For me personally, I consider the internationalization opportunities at Aalto University one of its greatest assets.
Because of Aalto University, I have been able to experience university life in two different countries within the past year. Last fall I did my mandatory semester abroad for my BScBA degree. To take advantage of the wide range of partner universities globally, I wanted to go as far as possible. I ended up on a new continent for me; North America and the University of Victoria in Canada. I had grown up watching American tv-series and movies about high school and college life in the states and I wanted to experience it for myself. What I consider my biggest learning from this first exchange is putting things in perspective. No matter how nice the campus is or fun the student life seems, my appreciation towards the high-quality education we receive in Finland grew immensely. Without the comparison to Canada I never actually realized the quality of our university programs and contrary to Canada’s system, for us Finnish citizens it is even free to pursue these programs. Canada as a country surprised me in the sense that it oddly represented all the stereotypes I had heard before. In fact, people were even more friendly than expected. This is something that I truly missed when I returned in Finland, where you rarely face the same kind of friendliness towards strangers.
Final exhibition in Väre 2F exhibition space. The course Manufacturing Technologies and Materials in Studio Production is taught and supervised by Eeva Jokinen, Leena Juvonen and Nathalie Lautenbacher.
In the beginning of the first period, I went to the new ceramics workshop in Väre to ask for a working permit. There was a ceramics class going on at that time. I’ve been interested in ceramics course since I tried out ceramics by myself in May. I asked the teacher if I could attend the course and luckily there was still a free spot. Until later on, I realized the course was ‘Manufacturing Technologies and Materials in Studio Production’ and taught in Finnish for undergraduate students in Design Program. Kindly, the teachers gave me instructions in English separately. We learned all the basic skills of ceramics works. It included how to throw on the wheel, hand build sculpture, experiment on glaze and so on.
I was anxious before arriving to Helsinki in the beginning of September, because I couldn’t join the orientation and was afraid of being left behind. Once I arrived, the study coordinator from the school of ARTS, Naoko Nakagawa of Creative Sustainability (CS), provided great assistance to help me start my study in Aalto. Ms. Nakagawa scheduled a special session to explain the study structure of the CS program and helped me decide what courses to take the first period.
Creative Sustainability Program is an international joint master’s degree program of the School of Arts, Design and Architecture, the School of Business and the School of Engineering. It is a very unique program for students from various backgrounds to receive multidisciplinary trainings and get inspired from each other in the field of sustainability. In the second week, CS program organized a kick-off day to introduce the courses and projects from the different schools. All the courses and projects were so good, and the professors were devoted and charismatic. I felt very excited about my future study and wished to take all the courses! I was so grateful to have the chance to know more about the courses, projects and professors in the beginning of the program, this was something I never had in the schools of my home country Taiwan. A kick-off day was a brilliant idea to show students what to expect for the CS program in next two years and helping us put together our own personal study plan.
Everything happened very fast. One day I was opening my mailbox and reading the message from Saara and Katri that I was nominated as one of the Aalto Ambassadors and in, what it felt like less then a week, I was sitting in the train, looking through the window and arriving at the crazy massive city of Tokyo. Since my departure from my exchange time in Tokyo in February of this year, I wanted to come back, but it didn’t cross my mind that it would be still in the same year. The feeling was amazing! Plus, I was filled with the thrill of being entrusted with the task of representing Aalto students. I was carrying my ‘thematic’ bag and heading to Tama Art University (my exchange university) and Sokei Academy of Fine Art & Design.
My ‘thematic’ suitcase