeah. So for me, I did my bachelors in Italy, so in the southern part of Europe, where normally studies are carried out on a theoretical basis, a lot of theory, a lot of lecture and not so much group work. So I wanted kind of a radical change in that I wanted to experience something different and a different type of teaching, different type of learning. And definitely the Nordics kind of represented that change for me.
So I decided to, you know, try a different approach. Also, one thing that I was curious to to experience at Aalto also was also the wellbeing approach and that the focus on well-being aside from just the technical side of things. So engineering in my field is also paired a lot with understanding the human behavior, which is something that is not really addressed in engineering fields in Italy.
Then also, you know, the nature and everything around Finland kind of brings brings me piece and brings a lot of value to my life here. So I really, really enjoy it. I'm glad I came. (Amr) Yeah, that's great. And there are a lot of various kinds of engineering disciplines they can choose or choose from to study as your master's degree at Aalto so that's very great. So what is the best part about studying at Aalto? We know that there are a lot of amazing things about studying here. So if there is one thing that you could pinpoint about being the best part, what would it be? Would Simone like to start? (Simone) Yeah, actually I think so.
For me, it's 100% the community and the benefits that the students get here. I've never been part of such a, you know, tight community that encompasses so many people from so many countries all over the world, which you would not really expect in Finland right? But when I got here, I was mind blown by how there's literally people from every corner of the globe and they all come together. And there's a lot of events, a lot of things happening. And again, the student benefits, which I'm sure we'll cover later, are also great. But definitely the community inside of Otaniemi which is our campus, beautiful campus, is something special that I've been loving since day one, for sure.
(Amr) That's great. And how about Chenyu any details about you part of your experience? (Chenyu) Yes, I totally agree with Simone that in campus we have like really a lot of activities every day. And you can join student communities as you want. There are a lot of them. I have a picture here of the pasta bolognese which is offered
every Wednesday in Täffä. I think it's the same as like student meal in the campus and I really like it. Also, I have met a lot of animals in every day, so it's really cute and really healing for me. (Amr) Yeah, I definitely, definitely agree with this. (Simone) as an Italian, I cannot, but I'll leave you to it. (Amr) All right. So moving on to the next part. What made you want to study your field?
So I see, Willow, you have these pictures on the right side. Would you like to elaborate on those and why you decided to study what you study? (Willow) Yeah, for sure. So I kind of mentioned a little bit in the previous slide, but I'm from a place that's very there's a lot of oil resources. So a lot of our education, a lot of our society is kind of based around, you know, fossil fuels and petrochemicals. And while this was definitely a great technical environment to learn a lot about chemical engineering in, looking forward into the future, I wanted to to tackle something a little bit more future focused and more sustainable. So sustainable energy and sustainable materials is something that's really interested me for a long time, and especially when I learned about the concept of bio economy and biorefinery.
To me that seemed like a really great way to use the chemical engineering foundation I had done for my bachelor's degree in order to further these sustainable development goals. So that's using plant resources, which is another reason that I think I really wanted to come study in Finland, where there's also a lot of knowledge about, about these subjects using these resources to to make the products that we're now currently getting from fossil sources in order to enable more of a circular economy where we can reutilize and integrate more natural resources and sustainable practices into our... into how we fulfill our needs as a society. That's something that really appealed to me, and that's something I wanted to be a part of. And it's also what brought me to (Amr) That's very great to hear. Thank you for sharing. Simone, how about you?
(Simone) So I've always been studying mobility ride the transportation field and moving up things and people. And I've always been fascinated about that world and how, you know, how our world is so interconnected and allows us to kind of make sculptures and of backgrounds all together. But I also have been very passionate about the sustainability aspect, you know, especially in the past few years. I've integrated that into my life more and more. And so my program kind of encompasses both things, right?
So we have sustainability to transportation and also the innovation and entrepreneurship part that is also very valuable to me to to kind of progress forward and try to make sure that we achieve as many sustainability goals as possible. So that is definitely my motivation and my drive run to what I'm studying. (Amr) Thank you so much. We should move to the next slide and here we tell us about what your studies are like. So tell us about how your courses are structured, how your courses are divided throughout the year and such.
So Chenyu Would you like to share? (Chenyu) I think in Aalto the courses are really flexible because you have your major here, of course. And in a major you can choose whatever you want to take. And in my major, there's some course like human computer interaction and also UI construction. If you want to do some machine learning, you can also a choose course related to that.
And other than that, you can also choose minor as you want. So it's really happy for me. And I can take a lot of ARTS courses as well. So basically I have finished my major cause this last year and this year I'm taking my minor. At the same time, I'm doing my master's thesis as well.
So it's quite smooth. (Amr) All right. That's great. Thank you. And how about Willow, how would you describe the structure of your studies? (Willow) So this is the picture here on the slide is one of the picture that I took in my lab classes and I wanted to bring it up because because it's pretty I thought it was quite cool.
And also just to show that we have a lot of components to to our studies here at Aalto, which is something I really enjoy. I think we get a lot of chances to be like hands on in the lab developing skills that we're going to use in our future, future education or future careers. So this is from my class called plant biomass. So looking at the the structure and composition of different, different woods especially. So I'm taking some classes about polymers and fibers mostly specifically like bio components, like biopolymers and polymer synthesis. So that really was my.. I had a little bit less flexibility in choosing my courses because it's a joint program.
So these, this kind of structure was already set out for us about what kind of goals the program had for us, which has been good to have some kind of direction and make sure that we're taking classes that complement each other. That's something I've really enjoyed in the semester at is that we'll learn about one aspect of something in, say, plant biomass and then learn more about that in our cellulose based fibers class. And it really helps to paint a big comprehensive picture of what we're trying to learn about.
So that's something I really enjoyed. (Amr) Thats is very interesting, actually. And also, as Chenyu mentioned, that the studies are very flexible at Aalto I think that is she also took courses in arts, which actually is a topic that comes in the next slide that what kind of multidisciplinary or interdisciplinary opportunities there are in your studies and at Aalto. So I would Simone like to share in what these opportunities are like at Aalto Yeah, absolutely. So one thing that is very unique to Aalto at least compared to my previous experience, is that you can take courses from other schools as well and you can you can try them out, especially in the beginning. It's very, very much recommended. So definitely the opportunity to expand across different subjects is there. In my case, I haven't been able to do that because just like my schedule and my structure is pretty strict in terms of EIT and what the program entails.
But definitely there is an opportunity as far as other kinds of opportunities within, Aalto there are of course a lot of societies and a lot of clubs that allow you to kind of either take seminars or take extracurricular courses that you can implement within your studies. But that is definitely something that I appreciate. And the fact that you take some classes in different buildings and classes in other schools that allows you to kind of mix these disciplines together in and gain from other people who might be in your class that are from a totally different background and, you know, give you their perspective. That comes from a very, very different place than yours, perhaps. (Amr) Yes. Yes, definitely. And the Willow, would you like to add something to that? (Willow) Yeah, for sure. So what I'm studying, which is bio economy and bio refinery, brings together a lot of different scientific disciplines as well as some more economic ones as well and design.
So the figure I made is a three Venn diagram of chemistry, biology and engineering are all kind of big parts of what I'm studying. And actually in reflected in our program, there are people with biology backgrounds, someone with biomedical someone in food science, me in chemical engineering, some other pure chemists. So being in such a multidisciplinary background and working together in a group projects is a really great opportunity to work with people with different skill sets, learn a lot from each other. If I could make if I had enough artistic skills to make this a 3D Venn diagram, I would also add design and economics to this as well because whenever you're designing solutions with the scientific background to then make something work for technology, you also have to consider elements of esthetics and also economics.
And these are things that we get to learn about here at and especially when it's when it comes to the interface between these subjects, which is something that's been really interesting as well, because a lot of time to learn about you learn about art or you learn about chemistry, but you don't necessarily learn about how you can combine chemistry and art like they do and there's a minor program, ChemArts that also has both of those components. So I think that's really unique and it's something I've never seen before that in the other universities I've been at. (Amr) Yes, yes, definitely. And in addition to multidisciplinary opportunities within the studies, there's also outside of the studies like cross-disciplinary, where we have something called the design factory, where people from all disciplines, from arts, business or engineering can go there and work together to create solutions to modern day problems, whether it's just debating or designing something. And everyone is gathered together to work together and actually learn from each other. So I think that's something very unique to Aalto University and something to keep in mind.
Thank you, everyone, for sharing. And now here is a picture, a screenshot of Simmone's course load. So would you like to start by sharing what to tell us about what it is like, what your courses are like, and how heavy it is? (Simone) Absolutely. So this picture, it's I agree that it's pretty bland, but to me, it represents perhaps the biggest contrast to what education I was used to having. Because if you look at this plan, you would think that we're not doing anything really. We have a couple of hours on Monday and Tuesday, Fridays off. And basically that's that's it. But this this represents the again, the main difference for me, because in my program,
we have about 80% of the work is done at home and in group work. Right. So that is how my program is structured. And so this means that those first hours on Monday we wake up and we meet our group. So I work on my own assignments and the same goes for Tuesday and Wednesday and then Thursday. And then Friday is of course, another study day. So if we were, for example, in Italy, in my case, this would be a totally filled schedule, totally packed with lectures.
Here its totally different. And I think this this is what I was looking forward to and this is what I came here for. Being able to to get some guidance during the lectures and get some theories that are going to be useful for your work, but then apply that on your own. So for example, today, to give you an example, I woke up early this morning because one of our assignment was going into the city center of Helsinki and observe E-Scooters and how they move around and get some data from that.
So I dedicated 2 hours of that in the city center of Helsinki. So no lecture time, right? I was on my own in the city with another student and we were just getting data, observing people, observing how transportation works, observing how things are. And this is what I really do appreciate. And and of course the course-load In this picture looks like it's very minimal, but it is very productive and very still very, you know, pretty heavy coursework, if you if you will.
But it's very, very structured in a different way than what I was used to. And what I feel like most other places are used to. And that is something I'm happy to to have and experience. Thank you very much for your input. And Chenyu, would you like to add on to how many credits is usually in one course and how many courses usually take for a period? Perhaps mention how many periods we have per study year.
(Chenyu) Oh, yeah, of course. I think normally we have five credits for each course and for some course it can be three, credits or more than that, like even 12 credits as I have seen, so it's the biggest the course that I think. And for I think for each semester, like 30 credits should be taken. As I remember correctly and for each semester there is two semesters, autumn semester and spring semester.
And for I think now I have taken already 75 credits. So it's time for me to start the master's thesis as well as other courses. (Amr) Yeah. All right, so, like five periods altogether in one year. (Chenyu) Yeah. (Amr) And, uh, let us move to the next section where we see Chenyu's schedule on the right. And it's basically a typical day of an niversity student.
And Chenyu would you like to elaborate on your schedule? (Chenyu) Oh, yeah. I think that's actually a minor mistake. This lecture normally starts at 10 Okay. So this is fine. Yeah, I think I really wake up at 8, sometimes a little bit late, because sometimes you can have breakfast very quickly. As Simon mentioned, the lecture won't last for so long. And we have tutoring early in the afternoon, so. Is for group work and for lunch. We normally have lunch with our classmates on campus, that's quite nice.
And I think there is also one restaurant open in Abloc, so you can also take dinner there. The rest you can arrange yourself, so it's quite nice. (Amr) Thank you. And yeah, of course, like a lot of students, schedules can vary. But it's nice to see like, for example, in Chenyu's schedule that she has also extracurricular activities and that's where Aalto offers, a lot of sports activities, opportunities and clubs and associations which we will get to in student life when we talk about it soon. So the next section, next theme that we'll be talking about is the campus. So you can see a picture of our lovely campus and it is surrounded by nature and many trees and we even have a lake goes to our campus under the building, the main building we have our own metro station, which is easy to use.
And you can get to the Helsinki City Center in just 10 minutes. So it's definitely a mix between nature and the city life and that's what's great about So I would Willow like to start by telling us about what the campus is like, for example, the size, the facilities. (Willow) Yes, the campus is pretty big, but I think most of the most of everything's quite walkable.
So I live on one of the student residences and it takes me about 18 minutes to get to my class and I know exactly how late I can leave and still be there on time so I can sleep in as much as I can in the morning. But the campus, everything is quite new and so the facilities are really nice. The, the infrastructure is quite pretty and a lot of the buildings have a really nice common theme to it. That's one thing that really struck me when I came here is that everything goes nicely together because it's all around the same time and like a similar design style.
And there's a lot of nature that's kind of the biggest thing around here. I mean, I, when I walk to to my classes, I can either take the fastest route or I can take about one extra minute if I have some time, and then walk right along the water through all the trees and everything to get to my classes. And I think that's really beautiful.
It's one of my favorite things about being here is how we're constantly surrounded by nature and trees and we're right next to the water. You know, it's it feels like being on like a beach vacation all the time without the warm temperatures that more or less it's like taking nature hikes, like just to get to your classes. I think that's beautiful. But of course, there's also (...) and everything and you can cycle around everywhere. I personally walk more than cycle, but it's very accessible for, you know, for whatever your preferred mode of transport is. I think it's very walkable and yeah, I really like the campus. That's one thing that impressed me a lot when I got here about a month ago.
(Amr) Yes, definitely. So you can get like best of both worlds. (Willow) For sure. It feels like you get all the best parts of being in the wilderness, but also everything's nicely developed and it's convenient. (Amr) Yes, that's great. Thank you Willow for sharing. We have to move to the next slide. Simone, can you tell us about your favorite thing about the campus? (Simone) You hear me now? Yeah, yeah, yeah. Well, I definitely agree with Willow that the nature is definitely the number one part
even for me. I don't live on campus. I have to travel or commute to campus from from the city. But definitely also all the services that are provided on campus from food to to, you know, the gyms to all the various saunas that are present on campus. And, you know, everything is very much stimulating or motivating. And they kind of motivate you to do your studies and to learning and to developing yourself professionally and and personally. For example, for us, for EIT we have our own building where we can go to and and kind of work together.
So all these different facilities are definitely the number one thing for me in terms of feeling part of something like a university that supports your learning and that pushes you forward and into your studies, into your, you know, educational career. And also, as you can see in the picture, the robots are also like another cool part of the campus. (Amr) Would you like to mention what they do? (Simone) Yeah, sure. So these are Starship robots, and they are used by one of the supermarkets or grocery stores on campus, and they basically deliver food and groceries to students on campus. Of course, there are also in other parts of the city, but Otaniemi which is where the campus is one of the more iconic places.
And when you walk to class or you move around campus, you definitely see them roaming around. And they also like they kind of become like part of the environment. They also can almost become like human beings that you can live with to a certain degree. And so they definitely make the campus more lively.
(Amr) Yeah. Yeah, definitely. And there's this tradition where when you see one, you have to like pat it. So it's nice. And there are a lot of lovely things about the campus. And one thing that really stands out to me is the architecture. How Aalto University has managed to, even with its new buildings, they've managed to maintain the same concept as, uh, our architect, Alvar Aalto, when he built the university campus in the beginning, they've managed to keep the same design pretty much so that's why I think it makes niversity really nice and unique. So the next theme of our webinar is housing and student benefits.
Something to point out, very nice thing to point out is that students in Finland do receive a lot of benefits from the state and the first thing about the student benefits is of course student housing. Would Willow like to talk about the kinds of housing options that are offered to students. (Willow) Yeah for sure. So there's two main providers of student housing.
One is the HOAS and that provides housing in the Helsinki area. So I know a little bit less about that and more about AYY, which is the student union because I live with the student union and in their housing. The little picture is of my breakfast the other day on my balcony, and I included that because I've never seen student housing that has balconies before, that was something that really shocked me. I've lived in a lot of student housing and this is by far the best, by far the nicest and the least expensive as well. So it's like perfect. For student housing is something that's really,
really nice here and that's something I didn't expect to know when I first came. Right now I'm at home and looking out my window and I see two beautiful trees around me and my balcony and it's really great. I can drink my coffee on the balcony every day and it's nice student student pricing. And we do one big application for student housing for each of the associations and then they you choose which places you would want to live and then based on their availability, they will come back to you with an offer. So you define your budget, you define where you want to live. Other things, like if you need a wheelchair accessibility, you can check that off on your on your application and they'll find something that works for you.
Yeah, it's quite an easy process. It does take a little bit of time and so you have to be a little bit patient. But yeah, it's, it's quite simple and I can only speak to what the ones that I'm in and the ones that my friends have been, but they're all nice options and they're really, really reasonably priced. (Amr) Yeah. Yeah, definitely. And one thing to point out is that for international students, if you are in AYY and HOAS when you are applying for housing and you come from abroad or come from a different city and you are in need of a place to stay, then they do have this priority system where they put you in priority. So basically you are more likely to get the apartment first before any other students since you are more in need, than the other ones, other domestic ones, for example. So that's something to point out. And Chenyu, would you like to briefly tell us about the kind of apartments there are on campus?
Are there a lot of apartment options, housing options around campus and outside as well? (Chenyu) Well, yes. Yeah, of course, there are actually a lot of apartments in campus because I live in AYY area and I know all my friends live here. So they offer a lot of programs for international students. That's true. And then you can choose if you want to live with your friends, you can apply for friend apartments as well. Then you two can live in one apartment where you can share your kitchen or a common area.
And if you want to live independently, you can apply for single room apartment or studio apartment. But studio I think is hard to get in. Yeah, I think that the priority works for shared apartments. For studio apartments, there's no prioritizing. But it's nice that when you are living in a single apartment that you also have a lot of like neighbors here
that you can share the community room and you can talk with each other because you are from different cultures. In the same time. So it's nice. (Amr) Yes. Yes, definitely. Thank you very much for your input. Um, the next question is, is it easy to get to campus?
There are, of course, students living outside of campus. So, um, Simone, would you like to tell us about the experience of getting in? Getting to campus is it easy and, um, how long does it usually take and so on? (Simone) Yeah, absolutely. As a transportation engineer, this is definitely, you know, one of the topics that I do appreciate. And I've been very impressed with the transit system here in Helsinki. I live in the Helsinki City area, but towards the side of campus.
And so that's about four stops away by Metro. And that takes me by the time I get out of my apartment to the station, onto the metro, and then out of the station to class, takes me between 20 to 25 minutes. But I also recently started biking to, um, to class and that takes me also about 25 to 30 minutes as well. The bike infrastructure is pretty, is pretty good. I'm waiting to see how the winter will be, but I'm definitely very happy with it. And the commute is very, very easy. And I also have been impressed with the frequency that, for example,
the Metro comes out of the tram system as well as there are trains every 3 to 4 minutes at rush hours and trains as well as for students. You also get a discount on HSL monthly ticket or monthly pass, which is €35 or 35, €36, while normally I believe it's around 70. So it's it's quite a big discount and it's a pretty good benefit to have on that side as well. So definitely for some place are a bit more hard to reach and everything. But most likely there is a transit going to and from campus and they will take you there fairly easily and in a decent amount of time. (Amr) Yeah. Yeah, definitely. And the HSL I think you get 45% discount.
That's precisely the amount of discount that students get. And it is great that like Aalto is like accommodating all kinds of transportation from metro to bike routes like you mentioned. And we're getting a tram system working already in next year like 2023. So that's amazing. So the campus is very easy to get to in general. And what kind of students benefits are there in terms of, for example, when you have the student card. What kind of discounts do you get? Willow, would you like to talk about that? (Willow) Yeah. So the biggest one is the student meals, at least for me, and also the transit with the student card on the the Frank app,
which is the app that we have our student card on and also gives you discounts. We get very, very subsidized meals. So it's actually quite, quite cheap to eat compared to going outside and cooking your own food. There's also different stores around have discounts for students. And on the Frank app, you have promos and notifications based on what the the deals are in your area.
I haven't used it quite as much because I like to eat on campus. It's quite good and it's really cheap. So and as for shopping, we have an on campus like buy and sell a group of people will sell the things, for example, if they're moving out or if they want to sell some things. So actually, I think I do more, I guess kind of second hand buy and sell shopping around campus than I do like buying new things. But there's also discounts from like home goods to clothing, all that stuff. So there's most things you could probably find student discounts on. (Amr) Yes, definitely.
And when you start your studies, you pay a certain fee that is actually quite cheap, over €30 per semester to AYY the student union. And then you can use all kinds of facilities offered by AYY for free and they offer a lot of things, for example, saunas, common rooms to renting a van or and even more. And also one of the key student benefits here that when perhaps highlighted was the Finnish student health service, which is free health service to students only if you when you pay a certain fee, I think also €30 per semester. (Simone) Yeah, I can I can add to that if you want to because there has recently been a change actually for European Union citizens. If you have social security through the European Union, that fee is now not mandatory to be paid.
And so you basically just have to prove that you have a social security card and you have free health care here. So, for example, the dentist is free and and which was pretty mindblowing to me when I heard that. But yeah, definitely a great thing that there was a recent change that just happened so I want to highlight that for the European people and audience.
(Amr) Yes. Thank you so much, Simone, for correcting. And yes, so that what Simone just said, it really does show how nice the benefits are in Finland. So moving on to our next theme, our career opportunities. I feel like this is a really key topic for master's studies. So would Simone like to start by talking about the possibilities of combining work during studies.
(Simone) Yeah, definitely. I've been very impressed to hear that basically most of the students here, at least the Finnish ones, actually do work and some of them even full time. So definitely it is a possibility. Me, myself, we work here at Aalto for the Aalto squad and also having another part time job. Of course, the more flexible the job is, the better in the sense that you can, you know, fit that into your schedule a bit more.
But definitely part time job is very doable, sometimes even full time from what I hear. So if you're interested in doing that, um, I would say that maybe it takes a bit more organization and planning, but definitely very much doable. (Amr) Yes. Thank you. And Chenyu would you like to add anything on top of what Simone just said? For example, where can you find such job that you can, for example, combine with your studies? Can you find jobs at the university, for example? (Chenyu) Uh, yes, actually, we have a website called Aalto WorkDay, and I think there are a lot of job opportunities there. For international and Aalto students.
And you can find... a lot of opportunities there because I found an internship there. And I think for internship as international students, you can do it full time. But when your studies start, you can do like 30 hours per week. That's the limit for international students, but it's totally fine for me. So I think it's nice. And also when you're doing a master's thesis, you can seek for opportunities in companies and they also pay for the pay for students.
(Amr) Thank you very much. And actually, in compliment to this question, what kind of career opportunities are offered after graduation and actually during studies as well? Would Willow like to start? (Willow) Yeah. So around Finland, Aalto University has a lot of partnerships with different industry partners. So for example, if you want to go, for example, like a summer job with a prof, they might have partnerships with with someone, one of the companies in the industry.
So you can get a chance to see what kind of projects are out there and maybe look at where you might want to work in the future. Personally, I'm looking to do a Ph.D. when I finish my master's, so that's kind of the main direction that I'm that I'm looking. And then in the future, look in research and development for the kind of biotechnology solutions that I'm studying. But there's a lot of groups, for example, the startup sauna and AaltoES that give students more of an insight into what kind of what career options are out there and help prepare you for your future career when you finish your studies.
Yeah, I think there's a lot of opportunities to learn about how to make yourself more employable and to connect you with the first jobs that you're going to be looking for after your graduation. (Amr) And are there fairs provided by the university or are they are there like companies that come and introduce themselves to a lot? (Willow) Yeah, definitely. So in my time here, I've been to a conference and one or two fairs where I've met a couple people from from industry and also from from TEK, which is like a almost like a union, like for protection of the engineers at least is how the context that I saw from about what your workplace rates should be even when it comes to things like they would review your internship contracts or your job contracts to make sure that you're getting a good deal and they can help you out with all of those things. So that's a really helpful resource that that is present on campus. (Amr) Thank you very much. And Simone, would you like to add on top of that anything, for example, what life after graduation looks like, as a fresh graduate.
(Simone) Absolutely. So kind of to draw on Willows point about AaltoES Yes, which is Aalto entrepreneurship society. Aalto pushes a lot on innovation and entrepreneurship. So definitely the startup world, if you're interested into that there is very, very big in and motivating ecosystem here. A lot of big companies came out of and still are coming. So definitely that is one path. But otherwise also to to your point, there are a lot of events that are sponsored by companies.
For example, I just came off of an event, I went up to northern Finland in Oulu it was sponsored by Ramboll and all students in the transportation engineering field went up for free. So these are opportunities that are offered to students here and that kind of allow you to dip your toes in different fields, in different environments and see what fits best for you. And definitely a lot of internship opportunities can come out of here by talking to your professors as well.
The relationship with professors is much more or is much closer than than what I was used to. So definitely professors are a great resource for that as they're connected, of course, to the, to the industrial ecosystem, to the to the environment, to the work environment around Finland. So they're also a precious resource indeed.
(Amr) Yes, definitely. And Aalto is known for its active recruitment from companies and really good employability rates after graduation. And it's also good to mention that there are a lot of clubs and associations that are kind of like themed around helping you boost your career after graduation or even during your studies. Like Willow and Simone mentioned, AaltoES which is the Aalto entrepreneurship society, which is where you can actually like apply your skills and knowledge that you learned during your studies and can even boost your career and entrepreneurship in the future. So there are a lot of clubs and societies that are focused around your field of study and how to kind of like kind of boost your career in that field after graduation.
All right. Thank you very much, guys. Now we move on to a really exciting theme, the student life, as you can see on the right, maybe some of the participants aren't familiar with what we call overalls. So what these two characters are wearing. But our lovely panelists will get into explaining more of that in the next slide. So, Willow, would you like to talk about what Finnish student culture is like and perhaps enlighten us about what overalls are? (Willow) So I think in this picture you can see the lecture hall from our first day. You see people wearing different colored overalls. And that is something a tradition that I think most students at Aalto are part of where
every school will have different overalls that represent the students from their school. So, for example, a school of chemical engineering and their blue the school of engineering is pink. Simone is in it. And so all of these different schools have different colors, overalls that a lot of students will wear around to their classes, but especially for these kinds of events where they kind of show their their school spirit. And you can see a lot of maybe if you can see closely, you can see patches on the overalls that people can see from the different events that they go to, the different groups they're a part of that show, you know, a little bit about what they enjoy, what they like, and how how much they appreciate the student community, which I think is really great. And I've been to, I think the fourth university I've been to, and I was very surprised at how many students were involved with all the activities.
There's lots of student activities, whether it be trips or parties or group dinners or, more career kind of focused, serious things as well. It's not just about the parties. And and it was very pleasantly surprising to me how many people were participating in this and even such that some of them are the the tickets are so in demand that people will, like line up for a really long time outside of the ticket sales booths. I did that actually for for this cruise that the Aalto students are going on. And at the end of November, I camped out overnight in a tent so that I could make sure I got tickets.
And yeah, it's, it's there's a lot of events going on and everyone's very enthusiastic about it. And I think that's really great. And the overalls are also like a fun visual representation of that as well. (Amr) Yeah, yeah, definitely. And there is always something going on. Like every day you'll find something. It's just like a matter of balancing your studies with the social part. (Willow) can I add something else sorry I forgot io there's a lot of events, but there's also a lot of student groups. So I'm personally I'm involved in an orchestra and I'm also doing a dance group that's through student student clubs and organizations.
And so this is something that also you have chances to learn a new skill, meet other people who are interested in what you're interested in. I get to play the trumpet for quite a while, but of course, as an international student moving around, you don't really get to bring your instrument with you and everything. So but there's opportunities to get involved and whatever your hobbies are and have fun with it and meet other people that like the same thing.
(Amr) Yeah. Thank you. Thank you so much for your input Willow, and Chenyu would you like to add on top of that about your experience in the Finnish student culture and in this student life, especially if you could talk about the types of associations and clubs varying from, you know, field specific or just chilling, you know, having fun. (Chenyu) Yes. I think as my experience, I joined Junction. For this year. And I think it's really nice to be a part of Junction because we have a lot of
internal expertize as well as like (...) people during the orientationweek. Like we have a huge... I would say fair for everyone like new students and you can eat hot dogs there and meet others in the campus. So it's really nice. And for school of science it's just shining black. And I really love collecting patches from every event. So it's really nice.
And for clubs I don have any memories because I just live near Smökki ,and Smökki is the biggest student club in the campus. And I can hear like every night. There is a lot of events there and I have been there once. It's really cool to have a place like that. (Omar) Yes, yes, definitely. And it's kind of like common room to rent, to host events and stuff. Simone, do you have anything to add about your student life experience? Well, I mean, I definitely agree with everything that was said. I really enjoy going to at least one or two events slash talks that are presented each week by various clubs.
But otherwise, yeah, I mean, not much to add to what was said, other than I'm waiting for my overalls impatiently here and I can't wait to to wear them and try them on and kind of be part of the the teekkari culture. And then also, as you can see, some students are wearing hats, the teekkari hat, which is very typical. And that kind of symbolizes the community here. And it's a hat that can only be worn in a certain period of year from sometime in spring and until... well, last week, I think, was the celebration when all the teekkari hats were taken off by all the students and said no one can wear them until I believe it's May. And you can also get them only if you achieve if you do certain activities and if you complete certain tasks. So that kind of builds into that the community feeling that we said earlier.
And so that is definitely something I've enjoyed being a part of. (Amr) Yes. Thank you very much. Definitely, sewing patches on the overalls is a nice way to like basically tell your story because from every event you get a patch that you go to. So it's kind of like telling your story about where you've been and so on.
So Finnish student culture is very unique and it's very nice. So Chenyu, would you like to tell us about what you like to do in your free time? (Chenyu) Oh, yes. I think one of my favorite activities is to go to a lot of museums in Helsinki because you can apply for a museum card here, just cost €75 per year or something and you're entitled for free entrance for almost all of the museums in Finland. So it's really nice. And one of the most famous is the Amos Rex, which is located near to Kamppi I think.
And also I love the Botanic Gardens in Helsinki. Other than that, I will go for a trip near things like Sweden as well as some places in the Central Europe. It's really nice too. (Amr) And Helsinki does offer a lot of activity, even just around campus itself. There are so many activities that you can do.
Uh, we have to ramp up a bit, so we have a bit more time for the Q&A session, but we'll move to the last theme, which is Aalto community. And Aalto community is very diverse and multidisciplinary, and we're actually one of the most international universities in the world. So do keep in mind that when considering applying to Aalto. Would you like to tell us Willow about how you were welcomed to the Aalto community? How easy was it to integrate into the Aalto community and just the Helsinki,Espoo city. (Willow) It was a lot easier than I thought it would be. And I'm very happy about that because I think sometimes as an international student or an exchange student, you have a little bit that international student bubble or the exchange student bubble, I've experienced this in some previous experiences where you don't actually really get to meet the other students very much, or like you only actually go to international or exchange events.
But that has not been the case here at all. There's actually a lot of a lot of events where I've been able to meet different people studying different things, whether they be Finnish people or people from all over. And I think part of the reason is because Aalto is so international, as a university and as someone who doesn't speak Finnish, I mean, a lot of the events are held in English, which is really helps you to feel welcome especially all the signs have also had English on them and little things like that.
It means you always know where you're going and it can be really helpful for for getting into the campus and also especially the student life because there's such a large International population here. I've never really felt that I couldn't do something or I hadn't been here long enough to do something. I've been really been encouraged to to participate in, you know, different traditions, going to saunas and everything that was different from how it was from my home country, I was kind of encouraged to come with the locals and participate in this kind of... whether it be student events or just generally, I guess, cultural traditions, which has been really, really nice. (Amr) That's really nice. And how about Simone? Would you like to tell us about how you were welcomed for example? What kind of events were hosted for international students and so on? (Simone) Of course. So I arrived right before the beginning of orientation week, which is the first week basically of the year where there are no lectures.
But students are introduced to the structure of the school, of the university. So every student is part of a guild, and I'm a part of the Guild of (...) Engineers. So each guild basically as their own room, they have their own captain, their own tutors. And that has been really, really helpful in introducing me to the entire community because I have my own tutor.
I have a tutor group that we do a few things with. We did a campus tour in the first few days. We were introduced to the different activities. We had a guild activity, went to the sauna together. So all these things kind of introduced us to how things work here. Then if you're a part of, you know, different programs, for example, for EIT we have our own sub community.
Let's say that it was also very, very helpful. But also, you know, if you are interested in different activities and different, you know, hobbies and different things, there are again, a lot of clubs that would allow you to kind of get integrated more and more and meet new people here and there. But definitely the guilds for me were the number one, let's say, waypoint to to be welcomed to the community.
(Amr) Yeah, definitely. And there are so many kinds of events that are hosted that are held for especially like first year students, whether it's masters or bachelors. Those trips like I had a trip to this camp place where I think it's a good idea to like put everyone together and then you're kind of like forced to know each other. And then there are like, you know, activities where you get to know different kinds of people from your guild. And I think that's a really nice thing. There are always events going on and you always get to know new people every time you go to the events. So it's just Aalto is this one big lovely bubble and everyone just seems to be comfortable around each other and know each other.
So that's a great thing. And what is it like to be an international student at Aalto? Chenyu would you like to add on to that? (Chenyu) Yeah. I think what it's like to be an international student at Aalto. I think at first it's nice to meet other international students here as well. And also, there are a lot of Finnish students in our class. And actually for each course you meet new people. So it's not so difficult to make friends here because like you are doing assignments together, you are doing group work together and you can have lunch together.
So I think it's really happy to be an international student, at Aalto, I didn't feel any difficulties like living here or making friends here. (Amr) Yes. Yes, that's really great. And Simone, do you have similar experiences? And would you like to add on to that about your experiences as an international student at Aalto (Simone) Yeah, for sure. So as I said,
I've been very impressed by how there are people literally from every corner of the world here you can see a picture of the Espoo Ranta marathon that went on a couple of weeks ago that I went with with other international students. And basically every single person in that picture is from a different country. And that is, you know, one of the most beautiful things, I think an education to to be able to experience that, to have people literally from every corner of the world at one time was reflecting on that. I went climbing with with that group of people, and it was one Italian, one Chinese, one Canadian and one Mexican.
And I don't think I've ever had that the experience of having people from such different parts of the world and such a even small group. Right. So you don't even need like a huge sample to be able to experience that. It's just even the smallest group can can encompass so much and so much cultural richness that is that I think is beautiful. And also if you are a part of such a community, I think you feel much more welcome and you feel not alone, of course, because if are only one of a few, of course you come to Finland and you feel a bit excluded.
Maybe you don't feel like you fit in. But here in Aalto there is no one culture that is prevalent, it's all, I would say, you know, pretty balanced in that in that sense. And even the Finns are, you know, maybe they're a bit more they tend to be a bit more shy, but they're definitely worth being included in your in the international group because they're the (...) who want to experience that internationally. And they also have a lot to share from from their own culture. And so don't be overwhelmed, let's say, by the internationality or don't don't put your focus only there but experience the Finnish culture as well because that is also international too. Like you're in Finland, but Finland is still a new country and there's a lot to learn and there's a lot to learn from their culture and a lot of different things here to experience. Indeed.
(Amr) Yeah, yeah, definitely. And yeah, there is like that known stereotype about a common Finn but at Aalto like Willow mentioned that international students don't always have their own bubble. Rather, it's just everyone is included in everything and domestic students are combined with internationals, everyone talks with each other and everyone wants to communicate and network, and I think one of the biggest, like the best things about at Aalto and network networking is amazing here that everyone just wants to know someone new and the socializing is like very easy, I'd say in Aalto. And that's what makes Aalto university very international and like a very good place to study and have friends, of course. Um, let's, uh. Okay. So here, of course, the Finnish language is new to international students. So would Willow like to talk about whether it's possible to survive without knowing any Finnish and studying in Finland.
And what are your experiences? (Willow) Yeah. I'm learning Finnish, I'm taking a class, but I'm really, really basic. So in terms of navigating like social situations or even like buying groceries, it's still I'm still relying on English almost all the time.
And it's definitely possible, especially around the student community, everything is almost mostly majority in English, but as you venture out of campus and into Helsinki, Finnish becomes the language of majority. But everyone also speaks English and is pretty happy to help you out if they need help reading something or like asking for directions and everything. Definitely possible to survive without knowing Finnish.
I think it's nice to to try. I think people are happy if you make an effort and a couple of things so thank you and Finnish but yeah it's definitely possible to survive. So you never really need to feel like there's a barrier to getting involved in things because you don't speak Finnish. (Amr) And a lot of events in Aalto university, whether it's academic or just parties, they always have things in English, in both languages, even in Swedish, because Swedish is the second national language in Finland. But yeah, like everywhere you go you will have an English translation somewhere and someone will be able to translate anything to you and communicate.
So that's what's great. Thank you very much for sharing your experience. And now we move on to the Q & A session. So the participants have sent us a few questions and you lovely panelists get to answer them. So the first question we have here is what is the price range for the housing and shared apartments? Would we have our own room and bathroom.
Does someone have an answer? (Simone) So from from what I know, from my experience, the shared apartments range from €230ish euros all the way up to 450 to 500 for a share at least at least for AYY and HOAS. I'm a bit more on the higher range of that, so it depends kind of on the location. But I think on campus it tends to be a bit cheaper for shared apartments as well. There are also different kinds of shared apartments.
So for example, in mine I have my own room and I have a fridge inside my room, but then the bathrooms are shared, so I share. We have a bathroom and a half or one and a half bathrooms, as they say that I share with two other flatmates. But also on campus there are some apartments that I know have a room, a private bathroom, a private fridge. But then the kitchen area is shared and you share that with about 9 to 10 people, from what I hear. So that is definitely another option and those tend to be a bit cheaper, I think, because of that commonality with a lot of other, other people and other flatmates. But I would say between 200-500 euro range and that should include most of them, I would say.
(Amr) Yeah, yeah, definitely in the housing, there are a lot of room options you can choose from that. Um, it's common in the US dorms for example you and this other person would stay in the same room by, say, uh, they exist in Finland, but it's very uncommon. Usually a shared apartment means that you have your own room, but you are in the same big apartment as other people. There are just other rooms right next to you and you just share.
And like Simone said, a bathroom or a kitchen, depending on the outline does. (Willow) Maybe I'll maybe just jump in with my experience. So I live on campus, I really like the location, but I'm definitely in the lower end of that price range of my rent. I don't know if I should say numbers, but it's like 270 a month, which is not very much actually the least I have paid in any of the countries I've lived in. And I have, I applied with my friends. So we have our own room.
We share a kitchen. There's like there's even an oven. I've never seen a student residence with an oven before. I love my apartment. There's you know, there's a full fridge. There's like a stove, sink, oven. Normal kitchen and then we share a bathroom. So that's really been great. I mean, it's, it's inexpensive, it's close to campus and you're only sharing with one person. So last semester I did have a residence experience where I shared with 60 people for the kitchen in the bathroom, which was something and sharing with only one other person was really nice. (Amr) Yeah. Thank you for sharing your experience as well.
Let's move on to the next question. What is the average age of the Masters class at Aalto? I have more than 12 years of