Professor Corner: Dr Greg Brush

26.01.2016 | | George Mossford

Greg Brush
I have just completed my second tour of duty at HELBUS. There is a lot to love about Helsinki and the Finnish people. They may be initially reserved, but once they are comfortable with you and open up they are great fun; although you can also skip this preliminary uncomfortable stage with alcohol.

If you are a prospective student I believe HELBUS offers a quality education and continues to improve its offerings and processes. The quality of international study offered to graduating students completing the final year of their undergraduate degree supports this. You will work hard, but also there is a lot of opportunity to have some fun with your fellow classmates – trips to Tallinn seem to be high on this list. The students I have taught are at an equivalent level to the students I teach at the University of Western Australia (which is ranked as one of the top 100 universities in the world) and come from very diverse backgrounds. This provides excellent opportunities for networking and peer learning. The cohort nature of the program also facilitates the making of great friendships that will last well beyond the course.

If you are a prospective visiting professor I highly recommend the HELBUS experience. While the teaching demands and grading requirements are intensive and make for a heavy instructor workload, the process is very rewarding and Helsinki is a great city to spend some time in. You will probably never learn much of the language, but if you embrace Helsinki and its people you will have a very enjoyable time. So here are my tips for new professors to HELBUS. Before you arrive take a look at Finnish Nightmares – this will give you some insight into the Finnish people. If you are in Helsinki during Autumn/Winter catch an ice hockey game, take a ferry to Tallinn and sing Karaoke with the locals, check out Lappi restaurant for traditional Finnish food (I strongly recommend the reindeer tongue) and if you are feeling a bit overwhelmed check out Villi Waino for Finnish rock music and dancing on tables. When in the classroom, don’t be afraid to challenge the students, use group work exercises and presentations. Many Finnish students find presentations frightening but will need these skills as they move on to international study, and in many cases don’t realise what they are capable of. As an instructor it is great to see the students grow over the three weeks I am with them, take early feedback on board and really improve. Like the Finnish people they are direct, genuine and very hard not to like.

George Mossford


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