Kateryna Kryzhanivska – My home town Lappeenranta

An international heart now belongs to Lappeenranta

Kateryna Kryzhanivska, a PhD student at LUT, ended up in Lappeenranta through many stages.

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Kateryna Kryzhanivska, a PhD student at LUT, ended up in Lappeenranta through many stages. It all started with her father’s advice.

“My father said that Finland is the best country to live in and the happiest country in the world. When I was studying at Technical University of Braunschweig in Germany, I had the opportunity to come to LUT for an Erasmus exchange. That’s when I decided to come to Finland next.

Life-changing studies at LUT

Kateryna’s main subject at LUT was Global Management of Innovation and Technology, but she was able to choose courses from other subjects as well. She had a great time.

“I extended my stay in Lappeenranta and got to know the very ambitious research group led by Professor Kirsimarja Blomqvist. We applied for and received development funding, and I had the opportunity to do my Master’s degree here.

Studying at LUT changed Kateryna’s life. She feels that her heart now belongs to Lappeenranta and this region.

“I wanted to come back here, and they also wanted me back. One day in August, I got a call from the research group saying that they and the whole region needed me.”

Fast expert teams solve complex problems

Kateryna is now working on her PhD at LUT in the School of Business and Management.

“I study inter-organisational collaboration or how companies, the public sector and universities can work together to create innovations across sectors and solve complex problems in society. As part of the research, Kateryna’s research group has piloted Fast Expert Teams (FETs), a model developed at LUT. It enables teams of experts from different organisations to meet flexibly in digital environments to solve problems and generate new ideas and concepts.

“We tested the Fast Expert Teams at Soletair Power, a Lappeenranta-based energy company. The concept helped the company to become international by establishing contacts with foreign experts and places where they could test their technology. We are excited about the results and hope that companies in Lappeenranta and the surrounding areas will try out these teams and digital organisation to become more international and solve complex problems.”

Kateryna works a lot with the Greenreality network. This network of companies in the environmental and energy sectors in South Karelia is creating new opportunities for greener business. The City of Lappeenranta and LUT are also involved.

“We are making the network more international and active, so that members can benefit even more from the cooperation.”

Even the sauna culture has become familiar

But Kateryna’s life is not just research and work. She is very active by nature and exercises a lot.

“Lappeenranta has a lot of opportunities for sports and exercise. I like swimming and morning jogs, and I get more motivation from seeing lots of other people exercising. In winter, I do cross-country skiing, and this spring, I started playing tennis with my dissertation advisor. Maybe one day there will be a very active tennis club at LUT!

Kateryna also likes berry picking and kayaking, and goes on kayaking trips with her friends. Her favourite part of the Finnish way of life is the sauna culture.

“Sauna bathing is a great opportunity to get to know other students by the fireplace. We grill sausages and marshmallows and then go to the sauna and from there straight to the lake.” In Kateryna’s experience, Finns are an international people.

“I was surprised at how open-minded and helpful people are. Because of that, you also get a more open and curious mind – it’s as if Finns give you this open-minded culture as a gift. In municipal elections, foreigners are allowed to vote and we have a say in the affairs of the city and the region. I feel that I am part of the local culture and that I am needed here. Finland is the best country I have ever lived in. I am happy and socially active here, and I like this sustainable way of life.”

Lappeenranta is a pioneer in sustainable development

Kateryna says that Lappeenranta is a truly international city, where foreigners contribute to the development of the region.

“Many university graduates want to stay in the region to work or set up businesses. This is a very innovative city. There are many companies and researchers doing important work here, and the Greenreality network is building an innovation ecosystem. A sustainable business revolution is under way, and Lappeenranta is among the first to promote green initiatives and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.” Kateryna’s story so far has been very international, and that is how she also sees her future.

“My story will continue in Lappeenranta for a few more years as I do my PhD here. I hope that my research will have a positive impact on the region and society. My goal is to promote the message of a green city. I hope that we can overcome all the challenges of today and create an inspiring and green future for ourselves and future generations.



All the ingredients for success

Lappeenranta attracts foreign university students every year with its high-quality study opportunities and entrepreneurial atmosphere. Indian-born Abhishek Jayaprakash and Soumyajit Chatterjee, the founders of Henkaus, fell in love with the city’s closeness to nature.


Enlivening culture and the city

The cultural venue Nuijamies delights culture lovers in the centre of Lappeenranta. From the very beginning, its activities have involved Development Manager Mikko Vento. He wants to make Nuijamies an increasingly interesting venue year after year for both performers and visitors.