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Kenji, a Bachelor of Social Services student: “Our work with children is valued”

Student interview with Kenji Weis Brum Higa, who studied in the Social Services degree programme.

Kenji Weis Brum Higa, a native of Brazil, will complete his studies in Laurea’s English-language Social Services degree programme in January 2020. Kenji originally came to Finland in 2012 as an exchange student to study at Järvenpää upper secondary school. Finland became his exchange destination in part by accident:

-    In Brazil, the most popular exchange destinations are the USA, Canada and Australia, but I wanted to experience something different. And besides, I like a cooler climate, Kenji says.

Kenji enjoyed his exchange period in Finland and made friends here. After six months, he returned to Brazil to complete his studies, but moved back to Finland later the same year. Once he had returned to Järvenpää, he started his housekeeper studies in the Cleaning and Property Services programme at Keuda Vocational College.

Immersion is the best way to learn Finnish

-    Studying at Keuda was a good thing for my Finnish skills, since the studies were provided in Finnish only and everyone around me spoke Finnish, Kenji says.

Kenji’s housekeeper studies included a work placement period in a day care centre, and this helped him further narrow down his future career plans.

-    During the placement period I realised how much I enjoy working with children, he says.
-    I decided I wanted to become a kindergarten teacher and did research on potential places to study the field. I applied to all universities of applied sciences in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area and was admitted to Laurea, where I started my studies in 2016.

Work also includes contacts with parents

Throughout his studies, Kenji Weis Brum Higa has been determinedly pursuing a career as a kindergarten teacher. Several courses and projects have enabled him to concentrate on working with children, in particular. He also completed all three work placement periods included in this studies at a day care centre.

"It is great to be able to observe children's development and be a part of it."

Kenji has been working as a kindergarten teacher in Kerava for a year now. According to him, the best thing about working with children is that children are honest and express their opinions in a direct manner.

-    It is also great to be able to observe their development and be a part of it, he says.
-    Although we are there primarily for the children, our work also includes a lot of contacts with their parents. It has been great to see how much parents value our work and turn to us for advice.

The practice-oriented studies and work placement periods gave Kenji the confidence to find a job. That is why he highlights the importance of discussions with other students and teachers in the studies:

-    We had a lot of theoretical studies as well concerning, for example, the development of children, but these discussions played a particularly important role. Everyone could share their experiences of their work placement and jobs in the discussions, he adds.


Please note that due to the 2018 legislative reform, those who were admitted to study after 1 September 2019 will not be able to qualify as a teacher of early childhood education and care through a university of applied sciences degree. Graduates of the Bachelor of Social Services programmes can still be employed in positions in early childhood education and care; Bachelors of Social Services will continue to have an important role in day care centres.

The degree programmes are open for application during 8th - 22nd January 2020. Read more about The Degree Programme in Social Services and apply now!