International afternoon in a relaxed atmosphereDoctoral students enrolled in the Doctoral Programme in Engineering Sciences, their instructors and others interested in internationalization in general got together for a barbecue and a panel discussion on a sunny afternoon last week.
The panel discussion brought together professors, doctoral students and administrative staff to explore questions related to internationalization. In addition to TUT’s faculty members, Professor of Epidemiology Matti Lehtinen and Study Coordinator Niina Nyyssölä from the University of Tampere took part in the discussion.
Language barrier an obstacle to employment?
First the panellists discussed whether it is worthwhile for students to go on exchange. Then they reflected on the employment of foreign students in Finland. The third theme touched on the perspective of companies. The panellists pointed out, among others, that the economic recession appears to be shifting the focus of research away from fundamental research and more towards applied research.
“A strict division between fundamental and applied research seems artificial nowadays. In times like this it is especially important that fundamental research has applied elements as well, “ panellist Matti Vilkko said.
In addition, the panellists considered whether it is possible to share confidential company information with exchange students. In particular, the importance of a common language was highlighted.
“Companies are eager to hire international employees but often expect them to be able to speak Finnish. International doctoral students are motivated to learn Finnish, but of course it takes time to become proficient in a new language,” commented doctoral student Matti Järveläinen, who served as one of the chairmen of the panel discussion.
In addition to Järveläinen, the panel was chaired by Tuomo Nyyssönen and Shinya Abe. The online poll and chat were administered by Saara Heinonen.
The audience got to participate in the discussion in person and online, for example, by answering an online poll. The panel discussion ended with an interactive gameshow, whereby the audience answered humorous questions related to the international theme.
After the factual programme, doctoral students and other participants enjoyed a barbecue and a performance by improvisational theatre company Harhaliike in Konetalo’s courtyard.
The informal afternoon drew more than 40 participants and was arranged by doctoral students. Tuomo Nyyssönen and Matti Järveläinen from the Department of Materials Science and Shinya Abe from the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Industrial Systems were responsible for the arrangements.
The international afternoon took place on 12 June.