All of us who study in Finland have the identity of a Finnish student. It is something we get when we start our studies. We know what benefits we get, and we know who to be in contact with if we need any help, support or want to change something. Some of us even choose to be a bigger part of that support, of organisations that work for students’ interest.
But what is a European student? Aren’t we all European students, since we study in Europe? But what is that exactly, and how does it differ from a Finnish student?
First I ask the question; what is a European identity? When do you introduce yourself for example, and say “Hello, I am from Europe”? Not that often I recon. But at the same time, if you live in Finland, you live in Europe.
Haven’t we all watched American movies, and commented on the European stereotypes, saying that isn’t true? That all Europeans do not behave that way? But how do we behave?
We as Europeans, and more, we as EU citizens, have a passport, making it easier to travel to other European and EU countries. We know that the countries in the EU have a lot of the same standards and rules that we share because of the EU. And, we have the luxury to order products without paying toll fees, because of the EU. Of course, I could go on, but back to the students.
So, we have already established that our passport gives us a grant to visit other European and EU countries without a visa. That meaning, that when we decide to go study abroad, to another European or EU country, the process is much easier. Students in Europe also have the mobility in Europe, you can take courses and a whole education abroad, you can become international, even from the comfort of your home. And because of student organisations all over Europe, you also get quality in your education, not depending where you study, or where you come from.
Identity is a hard word, it can mean so many things. It is a very personal word, since you are in charge of your own identity, but I encourage all of you to embrace your identity as a European student, to take on all the possibilities that lie in front of you. And together we can create a more international and inclusive world in the future.
So ask yourself; how can I embrace my European identity as a student? How can I as an individual take advantage of the privilege of being a European student? And think about why it is important to ask yourselves these questions. Because you can’t take advantage of any benefits, without knowing them, without knowing the needs for them. How can you be more European in your everyday life?
Member of the Board