Spreading the word about Aalto University in Costa Rica

During my visit to my home country, I had the pleasure to introduce Aalto University’s master’s programmes to several students from Veritas University in San Jose, Costa Rica. My aim was to raise interest about Aalto’s study opportunities and build a stronger collaboration between the two countries as a student ambassador of the MA programme in Creative Sustainability.

National Theatre, San Jose, Costa Rica
National Theatre, San Jose, Costa Rica

Costa Rica and Finland are two very different countries. Yes, I’m sure you might be thinking about one having warmer temperatures than the other, but the truth is that they both share something in common: nature. By building on this similarity, I then introduced Finland and the master’s programmes of Aalto University to all the students. I wanted from the very start to literally “break the ice” and the fear of experiencing a cold country. As I once heard in Finland, “There is no such thing as bad weather, only inadequate clothing”.

Around 20 students attended the presentation. Everything went smoothly and I really enjoyed how I could easily relate to all the questions during the Q&A session that followed the presentation since I had many of those questions myself back when I was in the process of applying. Going abroad is a big jump for any student, so it was nice to talk from my student perspective and relate my personal experiences during the application process and what has been of it until this date. Most questions were about scholarships, living costs, housing and the residence permit process. Interestingly, the weather was also a topic that was brought up since for many Latin Americans, like myself, cold weather means preparing for something we are not really used to. Nevertheless, it was nice to explain how Finnish houses and buildings are well designed for cold temperatures and how you can enjoy saunas and cool frozen lakes that you can jump into or walk on during winter. It’s not in many places where you can do that! One student even brought up the topic of Finland’s most popular attraction: the northern lights.

Presenting Aalto University’s MA programmes in San Jose, Costa Rica.
Presenting Aalto University’s MA programmes in San Jose, Costa Rica.

During the presentation, more focus was given to the master’s programmes from ARTS since the event took place at an art school. Aalto University’s MA programmes are extremely international and multidisciplinary; therefore, to illustrate this, I used my own learning experiences and projects that I have worked on, since I have dived into courses from other MA programmes within ARTS and even the School of Chemistry Engineering during my studies in the MA Programme in Creative Sustainability. This is a very special and unique aspect about studying in Finland that I considered important to express to all the students during the presentation. In my case in particular, all this has contributed to broadening my understanding of design as a practice, while learning new ways to tackle the social, environmental and economic challenges faced by our planet through design. In addition, Aalto University’s infrastructure and Otaniemi’s study campus really invite you to learn and make good use of your time as an Aalto student.

New materials created from recycled plastics and textiles during the course Experimental Textile Design
New materials created from recycled plastics and textiles during the course Experimental Textile Design

Aalto University is a place that nurtures your creativity through multidisciplinary collaboration and turns your ideas into plausible actions. It was very gratifying to have shared in a couple of minutes what it feels to be an Aalto student and to motivate others to apply and become the next generation of Aalto students.

Cheers,
Manu