University of Lapland is safe and welcoming for international students


The University of Lapland has scored highly on the International Student Barometer (ISB), a survey measuring how satisfied international degree and exchange students are with their study experience. International students were especially satisfied with safety, arrival support and on-campus restaurants, areas where the University ranked number one out of 120 universities globally.

The University took part in the International Student Barometer 2017, a survey administered by the International Graduate Insight Group, to improve the student experience for current and future students. The questions covered learning, living, arrival and support as well as why students chose the institution they did and whether they would recommend it to others. The University of Lapland ranked no. 1 globally in nine categories.

Warm welcome for international students

Overall satisfaction of international students with the University is high (92 %) when compared to other institutions nationally and internationally. It is felt to be a very welcoming and hospitable community, and students are particularly happy with local orientation, introduction days and the ease of finding accommodation. In these categories the University ranks no. 1 globally. Satisfaction with most aspects of arrival increased from 2014, when it last took part in the ISB.

On measures of happiness, the University ranks first in Finland and second globally. Internationally, it is in the top five in language support, eco-friendly attitude and multicultural study environment. In class size, safety and finding international friends, University of Lapland ranks no. 1 globally, supporting the idea that its small size creates a sense of community and a cosy atmosphere.

Willingness to recommend the University to new applicants and future students increased from 84 (2014) to 87 (2017) per cent. Exchange students are generally more satisfied (94%) with their experience compared to those studying full time in international master´s programmes (87%).

Location in Lapland attractive, employability needs improving

Nannette Ripmeester from i-graduate shared her insights on the data in a session arranged at the University on March 12th. According to Ripmeester, factors influencing the decision to study were quite similar for all Finnish universities: specific courses, quality of research, personal safety and the reasonable cost of studying. In Lapland, however, location plays a considerable role in attracting students.

The survey also reveals some points that need improvement at the University. Overall satisfaction with learning increased from the 2014 survey but remains modest in national and global perspective. Most important development points are related to certain aspects of teaching and assessment, job prospects after one’s studies, careers advice and opportunities to find local friends. Job prospects figure prominently when international students decide where to study and in how likely they are to recommend an institution.

When it comes to teaching, Ripmeester suggests universities could focus on better informing international students about the Finnish educational system, study practices at university and the host institution´s own pedagogical philosophy. She also points out that since Finnish culture and climate are not particularly conducive to social contacts, the host institution should pay more attention to social integration.

A total of 110 386 international students from 17 countries responded to the questionnaire. Institution-specific results were compared against national and international benchmarks. In Finland 6650 students responded from 15 institutions. The University of Lapland sent the questionnaire to 241 international students registered as present during autumn semester 2017, of whom 58 per cent answered.

The ISB survey results are integrated into the University’s quality assurance system. They are analysed by staff in the faculties and the administration, who use them to design and implement measures that will improve the quality of teaching, learning and support services.

For further information:
Jaana Severidt
Director of Internationalisation Services
Tel. +358 40 772 6510
University of Lapland