Student Story - Diego Rivas Rodriguez
Diego Rivas Rodriguez
Home country: Spain
What are you currently doing: Cabin Crew Purser for Swiss Airlines
How did you find out about TAMK and what made you choose it for your studies?
I personally was always very curious about the lifestyle in Scandinavian countries and by chance I got to know some Finnish people when I lived in Rome. I moved to Tampere in May 2007, and from the beginning I really enjoyed my time there and I realized what a different life and habits I could face.
After the first year in Tampere, where I was working as a freelance Spanish Teacher and studying Finnish, I got to know through media and some contacts about the possibilities of studying there, and I was first focusing on the Hospitality Management (Tourism) Degree, as I always had a passion for travelling.
Since that moment I was very determined about that degree and I made the effort to get all the papers and documents ready for applying. I went through the application day (test + interview) and luckily, I got in. It was without doubts a great challenge for myself.
What did you like most about Tampere and Finland?
I spent almost 4 years all in all in Tampere, and it has influenced my life afterwards in a positive way. What I appreciate about Finland is the amazing nature, the humbleness of its people, the safety of the country, and how to learn to make priorities in life. I also appreciate why the value of silence was so important and when making friends, that friendship lasts forever. At some point, I felt that my personality and character felt into Finland very well.
Regarding Tampere, I really enjoyed living there. The city is cozy, neither big nor small and it is a right place for students and also to get to know the local culture. It is actually getting more modern by times and it has nice spots worth visiting, both nature (such as Kauppi, Pyynikki etc) and the city itself (Kaleva, Keskustori etc). I also really appreciated that by using your own bike you could easily get around the whole city in a fast way, even in winter time.
In what ways have your studies at TAMK contributed to your professional and personal life?
Regarding my personal life, it was definitely a full enrichment period in many ways, as I felt like an unique person there, not only another student as every single student in TAMK has the right to discuss, contribute and feel free to follow his ways of studying. I met lots of people, both local and international whom became good friends and with whom I am of course, in contact. Personally, it is a great asset for me. The atmosphere there has always been good, reaching the point of being sad when the time came to leave Tampere.
The studies also gave me another educational perspective, more into practice rather than just theory, like I could see myself better prepared to face personal situations in life. As I was also working part-time during my studies, it was a great challenge to improve my organizational skills and to know how to prioritize and take decisions. I felt important being there and nowadays I try to follow the same way I felt in my daily life there. Meeting international people and being part of different events, seminars, acquaintance dinners, trips and so on, helped me becoming more open minded and have another vision towards other cultures and nationalities that eventually are already inside of me.
Professionally speaking, it helped me in many ways, especially as I said before that I really appreciate the practical part of the studies. Nowadays I can see that, in my current job I try to apply different skills that I have improved during my studies: organizational skills, how to be determinant with customers and colleagues, intercultural communication, to remain calm in negative situations that may arise at work and how to solve problems. It also helped me a lot the way we practiced our presentation skills towards people by preparing essays and public speaking, as right now I have to speak up in front of many people (cabin crew purser, previously tour guide for instance). Also as I managed to speak different languages there, I had the chance to improve and apply later into my professional life.
How has TAMK supported your needs as a student?
Everything was great for me and since the very beginning we had specialized tutors who were available for us any time. Our head of studies made her best to contribute to it and make our adaptation the best possible. In my case, I was lucky to be awarded by the Finnish student financial aid, which helped me in many ways, and it is important to say that Tampere has all the facilities that a student needs.
Student support here is very good concerning benefits and health services, for instance. I also liked the way TAMK got relations with different universities and schools around Europe, where I was lucky to participate in different seminars and intensive programmes (for instance, in Germany). Again, it felt like a really enjoyable lifestyle with full support and great facilities. At TAMK campus, you have the chance to use the fitness area, students' restaurant at a very low price, computers areas any time and with the student card you get many benefits and discounts in Finland.
What would you say to anyone considering studying at TAMK?
It is really such a nice place where you can experience a true student friendly atmosphere. I would basically encourage people to come and study in Tampere. In addition, Finland is such a unique place with a culture worth exploring. It is a place where you can meet many interesting people, both teachers and students from different places, and where you can also learn a lot of practical skills to apply to your further personal and professional life. Being there it's hard to describe, as it is really a place you won't regret choosing. In addition, you can also practice different languages and choose from a variety of studying options.
This story was written in March 2016.
Note: TAMK no longer has a separate Degree Programme in Tourism. At the moment, Tourism is a specialisation within the International Business programme.