Keep basic language courses at Åbo Akademi University

Exchange students at Åbo Akademi University want to learn local languages

In the midst of news that the different units of Åbo Akademi University have to make considerable cuts to their budgets for the year 2013, the Centre for Language and Communication (CSK) at Åbo Akademi University made the decision to stop arranging basic courses in Finnish and Swedish for exchange students.

This piece of news made us, current and former exchange students at Åbo Akademi University, very alarmed and with this letter we would like to express our deepest concern regarding this unfortunate turn of events.

We have chosen to study at Åbo Akademi University partly because of its rich heritage as the only Finland-Swedish university in the world. In the past we have greatly enjoyed studying its language of tuition and administration, Swedish, together with Finnish, in order to be able to have some basic interaction with the local student population and with our teachers in their own language, and to get by in everyday situations around the city and campus.

Language is by far the most important element for our integration in Finland and at our university. Many exchange students are interested in pursuing further studies at Åbo Akademi University – a master’s degree or a PhD – after completing our exchange period, especially if we are given the chance to integrate through learning local languages.

Åbo Akademi University has planned to cooperate with its Centre for Lifelong Learning (CLL) and the Swedish adult education centre “Arbis” in organizing language courses, but part of those would not give us any ECTS credits and would thus not be part of our curricula. Furthermore, these courses are often costly and are organized during office hours, which means that they clash with our regular studies. The courses can also be completely full.

We are saddened by the fact that this essential prerequisite for a future life in Finland is taken away from us. We would like to appeal to the Rector of Åbo Akademi University Jorma Mattinen and to the Director of the Centre for Language and Communication Jan Jylhä to reconsider arranging basic courses in the local languages for us.

Through Erasmus Student Network vid Åbo Akademi r.f.,

ESN vid Åbo Akademi r.f.    Contact the author of the petition