On-campus job provides work experience

According to the Career Centre of the University of Toronto, jobs on campus and so-called on-campus job opportunities are some of the best ways to offer international students their first Canadian work experience.

Based on the Toronto model, VALOA project has considered the possibility to utilize the on-campus job model in Finnish higher education institutions. The project team has compiled examples of jobs that might be suitable as on-campus jobs.

On-campus job list

  • Vacancies offered by UniCafe etc.
  • HOAS host in student housing
  • Project work related to the higher education institution’s activities
  • Organizing complementary activities, e.g. a mentoring family, a friend, conducting events
  • Organizing voluntary student activities
  • Activities of the Student Council
  • Assistants used by staff, e.g. course tutors
  • Tutoring
  • Language clubs, language partners, organizing or coordinating language course activities
  • Organizing peer support groups
  • Leading book clubs

International degree students who are starting their careers in Finland have similar needs as students in Canada in terms of finding their first job to provide them with Finnish work experience.

On-campus jobs entail an open mindset

On-campus jobs range from tasks related to the courses of the higher education institution all the way to jobs offered by service providers working on campus, such as a cafeteria, a bookstore, or sports and exercise services. In principle, the jobs are somehow linked to the activities of the institution or to the student’s studies.

For example, the pedagogy of learning-by-doing has introduced elements to education where the student’s studies and work life meet. These interfaces provide multiple job opportunities. Tasks can be brought out more clearly and marketed to students through coordinated methods. Information about available jobs on campus often spreads through personal contacts within the institution. The danger is that international students are accidentally left outside these contact networks.

The internal communication network of higher education institutions can be utilized more efficiently when informing students about available tasks. It is recommended that the language of communication be English so that even first-year international students can be part of the network and be informed of vacancies on campus.

Finnish reference or referee as the desired compensation

In the University of Toronto, students are committed to on-campus jobs by providing them with a job certificate and Canadian referees. The compensation for working on campus can thus be a referee for one’s job-hunting process, a job certificate, a salary, a privilege, study credits, or several of these together. The compensation is determined by the task and how it is linked to studies or other institutional activities.

On-campus jobs provide international students their first experience of the Finnish work life. Jobs are integrated into the activities of the higher education institutions, but they still entail a change in the institution’s role toward the international student from an educational organization to an employer.

On-campus jobs also help international students in terms of social integration. When working as, for instance, the leader of a book club or a study group, the student receives new peer contacts, whereas in tutor and student organizations the student forms networks with social interest groups.


To the employer:

  • brings flexibility to the activities of the organization and new contacts with different interest groups as well as facilitates the internationalization of activities
  • promotes the well-being and comfort of students and staff as well as an open and innovative working atmosphere

To the student:

  • first experience from Finnish work life and possible extra income
  • work experience to be included in his/her CV and a referee for the job-hunting process
  • contacts with work life and the possibility to form an international network
  • the possibility to learn Finnish in practice

Source information:

University of Toronto, Jobs For Students

Foundation for Student Housing in the Helsinki Region

Foundation for Student Housing in the Helsinki Region

University of Lapland, Guidebook for International Tutors 2009–2010

Guidebook for Tutors 2010–2011_LaY.pdf

Discussion on 3 February, 2012 with Professor Heikki Hervonen, Institute of Biomedicine, and Training Officer Matti Aarnio, Research and Development Unit for Medical Education, University of Helsinki

Problem-based learning in Finnish.pdf