Within the application period there are two main questions we receive from the potential students: how the application process is organized and how to get a scholarship? This time the answers are provided by Karen, who has the firsthand experience in these matters.
Karen: When I was growing up I always wanted to be an architect. I loved designing houses and imagined myself walking through those houses like they were real. I still love it, actually.
However, things turned around for me and I became a forester. I didn’t really plan it, but people tend to change. My interests and priorities changed. I became obsessed with science and how things work in our environment. Science feels like knowing about something that the others don’t. So when I was in my secondary school and heard about forestry, I knew then that was exactly what I wanted to take up in college.
And now here I am: Bachelor's of Science (BS) in Forestry at the University of the Philippines, who currently studies Master's of Science (MS) in European Forestry at the University of Eastern Finland.
The reasons to apply
I had been searching for the Erasmus Mundus Association scholarship for a Master’s degree programme in forestry ever since I finished my Bachelor's. It was my plan to pursue an international degree because I wanted to learn something new about forestry abroad, and I waited patiently for the right opportunity.
So when I found out that there was a programme related to the European Forestry, I applied for it immediately. Also I think the encouragement of my friend who is currently studying the same programme as I am, motivated me to apply. She said that I just have to submit the required documents and wait for the results.
Highlights of the application process
Then I took a look at the university’s website which offered the scholarships, where I needed to submit all the documents and get accepted before they offered me a scholarship.
I was so thankful that I didn’t miss the deadline, because the late applications are not accepted. I started to collect and prepare all the documents and it took me several months: from the official course transcript and degree certificate, to curriculum vitae and motivation letter. I needed to make sure that I collected all needed enclosures that I must to submit when the application period started.
Since there was no entrance exam, I contributed to my motivation letter, because my friend said that it would be my one and only chance to let the committee know why I wanted to pursue my Master’s degree there and why I was a good candidate. I even searched how to write a motivation letter properly and found out it should be brief, but concise. Yet I realized that it should be honest and genuine because it was about my future.
Finally, I submitted all of my enclosures 2 or 3 days before the deadline since I still had to wait for my college credentials to be delivered and of course, I made a lot of edits in my initial motivation letter. After I submitted everything (that was in January 2018), I got an email confirmation that my application was received and I needed to wait for 2 months to get the results. Now I remember being so nervous 2 weeks before the results been announced because I really wanted to be accepted to this particular programme.
On the 28th of March 2018, I woke up early just to check my email, not even considering the time difference between Finland and the Philippines. My friend said whether I got accepted or not, I would still receive an e-mail, and honestly, I did not know what time that email was supposed to come.
After I got the acceptance letter I had butterflies in my stomach all day long! Soon I received another email from our coordinator, Marjoritta Möttönen, with all the necessary instructions attached, e.g. residence permit application, dormitory application, and other practicalities. The final note included congratulating and a scholarship offer.
It felt so surreal to realize not only that I got accepted, but also been provided with a generous scholarship. It was my huge concern before applying that I wouldn’t be able to afford to study in a foreign country without a scholarship, so I was really thankful that I got it. I replied to the coordinator accepting the offer, of course!
The scholarship structure
My consortium fees were being paid and my travel and installation costs were covered by that scholarship. However, as I did not receive these allowances until the end of August 2018, I had to pay for my residence permit application and my transportation costs by myself.
When I arrived to Finland, I got to open a bank account in Finnish bank, so my scholarships could be transferred there. At the end I did receive my allowance at the date specified without delay, by just providing my bank account details. Aside from these, I also have my monthly allowance to cover my living expenses which is enough to live in Finland as a foreigner. As a bonus, I can visit other countries in Europe!
All things considered, the process was quite easy and everything went very smoothly. Now our group has a very organized coordinator who we can contact whenever we have questions or other concerns. We were also assigned a student tutor who helped us to get settled in the campus and adapt to new culture.
I am surrounded by my crazy, smart and wonderful classmates who now are my friends. I think the changes that happened in my life - the waiting time, the stomach jitters, and other difficulties along the way - are totally worth it. Because now I am doing what I love, learning a lot, meeting new people, experiencing new culture, and collecting amazing memories that I will take wherever I go!
-Karen Mae D. Magtibay, Student Ambassador, MSc European Forestry.
Over 65 Master's degree programmes to choose from
Finland University combines the leading research power of its renown member universities: the University of Eastern Finland, Tampere University, the University of Turku, and the Åbo Akademi University. The member universities offer a wide range of Master’s Degree programmes.
Learn more about the wide selection of programmes and find a suitable programme for you.