This story shows that sometimes you need to fight for your ambitions and swim against the tide and strive for your dreams, even when there is no support from your relatives.

As an international Master's Degree student at the University of Eastern Finland, my application for the programme was motivated by my best friend. However, the decision to study abroad was against the will of my parents at first. 

Since high school it had been my dream to study abroad. But due to financial issues, I gradually lost confidence in it. My best friend from university shared the same dream with me and she was brave enough to make it come true. So when she decided to apply, I agreed that I would do it with her. We took the IELTS test together and started the application process.

She was then admitted to a programme with the IE Business School in Spain, and I was also admitted to an Erasmus master programme in Spain. Unfortunately, however, I wasn’t selected for a scholarship, so I gave up the opportunity and continued working in China while my friend went to study in Spain.

Yundan's village

She continued to encourage me to apply again for the following year while she was studying abroad. This time I changed my focus to Finland, as it was still offering free Master's education to international students. Even more attractive was the reputation of Finnish education. As a teacher, and as someone who is genuinely interested in exploring education around the world, Finland was a great choice for me. 

However, there was one problem: as my Bachelor’s Degree was in English Language and Literature, and as I had no degree in the field of education, I did not meet the requirements for several programmes that I was interested in. The programme I am studying now at the University of Eastern Finland also required related education, but related work experience was recognized too. With several years of teaching experience, I was able to be admitted to the course.

Unfortunately, my decision to study in Finland was not supported by my parents in the beginning – especially by my mother. Neither of my parents had been abroad and they didn’t even know where Finland was! They couldn’t tell what life would be like for their daughter in Finland, as it was simply out of their experience and imagination. My mother was also hoping that I could settle down and get married soon. This was her expectation for me instead of continuing to study.

While I was trying to convince her that everything would be all right and it would even be a better choice for me, there was some tension between us for a while. But my mother eventually agreed with my decision after a talk with a friend of the family, who managed to persuade her that it was a great opportunity for me. Although I would have come to Finland even without the support of my parents, it was a relief for me to have their consent.

Yundan's high school

Before I came here, I taught my mother how to use video chat on a smartphone. She was happy with her old-fashioned mobile phone and had never used a smartphone before, so it was a new learning experience for her. At first, she was always worried that she would break the phone and tried hard to figure out how to use the video chat. But after I arrived in Finland we kept on talking constantly by video calling. I also took a lot of pictures of the surroundings here so that she would know there was nothing to be concerned about.

Now it’s almost the end of my Master’s studies in Finland and my friends and parents are expecting me to be back home soon. I would say this has been quite an adventure for both myself and my family, even though they remain at home far away in China.


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 
Yundan Chen
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Yundan Chen

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