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Millennium Youth Campers spreading knowledge across borders - MyScience [archived]

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Millennium Youth CampMYC News - Oct 23, 2013

Millennium Youth Campers spreading knowledge across borders

In June 2013, Nidia Obscura Acosta from Mexico and Victor Hugo Corrêa Rodrigues from Brazil arrived in Finland for Millennium Youth Camp. Now, four months later, they are both Math students at University of Helsinki, where they got accepted based on their camp participation.

Nidia, Victor and autumn leaves at Kumpula Science Campus, the home University of Helsinki’s Faculty of Science. Photo: Sakari Tolppanen.

“It’s been four months since the Millennium Youth Camp and I can really say that my life is completely different because of it. In addition to science and technology, I’ve learned a lot about myself. And the campers, they’re really brilliant people. That inspires me and tells me that we the youth have the power to change everything, if we want to,” says 18-year-old Nidia Acosta Obscura from Mexico.

Nidia came to Finland to study Mathematics in University of Helsinki’s Faculty of Science in mid-September. “During Millennium Youth Camp, I saw how research is done in Finland and really liked it. I feel that here I can make more individual decisions.”

She and 18-year-old Victor Hugo Corrêa Rodrigues from Brazil as well as all the other Millennium Youth Campers were offered the possibility to apply to Faculty of Science based on their camp participation.

“When I first came to Finland I was mesmerised by how people think about education. I thought ‘Oh my gosh, I want to be with people like them’,” says Victor, who has also started Bachelor-level studies in Mathematics at Faculty of Science recently.

Although moving across the world to another country and culture is never easy and requires courage and finance, Victor believes that at the end it will motivate him to contribute more to his academic aspirations. “When you cross borders, you meet people with different ideas. It’s great to have that shock and put your principles to the test.”

At the moment, Faculty of Science offers several English-language Master’s Degree Programmes but Bachelor-level courses are mostly in Finnish or Swedish. This means Nidia and Victor have to study a lot by themselves and then attend general examinations.

“At the beginning it was a bit confusing,” Nidia admits. With the help of tutors and professors from the Department of Mathematics and Statistics she is now getting the hang of things.

“People care about your studies and care about how you are doing,” Victor says. “When we learn Finnish and get to know the Department better, then we can integrate even more,” Nidia adds.

Both of them are studying Finnish once a week and also looking at courses from other Departments to widen the horizon of what University of Helsinki has to offer. Nidia plans on doing her minor in Computer Science, and she is also considering courses related to technology offered by Aalto University. Victor is interested in studying Physics. “The university gives you the flexibility to try other things as well, which is great,” he says.

At this point, both Nidia and Victor plan on doing also Master’s studies at Faculty of Science. Victor says he is impressed by the Master’s Degree Programme in Mathematical Physics offered by the Department, Nidia is interested in studies related to algorithms. In the future, both of the young students would like work for the better of their home countries.

“I believe that I will contribute more to the development of the world by devoting my time to research. I love to explore new ideas, and improve the ones people have already had. If I’m not doing this, you can start calling a doctor. Maybe there is a path for me in the start-up field, which is something I’ve been considering this year,” Victor says. He intends to experience the world and take the best of what he has learned and use it to help his home country.

“I think it’s great to make connections and get to know researchers from other countries. I think science advances a lot more if we all share our ideas,” Nidia adds. “I would like to develop myself the best I can so that I can really help science and research become reality in my country and other countries in Latin America.”

Read Victor’s blog at: myworldintexts.blogspot.fi.

The main organisers of Millennium Youth Camp are Finland’s Science Education Centre LUMA (University of Helsinki), Technology Academy Finland, and Aalto University.

Millennium Youth Camp is completely free of charge and anyone born between the years 1995 and 1998 is eligible to apply. Apply before 15 December by filling the online form at: elomake.helsinki.fi/lomakkeet/45593/lomake.html. More information on the application process can be found at www.millenniumyouthcamp.fi.

Elisa Lautala works as web editor for University of Helsinki's Faculty of Science. Elisa likes all kinds of cultural events, good books, warm weather, and aqua-jogging.