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PhD in Finland: Student Profile

PhD in Finland: Student Profile main image

Aous A. Abdulmajeed, who moved from the United Arab Emirates, is completing a PhD at the University of Turku, Finland. He gives his take on Finnish society, describes the pleasure of a dip in an ice-filled lake, and explains why he’d jump at the chance to stay longer.

Finland has always been one of my dream destinations, due to its high living standards, safety and stability, and of course its reputation for having one of the best education systems in the world.

The University of Turku is known for its excellence in life sciences research, and I discovered that the dentistry faculty had plenty of high-quality publications in my field of interest. In addition, the university was recommended to me by a friend who had studied there.

Having been here for three years now, I would definitely pass on that recommendation to others.

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As well as excellent facilities, the university offers great student support, trust and openness, and freedom to pursue research.

This freedom is very important - it broadens your horizons and makes you more creative, which in turn impacts very positively on thequality of your research.

Life in Finland has been an eye-opening experience for me, in both social and educational life. I’ve been surprised by the social equality that exists between university staff and students. The Finnish social security system also seems just too good to be true.

In general, I’ve found Finns to be very polite, kind and honest. You may need to be patient in making new friends at the beginning, but once you’ve established friendships, they will last for life.

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Being outdoors is a big part of life here. There are many islands and lakes, and almost everyone has access to a cottage somewhere outside the city, where they can enjoy the beautiful natural scenery with friends and family.

This is also, of course, the ‘land of the sauna’. I’ve been used to living in very warm places, where the temperature gets up to 45°C very easily – basically like being in a large natural sauna – so I must admit I wasn’t immediately convinced by the idea of sitting in a hot room for relaxation.

However, I’ve grown to love the feeling of a session in the sauna followed by a dip in an ice-filled lake – you can’t beat it.

My aim is to continue along an academic career path, and if a job offer comes up in Finland after I graduate, I would not hesitate to accept. I really appreciate the peaceful working and living atmosphere here, which you won’t find in many other places in the world.

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