International degree students are an important resource for Finland
and Turku. The number of them in Turku has almost tripled since 2004. It is vital for the local economy that the students stay in Turku after their graduation and find employment. This study examines what attracts international students to Turku, how are they integrating into Turku, what could be done to help this integration process, and finally, what do the students plan to do after their graduation.
The study is based on a survey sent to all international degree students of Åbo Akademi University, the University of Turku, Turku University of Applied Sciences and Novia University of Applied Sciences’ Turku campus. 303 students responded to the survey in September 2015.
The results of this study show that although international students seem to be very happy with their studies in Turku, many students need more help with career planning, finding internships and learning Finnish.
Most of the international students graduating in 2015/2016 had either completed an internship in Finland or had been employed in Turku. A third of the respondents had done both. Internships were found to be an extremely efficient stepping stone towards employment. Two thirds of the respondents stated that they would prefer staying in Finland after graduation if work was available. Also, two thirds of the respondents were interested or possibly interested in becoming self-employed in Turku.