Student Story - Anastasia Kozina
Media and Arts
Home country: Russia
What are you currently doing: UI / Visual Designer at Futurice (Tampere office), working on two start-ups in my free time, and also trying to manage with my thesis project at the same time.
How did you find out about TAMK and what made you choose it for your studies?
When my high school studies were coming to their end, I was already quite certain of whom I'm was going to become; Graphic Design seemed to be a great field for me to jump into. I've been constantly trying to develop my artistic skills at that time, putting lots of effort into learning from the people whose art I felt partial to. And, obviously, I wanted to be just as good as them.
It is worth mentioning that I'm a swift learner, a sponge-person type that absorbs every bit of information and utilizes it in the best possible way. That's why, when I started looking up for universities, I was quite disappointed with the choices Russia had: none of the universities shouted "modern" to me. Most of those were the type of Design studies where people do Fine Arts. You get my point here, right?
So finding TAMK and applying to it wasn't an accident; it was quite a deliberate choice of mine. Since I'm from Kostamus, a small town at the border of Finland, I had Finnish language studies included in my school curriculum. Besides, I visited Finland regularly with family and friends. Both above mentioned things made me a little more sure that I can manage studies in the neighbor land. I applied to both KYAMK and TAMK, forgot to submit some important papers to KYAMK, which in turn meant that TAMK was my only chance for a good start. Luckily, I got to the finish line.
What did you like most about Tampere and Finland?
Tampere... Ladies and gents, that's just one beautiful city! The industrial side of the city gradually shifts into the urban side and that merges together with the pure nature and Nordic forests. Amazing! Of course, Tampere is quite remarkable due to its cascade in the city center and the Finlayson textile factory attached to it. Speaking of which, imagine how amazed I was when it turned out that our artsy campus is actually right there, at the heart of the city, at the Finlayson factory itself. We moved out after my first year there (*sobs*), but we still cherish those beautiful times back in Finlayson.
Besides that, Tampere is packed with live music events and other cultural arrangements. Here is often something to do. Students largely influence the city life, I believe. Many things are actually only organized for students, or with students.
Otherwise, just visit the city shortly - you won't be left disappointed!
In what ways have your studies contributed to your professional and personal life?
To be honest, I wasn't always happy at the university. At first, when you get introductions (and I was a total beginner in the Media field at that time), you're excited. When you have learned a deal, however, you don't anymore understand what you're doing at the classes. "I have to be practicing and developing my skills, I have to find a proper internship or even a job!", you exclaim to yourself. That's when I was a little inexperienced, whereas now I reckon it's done well.
TAMK offers a diversity of subjects to choose from, along with the possibility to take classes from totally different majors and campuses. So, in only 3 years, I became quite proficient in Visual Design, Illustration, Film Recording & Editing, Motion Graphics, UX/UI, even Traditional (frame-by-frame) Animation and Event Coordination. I learned to be patient and to try out different things and learn from them. Moreover, I was quite young when I just applied. Tedious tasks (yup, animation isn't easy, my friends) together with external practical projects and work on startups made me learn to manage my time better, along with actually learning a whole lot about the business side of things. Not to mention how far you develop yourself as a leader. Obviously, many of these skills stick to you as you move forward, and get applied in your personal life, too.
With my passion to the subject and a rather restless work, I have finally managed to build my personal brand and portfolio, and got hired by the one of the top Finnish service creation companies, Futurice, where I currently work as a UI / Visual Designer.
How has TAMK supported your needs as a student?
Speaking of financial side of things, it's hard to say you get much support here if you're a foreigner. However, you can always find a way. For instance, I was taking university based practical trainings for organizing internal events along with some freelance work to provide for myself. Otherwise, TAMK is being very helpful with offering internships to students - there are a whole lot of companies that let our lecturers or communication services know about the open positions here and there, including open positions at TAMK itself.
Along with that, TAMK offers a great diversity of equipment to accomplish your projects. You learn to handle various devices, stands and whatnot, along with doing things professionally. In addition, TAMK is not just using some random technology, but the most recent one. Classrooms are packed with Macintosh PCs, tablets, and have all kinds of possible softwares installed.
We even have our own kitchen and lounge area, how cool is that?
What would you say to anyone considering studying at TAMK?
Just do it. Seriously.
Remember though that, in order to actually get somewhere you have to stay proactive, so do it at your own risk (Just kidding, it's good at TAMK, but I'd really advise you to push your limits constantly).
And believe me, if you play your cards right, you'll be the happiest and most successful student the world has ever seen!
This story was written in October 2016.