Chinese students interested in Finland
Mengfan Chen, Jingming Sun and Dejun Zhang are clearly happy. Mengfan holds a big box of Finnish chocolates, but the diploma she holds is far more precious. Just a little while earlier, the group of three students had received their diplomas on stage at the gala NIGHT of the Sino Finnish 100 Challenge.
By Hannu Pöppönen
They ranked among the top ten in the Sino Finnish 100 Challenge Idea Competition, in which 661 proposals were submitted. The competition looked for design solutions under three themes: Living together; Learning together; and Aging together.
Chen, Sun and Zhang, all students at the Tongji University, tackled a big problem in China: even though pupils in China start studying English at a very early age, the teaching is not the best quality and students find it hard to learn the language. They developed an online virtual learning environment where students from different countries can talk to each other in English, learn from each other and make new friends and contacts. Their competition proposal can be seen here.
The idea of the three students, who are all fluent in English, was further developed as they were inspired by the summer camp held in Espoo in July and August, which was attended by more than 100 students from various universities in China and Finland.
"It was a unique experience in an extremely international atmosphere. We used a lot of English and learned a lot about each other’s ways,” says Mengfan Chen. "Studying at the summer school was very different compared to studying at Tongji. Here students listen to lectures, but at the summer school, we worked together in workshops.”
"Studying at the summer school was very different compared to studying at Tongji. Here students listen to lectures, but at the summer school, we worked together in workshops.”
The competition was open to everyone and sought design solutions in three categories: cleantech and digital solutions for homes under the Living Together theme, learning applications under the Learning Together theme, and the Aging Together theme covered healthcare, environmental functionality and technical solutions for ageing populations.
In addition to boosting collaboration, one of the main objectives of the Sino Finnish 100 Challenge has been to make more students from Chinese top universities interested in Finland and to come to Finland to study or work.
This objective was achieved at least for Mengfan Chen, Jingming Sun and Dejun Zhang, as they all plan to return to Finland to study.
"I'm currently looking for work, but I will continue my studies later. Finland really fascinates me," says Jingming.
Dejun Zhang, a Ph.D. student, hopes to become an exchange student in Finland.
"I want to study in Finland. Or in Sweden!" says Mengfan, who studies computer science.