FSD2354 International Students in Finnish Universities 2007

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  • Niemelä, Anna (Student Research Foundation (Otus))


discrimination, educational guidance, employment, foreigners, health services, housing, information retrieval, job hunting, living abroad, social integration, social systems, standard of living, undergraduates


The objective of the survey was to find out how the international students in Finnish universities experience their level of integration in the academic community and Finnish society, and to examine the factors influencing the integration. The survey included six sections with the following themes: background information; immigration to Finland; academic integration; social integration; subsistence, accommodation, employment and health; and future plans.

In view of immigration to Finland, the respondents were asked whether university studies were their primary reason for moving to Finland. Depending on the answer, the importance of various factors on pursuing a degree in Finland was charted. They were also asked whether they had visited Finland before and if they had, the reason for the potential visit was queried. The respondents were presented with a list of various institutions (tax authorities, the Social Insurance Institution of Finland, etc.) and asked to assess how easy it was to interact and co-operate with them. They were also asked to evaluate the importance of different factors in selecting the university to study in, and the importance of various sources of information about possibilities to study in Finland. The quality and amount of information was also canvassed.

In the next section (academic integration), the respondents were asked about the satisfaction with the progress of their studies and the possible reasons for not progressing as planned. Satisfaction with study-related issues and services provided by the student union was also charted. The most important sources of guidance, help and support in study-related questions were investigated, as well as participation in tutoring and reasons for possible absence. The respondents were also asked to indicate whether they had felt they had been excluded within the academic community because of their foreign background.

Regarding social integration, the respondents' participation in social activities or events organised by student organisations was charted, as well as reasons for participation or non-participation. They were asked to name the social groups which they were in contact with most actively. In addition, the respondents' satisfaction with the amount of their social contacts was charted. They were also asked to indicate whether they had felt they had been excluded elsewhere than within the academic community because of their foreign background.

In order to chart the respondents' subsistence, the most important sources of funding, monthly net income, and satisfaction with disposable income were queried. Further questions charted the type of accommodation, the sources of information about housing the respondents had used, and possible difficulties in finding suitable accommodation. The respondents were asked about working in Finland and to estimate their strengths and weaknesses in the Finnish labour market. In addition, use of various health services was charted. Finally, the respondents' future plans were probed. They were for instance asked to indicate whether they were going to stay in Finland and to evaluate the quality of Finnish higher education.

Background variables included the respondent's age, gender, marital status, scientific discipline, and previous tertiary studies. In addition, the language of R's study programme, skills in Finnish and Swedish, and primary means of learning Finnish were charted.

Study description in machine readable DDI 2.0 format

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