–We get to work in some of the many laboratories including the cleanrooms and color science lab.
Modernising physics classes
Although Charles’ studies are now rolling smoothly towards a Master's degree and a PhD, adjusting to a new culture hasn’t always been easy.
–I had some problems with the accommodation application, and then I ended up in a three-person flat where I couldn't have any pets and I just didn’t feel comfortable. However, this led to the wonderful situation that I got to move into a family flat with one of my best friends from the program.
He found the city of Joensuu to be surprisingly small, but he’s been impressed with the number of active sports teams and student gatherings. Unfortunately, the corona situation has had an impact on the social scene this year, and the international exchange students couldn’t even get here at all.
–All in all, I was surprised by how kind people are here. Everywhere you go they are really helpful. Owning a bike is a must. It’s super easy to get around by bike – even in the winter as the bike paths are well maintained. I also learned to enjoy the Finnish sauna and now I go there 2–3 times a week.
Studywise, he is approaching his ultimate goal, which is to get a PhD and teach.
–I want to be a professor and teach physics to new generations. I think there are so many ways to modernise physics teaching, and knowledge in physics is the key to solving many of the world’s problems. Overpopulation, global warming, food demand, water demand – you need physics solutions to tackle all these. I’d especially like to see more women and girls educated in science.
Even though Charles might not be a typical photonics student who wants to work in the growing tech industry, he thinks that the programme can appeal to many kinds of students.
–If you’re a research oriented person or you want to find a job in Finland, I see a lot of opportunities. In our program we’ve had different companies talking to us about the work they do, and there are many opportunities for company collaboration, for example in terms of your thesis. They are also talking about this new Photonics Center that will gather companies together in Joensuu and the goal is to have 1 000 new workers in the field by 2030.
In 10 years from now, Charles sees himself standing in front of a classroom.
–I will be happy to teach physics and special things about photonics, building on the experiences I’ve gotten from the different teaching methods and really good lecturers and professors during my time at the UEF.