Last modified 15.3.2011 at 13:25
Living a social life
Text and photo: Heikki Ylipaavalniemi
The daily life on the Internet is getting more and more social. People are spending time on different social networks like Facebook and Twitter. Schools are also trying to get their foot in the door. Chris Betts is helping Oulu University of Applied Sciences to be more social.
Chris Betts is studying in the Degree Programme of International Business at Oulu University of Applied Sciences. Currently, he is doing his practical training at the Communications Services of Oulu UAS. His main responsibility is to improve the visibility of the university in different social media.
Chris himself is from England, and has been living in Finland for the past three years. This makes him an ideal candidate for developing the information given to applicants and future students in different media.
Social media are not new to Chris since he has been using them many years. His first experience with social networks was Bebo.
- I think I went to Bebo when I was 14 years old. Now, Facebook dominates everything.
Chris estimates that he spends at least two hours a day on different social media. Facebook takes at least 90% of that time.
- Social media are a good source of first hand information. If you are reading from the main web site of the university, you only get one source of information. But in social media you can get many different people telling you about these things.
He hopes that during the training his work will help people to have a better inside of our university from a student’s perspective.
- Just that they have a better idea what to expect when they come here.
Ever-growing international city
Chris describes Oulu as an ever-growing international city, which is very developed in technology and very student-based.
It’s better to talk about the things bothering you, because some people might have had the same experience.
- Finland is a country that very much wants to help its people. It is very hard to be a student in England. Here, life for a student is a little bit easier.
Chris still hopes that there would be more information in English. Sometimes it seems like there is nothing to do because all the information and details are in Finnish.
- If I didn’t know Finnish, I wouldn’t know what to do.
On a positive note, he tells that the web site of the city of Oulu is now updated more regularly also with English information about current events.
A level of respect
When talking with international students in Finland and asking them about the biggest difference in culture, the usual answer is the level of respect between students and teachers. Chris is no exception to this.
- I was really shocked that you address your teacher at the same level as you address different students. In England, you address teacher as sir or miss.
Especially trainees from different cultures can find this very hard to adapt to. In their cultures they are used to teachers telling them what to do. And when a teacher in Finland asks them if they understood everything, they might not dare to say that they didn’t fully understand.
Chris has a few easy tips for new students coming to Finland to help with the adaptation.
- Be open-minded. Everything is not as in your home country.
- Don’t be afraid and talk to people. It’s better to talk about the things bothering you, because some people might have had the same experience.
- 51% rule. The 51% rule helps you not to develop stereotypical views. For example, if you think that all Finnish people are quiet, you can think that only 51% of them are really quiet. That leaves you 49% of people who don’t fit the stereotype.
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