SIMHE Continuation project

The project has ended 31.08.2021.

Project Manager: Lemettinen Outi
Funding: Ministry of Education and Culture (special subsidy)
Project implemented by Metropolia University of Applied Sciences


The SIMHE Continuation project was aim to

  • develop an integrated career guidance and Finnish language-learning model to improve international degree students’ employability in Finland
  • evaluate the experiences and practices of SIMHE activities (Supporting Immigrants in Higher Education in Finland), run nationwide in Finland since 2016.

The project expanded the target group of SIMHE activities to include international degree students in higher education institutions. Elements of the model was also adapted to other student groups of an immigrant background and to other immigrants. Studies show that despite their interest to work in Finland, becoming employed is challenging for international degree students. Progressing in studies can also be challenging for international students especially due to lacking language skills. According to a 2016 study by the University of Jyväskylä, higher education institutions do not offer enough Finnish language courses. It is therefore necessary to develop a comprehensive model, which takes into account both language learning and professional development as well as networking activities. Targeted support is needed starting from the beginning of studies. The developed model was disseminated to other higher education institutions.

So far SIMHE activities have mainly been evaluated on the basis of numbers of participants and customer feedback. What was lacking is analysis from the point of view of Finnish higher education policies and immigrants’ integration. The project compiled an evaluation report on the impact of SIMHE activities, with the purpose of further developing the operations in Finland.

Impact / Results

SIMHE Continuation project produced a career guidance and Finnish language-learning model. The model visualised the support process of career guidance and language learning for international degree students, covering the whole extent of studies. These activities aimed to improve the integration of international degree students during their studies in Finland as well as to enhance their employment in Finland after graduation. Other higher education institutions can apply the model as well.

The second outcome of the project was a publication evaluating the SIMHE activities. The evaluation aimed to improve national procedures and services in higher education institutions involved in SIMHE activities.

The project activities included a SIMHE gala in December 2020. The purpose of the event was to distribute the results of the national SIMHE activities. In June 2021 the SIMHE Boost Employment seminar focused on sharing the experiences and best practices of supporting employment among international students. Read more on the SIMHE Boost Employment seminar.