In this series – Students of Aalto, we share study experience and student life at Aalto.
Hi! Nice to meet you! I’m Zina, a second year in the English Bachelors Programme in Design and Squad member. I’m from Argentina, lived there most of my life except for the five years I spent in Missouri, USA. I’m also a French citizen but I haven’t lived in France yet.
I discovered Aalto through a spam email. It was one of those moments of silence during my gap year in the middle of my travels and I was bored. It was “Top 10 Design and Art Universities”, and I don’t really care about these things but since I was intending on studying art, I thought it would be a good idea to know these names. I found Aalto and the description sort of called to me, as cliché as that might sound. Everything made sense for me: a strange country I had never heard of, good design education that seemed aligned with my views, no tuition fee for EU citizens, and a really humble (and realistic) presentation.
So, I applied. The preliminary and intake assignments were what convinced this was the place for me. The wording was so welcoming and during the process, the focus was on relevant problems and communication, not just aesthetics or functionality. That was what I saw for myself as a designer… seeing the whole picture.
I could go on and on about the differences between Argentina and Finland. The people, food, nature, government, and education. But Finnish trust and enthusiasm is something that helps me with feeling more confident in exploring and experimenting as a designer. Back home there is this feeling of hopelessness brought by an ugly pessimistic distrust in others, you feel alone in your struggles especially being a student. Everyone just wants to leave the country but here students have hope and look to the future. Teachers or lecturers actually care about education. I would want to bring some of this to my country which I still have hope for.
When I got here, I didn’t know that this programme had never been run before and that I would be a “guinea pig” for the next 3 years. The only thing like it was the Finnish Bachelor’s in design which differs a lot in content and teaching style.
But this was a pleasant surprise, I get to influence the programme and community greatly and I get insights on how a university programme is created. Over the last year, I’ve done things (projects) that I never thought I could. I am constantly pushing myself. It’s been challenging and difficult but that’s how you learn, right? My classmates are an amazing and diverse group of people. They all bring their unique worldviews into class, which makes for great discussions. I’ve grown as an artist and designer and had fun along the way.