I graduate from Aalto University on New Year’s Eve.

Today, the last day of 2020, is my graduation date! I’ve enjoyed an incredible journey during my study at Aalto University.

Väre, School of Arts, Design and Architecture.

Before Christmas, I visited the campus for one last time before graduation. I finished my last three ceramics pieces in the ceramics workshop, which has been my favorite place to ease the stress and cultivate my handcraft skills.

The last three ceramics pieces I threw.

Next, I emptied my locker in Väre where I stored my ceramics tools. Then, I went to have my last student meal in one of my favorite canteens. I walked around in Väre and remembered all the moments I had there with my teachers and friends.

I said goodbye to the Otaniemi campus with tears in my eyes. It’s very emotional to end the 3.5-year journey at Aalto University.

When approaching the end, I was thinking about how this journey started at the very beginning. I moved to Finland from Taiwan in summer 2017 to study the master’s program of Creative Sustainability at Aalto. The joy and excitement when I received the acceptance letter three years ago seem still so vivid.

The stunning sunrise I saw on my flight to Finland.

On that first flight to Finland in 2017, I woke up and saw a beautiful sunrise, which made me believe that my new life in Finland would have a wonderful new start. And that belief came true! I moved into a shared apartment with two lovely Finnish flatmates, we had so much fun, they taught me a lot about Finnish culture.

During my first study week, the program director discussed with all new students individually, he informed me of a research job opportunity at our meeting. In the second week, I landed my first part-time job to do research with LUX Helsinki as one of Aalto Customized Student Business Projects. A few weeks later, I was selected as one of the student ambassadors, then continued as a member of the Aalto Squad through all my time at Aalto. It was such a great honor.

My very first course took place in the old building of the School of Business.

I still remember the date I walked into an elegant classroom in the School of Business to take my very first course – Sustainable Business and Consumption. The professor, Minna Halme, the Director of Aalto Sustainability Hub,  was so inspiring. This course gave me the fundamental knowledge of sustainability.

Two of my courses in the first period took place in the world heritage site – Suomenlinna. I loved both of them – Creative Teamwork and Participatory Methods and Facilitation Skills.

I had a lot of hands-on experience at Aalto. We worked with real clients in the public and private sectors. This kind of collaboration gives both students and industries the chance to learn from each other and develop new solutions together for a better future.

Besides my study, I enjoy exploring nature in Finland. In the summer, I cycle around the coastline.

In my first winter, I took the chance of a super cold week in Helsinki to see the crystallization process of soap bubbles. It was spectacular!

Looking back on these three and a half years reassures me that studying at Aalto is definitely the best decision I made in my life. I’ve experienced so much more than I expected. I embarked on a life I absolutely love in Finland.

Now I am saying goodbye to 2020 proudly and looking forward to starting a professional life in Finland.

Wish everyone a great 2021!

Hsiao-Pei Liao,
MA of Creative Sustainability 
Aalto study options
Contact email: aaltosquad(at)aalto.fi

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