Manchester Calling

The Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute

Aija Koskela is a first year student here at the Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute (HCRI) studying for a BSc in International Disaster Management and Humanitarian Response. Aija is from a small town called Tuusula in Finland, so moving to Manchester to live and study has been quite the experience. Below she talks about her first term on the degree.

Aija Koskela

Aija Koskela

I grew up like most children in Finland, attending school and making friends. When most people started dreaming of their typical dream jobs at around 12 years old; I knew I wanted to become an Au Pair in a foreign country. To fulfil my dream, I headed to Glasgow to work for a family after graduating school in 2018. There were many ups and downs during this time, and I gained so much from the experience.

After being an Au Pair, I decided I wanted to continue with my studies in the area of human rights and law. My interest led me to HCRI and its undergraduate programme, which immediately grabbed my attention. It appealed to everything I believed in and after attending the open day, I applied for the degree and was accepted.

Since coming to Manchester, there have been a few surprises. First of all, adjusting to living in a large, bustling city such as Manchester was a lifestyle shock. Whenever I wanted some quiet time in Finland, I could just go for a walk in the woods. However, although I may miss the countryside, I love how diverse the people who reside in Manchester are. I have met so many wonderful people from all over the world, which has been fantastic.

The University has so much to offer, including a whole host of societies. I’m part of the dance society and I also attend events by the HCRI society, which is a great way to meet people who are doing different degrees within HCRI.

The actual course has been good so far. The first term has been a gentle introduction before things get a lot busier and more difficult from next term onwards. My favourite lecturer has to be Dr Amanda McCorkindale who teaches my Key Concept in International Disaster Management and Humanitarian Response class. In this class we look at the key theoretical concepts that underpin all aspects of international disaster management and humanitarian response. Amanda connects very well with the students, and we can all see her passion for teaching and the subject.

Next term I intend to take advantage of the volunteer opportunities available and see how else I can broaden my experiences. After graduating from my degree, I am not sure what I want to do. I could undertake a master’s degree or start working, and attempting to make the world a better place.