Student Story - Alexandra Ostasheva
Media and Arts
Home country: Russia
What are you currently doing: Motion Graphics Artist and VFX Compositor at a post-production studio in Lisbon, Portugal
How did you find out about TAMK and what made you choose it for your studies?
At the age of 20, I was already a full-time employed Graphic Designer, located in the capital of Russia. Everything was going pretty well for me, however, I wanted to grow, I wanted to get better, to be a professional. I knew that I needed to study and dig deeper into the field. Therefore, I started looking for a school.
My research began within the Moscow area and the whole of Russia. Unfortunately, at that time (2009) there were no universities or decent colleges in big cities to cover such topics as Motion Graphics, 3D, Illustration, Web Design, etc. So I needed to expand my search.
When I first came across TAMK's web page, I did not know anything about the university, neither did I know anyone to have studied there. Moreover, I could not even speak a word in English. My friends helped me with translating everything and understand the purpose and process of studies. It seemed like exactly the place I was looking for, you can first try out some of the subjects (Web Design, Graphic Design, Animation, Programming and others) and later you just have to choose the one you like the most and follow that direction.
Before even applying to TAMK, I needed to prove my English language proficiency since I'm not an European Union citizen. So my academic journey began almost one year before the actual application date. I did not quite believe I had a real chance, but I tried my best and I succeeded. Actually, I think this was already one of the biggest lessons I've learned in my life: no matter how impossible something looks like and even if no one believes in you, if you want it and truly try, you will get it!
What did you like most about Tampere and Finland?
Before coming to Tampere, I spent my whole life in Russia. To say the least, it was very different. The contrast was huge. Moscow is one of the biggest cities in the world, whereas I got familiar to Tampere in two weeks.
Nevertheless, it was relatively easy for a foreigner to move to Tampere, everyone speaks English, all services are available in English, everyone is ready to listen to you, to help you in case of trouble. First of all I was surprised but later, I was enjoying the friendly and peaceful atmosphere in the city and in the country, in general.
In what ways have your studies contributed to your professional and personal life?
The most important professional change that happened to me at TAMK was realizing what I wanted to do. During the first year of studies, we had basic courses covering almost every area of Multimedia Design and Audiovisual. One of those courses was Motion Graphics. And even though we only covered the basics, it was enough to get a good feeling about it, to understand it was my calling. I know some people in their 30s who don't know what their calling is. So I consider this quite a game-changer in my professional career.
From the personal perspective, TAMK helped me a lot as well. Mostly because of the international environment that I was placed in for the first time in my life. I learned so much about life in Europe, about different traditions and cultures. Not only about Finland, but also about many other countries. TAMK has many international events and students, travelling opportunities, etc. Getting to know the Finnish lifestyle was amazing, but studying in TAMK it's not just about that, it's so much more!
How has TAMK supported your needs as a student?
The support TAMK provides for its students is one of the biggest advantages of studying there. It starts with a free access to all study spaces and computers, goes further to possibilities to order books one might need and the library doesn't have yet, the opportunity to rent for free all sorts of equipment (cameras, lenses, tripods, filters for shootings), and finally, TAMK constantly asks students for feedback and it actually matters.
What would you say to anyone considering studying at TAMK?
Studying at TAMK will change your life. It will not be easy, it will not be fast and most definitely, it's going to be cold. But if you are serious about growing professionally and personally, there is no better place that combines such tutoring, academic and artistic freedom at the same time. TAMK will give you inspiration, experiences, resources! All you need to do is just to want it and to be ready to work hard. In this combination, you will get anywhere you want, even if you cannot believe for now.
This story was written in February 2016.