Pulse Articles Internationalisation

Attracting Inter­na­tional Students to Karelia UAS Virtually 

This article sheds a light on various activ­ities of the One-stop Career Guidanceproject (REACT ESF) has made to attract inter­na­tional students to apply to Karelia UAS for the next academic intake, Autumn 2023. To reach prospect appli­cants globally, the events have been organised virtually. The following paragraphs explain how the events were planned, organised, and imple­mented. The impacts of the events are also discussed.

Apply to Karelia UAS Virtual Fair

On the 26th of October 2022 One-stop Career Guidance Centreproject arranged an Apply to Karelia UAS Virtual Fair -event. This virtual event was targeted for inter­na­tional prospective appli­cants who are inter­ested in getting a higher education degree in Finland. The main idea was to provide the partic­i­pants with the essential and necessary infor­mation regarding the Karelia UAS’ degree programmes, appli­cation process, tuition fees and schol­ar­ships, exchange programme and student life in Finland and North Karelia within two hours, and boost their interest in applying to Karelia UAS. The event was arranged physi­cally at Tikkarinne campus, but the partic­i­pants could access the stream via online platform that was provided by Liveto Group Oy.

Organ­ising the event

After selecting Liveto Group Oy as the service provider, the company granted the access and editing rights to the platform. The platform was used by partic­i­pants to view the stream, chat with the organ­isers, discuss with Karelia UAS’ staff and students, and to get more detailed infor­mation about the degree programmes.

Our job was to build the content and create the design of the platform from scratch. The platform included the following pages: Lobby, Main Stage, Breakout Rooms, infor­mation of each English-taught degree programmes, Admission Services, Student Ambas­sadors and Exchange Programmes. The platform was published one week before the event to allow partic­i­pants to get acquainted with the programme of the event and content in advance. Thus, the platform contained plenty of compo­nents from Karelia UAS website and social media channels. In addition, visitors could ask their questions in advance and subscribe Karelia UAS Applicant’s Newsletter to receive infor­mation also after the event.

The virtual fair was promoted via various channels. Firstly, a webpage was created on the Karelia UAS website. Secondly, paid social media campaign and Google ads were targeted at the target countries. Thirdly, the marketing materials were sent to Karelia UAS´s partner organ­i­sa­tions. These materials were conducted in English, French, Russian and Vietnamese. Lastly, the event was promoted via Karelia UAS’ own social medial channels such as Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

The virtual fair needed to be planned and scheduled in advance. Also, it was necessary to book a special room for the streaming with enough space and silence for the camera operator and recorder. Karelia UAS has a room for organ­ising media events, called “Canvas studio”. The room was decorated on the day of the event with Karelia UAS banners and furniture to resemble a real-life studio.

Presen­ta­tions from Karelia UAS’ staff and students

The event started with a greetings-video from the Rector of Karelia UAS Mr. Raivo, in which he told the appli­cants about a low hierarchy in Finland, Finland as the happies country in the world and welcomed appli­cants to Karelia UAS. Our co-worker and Karelia UAS graduate made an inspiring presen­tation about studying and living in North Karelia. To attract future students to the region, various marketing materials were used in the presen­tation, such as a video of North Karelia, pictures with nature, etc.

To tell more about our bachelor’s degree programmes, staff members of Karelia UAS were invited for a discussion; Computer Science Lecturer, Study Counsellor in the degree programme in Inter­na­tional Business, and Head of Education of English-taught programmes Inter­na­tional Business and Indus­trial Management.  The specialists from Admission Office gave detailed infor­mation about the appli­cation process, the tuition fees, and schol­arship programme. In addition, Inter­na­tional Officer told about the oppor­tu­nities to do an exchange while studying at Karelia UAS. Lastly, an Inter­na­tional Business student was inter­viewed about her pathway from studies to working life. All the partic­i­pants were asked to join the breakout rooms after the main session to ask questions from Karelia UAS representatives.

After­wards, the stream was recorded and published on Karelia UAS’ social media channels and website. The recording “Apply to Karelia UAS Virtual Fair 2022” with subtitles can be found on Karelia UAS’ YouTube channel, and with the help of timecodes one can easily navigate through the one-hour long video. If the partic­i­pants wanted to visit the platform after the event to learn and get more infor­mation, it was left open until the beginning of the appli­cation period in January 2023. In total, 145 single partic­i­pants joined the virtual event. Most of the partic­i­pants were from India, Finland, Russia, Morocco, and Nigeria. The recording of the event serves for the upcoming appli­cation periods as well.

Gropu photo with 12 people
Team from Karelia UAS organ­ising the Apply to Karelia UAS Virtual Fair 2022

Q&A sessions on Karelia UAS’ YouTube channel

As part of the Apply to Karelia UAS Virtual Fair, four Q&A sessions were organised for appli­cants in Morocco, India, Vietnam, and for Russian speaking immigrants living around North Karelia. These events were streamed on Karelia UAS’s YouTube channel. The idea was to answer the questions of the prospective appli­cants in a relaxed atmos­phere and let people, who might had missed the main event, to meet Karelia UAS staff members and interact with them online. Each Q&A session lasted for one hour. These sessions were also promoted via Karelia UAS website, paid adver­tise­ments in target countries, partner networks and Karelia UAS own social media channels. The sessions were organised with the help of Karelia UAS’ media students.

Sessions in English, Russian, French and Vietnamese

Apply to Karelia UAS Q&A sessions were tailor-made for each target groups. Each session had a quest speaker from Karelia UAS’ staff; Admission Office repre­sen­tative and two or three more specialists depending on the purpose and the target country. The first session targeted for the Russian-speaking immigrants in Finland and especially around North Karelia, was slightly different from the other sessions, as they might want to study not only in the English-taught programmes, but also on the programmes taught in Finnish. The event was also indented to people fleeing from Ukraine, as Karelia UAS provides them with advice and study oppor­tu­nities and separate study rights in bachelor’s degree programmes. Karelia UAS’s Russian language lecturer and SIMHE counsellor were present at the event to answer applicant’s questions. In the sessions targeted to Morocco and Vietnam, we had a great chance to utilise the language and cultural skills of Karelia UAS’s staff members; lecturer from Indus­trial Management programme held a presen­tation in French, and Global Education Officer made a presen­tation and hosted the event in Vietnamese.

The Q&A sessions were recorded, and can be accessed via Karelia UAS YouTube channel. All the videos were also published on Karelia UAS website. The videos were also distributed to Karelia UAS partners in inter­na­tional student recruitment. Each live stream had a few dozen viewers, but the after the live-streams the recordings have now reached over 550 views in total. This means the recordings serve the inter­ested appli­cants after the live stream as well.

Both new virtual marketing means to attract prospect appli­cants were a big learning curve for the project staff and other helping hands at Karelia UAS. These means will be utilised also after the project has ended with slight varia­tions. The One-stop Career Guidance Centreproject will arrange another virtual fair during 2023, this time also focusing on the job oppor­tu­nities in North Karelia after graduation.


Sofiya Meleshkova, Project Coordi­nator, Karelia UAS

Anastasia Korchin­skaya, Project Coordi­nator, Karelia UAS

Sini-Tuuli Saaristo, Project Manager, Karelia UAS

Cover photo: Andrea Piacquadio