Chicagoan Rebecca Kihlman came to Finland, in the city of Vantaa, as a high school exchange student in 1987. It’s been a love affair with the country ever since.
Rebecca returned to Finland just two years later to study social psychology at the University of Helsinki. “The most significant reason to stay in Finland was the sense of freedom. It was amazing to live in a European capital and still move around freely, as a young woman be able to go to the cinema or coffee place by myself.“
“Finland is an easy place to live in. A place where you can choose to live the fast life or opt for a slower pace. There is a balance between work and play and that’s what makes it special“, says Rebecca.
Rebecca’s career in Finland has revolved around education. She’s been employed by Helsinki Business College, Hanken School of Economics and most recently, Metropolia University of Applied Sciences, where she is now the Head of International Degree Programmes.
Metropolia has the largest international teaching staff in Finland, with 39 nationalities among lecturers. Rebecca’s job includes making sure that teachers get support in their work, lecture schedules run smoothly and the venues are working properly. She is also responsible for the double degree partner co-operation with Germany, France, the UK, Spain and Austria. “I’m making sure that we are marketing our double degree programs to the fullest and that we are delivering our promises to students.”
Ever since the first PISA survey results published, the Finnish educational system has received a lot of international attention. Rebecca feels that one of the success factors is that schools make sure that there is enough free time to study. “We have a sense of community here and I want to keep it that way. When we are recruiting new lecturers, it’s not enough to be formally qualified but also to have personality that fits in well with our organization,” she says.