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Foreign Students Have Limited Contact with Finns

Foreigners studying in Finland have little contact with the larger society outside the student world. That is the finding of a doctoral dissertation by Matti Taajamo from the University of Jyväskylä.

The researcher noticed that foreign students became familiar with university culture but remained isolated from the culture of their host country.

Foreign students said they rarely acquire Finnish friends, and felt that getting to know Finnish students was a slow and difficult process -- especially since few Finns attend lectures in English.

They appreciated visits that had been arranged to Finnish companies, but at the same time were dismayed that few firms are interested in hiring non-Finnish speakers.

Foreign students said they had benefited immensely from the "friendly family" programme offered by the Jyväskylä University. The programme introduces students to a family who invites them to participate in their daily lives. Students said it was a wonderful way to learn about everyday life and recommend that similar programmes be set up in other universities across Finland.

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