Student Story - Joanne Wong
Media and Arts
Home country: Malaysia
What are currently doing: Visual Interaction Designer at Vattenfall Kundservice AB in Stockholm, Sweden.
How did you find out about TAMK and what made you choose it for your studies?
I did a lot of research about universities in Europe that offer design related degree programmes and I chose to apply to TAMK because TAMK offers a programme in English, although the native language is Finnish. I was fascinated with Finland being a country so far in the northern Europe and I wanted to experience living in a place that is very different from my home country, Malaysia. I was reading about TAMK on their website and the testimonials from alumni looked promising. On top of that, it was free to study in Finland for non-EU citizens which definitely made me decided to go for it.
What did you like most about Tampere and Finland?
Tampere is a quaint city with beautiful landscapes. It is a great city to be explored by cycling around the central area, lakes and forests. I was so amazed to have seen the Nordic lights in Tampere during my first ever winter in life. I fell in love with Finnish sauna and I definitely recommend Kaupinoja Sauna and Rauhaniemi Sauna which I visit almost every weekend. It is the best way to keep me healthy throughout the winter. Walking by the lakes, picking berries in the summer and ‘hunting' mushrooms in the autumn are my favourite pastime activities. I am also very fond of the libraries in Finland.
In what ways have your studies contributed to your professional and personal life?
TAMK offers a flexible environment for students to explore various courses and skill sets ranged from web design, animation, user experience design, web programming to many other subjects. This is wonderful for me who likes to explore different media and work on different projects. Throughout my studies, I had many opportunities to participate in projects such as Mindtrek, Sanoma Demola Innovation Accelerator, Slush, and travelled to Austria for the European Youth Award (EYA) festival as well. These precious experiences had opened doors for me to learn from meeting and working with professionals in the industry, and helped me build a good design portfolio.
After living in Finland for more than two years, the most profound influence Finnish culture has put on me is definitely being humble and modest – ‘Vaatimaton'. Such quality encourages me to focus on working hard to achieve my goals, and constantly reflecting on the things I do and the things around me.
How has TAMK supported your needs as a student?
I am very grateful for having lecturers who are very supportive during my studies at TAMK. They give advice and provide guidance on design resources and materials by engaging studies with professionals from the creative industry. Throughout my studies, there are always creative events happening around the campus such as Tampere film festival, International Art and Media Week, MindTrek conference and so on. TAMK encourages students to be active in participating in these events by giving free or discounted tickets. The Finnish language course for international students was excellent. It helped me to understand Finnish culture better through learning its language. It was very useful in daily lives and I will never forget how much fun I had learning Suomea.
What would you say to anyone considering studying at TAMK?
If you are both a dreamer and a doer, go for it. TAMK provides plenty of opportunities for those who wants to explore and learn proactively. Don't expect any spoon feeding, you'll have to learn by doing. Take the time and effort to try out different projects and work hard on it. There are always doors to opportunities waiting for you to knock at.
This story was written in December 2016.