The choice to study a Master's Degree programme abroad is not the easiest one for a student. But it might be even more difficult for their parents! 

I knew from a young age that I wanted to go abroad someday. I enjoy meeting new people, being in new environments, and learning about new things, just like my mom.

Li-Hsin Chang

When I was in junior high school, my mom borrowed a book about Finnish education from her school library. The book was written by Yolanda Chen, a Taiwanese author who had lived in Finland for six years. In the book she introduces some differences in mind-set in terms of education between the Taiwanese and Finnish systems. For example, the objective of tests and exams was explored. Yolanda points out that in Finland assessments are for students to know what to improve on, instead of being something that are used to scold students. I liked the mind-set presented in the book and became interested in the Finnish educational system. Since then, I had been keeping an eye on educational opportunities in Finland.

I went to Hong Kong for my Bachelor’s Degree after finishing high school. I had applied for it myself, and while my dad had been a little uncertain about what to make of my plan, my mom had encouraged me and was excited about the prospect that I would be able to see the outside world. For my mom, Hong Kong had always had a special place in my mom's heart, as she had lived there as a child for several years. My mom’s fondness for Hong Kong influenced my dad, and the fact that we have some relatives there also helped to make him less unsure about the place and whether it would be safe for me to go.

Despite their own mixed feelings, both of my parents were very supportive and did their best to help whenever I asked. My siblings had been excited for me all along, and their excitement cheered my parents up as well. When the offer came, I told my parents that I would really like to study in Hong Kong, and they agreed and continued to be supportive, though I could see that they also felt uncertain.

Li-Hsin at the airport

Time flew by and I had a colourful university life in Hong Kong. Then in my final year it was time to decide if I would like to continue my studies or start working, and if I would stay in Hong Kong, go back to Taiwan, or go somewhere else. Like many other final-year students, I discussed with my family, relatives and friends about my choices. Because I had kept an eye out for educational opportunities in Finland, I knew that there are scholarships available and that doing a Master’s in Finland may actually be an option for me. So I applied for Digital Health and Life Sciences program at the University of Turku (Bioinformatics track) while also exploring other possibilities. When I received the offer from Turku I was somewhat unsure if I really should come to Finland, and my friends, relatives and family gave me their advice. This time, I made the decision alone that I would give it a try, and my family continued to be supportive, knowing that I am pursuing my dream.

Beautiful sunset in Utran

Now, I have been in Finland for almost a year, and I enjoy my life here. Thanks to social media channels, I stay in touch with my family easily, and we have learnt to communicate more effectively because we are not always together. Compared with five years ago when I moved out, my parents now have more time for their own life, and it is great to see that they can pursue their hobbies. My siblings became more independent too, and we enjoy sharing with one another the different experiences we have. Even the extended family seems to be closer now, because they have offered advice and help, and because we always have stories to share. Some of them are even planning on visiting me in Finland! I am grateful that my family made bringing in a new world possible, and I am glad that I made this possible and I am glad that I made the decision to go abroad.


Learn more about studying in Finland

Finland University serves as a gateway to one of the finest Finnish multidisciplinary Universities on offer. If you are interested in studying in Finland and would like to find out more, the downloadable Finland University guide provides a quick starting package about how to apply for International Master’s Degree Programmes and Scholarships at the member universities of Finland University.

Interested? Download the guide and learn more!

Download your Finland University guide 
Li-Hsin Chang
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Li-Hsin Chang

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