The Amazing Jyväskylä!

The Amazing Jyväskylä!
Me at the harbor of Jyväskylä

17 February, 2015

Internationality series - Employment in Finland during/after your study

So, going to Jyväskylä to study, many international students have asked me about the possibilities of looking for jobs or settling down in Finland. Here is one of many answers to your concern.  

This course is one of the example of many ways you can explore your opportunities of employment here in Jyväskylä or Finland. You can start a business here if you want to.

PLACE: Jyväskylän Yritystehdas, Vapaudenkatu 25 (Vanha Juomatehdas), 40100 Jyväskylä 
The ABC of starting a business I Thursday, February 26, 15:00 pm – 18:00 pm
The ABC of starting a business II Thursday, March 5, 15:00 pm – 18:00 pm
Course conclusion Thursday, March 12, 15:00 pm – 18:00 pm 
We will meet three times to talk about entrepreneurship in general and go through the basics of founding a company, including business planning, funding, different forms of enterprise, taxation, and marketing.
This course is free of charge. It is organised by Tuhansien Järvien Uusyrityskeskus ry (TJUYK). The course will be held in Finnish or in English, depending which language the group desides, but if in Finnish, the necessary topics will be discussed and all the course material will be available in English. 
The maximum group size is 12 participants. We give priority to unemployed immigrants. If you'd like to come to the course, please register by February 20, 2015. Send an email to the following address: Include the following details in your email: your name, email address, phone number, mother tongue, and your business idea, if you already have one. Please register only if you are sure that you will attend the course. You will get a diploma from the course if you participate to all the three sessions.

Aside from courses like this, there is a Career Service available inside the University of Jyväskylä where you can come for advice concerning employment, click here for more information. This is also free of charge for you. 

Below is one of the examples of activities that the Career Service is trying to organize: 

Day at Work for International Degree Students Friday 20.03.2015
The purpose of the Day at Work is to introduce international degree students from the University of Jyväskylä and JAMK University of Applied Sciences and companies in Central Finland to each other. In practice, this means that you , as a student, will make a one day visit (10.00-15.00) to the company. 
By participating, you can showcase your own skills and share the day's experiences on social media. The day may include different activities according to the wishes of the company, for example:
• Small talk in a foreign language
• Sharing information about your culture
• Commenting on brochure materials and web page 
We hope to get enough companies to be able to offer this opportunity to all the registered students, but unfortunately we cannot guarantee that. Please note that all the companies may not be situated in the city of Jyväskylä. You will get details about the company you were chosen to visit in the beginning of March. Day at Work -company participants will donate money through Taksvärkki Ry for international charity work. 
Dead-line for registration 6.3.2015.
More information:
Muru Linjala
Career Specialist
Career Services, University of Jyväskylä
Even though I have not been very lucky myself in looking for well-paid part-time jobs, I delivered newspapers and advertisements for Jyväkylän Jakelut for a year. This job is quite hard work for girls especially during winter but I know a Mexican girl who is as small as an average Asian girl and she has been doing this job for several years already. I stopped working because I had to go to Nepal for my internship as some of you might know. You can register for the job here. When a position opened, they will contact you on the phone or via email. So, remember to provide correct phone number and email address. Basically, there are two kinds of distributors: the single/double-area one and the multi-area one. If you distribute ads by bicycle or walking, you can only distribute maximum 2 areas. But if you have a car, you can ask for 5 or more areas and go distributing with your car. The petrol fee is covered by the company.

Several students I know succeeded in looking for quite good part-time jobs at agencies like SOL or OPTeam. You register on their sites and they'll contact you if there's anything available. But the chances are slim for those without experiences, even cleaning or dish washing.

For those who have IT background, your chance is higher since Finland has high demand for IT experts. You can subscribe to international students mailing list here, IT companies send their recruit announcements to this mailing list from time to time.

- In order to sign any contract, you need a tax card which you can get for free in the tax office. Click here for more information. 

- In order to work in a kitchen where you have contact with food, you need a hygiene pass which you have to take an exam to obtain it. Click here for more information. 

Good news for international students who want to stay in Finland to look for jobs after graduation is that instead of only having 6 months like before, now, you can apply for 1 year residence permit to look for jobs. More information here

It might be hard at first for international students to find a job here in Jyväskylä because after all, it's a university city, lots of students want to find part-time jobs and most of the jobs require speaking Finnish. However, like anywhere else in the world, you have to be active in looking jobs and know where to go to get help. 

So, be prepared financially before coming to study here, you won't be pressured to find a job. It will take some time. It'd be best if you can find a job in your home country (translation for example) that you can work online or something like that before coming here. 

Alright, good luck!

16 February, 2015

Internationality series - Restaurant day in Finland (Ravintolapäivä)

This is the first entry attempting to promote the diversity and internationality we have here in University of Jyväskylä and the city of Jyväskylä. In this series, I hope to point out for all of you international students who are looking for a good place to receive both free high-quality education and experiences of international diversity in your living and studying environments, Jyväskylä has the best of both world. 

Restaurant day is an initiative originated in Finland and has become a popular celebrated carnival around Europe. There are several restaurant days every year. You can check it out here. On these days, anyone can open a restaurant of their own and serve any food they want at any place of their desire, with any price they would like to charge for the food. You can open your own restaurant at your house, office, campus, along the street or around a lake. You can serve exotic food from your own countries or of any cuisines that suit your interests. Know what the best part is? You are charged nothing from the authority, which means you get to keep all the profit you earn. If you are looking into settling down in Finland with a permanent restaurant of your own after your graduation, this event is your chance for practicing your business management. This is a big plus for those with business mind. 

A pancake pop-up restaurant on RD 15th Feb, 2015. Photo by Sandi Hipke

For the foodies, you will also have your share of benefits too, in a city with such diversity of nationality like Jyväskylä, when it is Restaurant day; you bet there are restaurants of food from around the world. Among the popular ones around my living area, I would say, is Indian food. It’s hard to resist Indian curry once you can smell it from afar. Also, there are plenty of Chinese food pop-up restaurants, due to the large population of Chinese students here. Just the other day, I saw an ad of a “Cook it yourself - traditional Chinese Hot pot” restaurant. That was interesting. Japanese sushi restaurants seem to be quite popular on demand too. Vegetarians or vegans? There will be restaurant for you too. Apparently, being a vegetarian has become a popular trend in Finland. 

Side note: there are always options for vegetarians in the university’s cafeterias. 

Last year, I went to a Filipino pop-up restaurant in the Multicultural Center. I used to live in the Philippines for a year so I also love Filipino food. Italian ones are also common, I think. Who doesn’t love a homemade pizza? Especially for desserts freaks, pastry restaurants are everywhere with all kinds of baking goods imaginable. 

Filipino food, Multicultural Center, Autumn 2013

This is me devouring the food, hehe

And of course, Vietnamese students have set up their restaurants several times as well with really exotic food that is not for the fainted hearts. Haha, kidding! But seriously, if you come across a Vietnamese pop-up restaurant, go for it no matter what! You know why? I’ll reveal a secret for you. Many of these restaurants are set up by students who often come home to visit at least twice a year. And when they come back to Finland, they bring with them a lot of food that can only be found in Vietnam. If it’s your lucky day, it might be the only time in your life you get to taste something that unique. And this could also be true for other Asian restaurants set up by students as well. 

And think about it for one second, how often would you be hosted and cooked for by locals from where you are traveling too? Not very common unless you have a friend there, right? But on Restaurant Day in Jyväskylä, you’ll get to taste authentic homemade food from around the world without traveling anywhere. 

Friendship family, Restaurant day winter 2013

For those with friendship families (which will be discussed very soon in another entry), it is possible that your Finnish friendship families will take you to an awesome pop-up Finnish-styled restaurants where you’ll get to taste authentic, hearty Finnish food that often accompanied with warm and cozy ambiance somewhere deep in the woods. I've been once with my flat mate’s friendship family. All the money they earned for the day was to be donated to charity, I believe. And the food was delicious! It will definitely break your skeptic about real Finnish food. 

If you become members of some popular Facebook groups such as Foreigners in Jyväskylä or Second-hand items in Jyväskylä, you’ll probably see lots of announcements for restaurants when the day comes. 

04 February, 2015

FAQs about studying and living in Jyväskylä (Part 4) - Grants/Scholarships

Click here for part 1 - How to start and living expenses

Alright, in this entry, I will cover the matter of GRANTS and SCHOLARSHIP (and also why studying here in the University of Jyväskylä is rather awesome regarding financial issues!).

As you all might know, (I’m sure not everyone knows), as of now, when you are accepted into the Master’s Degree Programs here, YOU DO NOT HAVE TO PAY TUITION FEE. Isn’t it awesome??!! Well, it is the same all over Finland, but … still pretty cool, right?

However, when you enroll though, you need to pay an amount of nearly 100 euros Student Union fee for the whole academic year; or you can choose to pay for one semester only, and that would be 50 euros. This is compulsory though, you need a receipt from the Student Union to complete your application for enrolling into the program. But don’t you worry, this money will go back to you in various forms such as printing, photocopying, activities organized by Student Union, free use of the gyms and many more.

Technically, there is no scholarship offered by the university because the tuition is already free. However, for international students, after one year studying here, you can apply for a scholarship of 1500 euros which, if you are staying in student housing, should cover roughly 7 months of your rent. Pretty good deal, isn’t it? However, in order to be granted the scholarship, you need to get good academic results. And also, just to be sure, try to earn as many credits as you possibly can during the first year. This is according to the information I have gathered from friends who got the scholarship last year, not really official from the university. But it’s quite obvious that you need you prove to be a worthy student for any scholarship, right?

So, do try your best during the first year. How? You might ask. Well, for example, when you are invited to a party, you will have to spend some money on buying your own drinks or contributing some sort of snacks/food … consider if it is worth it if after the party, you’ll get a hang-over and less time and energy to finish that assignment which dues in a few days. Then you’ll rush it, and you’ll get a 2 instead of a 4, and there goes your chance for the scholarship. Any tiny things count, you know. Just saying. Sort out your priorities.

Nonetheless, as scholarships go for international students, that’s the only one I know of. Besides, if your program requires you to conduct your practical training or internship abroad, you can apply for quite a few grants.

First one is the TRAVEL GRANT, click here for more information. I got this grant for my internship in Nepal. It covered my return tickets from Helsinki to Kathmandu and 3 months of rent in Kathmandu. I had to take care of the expenses on food by myself, which was obvious but it was inexpensive in Nepal, so that was not a problem.

For those who want to do their internships in Europe, you can apply for Erasmus funding. Click here for more information. Do read the requirements carefully before you apply. The requirements are tricky sometimes.

I do believe that each department in the university has their own grants as well, for example: Department of Social Science and Philosophy, Department of Education, Department of History and Ethnology, … and occasionally, grants are interchangeable at a certain level for students from different programs and cases vary, so when you are already here in the university, ask the contact person of your program, they should know about the availability of the grants.

If you are worried about expense on accommodation, transportation or food, check out my other entry about these matters. FAQs on living expenses
View from the cafeteria in Agora building during a sunny winter afternoon