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Kari, Master’s student: English-language degree programme opens doors in Finland and abroad

Student interview with Kari Liimatainen from the English-language Master’s degree programme Global Development and Management in Healthcare.

Kari Liimatainen

Kari has a Bachelor’s degree in Social Services and has been actively involved in child welfare since 2010. He has mainly worked with institutional care at the Sippola child welfare facility. In addition, Kari has been a family worker in non-institutional care for the town of Imatra and briefly worked as the supervisor of a private child welfare facility. At present, he works in institutional care for the City of Helsinki. 

Kari applied for the English-language Global Development and Management in Healthcare programme leading to a Master’s degree, and began his studies in autumn 2017. His reason for embarking on Master’s studies was to update his competence. In the future, Kari aims to work in an international environment.

- I felt this education would provide new opportunities and open new doors both in Finland and abroad, he says. 

Kari is currently finishing his thesis, the topic of which is the Male Perspective to Gender in Conflict Prevention.

 - Conflict prevention often focuses on specific groups and topics, such as women’s rights or supporting and empowering women. In my thesis, I aim to provide an overarching perspective, taking into account all genders in conflict prevention and crisis management, Kari explains.

During his studies, Kari also participated in the Gaming for Peace project, which aims to equip people handling crisis management duties with the soft skills needed to understand behaviour and influence it. In the context of his project studies, Kari had the opportunity to participate in the Gaming for Peace conference held in Dublin.

- Gender awareness was a prominent topic there, and it stuck to my mind. I agreed with my supervisor that my thesis would be related to the topic, Kari explains.

International activities, peer students and interesting lectures the best part of studies

In addition to the Gaming for Peace project, Kari completed two courses at the European Summer School in Prague. In the autumn, his studies have also included the international Ethical Leadership seminar, which, true to its name, focuses on the ethical perspectives of leadership. This year, Kari led a student workshop at the seminar.

- My studies have offered me many experiences that I honestly never expected to have, Kari says. 

Making new friends among the students has been one of the best aspects of studies. The group includes students who come from many different countries and from many different backgrounds, but who nevertheless share much the same set of values.

- We have had many interesting lunch discussions and carried out great group work, Kari says.

Kari had previously spoken a lot of English during his travels, but the professional terminology in English was new to him.

- At first, my reading and writing in English was slow and tedious, but I have become a lot quicker since. My English-language skills have improved, especially in terms of vocabulary, Kari says.

The studies have exceeded Kari’s expectations in many respects.

- Teaching has been of very good quality and we have had incredibly interesting guest lecturers from different parts of the world, Kari says. 

Kari hopes to work in an international environment in the future.

- The world is changing and also becoming smaller in the sense that international problems also affect Finland and challenges can be felt much closer to home, Kari explains.

Through his studies, Kari came up with the idea of participating in an EU Aid Volunteers training programme organised in Austria. He is now on the list of reserve volunteers, which may offer him the chance to carry out humanitarian work in different roles. 

The freedom of choice in studies a pleasant surprise 

According to Kari, the Global Development and Management in Healthcare programme suits anyone interested in the global problems related to social services and healthcare. Students have the freedom to focus on courses that best develop their expertise and can, for example, write their thesis on a topic that reflects their interests.

- At first, I was a bit concerned and wondered whether the programme only targeted students interested in nursing, but the courses in crisis and conflict management, for example, have been really interesting, and I have been able to develop my own expertise a great deal, says Kari.

Finally, we asked Kari what makes him feel good, and he answered: "I get a good feeling from seeing that the people around me feel comfortable, that they are smiling and are doing well. Even if things aren’t running as we would like them to, it is important to focus on the positive things. The challenges in a welfare society like ours are quite different from those seen in developing countries. So why not try to remember how good things are here and enjoy them?”

The English-language Global Health and Crisis Management degree programme, developed on the basis of the Global Development and Management in Healthcare programme, is open for applications in the spring 2020 joint application process.