The number of international students studying in Finnish universities has increased in the past few years and many hope to be employed in Finland after graduation. However, finding a job is seen as a challenge, and international students need more information about the employment opportunities and paths in Finland. The career coaching needs of international degree students were surveyed by interviewing these students in the University of Oulu in spring 2011.
Five distinct themes related to career coaching needs emerged from the interviews:
The last two themes were seen as particularly important. One of the most significant career choices of an international student is the decision to go and study in Finland. When debating this choice, students consider their career goals and how studying abroad supports these goals. Although this often makes international students highly goal-oriented, the data clearly indicated that international students also need help with setting career goals and support as they pursue these goals.
A career coaching group model was formulated by the VALOA project for the international degree students at the University of Oulu to meet their career coaching needs. The aim of the Career & Competence career coaching group is to provide students with information about the Finnish work life, work culture, and job-hunting. In addition, the aim is to provide guidance with individual career planning, the construction of a professional identity, and the identification and expression of personal competence.