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