In his welcome, Vice President Hannu Seristö of Aalto University emphasised the importance of the close collaboration with China. Mr Gao Yuhang, Head of the Education Section from the Embassy of the People's Republic of China, echoed in his greeting Mr Seristö's sentiment.
Vice President Hannu Seristö
– The three founding universities, that formed Aalto University, had decades of Chinese co-operation behind them. Aalto signed its first ever foreign partnership agreement after only a week of operating with Tongji University. The collaboration between Aalto and Tongji is broad and systematic, which we are extremely pleased about and proud of, said Hannu Seristö.
Mr Seristö also mentioned that the collaboration with the City of Espoo and Huawei is invaluable when developing Aalto University and its Otaniemi campus.
Mr Gao Yuhang, Head of the Education Section
Aalto has a large student pool with 900 exchange students, out of which 55 are Chinese. Gao Yuhang said that of the around 300 Chinese degree students overall, 70 are doctoral ones.
Last year, Mr Yuhang attended the opening ceremony of the new academic year at Aalto, where he also met alumni who had graduated 50 years ago.
– I was impressed by the fact how the alumni were still just as proud to keep the flag of their alma mater flying, so to speak, as they had done on the day way back then.
He hopes that the Chinese Aalto graduates will feel just as proud when their time comes to celebrate a 50-year milestone in graduating.
Student unions on Chinese co-operation
Secretary General, Mr Janne Koskenniemi of the Aalto University Student Union, and Ms Pilvi Hietanen of the Aalto Doctoral Student Union, both thanked the Chinese community for the over a decade-long co-operation. They think that the Chinese and Finnish working mentality is much the same in that both nations work hard but are able to separate work from the leisure time, which adds to the good relations.
Dean Lou Yongqi from Tongji University in Shanghai, and Slush China crew from Beijing, both sent their happy New Year’s video greetings to all of the Aalto community.
Ms Yiling Liu, Master's degree student at the School of Business
Studying at Aalto – student's point of view
Ms Yiling Liu was one of the student representatives at the festivities. She is a first-year master's student in accounting at the School of Business. Ms Liu gained her BA degree in Business Information Technology at the Haaga Helia University of Applied Sciences in Helsinki. As a study place, Finland appealed to her for its safety.
Ms Liu gave a huge thanks to the career and other services available to students at Aalto. She especially noted that the facilities are great, e.g. Learning Hubs on different campuses, which motivate you to be more innovative. Yiling Liu hopes to join some Aalto Venture Program's courses in future.
Traditions in New Year celebrations
The exchange of gifts. Mr Seristö received a Chinese New Year's Calendar for 2016, and Mr Gao Yuhang a pair of woolly socks in Aalto red.
Playing games is traditional in Chinese New Year's celebrations, and card games and puzzles were part of the programme at Aalto, too.
A Chinese Dancing Club Performance by Aalto students brought a vivid urban flair to the event.
Tea tasting offered a chance to sample new flavours and observe the art of Chinese tea making.
The Chinese New Year's get-together was organised by Aalto University's Leadership Support Services, together with Chinese student and personnel representatives. Aalto Tongji lounge is Tongji University's shop window in Finland, and a gateway to China for Aalto University and its partners. Aalto University has been active on the Tongji University campus for more than six years now.
Tongji University is Aalto University's strategic partner. There were around 300 Chinese degree seeking students at Aalto University in 2015 together with 55 exchange students, whereas around 45 Aalto students studied in China the same year.
Text: Heli Laukko
Photos: Mikko Raskinen