“For everyone who wants to try something new”
Through the Nordic Master Programme in Intelligent Software Systems (NISS), Masters students in information technology can complete portions of their degree programme studies at another Nordic university, whilst earning a double degree.
Åbo Akademi University co-ordinates university co-operation, which facilitates Nordic exchange and a double degree in information technology.
The partner universities are Åbo Akademi University in Finland, Mälardalen University in Sweden and Reykjavik University in Iceland.
“The purpose of the programme is to provide students with the necessary skills to build and manage extensive and complex software systems and infrastructures, with an international perspective,” explains Dragos Truscan and Sébastien Lafond, programme co-ordinators at Åbo Akademi University.
“The idea is partly to offer students these opportunities for study, but also to expand co-operation with other Nordic universities beyond the more conventional research-oriented projects,” says Lafond.
“Through exchange, students can broaden their horizons and study subjects that aren’t offered at their home university. They are also able to have new experiences with Nordic environments and cultures,” says Truscan.
New lecturers, new courses
Ken Erikson of Åbo Akademi University participated in the exchange programme in 2019–2020. His exchange took him to Reyjavik, Iceland.
“One of my favourite memories from my time in Iceland was on a road trip, when I got to throw a snowball off of a three hundred metre cliff right into the Atlantic. I was also able to play with one of Reykjavik’s orchestras – one really great memory is when we performed for the presidents of Iceland and India,” he explains.
“Where my studies were concerned, I got to experience new lecturers, courses and approaches to education while I was in Reykjavik. The most interesting courses I took were Computer Vision and Natural Language Processing. Natural Language Processing was especially interesting from an Icelandic standpoint, with regard to their efforts to preserve and manage the Icelandic language.
“For everyone who wants to try something new, I recommend doing an exchange. The thing I appreciated the most was the friends I made, both at university and outside it. But, obviously it also feels great that I’m able to say I earned a double Master’s degree.”
Accessible teachers and rich student life
Joel Öhrling of Mälardalen University is another exchange programme participant. He did his exchange at Åbo Akademi University.
“Because I hadn’t been on any kind of exchange before, I thought I should do at least one term, at any rate. I ended up choosing Åbo Akademi because it was close to family and friends in Sweden, but its course offering also played a major role in my decision.
“My time in Turku was interesting and exciting in many ways. I think the most interesting part of it was to be able to take part in Finland-Swedish culture. We Swedes really don’t know a whole lot about Swedish Finland or Finland Swedes, even though we speak the same language. I learned a lot of new words and expressions that I still use today, even though I’m back in Sweden. ‘Morkis’, ‘kiva’ and ‘skumvin’ are some of my favourites.
“A big difference between Åbo Akademi and the Swedish universities I’ve studied at is how accessible the teachers and other staff are. It’s so easy to contact a teacher outside the scheduled teaching periods.
“Turku and Åbo Akademi have such an enjoyable student life that has a lot of similarities and differences with Swedish student culture. I also found that everyone there really liked the fact that someone from Sweden wanted to study at Åbo Akademi, so I felt really welcome. I would definitely recommend Åbo Akademi to my fellow Swedes,” says Öhrling.
New application period opens in the spring
In the spring of 2021, interested students can apply to the programme for the 2021–2022 academic year. A total of ten students will be accepted to the programme. These students will each be granted a scholarship for the exchange.
NISS is a Nordic Master programme funded by the Nordic Council of Ministers. Click here to learn more about NISS, and here to learn more about the Nordic Master programmes.