Jematia Bett, Media Education degree student, Kenya

It is often said that you are where you are today because of a choice you made or did not make. I made some choices and took a 7,553.3 km journey from Kenya to the University of Lapland to fulfil my dream and ambition.

Broad perspectives from media education

When I was looking for an international master’s programme to continue with my studies, I was attracted to Finland because of the country’s education system, which was ranked third by the Legatum Prosperity Index in 2011. The programme’s appeal lay in its curriculum and multidisciplinary approach to teaching and learning. Studying Media Education at the University of Lapland is the best choice I have made so far. The career options are broad: the discipline prepares people for any profession requiring critical thinking, research, and writing skills. And the Centre for Media Pedagogy at the University crowns it all, nurturing as it does seasoned and budding researchers and opening up the University to the world.

Harmonious rhythm of life

The city of Rovaniemi is an ideal environment for adjusting to the Finnish way of life in a relatively slowpaced city. The residents are helpful but it takes quite a while before they open up. On the other hand, the language is a bit discouraging: it poses challenges – especially when looking for a job or internship. With breathtaking scenery and a range of outdoor activities it’s impossible to stay indoors. Personally I tried out ice skating and downhill skiing, which I loved, and it helped take my mind off of the depressingly dark winter.

Rewarding and challenging studies

As a student, I have enjoyed the individual attention, small class sizes and the small student body, which does not put a strain on the resources. I have also benefited from the practical focus in course delivery; most courses operate at the interface between technology and ideas. Generally speaking, the Finnish education system has been a unique experience for me compared to my previous educational background. The system affords students the opportunity to be both individualistic and team oriented. Also, the excellent interaction between students and staff gives a good basis for better and deeper learning, which is rewarding.

Novel views and cultural knowledge

I believe studying abroad gives one a new frame of reference for understanding the world and one’s role in it. At the same time, it provides cultural exposure, as well as new job opportunities and self-edification. Maybe that’s why more and more of tomorrow’s leaders study abroad: it gives the experience and versatility needed in leadership roles. Not surprisingly, after my master’s studies I plan to pursue a PhD here. Lapland is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, a choice I have not regretted.


Article originally published in Latitude 2014, the University of Lapland Magazine