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Tech students arrived at the campus

In Joensuu, one out of every three people you see on the streets is a student, and now we also have a fair number of fresh students of technical subjects, also known as teekkaris. At the beginning of September, more than 60 students of technical subjects began their studies in Joensuu, bringing their own flavour to the life of Finland’s most multidisciplinary science university and vibrant student city.  

Joensuu joined the list of teekkari cities as the university’s educational offering expanded to the field of technology. This autumn, the University of Eastern Finland started offering engineering studies in the degree programmes of photonics and sustainable technologies in Joensuu and in the degree programme of technical physics in Kuopio.  

Elisa Mehtonen and Emma Myllymäki, who study photonics at the Department of Physics and Mathematics, say that their studies have got off to a good start. Both studied physics during their freshman year.  

“During my first academic year, I studied in the physics research line, but I ended up switching to Master’s degree studies in photonics under the new degree programme. In addition to mathematics and physics, photonics also involves a lot of general technical studies and for example, programming. That diversity attracted me,” says Elisa.   

Emma’s path also took her from the physics research line to studies in photonics. “I had to consider switching for a long time, but the diverse and interesting range of courses in photonics finally won me over.”  

kolme opiskelijaa laboratoriossa tekemässä mittausta
In their studies, Elisa Mehtonen, Emma Myllymäki and Henri Hyttinen get to study the features of light in the laboratory as well.

There is a need for photonics experts 

Photonics is a field of science and technology based on invisible and visible light, whose Master’s degree studies prepare you for research and product development tasks in the field of photonics as well as for working as a specialist and in management positions.   

Technological studies also support business in the region. Companies have been involved in creating the study content and, especially the final years of the studies proceed in close co-operation with companies. The students are also well aware of the fact that there is a great need in companies for highly qualified experts in the field of technology.  

Since the beginning of my studies it has been clear that there is a need for photonics experts.

“Employers are familiar with the title and areas of expertise of Master of Science in Engineering. With this training, you are very likely to find a job in Joensuu, but you can also start building a career abroad,” says Henri Hyttinen, a photonics student.   

In Joensuu, photonics experts work at Dispelix and Nanocomp, for example. The journey of many who specialise in photonics lead to posts at, for example, the Photonics Center on the university campus.  

“Since the beginning of my studies it has been clear that there is a need for photonics experts both in Joensuu and elsewhere in Finland,” says Elisa.   

opiskelija tekemässä valoon liittyvää mittausta
Photonics brought Hamza Khalid to a completely new environment in Joensuu.

All photons lead to Joensuu  

An education in technology also attracts international talent to Joensuu. Hamza Khalid came to Joensuu from Pakistan and has had a little over a month to get acquainted with the campus and the city.  

“I came to Joensuu for my Master’s studies in photonics. I have a background in physics, and I have studied photonics in a few courses during my Bachelor’s studies.”   

The science of light waves eventually attracted Hamza to Joensuu, although other options were available.  

“I could have gone to Oulu to study electronics, but photonics led me to Joensuu. I’m interested in various laser technologies, lenses, nano- and microphotonics and other photonics applications. The world is changing, and light plays a big role in it,” says Hamza.   

The world is changing, and light plays a big role in it.

Hamza has been slowly getting to know the city of Joensuu and the study rhythm of the University of Eastern Finland.  
“I didn’t know anything about Joensuu before coming here. Based on a few weeks’ experience, I can say that Joensuu is a really peaceful city. Getting used to the weather conditions and the peace and quiet takes time, but on the other hand, the city centre is bustling with life.”   

“In Pakistan, I got used to studying mainly through lectures. Studying and scheduling studies is much more independent here in Joensuu. The new way of studying will definitely teach you self-management skills. My future is still open.  I might want to stay in Joensuu to pursue doctoral studies or work in a local company after graduating,” says Hamza.  

kolme opiskelijaa haalareissa ulkona
Photonics students can be identified by their purple overalls. In the spring, during May Day parties, a teekkari cap with a tassel is placed on the head.

Pranks and new May Day traditions  

In Finland, teekkaris are famous for their unique traditions, which are now being brought to student life in Joensuu as well. One of the biggest events is May Day, and next spring the teekkaris will join the party for the first time in Joensuu. However, there may be other events already during the winter, where these students can stand out from the other university students. 

“Each student contributes to creating the culture in Joensuu, and freshmen are encouraged to participate in the joint planning work. On May Day It would be nice to arrange, for example, a teekkari baptism or some other similar tradition,” Elisa and Emma say.  

“I think we’ll manage to come up with some pranks, too. I believe that the culture will be on display in Joensuu in a positive way,” says Henri with a grin.

Anne Kokkonen / Originally released on 27th October 2023 in Joensuu News

Risto Takala