You leave behind Helsinki and the metro stations, the bus stops and highways, the train station in Salo and the harbor in Kasnäs. You try to count the black rocks rising from sea in this maze of islets, while another grey wave mirrors another grey sky. On a Monday in October you arrive on an island called Örö at the edge of the Finnish archipelago where the Baltic Sea swallows the horizon. The equipment in your backpack outweighs your food supplies by far and you carry more films than underpants as you start the walk to your cottage with the other lens based creatures that will be your roommates for the next five days and your partners in crime for the next two years.
With the support from Department of Design Grants, I had the chance to attend the European Blockchain Convention for the first time last week. The grants are offered 4 times every year to “facilitate research, art, creative practice and learning dealing with design. Priority is given to enable participation to peer reviewed research and artistic events and forums for publishing the outcomes.” (Aalto website)
I applied for the Department of Design Grants in mid August to gain new information for my master thesis. One month after my application, I received a notification that I was granted an amount of 700 euros from Department of Design Express Grant. Two weeks later, I receive the full amount to cover the convention registration fee, accommodation, flights and other expenses. The grant eased my financial burden to attend an important convention outside of Finland. Usually, the registration fee of international seminars and conventions cost quite a lot. This one costs 238 euros, which is a big amount for students. I am really grateful to have the grant to advance my research on my master thesis.
They say endings are not a time to grieve, but to be glad that the stories happened. This describes the way I feel as the year and with it, the decade comes to a close. It has been an eventful year which brought many challenges when it started and now that it’s ending, there are new challenges to carry forward into the next year and decade. However, I keep my head up and look forward with renewed hope and energy. Many of the experiences I got to live through in this year resulted as being a part of the Aalto University, which fills me with gratitude for being a student in this university.
When the year started, I was struggling within a global team as part of the course, ME310 – Global Innovation Program at Aalto University, which was also my minor. The struggle was to come up with our proof-of-concept prototype for the water infrastructure optimization project that we had been working on in the course. Since the scope of our project was based in China, and half of our team members were from China, we visited China earlier in the year to validate some of our concepts with the users and gather insights to incorporate them further into our concept. The interviews and user testing we conducted in China was vital for the development of our final concept.
AYY (Aalto-yliopiston ylioppilaskunta) is Aalto University’s Student Union, which represents around 14000 students. In the interview, Tapio Hautamäki (Chair of the Borad) and Rosa Väisänen (Specialist of international affairs and sustainability) introduce AYY about its services for student members, major events every year, supports for new Aalto students and so on.
AYY’s goal is to enable the best student’s life in the world for its members by promoting wellbeing and developing the teaching at Aalto University.
Sitsit for 7 Polytechnic choirs from all over Finland, in Otaniemi campus
What is a student sitsit in Finland? It is a seated dinner at a long table, usually inside the campus, organized by student organizations. It is very popular in Finland, at least in Aalto University. I have already attended 3 sitsits in Aalto University so far. It is similar to the high table dinner, but in a Nordic way.
Patrik Holopainen, Head of Community, introduces Junction and its major events in the interview. Junction organizes hackathons in Aalto campus every year, starting from 2015. Junction Hackathon attracts around 1500 hackers with multidisciplinary backgrounds, who are from more than 100 different countries. They gather together to solve challenges in the 48-hour hackathon though a weekend.
Junction Hackathon 2019 takes place in Aalto campus.
For me, one of the main reasons to move to Finland was that I wanted to study in a place that is both metropolitan and yet close to nature. And so far the Helsinki/Otaniemi area proved to be exactly what I was hoping for.
This past month I was involved in a mandatory course as part of my major in Strategy & Venturing. The course was called Advanced Case Seminar in Strategy and if I had any doubts about the intensity the course would require, they were cleared during the first introductory session. The Assistant Professor Timo Vuori didn’t hold back while describing what was to come for us (the course participants) in the coming weeks, and mentioning it as a lot of PAIN.
The course was structured in a way that we had company cases each week, for one month, with a break of one week after the second or third week, depending upon which group you were in. The cases were related to real challenges and the students were divided into teams to work on solving the cases and presenting the solutions in front of the consulting companies as a group. Within these cases were some that had been going on for months but as part of the course, we were expected to come up with a well-thought analyzes and well-structured solution for the concerned company within a week. This made the course super intense but at the same time, it was quite exciting to work in teams to come up with solutions for the problems as well. Moreover, the course also had individual assignments related to the same cases where the structure was a little different then the group ones but essentially the idea was that all the students would contribute in the group cases if they had done the individual assignments beforehand.