S2 language path model for higher education institutions - how the institution can support the language learning of international students

The language path model supports higher education institutions in drawing up curricula and planning linguistic studies for international students. The basic principle of the model is that each student selects a language course according to their level of proficiency. If the student has good proficiency in Finnish, they can choose a course aimed at more advanced students. The model also guides to language-aware teaching and encourages cooperation between higher education institutions.
Two students are walking in the corridor. They are smiling.
Photo: Rainer Paananen. All rights reserved.

The S2 language path model is based on the following ideas

  1. The student's Finnish language studies are also effectively guided in English degree programmes from the beginning of the studies, and the student prepares a language personal study plan (PSP) with their instructor, which is updated regularly during the studies. You can find a template of a language PSP at the bottom of this page.
  2. The student develops their Finnish language skills throughout their studies starting from their own level even if they already have a B1 proficiency level in Finnish at the beginning of the studies.
  3. The student completes language practices and traineeships in a Finnish-language environment from the start. Language support is offered for the traineeship, and if necessary, the traineeship is carried out in pairs with a language mentor. A language agreement is drawn up at the beginning of the traineeship.
  4.  The entire higher education community operates in a language-aware manner and provides the student with support in Finnish also in connection with studies in English (Finnish-language professional vocabulary, phrase lists for communication situations at the traineeship). In addition, the higher education institution offers students multilingual courses, an opportunity to participate in language mentor activities, language cafés and regular language clinics.
  5. The implementation of the language path encourages cooperation between different higher education institutions and provides an opportunity to consider what kind of S2 teaching the higher education institutions could offer in cooperation.

The basic principles of the model are also presented in Finnish in this video presenting the language path model in which Eveliina Korpela explains the starting points of the language path model that have been developed at Metropolia University of Applied Sciences.

"At work I get very little support in Finnish - so mostly I have to rely on my Finnish skills and Google Translate!"

- Day-care centre employee, graduated in Finland from an English-language degree programme

The language path model step by step

It is important that students receive realistic information on what kind of Finnish skills are required in their profession. "You can survive with English in Finland" is not good advice if the student wants to stay in Finland after graduating and have an everyday life here. The language path model takes different needs and language skills into account.

More about the language learning plan and the language agreement

Download the materials for your use.

Two persons talking and looking at the screen of a mobile phone.

Make a language learning plan (Language-PSP)

A tool to discuss language proficiencies and career planning.

Study counsellors in higher education
People gathered around a table and discussing.

Traineeship is also language practice

Language-aware traineeship practices support all students regardless of their level of proficiency.

Internship advisors

See also

Language boosts at the higher education institution – case study

How Metropolia started to develop language learning.

Hands are holding a pen and there's a notebook on the table.

Language mentor as a helper to higher education students

Language mentor supports and encourages international students.

Two students walking and talking in the corridor.

Internship advisors

Materials and models to support language learning during internships.

The student is smiling and chatting with the teacher at a table. The student looks at the smiling teacher with a pen in her hand. There are some sheets of paper and a computer on the table.
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