In fact, not every country has this system and you may have absolutely no idea what student associations actually are. Therefore, I want to explain a little bit what it is that is so great about these associations and why you should definitely join yours once you arrive.
Finnish student associations
Every programme or faculty have their own student association. Student associations are made up of a board which is elected democratically every year and where every person fulfils a different official role.
The associations really vary in size, depending on the size of your programme. While some have more than 500 members, mine for example is quite small with around 30 students. In any way, and no matter of the size, they really are a great part of Finnish student life and culture. But what do they actually do?
Student associations in general have several responsibilities; firstly, they represent the academic interests of their students. This means if you have any concerns regarding your programme, the university, the courses, lecturers, have ideas for improvements or the like, the board members of your associations are the ones you should contact.
They are usually in close contact to University officials and hold regular meetings about the programmes, in which they can bring up your concerns.
What they do for you
The student associations also organize tutors for every student so that you will have at least one person from the beginning whom you can always contact, who is there for any questions you might have, who will help you upon your arrival and show you around University once you’re there.
A big part of the student associations' job is also to organize social activities and events which bring together students and offer a great way to meet people from your programme or faculty. Those events are very diverse and of course vary from programme to programme. But very common themes are (of course) parties, so called sit-sits, movie/documentary screenings, study trips, cabin trips, cultural events, guest lectures and so on and so on.
My experience with TIPSY
One thing is for sure: through your student associations you will meet like-minded people, you are immediately part of a group, and there will be a variety of things for you to easily join in. My student association TIPSY makes my life in Tampere so much more fun and active, and I felt like I found my little Finnish family almost on the first day.
Like I said, every programme has a different student association but if you would like to get a better insight into what they are like, you can check out my associations social media. We represent students from the Global Society Framework (Peace, Mediation and Conflict Research, Global and Transnational Sociology, Public Choice, Global Health, Gender Studies) in Tampere.
If you are interested in knowing more about TIPSY association, here are the links provided below!
Learn more about studying in Finland
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