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  • Mihaela Nyyssönen

How my Journey Began...

Do you know those moments when you waste your time scrolling down Facebook, without any clear goal in mind? You just sit there on the sofa, dead tired from work, getting a small glimpse of social media before the end of the day. Well, it was in one of those idle moments that I came across an article about the Master’s Programme of Changing Education at the University of Helsinki. My former teacher from Metropolia University of Applied Sciences shared the news on her wall and it immediately caught my attention. 

Source: https://www.helsinki.fi/en/admissions/degree-programmes/changing-education-masters-programme


First, I had a bit of a doubt that it was real news. I have checked many times before about a Master’s Programme in Education at the University of Helsinki and I knew there was none. I clicked the link hesitantly and it led me to the Helsinki University webpage. It was true! After years of waiting, the University of Helsinki FINALLY began its internationalization path with a Master’s Programme. Better late than never, I would say. And to be worth the wait, the programme was in Changing Education. I am not sure who came up with this name and idea for the programme, but that person deserves a raise! 


Changing Education. I found the name of this programme very intriguing. A quick look at the topics to be studied made me realize this programme was everything I dreamed of. Let me explain about this… I have been working in early childhood education provision for the past 18 years. I have worked in two different countries and I had different positions, from teacher assistant to manager. I have done my share of community work, taking part in different projects and even founding a playgroup for families with young children to support the learning of Romanian as a mother tongue. Having a social field educational background, I have developed a social approach to education. But in recent years, I have found myself questioning what I want to do next. I felt that I needed to move on professionally, to go from teaching 4-year-olds, which are the best by the way, to teaching adults or who knows, maybe don’t teach at all. 


This was my initial idea of making a greater impact on the lives of children. I felt it was not enough for me anymore to be the best teacher I can be for my group of children. I had this thirst for learning new things and especially I had a thirst for adventure. When I read the curriculum of the Master’s Programme in Changing Education I found elements related to the social field and to early childhood education, which I was very familiar with. But I also found many other subjects like neuroscience, educational psychology, and research that sounded very interesting. This programme was offering me the tools to untangle the mysteries of the Finnish Education System and even better the tools to learn how to change it. 


The focus of the programme on research and the opportunity to continue with a Ph.D. was one of the selling points for me. Quite a wild selling point, considering I have not done research before and that it required learning everything from scratch. A learning adventure indeed. And just in case you are wondering… I am fully enjoying the new challenges regarding quantitative research methods.

 

The day I received the acceptance letter was one of the best of my life. A new door was opened in front of me bringing new learning experiences, new people, and new opportunities in my life. Now, being already a few months into the programme, I can say that my expectations have been exceeded. Yes, the content of our courses is great, the structure of the studies is good, and we are up to date with the latest research in education. But what makes this programme truly outstanding is the PEOPLE: the approachable and supportive teachers whose work and research have made a great impact in the education system in Finland and my colleagues who share my vision on the way education should be and who makes me feel that I belong to our wonderful community. 


So, there you go, my case is a clear example of how Facebook can change your life. Just kidding, it also requires some intense Twitter and Instagram browsing. For more information on our adventures during the Changing Education studies, sit comfortably on your sofa and follow us on social media. 


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