Here at Laurea all students have the opportunity to be a tutor. You can either tutor the new degree students or exchange students. The tutor’s main purpose is to introduce the new students to student life and to be their guide: to help them to adjust to Laurea and show them how things work. Also, tutors get to take part in training the new tutors and they are expected to recruit new tutors by advertising the tutoring service.
Tutoring can be beneficial in many ways. From the point of view of studies you can get 3 or 5 student credit points depending on whether you are a representative tutor of your campus. Representative tutor will work as a coordinator for the tutoring in the campus and be a communication link toward the Laureamko (Laurea’s student union) tutoring team. By being a tutor you get to meet new people and help the new students which can be rewarding. International tutors also have the chance to improve their language skills and learn something new from different cultures.
As a tutor you can also be more involved with Laurea’s activities. You get the chance to participate in planning various student events, such as the Freshmen Event where the new students get to tour around Helsinki center doing different tasks. The tutors can also be more active in the actual event and be, for example, a task point holder who gives instructions on what to do in a certain task.
Tutoring is not by any means easy. At times it can be challenging. You need to take responsibility and ensure that the new students are adapting well to student life at Laurea and help them when needed. However, the tutor doesn’t have to know everything. There will be times when you don’t have the answers to help the students in some matter. In this case you can refer them to another person who might have more knowledge.
When you are an international tutor you need to be in contact with the exchange students that are assigned to you way before the semester starts. For example you need to find out their arrival date and make sure that they have accommodation. You might have to meet them at the airport and take them to their apartment. Also they might need you to pick up their apartment keys before their arrival.
As a tutor you can be the most important person for the exchange students. They are completely alone in Finland, so they will most likely appreciate the tutor’s help. They just need some guidance and help with things like bringing the apartment keys to them, or giving them some hints on how to find accommodation or introducing the school to them. By meeting some of their needs, you will have the chance to be remembered as a very kind person.
At the same time, you can also have a chance to extend your network all over the world by getting to know the exchange students. They have a different culture and way of thinking. Tutoring could be a helpful experience for your personal internationalization if you have a plan to go abroad.
We asked a few questions from the Finnish tutors, starting with the best thing about tutoring and the answers were clear. Absolutely the best thing about being a tutor is “meeting new people” which might help you in your studies or in the future after graduation. Tutoring has also improved their view of Laurea as a whole because you get a broader view of the school.
Our interviewees became tutors because it seemed like fun and gave a chance to help other people with their studies and help to adapt into life at the capital area. “We tutors helped the group of new students to get to know each other and the school,” one of them says. As parting words another tutor says: “Tutoring was a good experience and I recommend it to everyone who is interested.”
The article was written by Laurea students Jasmin Perera, Marko Kaistinen and Woo Tack Shin as an assignment on Organizational Communication course.