"An enriching experience for all our family"

We first met Markku and Heli Hokkanen in October 2015 at Imperial’s New International Parents’ Reception. At the time, their son Kalle was about to enter his first year of Aeronautical Engineering at Imperial College London. We got back in touch towards the end of the 2016 summer term to find out how Kalle’s first year at university had been for the Hokkanen family. Markku and Heli told us a little about how life has changed and reflected on some early hints at Kalle’s future study path.

Hokkanens"It’s funny now to realise a connection between Kalle’s studies in aeronautical engineering and his early childhood. One of Markku’s earliest jobs was related to the acquisition of F-18 fighters from Boeing to the Finnish Air Forces. This meant several business trips to the Boeing offices in St Louis, Missouri, which of course resulted in numerous aviation-related gifts, toys and clothing for Kalle. It shows you never know how such things will pan out!

We did not set any expectations for Kalle when it came to choosing a university, so the decision to study at Imperial was all his. Of course we trusted him with the choice and it has gone very well so far. It’s important to support your child in his or her choices and be there for any obstacles that arise. The first year abroad in a new, exciting situation must be challenging for anyone, but Kalle has been very satisfied with the available support, activities and infrastructure at Imperial. The guidance he’s received has been excellent. Kalle was looking for new international perspectives and experiences and his hopes have been duly met. The academic level of studies has been high and there is a lot to do in his spare time. I hope that going into his second year, he will feel even more settled and ready to enjoy new opportunities.

"It’s important to support your child in his or her choices and be there for any obstacles that arise"

We greatly enjoyed the New International Parents’ Reception in 2015. It was nice to meet other families from around the world, each with different backgrounds, but all sharing the same excitement. Since then we have been following Kalle’s first year at university by keeping in touch with him regularly and picking up a few Imperial-related news items in the media. Keeping in contact is important, even if it’s difficult over long distance. It can be strange to not to be in contact every day, or have big news from him every week, but we were surprised at how much Kalle wanted to share during our phone calls.

We definitely feel confident that Imperial is a place where Kalle can grow as a person, as well as a professional. Challenging yourself in studies, hobbies and socially will always develop you as a person. Before coming to Imperial, Kalle was a little frustrated, as he didn’t feel challenged in his studies, but there is no problem with that any more at Imperial! Kalle has often praised the commitment of the staff, and their commitment lays foundation for his own success. Kalle’s choice to study at Imperial has been an enriching experience for all our family and we are eagerly looking forward to what’s to come.

Best regards to all Imperial families."

Markku and Heli Hokkanen