Call for Action: Contribute to the development of UniPID’s Discussion Paper “In the search of good practices for hosting scholars"

May 3, 2023

Internationalisation in Finnish Higher Education Institutions –HEIs has been promoted as a core idea to invite international scholars to Finland. Nevertheless, some previous experiences have led us to question what kind of practices should define a respectful hosting experience? Join us in this thoughtful discussion and be prepared to contribute. Your insights are encouraged and welcome.

Finland as a country fostering internationalisation.

As a strategy to attract more international students and scholars in Finland, the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture –MEC developed the ‘Better together for a better world – Policies to promote internationalisation in Finnish higher education and research 2017-2025' policies. Its main goal is to make it easy to come to Finland to study and work. However, past experiences lead us to question how well-prepared Finland and the HEIs are to attract students and scholars within a friendly and respectful hosting environment.

Promoting internationalisation in higher education requires an open discussion on both practical and structural arrangements that might represent obstacles for internationals when planning to come to Finland. As part of this process, there must be space to reflect and question the responsibilities of potential hosts to guarantee a respectful visit, as well as an active dialogue with visitors to get to know their expectations and needs.

In the search of good practices for hosting international scholars.

During Spring 2022, several African scholars visited Finland as part of a collaborative initiative between UniPID and the Global Innovation Network for Teaching and Learning -GINTL. Although this visit enthusiastically reinforced the existing partnerships, it was perceived that some practices need to be further discussed and reflected. During and after their visit, the guest scholars provided feedback on some issues to take in mind, so that the hosting HEIs could guarantee a more respectful and friendly atmosphere for internationals in future opportunities.

Having this collected feedback as a basis, UniPID met with GINTL colleagues as well as with some members from the Africa Research Forum for Social Sciences and Humanities at the University of Helsinki -AfriStadi to discuss the experience, the lessons learned, and the steps to follow in future visits. Relevant questions such as “What is my responsibility as the host?” “What should I do to support the visitor in the best possible way?” “Who should I contact to make all the payments on time?” “Who takes care of paying living allowance?” guided the discussion sessions.

As a result of these sessions and shared experiences, UniPID, GINTL, and AfriStadi have collected in this preliminary discussion paper a series of good practices and aspects to take into account, in order to guarantee a more responsible and respectful visit to internationals.

Read the discussion paper here.

"Internationalisation in higher education has been growing during the past decades and while working at UniPID I have noticed that it has an enriching potential to enhance the possibilities of education and research to make contributions to global and common matters. I think that there is a need for discussion on what does internationalisation in practice mean. Hosting visitors is a good example of that." Meeri Tiensuu reflects.

You are warmly invited to contribute to this discussion paper

Now, this is the time for our community and stakeholders in general to contribute to the development of this discussion paper by sharing feedback, experiences and recommendations. You can contribute by filling out this form by 9 June 2023. All comments are very much appreciated!

Once the feedback is collected, we will review and present the final outcomes alongside the discussion group. Upon completion, the final version of this discussion paper will be shared with our Member Universities, as well as to stakeholders in general.

For further information you can contact UniPID through our email address


Photo credits: Maryjios, 2022 on UnSplash