Category Archives: Testimonials

Two new marketing interns at Study Advisory

In the beginning of January we started to work at Study Advisory as a marketing interns. SA is a Finland based company that offers a channel for marketing, recruitment which uses modern and innovative technical solutions. Continue reading to learn more about us as intern in SA!

Social Media intern

I’m Meeri originally from here Tampere. I have also lived few places besides Tampere, like Turku and Varkaus. And after living like 6 years elsewhere my family and I came back to Tampere, to our roots. I like travelling a lot and also I’m quite adventurous.

Before my BBA degree I studied in Business School of Tampere bookkeeping. I went to Business School because after High School I didn’t get to study what I really wanted so I took on something totally different. Bookkeeping didn’t end up being what I liked to do. So after while graduating from the Business School I applied to Lahti University of Applied Sciences. And luckily I did get in to read business economics. After getting in I moved part time to Lahti. Monday to Friday in Lahti and all the weekends in Tampere.

I graduated from high school in year 2011 and got in Applied Sciences School in 2014 so there were few years of searching myself and finding what I really want to study. When I was in High School I thought I want to study marketing but somehow I changed my mind and started to think alternatives to study. Luckily when I discover bookkeeping isn’t my thing I found again marketing as a strong desire of mine to study. And that’s why I applied to Lahti.

When studying in Lahti many times I wandered if marketing was the plan to go with ahead. When study year two came and I have to decide what I my major I rapidly decided “What a heck I’m going with marketing, it has been my dream for many years. So why not. It can’t be the worse choice of them all…” There were many majors to choose from like logistics, HR, financial management and etc. With “major” marketing I decided to read also courses from international trade, because the courses were in English and I have all my life liked English and been good at it.

For my third year I moved totally to Tampere. We made an agreement that I would do all my courses from there. I didn’t have almost any school left so it was possible. In in the end of autumn I only had left my internship and thesis on to do list.

Luckily in end of December I got a call from Study Advisories Sami and he called to me for an interview for the internship in marketing.  And the best news of the year I got it! Now I have been here at Study Advisory for almost entire week and it has been blast. I have enjoyed so much. Every day something new and interesting stuff. I’m impatiently waiting next weeks and what’s more for me from this internship.

Meeri in a sunny day in front of the church near the office
Meeri in a sunny day in front of the church near the office

Translation intern

My name is Alba, I´m coming from Olesa de Montserrat, it’s a small town near Barcelona, Spain. I have been living in Finland four years now.

I have studied Business Sciences and Market Research in Spain. In the last year in the university, I participated in the Erasmus Exchange Program in Turku, Finland. I decided to come to Finland because I have always been interested in northern cultures and Nordic countries. To do an Erasmus program is the best way to learn new culture, new system, and meeting lots of people who are around the world.

One week ago I had the opportunity to join in the Study Advisory team, and working as a translation intern, translating Study Advisory website to my native Spanish, but also I am doing marketing tasks. I like to work in a finnish company with international co-workers.

Alba in front of church near the office
Alba in front of church near the office

In Study Advisory we will help you to find the best place for you that fulfills your needs as a student!

Ah, kaamos

What does it feel like to study in winter, or, in Finnish “kaamos”? Nordic winter may start snowing in late October and there might be a majority of snowy days until, say, April. That’s also true in other countries, such as Switzerland, or Poland, but in both cases there will be more light than in Finland, or, say, Alaska. Here are reasons to enjoy winter at a higher latitude.

Ah, kaamos: hibernating
Do you feel like hibernating in the long winter of the Nordic countries?

What is kaamos? “Kaamos” is Finnish for days without daylight, basically.  During the kaamos season, around the winter solstice, you will see perhaps a few hours of light, just south of the polar circle, or a few minutes (just north). Places where there is absolute kaamos for a while, i.e. no light at all, are very scarcely populated, at least in Scandinavia. But even a bit south of the polar circle little light might be a bit of a shock if you come from abroad… On the other hand, the actual “kaamos border” is situated 93 kilometers north of the polar circle, where you are at no risk of being studying at a Finnish university… as the northernmost one is found in Rovaniemi. So even if you are enrolled at the Finnish Lapland’s “capital”, the sun will still accompany you year round (in a way).

Ah, kaamos: Tromso
In Tromso, the sun is down all day until January 14. Still, this is a thriving university city, with about 12 000 students, 10% of whom are international.

“Seasonal affective disorder” (SAD), as it is called, is a highly debated concept, which might mean less energy to do stuff, or a general sense of unease as the winter comes or lasts. (This however may not hit you on the very first days of your time near the polar circle, rather this sense of depletion “grows” over time, including in the autumn, a less dark month objectively speaking but one during which the decrease in daylight is the sharpest.) If you find yourself low, do try to ask yourself why. And try to solve that specific problem – additional lighting, or additional exercise if you are feeling lethargic, for instance. Or a more general answer can be found in vitamins, such as vitamin D.

Ah kaamos: vitamins
Vitamins, especially vitamin D, counter the effects of SAD effectively. Usually those living above the 44th parallel might already lack vitamin D in the winter, so this recommendation applies also south of Scandinavia. Vitamin D notably reduces the risk of cancer.

So, you might ask, how much will “kaamos” likely affect your studies? The answer is probably “not so much”, especially if you are a young man (women suffer more from SAD, according to research, and so do older people). But chances are you will be affected one way or another (less energy, unexplained sadness or irritability are among frequent symptoms). While malls in Scandinavia can make up for the daylight you are secretly craving for, by displaying all sorts of entertaining, and highly lit, shopping opportunities, cafés, sports centres, etc. , it is recommended to exercise.

Ah, kaamos: sports
Exercising will, at least, take the lethargy out of you.

You can also stay inside more, at home or in your library, reading, enjoying a cup of coffee, or just watching the snow from the cosy place you are calling your exchange home, but do not let the cold deter you from meeting friends. In fact, many friendships or indeed love stories can be built making a fire in a chalet, on a trip to Lapland, for instance. So if the need to be alone most of the time is one of your own kaamos symptoms, resist it by experiencing the winter to the fullest. Consider for instance:

  • A friendship prone intellectual pursuit: exploring a particular aspect of your subject related to the Northern regions (examples might include geopolitics of the Arctic, the Sami language, or the local fauna) with a friend at your place, with nice candles on;
  • Going to to the sauna (in Finland), skiing (anywhere) or snowshoeing (same)… no need to schedule an expensive trip… skis can be rented, a sauna is usually between 5-6 euros, and many natural wonders are accessible easily from city centres (though you might have to do a bit more planning to go to national parks);
  • Getting to know the local culture, for instance by going to Arktikum in Rovaniemi, the Sami museum in Jokkmokk  (Sweden) or in Inari (Finland), and being inspired by the way locals have adapted to such environments;
  • Finding one thing you would not do at home, and pushing your boundaries to achieve it. It could be avanto (swimming in a frozen lake), camping outside or just, watching a magical aurora borealis/even if it means going BACK outside.
Ah, kaamos: Northern lights
Even if you are not an adventurer, many pleasures of the Arctic winter/spring are on offer, such as watching such lights on your way back home from university…

We once wrote about reverse cultural shock. I wonder if there is such a thing as “surprise to find similarities with home” in culture shock theory. For instance, you might be slightly surprised that Scandinavian/Finnish trains do not always run on time, when the temperatures reach -15°C, 25°C or less. Well, as it is so unusual here, you might as well take it as a way to exercise your patience… read a book, drink hot chocolate… The slower pace of the Scandinavian winter might just be the opportunity your body needs to embrace a pre-clock, pre-Internet, wilderness adventure. For instance, phones might stop working in extreme cold weather, so be prepared to take paper maps 😉 only until you get inside and switch your phone back on, of course!

Useful links to study above or near the Arctic – and Antarctic – circles:

UArctic, a cooperation initiative of higher education institutions and other organizations concerned about Arctic research

Russia

Murmansk Arctic State University, excellently rated for teaching, value for money and security (or their official website)

Finland

University of Lapland (official website here) and its Arctic centre 

Norway

The ‘Arctic University of Norway’: the University of Tromso (be among the first ones to rate!)  Includes campuses notably in Narvik, Hammerfest, and Kirkenes. Official website

University Centre in Svalbard

Iceland

University of Iceland (be among the first ones to rate, or explore the official website).  Studies in English at the university of Iceland. According to the first SA’s review, courses of Icelandic for foreigners seem to be top-notch!

University of Reykjavik on SA and their official website

Sweden

University of Umeå on SA (be among the first ones to rate), official website

Research projects on the Arctic at Stockholm University

Canada

Nunavut Arctic college; Aurora College; Yukon College

United States

University of Alaska at Fairbanks. Study Advisory’s page, official website. Note the relatively low tuition fees for Alaska residents, by US standards, celebrating 100 years old like Finland this year, including an initiative to boost current scholarship schemes.

Meanwhile on the other hemisphere (still a distance away from the Southern pole):

Universidad Nacional de Tierra del Fuego (national university of Tierra del Fuego), Ushuaia, Argentina. Polar sciences page and official website

On dealing with SAD:

Vitamin D foods

Finnish Student Health Service document on kaamos for international students  and summary on bright light therapy

Rendezvous on Tamsui-Xinyi Line

It started raining last night. Lately, every time when I sit down to look and listen to the rain it reminds me of a Hong Kongese movie director Wong Kar-wai. Maybe it is the melancholia that has finally taken over me. Or maybe it is the unholy alliance of the rain, the heat and the sweat, which renders the sunshine completely unnecessary in the process of bodily perspiration. Out of the twenty eight decembery degrees of warmth, none have Christmas spirit whatsoever.

Taiwan_darkness

Alternatively, could the reason for the “Wong Kar-wai rain feeling” be, that the traditional balcony, accessible through the East Asian style sliding doors – of course – where I observe the rain from, happens to be in a building ordered to be demolished, yet which has been taken over by the mafia and renovated, and, for some reason, all this makes perfect sense for me to call home now? What am I doing here anyway?

Every morning in Dongmen metro station the doors to the carriages know how to slide open and close in four different languages. As I step in I am relieved to discover that there is no game of thrones going on with the seats this time. I would have not fared well, I am afraid, as I am on my way to the northern part of Taipei, Tamsui, where I am supposed to meet the professor of linguistics, and really, it must be the end of the line for me, no doubt.

I expect the journey to last for an hour or so, as I forget to look worried in likes of the stressed business people around me seem to do. I guess this is it then, finally, the feeling of being old in spirit.

Taiwan_sun

It is somewhere along the way, where the train enters from an underground tunnel to above the ground, where the hills and the mountains ripe with all sorts of vegetation set the scene for those thousands of indigenous species of animals to eat – or get eaten by – other animals.

Hence, it is no wonder, life itself existing in a circular fashion as it can be observed here, that the various religions from Buddhists to Catholics have found a save haven from this island and are visually present even in the most commercial parts of the city. Regardless, the common spiritual atmosphere has maintained its delightfully atheistic fragrance.

Taiwan_dragon

A family of five enters the carriage. They speak Japanese to each other, as it is a common sight in Taipei. No doubt that their polite and modest conversation concern the most passionate and religious topic imaginable: dinner plans.

If food would be a religion, I would be hell-bent for martyrdom by now, as I have come to realize that in order to navigate through the versatile fabric of Taiwan and its culture, the most important skill necessary is the unsatisfied hunger. Those who lack the hunger, better not set their foot on this soil that is jam-packed with Taiwanese, Japanese and other Asian restaurants, not forgetting the western trends. Even the locals´ take on – what is called – Chinese cuisine deserves a silent smirk and a modest nod of approval, that is, if I am lucky enough not to receive my favorite continental noodle dish covered with a sauce that has the color and the consistency of a diarrhea, and of which name I do not even dare to mention aloud, just in case.

The scene changes into something completely different and unknown to me as the carriage doors slide open once again. Change makes evolution possible, I remember some world renown biologist to argue. Feeling emerges as a breeze of fresh tropic-like air kicks in. I exit. There is still time. And it is exactly that immediate flash of a moment, that makes me wonder: would I change anything.

No, nothing.. In this case I would not even change the change itself.

Taiwan_flowers

The sun set down faster than usual in that day, but not because of the thieves, the swindlers and the other lurkers of the dark were chasing it, but rather because of the ever-present, relaxed and tranquil state of existence that got me carried away as I entered into a philosophical dialogue with a newly met acquaintance who was soon – no doubt – to evolve into a dear friend, as it so often happens in Ilha Formosa.

Truly, Taiwan is best described as an island of infinitely repetitive bye-byes, yet which were evolved from, and hence signify, the existence of infinite greetings, thank-yous and rendezvous; basic human kindness in interactions, with the persistence of the rainy season.

Text and photos: Markku Väisänen

Read more interesting blog posts written by Markku, Study Advisory’s team member, staying in Taipei:

Oulu – Lee Yu-hsuan´s lessons in heavy metal ethics

Dissonant echoes of a former music student

Oulu – Lee Yu-hsuan´s lessons in heavy metal ethics

“I am ashamed of it”, she describes, retrospectively, about a scene in Oulu, Finland, where a grinning, hairy, face of a man approaches the face of a girl, her, not long pass her prime. For a flash of a second, it can be imagined that she will get spit on her face from him, such is the proximity of the two, and such is the brutality of the act. Yet, her eyes show only ecstatic acceptance, which is highlighted by the untamed make-up she wears. Her head twitches wildly, and her hair splits the air. He is sure to see right through her tantalized gaze and knows what it means: unapologetic synchronization – wild and primitive.

Really, Yu-hsuan, are you ashamed of it?

“Not really a fan of metal, before I went to Finland”, Taiwanese Lee Yu-hsuan, a former university student and a performer in the city of Oulu´s official, heavy metal themed commercial, starts her story. “I applied for four different programs in four different countries”. The year was 2010, and obviously there was an important and long-lasting choice to be made. “At that time, I really wanted to get out from the comfort zone, so of course Oulu was the top choice. None of my friends had a clue about there”.

How much of a danger zone did Oulu – known for its black winter days – turn out to be?

Oulu
“Ookko nää Oulusta, pelekääkkö nää polliisia?” Oulu can appear as a “danger zone”, especially for international students, but only for a short while as the policeman’s statue is also a reassuring figure in this university city.

Luckily, a complete castaway she was not. “When I was in Finland, I got a lot of help from the local people”, she remembers those times, adding that the living costs were affordable as well. And how about the studies then?

“The program was well designed, and it was also really international”, Yu-hsuan characterizes the University of Oulu´s Education and Globalization program. “I hope I didn’t give you the wrong impression: that I am pessimistic about Taiwan’s international status”, she is quick to realize, and continues: “the common experience is that the universities [in Taiwan] are not providing enough courses in English for international students”. “I just wanted to choose a different way”.

Oulu
Group photo of the education and globalization programme’s students.

And, indeed, a different way she chose; in Oulu “I got time to really think about me – what I want – without any social pressure”. Could it be at that point, when the metal music stepped into the otherwise more ordinary story?

“It was actually from a cocktail show in a local bar”, she starts to unravel the metallic mystery, and is sure to continue: “we wanted to celebrate this special moment, so my friends ordered some special cocktails for me, and the bartender accompanied the drinks with this type of music and fire”. It had caught her soon-to-become metal heart, though with peculiar modesty she points out that she is not a big fan of heavy metal, but finds it, nevertheless, interesting. However, there is a dash of typical Finnish downplaying to be sensed in her storytelling, which raises the question: what other habits did Yu-hsuan – from the land of the mid-day sun – pick up in the land of the midnight sun.

Oulu
Metal music fosters acceptance and inner thinking.

“Frankly, seeing all the LGBT -rights debate lately in Taiwan makes me recall the demonstration in Helsinki in October this year”, she changes the topic, referring to the equal marriage act that is called to be enacted in the Taiwanese legislative bodies, and of which the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender are head over heels in favour of, and who have taken it to the streets of Taipei. “I just don’t get it – I thought it would be easy to pass the law in Taiwan”, Yu-hsuan explains.

Apart from pressing political matters, surely, Taiwan is nothing like Finland, at least when it comes to metal music, and the tropical island nation must be a flat out Copacabana compared to kalevalaesque Oulu, right? Not quite. “Surprisingly, there is an up-coming metal music event happening in Hsinchu”, where a non-surprising selection of songs from Finnish household names – such as Nightwish, Stratovarius and Sonata Arctica – is played. “What makes Finnish people so into it”, she wonders aloud.

“Do you keep up with the Finnish tradition as a heavy drinker?”, she then asks out of the blue.

Oulu

Hopefully, the answer is no, but I must admit that all this talk about drinks and LGBT -rights made me wonder about one of my favorite clubs in Taipei. It is a place well known for its LGBT crowds during the occasional, “rainbowishly” themed nights – a rainbow in the dark, dare I say. And, frankly, you can’t go wrong with a club where one receives a free shot of whiskey for being a Finn, and another one for being a fan, a fan of of metal music that is, and where the bartender remembers to mention his favourite band being Stratovarius.

It seems to forever amaze me, what makes specifically the metal crowd so uniquely accepting and peace-loving. At least, for some reason, those who have spent a winter beyond the 60th parallel seem to not lack the courage.

And then, between us, there was a silence that was not awkward at all. It was rather synchronous, anticipating a faster pace to come, and, sure enough:

“Busy, busy!”, she commented her current life as a project manager for an art investment company Arttime, and then added: “looking forward to my dinner in Taipei tonight – we are doing coffee tasting”.

Metal music, human rights, craft beer, coffee tasting and silence. How awfully Finnish can life sometimes be..

PS. There are (at least) 9 more or less famous metal song names embedded in the article. Those who wish to prove themselves worthy, may have a go at finding and recognizing all of the names.

Text: Markku Väisänen

Studying with a baby on board – combining studies and a child

Sometimes there are situations in life when you need to — or want to — combine different life phases, that are equally important to you. Combining studies and building a family might sound complex, but it can also give you the most precious memories of your life. Here are three different true stories told by anonymous people, two mothers and a father, who have experience in studying with a baby on their lap.

Studying with a baby
Building a family and finishing your studies are a combination that might sound messy. Read the true stories.

Language student reads epic poetry to the newborn

I am studying Finnish language in a humanistic faculty and am just about to graduate. I started my studies in the autumn 2011 and my daughter was born in December 2012. At the same time, I was still finishing my studies in the University of applied sciences. I didn’t have any maternity leave, but my husband was taking care of the baby, as I was attending to my exams. For a long time, I was not able to stay outside the house, only enough to write the examinations!

The best memories of those times came from the baby, of course! I realized I started to deal with my studies in much more relaxed way, as I noticed there was something even more special and valuable in my life. I was doing my literacy studies while my child was a newborn, so I read out loud some of my exam books, for example the Finnish epic poetry Kalevala. My life in general felt quite laid-back and carefree. I was doing as much studies as I could, and sniffing the baby’s pink smell.

Studying with a baby

The biggest challenge for me was to really get myself to the uni and to find time for the studies, since being a mother is quite holistic and all-encompassing. Usually I was trying to finish my exams before the baby would get hungry again, cause she wouldn’t eat from a bottle. I was always doing my study tasks while she was sleeping. Actually, I have done all my studies in the evenings, after she has fallen asleep — it can get quite tough! What I am looking forward to about my graduation, is that I am finally going to be able to have a moment in the evening when I don’t have to do anything.

Coffee and bun, makes a happy student-mom

My husband’s parents have been priceless help for us. They have been helping me the whole time and supporting me with my studies. It has been so lovely that every time after each of my exams, my husband’s father has served me with coffee and bun! Then we have discussed about the topics of my exam. I was also lucky that during my husband’s parental leave, I was able to attend to a few courses at the uni. There is also a very nice Children’s Stop at my university, where I could leave my baby, before she went to a proper daycare.

Studying with a baby

Journalist mother of two got strength and inspiration from her studies

I studied broadcasting journalism by the time my son was born, and I already had a daughter aged four. I wasn’t planning on having another baby, and the times were extremely hard. I had no maternity leave, I had to both study and work part time at the same time, when taking care of the kids. I was basically always the sole guardian. I don’t really even remember much of the times when my son was a baby; it’s all a blur and too traumatic to remember —  a black hole in my life.

Studying with a baby

The studies were a life-saver — both in a symbolic and practical meaning

I was extremely unhappy, but having a burn out or giving up was not even an option. My social life was somewhat non-existent, I had nothing of my own. I lived only hoping that once I pull through, I can one day build a life I can be happy with.

My studies were a gateway to another kind of life, to independence, to self-value. It was really important to study something I was so keen on, it gave me hope and meaning! Of course I didn’t really excel in my studies because of my situation, and I regret that. But for me, the most important thing was that my studies helped me to get there where I’m today professionally. I think being so young as I was helped me in a way, to manage the physical stress that the situation caused me.

Studying  — “the best possible investment in the future”

The children motivated me into working hard and developing my skills, so I could have a career and a job I actually like, or even love — a thing not many young, teenage and /or single mothers can achieve. At the moment, I enjoy my current professional status and the fact that my children are already in school age, getting more and more independent all the time. Other women of my age are starting to stress about having kids, but I can focus on my career and my own personal happiness.

Studying with a baby

Sometimes I do feel a bit saddened by it though: I never got to experience a maternity leave nor was I able to offer a prosperous start in life for my kids. And who can say where I’d be in my life — both professional and personal ways – without my kids. Then again, had I not had them that time, maybe I never would have experienced motherhood.

Studying was the best possible investment in the future —  both for me and my kids. The cost was my youth, but in situation I was in, it was the best thing to do.

Statistician father — the small things made the days

Studying with a baby and multitasking

When my son was born, I was finishing my university studies majoring in statistics. I was able to stay home for eight months after he was born, because I was writing my Masters’s theses. It was a great thing, that the theses were the last task for my study program, so I was able to study at home before I started to work.

The best memories of that time, were the moments when I got to see how my baby was developing every day and learning new things. The small things made my days — and they still do. For example the moments when I saw how the child was making contact with a lion toy. He was afraid but making contact at the same time! I also got a good buddy to join me with my hobbies.

Studying with a baby

The biggest struggle for me was to realize, how the feelings can change so rapidly. Especially when I was trying to get him to sleep and I was not succeeding — he struggle is real! What helped me the most, was to acknowledge that the baby is not doing things difficult just to piss you off, there is a true matter and need behind the behavior. It was also helpful to know that the baby-times are not going to last forever.

Studying with a babyIf you are planning to combine your studies with a baby, you should know that the graduation might take more time than the usual, but it is still possible to go on one step at a time.

Dissonant echoes of a former music student

One of our staff members, Markku, has spent the autumn in Taiwan, getting familiar with Taiwanese universities. A while ago he visited a local arts festival and got the chance to interview a Finnish music artist and former music student, Antti Myllyoja, about his experiences as an exchange student, and where his exchange has brought him eventually.

No words are spoken as a pale figure with a grotesque aura, that could well predate literature, stumbles forwards its linear path, in a zombie-like state, toward a disruptive symbolic structure, a chaotically vandalized black and white piano in this case, which it then studies, expressing nearly an animal like behavior all the way to the highest of excitements, only to plummet back in to the depths of despair again. Then, gradually, it starts to make its way towards its complete opposite, a well composed and lively pianist who excels in an aesthetically pleasing state of signified existence. Two of them become one as the climactic dissonant chords are played like vulgar echoes from the left-behind chaos and disruption. 

dissonant echoes of a former music student
Photographer: Te-Fan Wang (汪德範)

Although the main interest of the third Love for Freedom Calligraphy Art festival (愛自由當代書藝) is a Taiwanese dancer, and somewhat a local celebrity in the contemporary art scene, Hu Chia (胡嘉), the object of his performance, Black Meal (黑食), however, is a Finnish composer Antti Myllyoja in piano. Performance that ends in a synthesis of these two artists for the first time now – though who have been friends for a good couple of years – makes intriguing sense in the audience´s perspective since Antti is the only foreign artist who performs in the festival and, as such, is bound to catch the eyes of those who have wondered into an old warehouse building turned gallery within the city of Hsinchu´s railway station complex. But how has Antti himself found his way to Hsinchu and become part of the Taiwanese contemporary art scene?

dissonant echoes of a former music student
Photographer: Te-Fan Wang (汪德範)

It was back in 2010, the exchange, Antti starts his story. That was also the year he graduated from Sibelius Academy (nowadays part of the University of the Arts Helsinki) in Finland. At that time, the soon-to-become master of music had a touch of previous experience in Asia, having spent an exceptional summer in China couple of years earlier, and who thus was keen to browse through the available exchange options with the recently seen movies from an award winning Malaysian-born director – though who has made his career in Taiwan – Tsai Ming-liang in mind. Was it Tsai´s Taiwan inspired movies that had influenced Antti to choose Taiwan over the many other locations which offer interesting scenes for an artist and exchange student? “Tsai´s movies gave me a very creative and experimental picture of Taiwan which was later proven to be correct”, Antti explains. There is no heavy burden of tradition, he then adds. “Tradition can be good, but not the burden”. What kind of burden does he mean?

“It rained heavily that day, and I went to a hostel for the night”, Antti reminiscences his first day in Taipei. And within a week he was already in the studio of Golden Bough Theatre, a peculiar fusion of western theater and Taiwanese folk tradition, or post-modern, as it would be called in the world of arts, through which he became accustomed to the world of Taiwanese theater – “it is in the core of the story”, he reminds. Internship in Golden Bough lasted for three months, after which he started another three-month internship with the contemporary percussionists of Ju Percussion Group. Then it was time for the master´s thesis. “It was a free field of arts, without puritanism”, he sums up the exchange period; “even the studies were free of structure”. Then he starts to talk about a course that consisted of visits to culturally significant buildings. Nonchalance is easily mistaken as discontinuance in Antti´s story.

dissonant echoes of a former music student

“One reason, of course, was a Taiwanese actress Liu Yutsen, and another was a place in the Taiwanese art scene”, why Antti returned to Taiwan after his studies were completed. At the time, in 2012, the two of them established a theater together and Radical Snail Office was born. “The idea was to combine contemporary music with experimental theater”. “Surely, it has worked out well”. When asked about Antti´s future plans, the man replies: “as if I have any – we live in a space between…”. Silence ensues after which a burst of sarcastic laughter soon follows. It was the same laughter that spiced up the story of him seeing the distorted and diabolical face, probably from the performance the night before, in the heat and humidity of Taipei, in which the lizards are free to roam about.

Did you understand what was it about, asked a fair Taipei lady of a high academic standing, referring to the Black Meal performance, not being used to the contemporary arts. Perhaps it was about the thorough disruption in an otherwise so linear evolutionary path that needed to take place in order for the new literate culture to be born. Be as it may, in any case, Antti Myllyoja would not change a thing about his experience in Taiwan.

Disruption echoes in the dissonance, as Antti, Hu Chia and many others continue catering the contemporary art addicts those ink-black meals of enlightened culture near the rigid shores of the Pacific Ocean that make up the island of Taiwan.

dissonant echoes of a former music student
Photographer: Te-Fan Wang (汪德範)

Find more information about Taiwanese universities!

Soochow University and Taipei University of the Arts have received very favourable reviews on Study Advisory, where they were rated both by Taiwanese and international students. The security level and student services are particularly appreciated at Soochow while good value for money stands out from reviews of Taipei University of the Arts.

Student’s experiences: Daniel in Bangkok

Each year, Study Advisory offers scholarships for students from all around the world for BBA and MBA degrees in Panyapiwat Institute of Management (PIM) in Bangkok, Thailand. Daniel from Germany, who spent one year in PIM, was totally amazed by his experience and wanted to share it with you!

Daniel’s experience in Bangkok

One thing was more clear than a blue sky when I started my Master studies in my home university in Germany.

I knew I wanted to spend a year studying at an Asian university. The problem was, that my home university lacked suitable cooperation and networks with Asian counterparts. Thus, I didn’t have much choice but to organize my studies abroad as a free mover. Luckily I could use online platforms in my search of a suitable study place. Some of them offer a large network of Asian universities with academic partnerships in countries like Indonesia, China, South Korea, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore.

Daniel with his friends in Bangkok

Asia Exchange and its sister company Study Advisory finally offered me the unique chance to study at the corporate university Panyapiwat Institute of Management (or PIM). PIM follows the work-based education approach with the slogan “create professionals by professionals”. Therefore, most of the lecturers are experts from various branches of industry. This application-based approach was one of the reasons I decided to study in their iMBA program.

The program includes international students from all parts of Asia with students from China, Indonesia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Nepal, Myanmar, Philippines and Thailand.  So far, I’m the one and only European student, which is great!

Meeting the big bosses

PIM is Thailand’s first and biggest corporate university. University is still quite young, but the establishment and organization of the iMBA program seem very ambitious. In each module PIM invites highly skilled guest speakers to talk about their experience and expertise in their respective fields. You can really see, that the university tries to transmit the knowledge of business community to their students.

I have actually had the opportunity to meet the Ambassador and the Trade Commissioner from New Zealand, the Chairman of the Executive Committee of CP ALL (convenient store business in Thailand under the 7-Eleven trademark) and the Director of Economic Stability Analysis Division in the Ministry of Finance, just to name a few. I think the chance to meet and connect with very smart and dedicated decision makers in the economic and political field makes PIM very special.

Daniel's experience in Bangkok

Every second week, we conducted field trips to big companies such as Haier Ltd., Baidu Inc., or the government agency Thailand Board of Investment. These company visits have given me deep insights into the globally operating Thai and Chinese enterprises.

Learning through GO-game

In addition to the application-based study program, another reason in my decision to study at PIM was the unique China-ASEAN module. It’s focused on the ASEAN business, which China supports by guest speakers with a background in business in China and the ASEAN region.

During one of those lectures I had the chance to learn different oriental philosophical approaches that impact the daily and economic life e.g. Daoism, Buddhism and Confucianism. Also a crucial part of lectures was to learn and practice the “GO” game (wéiqi, baduk) in order to understand its concepts and applications to business strategy. To learn the philosophy behind the game that has a strong connection to Sun Tzu’s masterpiece The Art of War, taught me a powerful tool to analyze and understand the Asian way of thinking and to apply it to Asian management methods.

As a German with a Western mindset, the China-ASEAN module provided me with valuable knowledge of the driving economical and cultural forces behind the fast-growing Asian market. As the Asian market is going to be the market of the future, this knowledge cannot be estimated high enough.

The organization of the modules and the supervision by the professors and assistants is brilliant. Each staff member of the iMBA program is available for consultation at any time. Besides academic duties, students get help to find accommodation. PIM provides also visa assistance, as well as job-matching services. Students can make use of PIM’s extensive corporate network in China, Japan and ASEAN region. Thereby it’s possible to work in a firm for a month and to solve real business problems. The iMBA program also offers a so-called corporate mentorship. Within this mentorship, each student will be supervised and gets assistance in their career planning by a senior manager from the CP ALL and PIM environment.

Perfect place for travel and discovery

Lectures take place only on the weekends and the field trips are conducted on Friday’s every second week. During the week there is a lot of time to organize trips in and around Bangkok, to meet with student fellows, to train Muay Thai or to chill out at the nearby pool.

The transportations costs in Thailand are very low, so it’s easy and affordable to travel in the spare time. Bangkok is considered to be a central hub and a perfect starting point for one’s adventures to popular tourist regions in the neighboring countries. Whether it’s Myanmar in the west, China and Laos in the north, Cambodia and Vietnam in the east or Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia in the south.

Also Thailand itself has an impressive variety of attractive natural and cultural assets. From jungles to mountains, from national parks to beaches, Thailand offers something for every taste. Besides the popular mass tourism destinations, it is possible to conquer and discover the real Thailand outside the touristic areas.

Daniel with his friends in Bangkok

Those who want to take a break from a populated metropolis like Bangkok, can reach islands like Ko Sichang, Ko Kood, Ko Mak or Krabi within a couple of hours and with a little purse.

And let’s not forget Bangkok, either, which provides an immeasurable treasure of hidden things to discover. Even a year abroad is not enough to see and test all the bars, clubs, restaurants, museums, temples and markets.

I can assure, it will never be boring in Bangkok. I can only recommend Thailand and PIM for anyone interested in the combination of quality studies and unforgettable experiences!

Interested in studying in Bangkok?

Look no further! Study Advisory offers full-degree scholarships for BBA and MBA studies in Panyapiwat Institute of Management (PIM) each year. Find more information at our Scholarships page!

First Investor

Investor’s name: Miika Kallasoja
Profession: International Advisor
Degree: Master of Arts (M.A.), University of Vaasa

Miika Kallasoja was the first to make an investment in Study Advisory's crowdfunding campaign.

Since the beginning of the silent phase of Study Advisory’s crowdfunding campaign on the 2nd of May 2016, Miika Kallasoja got a hint of this opportunity and was the first one to make an investment. Study Advisory decided to interview Miika.

For what reason did you decided to invest in our crowdfunding campaign?

I have several years of experience in investing in funds. I’ve had the intention to decentralize my investments and this crowdfunding campaign offered me an opportunity to enter an industry that is of my particular interest.

I believe in this business since the entrepreneurs behind Study Advisory have already managed to create one international success story in the educational field, Asia Exchange. I’ve been impressed by the growth, and I count on Study Advisory’s future success.

What are you expecting from your investment?

In addition to getting a return on my investment, I want to support an important industry and a great business idea. I like the idea of supporting a young and honest start-up.

What differences can you identify between crowdfunding and traditional investing in stocks or funds?

Investing via Invesdor is fast and easy. Crowdfunding makes investing effortless and pleasant. You don’t have to engage in any separate contact with a bank nor invest in faceless funds or corporations. In addition to these reasons, crowdfunding is very popular nowadays because of the certain “game”-spirit and the ability to have an influence on something collectively.


A lot has happened since the first investment. Go ahead and see our progress so far on: https://www.invesdor.com/en/pitches/667. And if you want to own a part of future success story, make your own investment!

Fighting terror with globalization

It seems all too often these days, we are waking up to devastating news involving terror. There are so many terrors in the word every day that we don’t even hear about, but whenever it comes close to home, it makes it much more personal.

The more recent attacks in Brussels, Paris, Jakarta, Bangkok and in Turkey have shocked me the most: These are all places I have been or have seen myself going to, and I can’t help but feel that it could have been me among the hurt and injured, or any one of my dear friends from all around the world. If you live a life in which traveling frequently brings you the bulk of your happiness, unfortunately this seems to be a risk you face in today’s world. Here are a few of my personal views as a student abroad about how we can begin fighting terror in our own way.

A students perspective

It all began for me when I started my student life abroad, diving right into a bachelor’s degree in Finland in 2009. I have since then wrapped up a second bachelor’s degree in Finland in 2016, with a semester abroad in Indonesia under my belt to add to my study abroad experience.

During my 7 years of studying abroad, most of my free time has gone to traveling around Europe, Asia, Australia and a little bit around back home in North America. Although I continue to hear the news of terror attacks primarily targeted at innocent travellers, carried out by either ISIS or by other radicals who feel obligated to use violence to get their point across, and although my anxiety kicks in every time I get on an airplane, I refuse to submit to terror and stop travelling . You shouldn’t let these fears limit you either, and this is why:

How studying and traveling abroad  changes us all

I am tired of hearing from articles online that terror is a valid reason not to study or travel abroad. For all of the young people out there who are currently weighing terrorism as a heavy con against studying abroad, I ask you to reconsider. For all the parents who are begging their children not to study or travel abroad, I ask you also to reconsider.

If I have learned anything at all during my time studying and traveling abroad with people from all over the world, it’s that these experiences are what shape our youth for the better. These experiences are the ones that will break our borders and destroy the grudges that go back way before this generation was even born.

Studying abroad with other international students from all over the world will teach you or your child an unbreakable love and respect for diversity, and will ultimately teach the world how to coexist over time. This generation has a gift that many generations before lacked: The ability to travel abroad more easily and more affordably than ever before. This gift is not just one that is given to its’ receiver, but it is also a gift for those who are touched by the wanderers.

I truly believe that the only way we can fight terrorism is with an emphasis on global education and intercultural understanding with an open mind. We need to let our youth break down the walls we have created, and we need to let them venture out into the world and understand just how small they are, no matter how risky or uncomfortable it may seem.

Let’s not limit ourselves in the face of a challenge, but rather, let’s continue to come together and embrace our neighbours with a clean slate and an open mind. Let’s embrace intercultural interactions as a learning environment rather than an obstacle, and take away as much as we can from those experiences.

fighting terror
At the end of the day, no matter where we’re from or what our culture is, most of us wish and pray for the same things: family, love and happiness.

The future lies with diversity

In these 7 years, I can say I have seen the future blooming everywhere I have had the honour of visiting. I see the future here in Finland: A start-up team proudly standing under the brand “Made In Finland” with smiling faces from as broad a range as Finland, Brazil, Pakistan, the USA and the Netherlands.

I have seen the future in Dubai: Meeting the passionate people who are educating students from all over the world in their classrooms, some hosting well over 100 nationalities!

I have seen the future everywhere in between when I have met new friends in hostels: That guy who was originally from France, off to a business meeting in Singapore to get funding for their company in Indonesia, or that guy originally from the USA, taking a break from his work in South Korea and exploring Hong Kong.

I have seen the future in Airbnb hosts who open up their own homes to complete strangers and create an environment ripe for cultural sharing. I dedicate the firm majority of my life skills from all those amazing people who embraced me with an open mind, and in return, opened my mind!

Yes, I truly believe that the future lies with diversity, and with those who are brave enough to take on the challenges of studying or living abroad along with the priceless experiences they receive in return.

The future lies with those who embrace all of the cultures they are lucky enough to interact with along the way, and who understand that being different is what makes us all beautiful in our own way.

It may seem like a scary world we are venturing out into, but it’s worth it, and it’s up to us to change the world one mind at a time in return as we carry out our journey.

7 things I learned while studying abroad

Our lovely intern Polina will share some of her very honest thoughts about what she has learned while studying abroad. Sit back and enjoy! 😉


I just decided that it could be quite useful for you to know what I have faced while studying abroad and what lessons I got from that experience. I hope those 7 tips will help you.

7 things I learned while studying abroad:

People are different

That statement seems to be a bit too obvious, I know. However, this is the very first thing I realized, and also the first thing caused me millions of problems, especially when I was on exchange in France, living in the same house with 12 people of 10 different nationalities. You cannot even imagine what we sometimes had to handle there – starting from simple misinterpretations and ending with fights over of stolen food and dirty kitchen. How many times I heard that my way of thinking is “just so typical Russian”! Especially concerning the topics “Men should be like…” and “Women should be like…” =)

Even within one culture you can meet people with different views, values and opinions. Just imagine how huge that difference is between people who speak different languages and come originally from different cultures! What makes a challenge here is to understand that there is no right and no wrong way of thinking. If you want to study in an international society, you simply need to take something as a rule: keep all your opinions, express them when needed, but never EVER expect anyone to see the world the same way you do. And, what is even more important, never try to persuade people to change their opinion, unless they come to that on their own.

7 reasons on why to study abroad

It is very difficult to work in an international team

If you ever had any problems while communicating with people whose views and opinions are slightly different from yours, then during first weeks of studying or working in an international environment you will definitely face a following dilemma: “Should I continue my attempts to prove something to my teammates or it is easier just to give up and later, when we get a bad grade, appear suddenly from the shadows with my favorite I-told-you-so?”.

Being serious, that second point comes directly from the first one. It can cause you a lot of problems, but that is why we have those teamworks; to gain important so-called people skills, learn how to express yourself, how to keep your point of view till somebody proves you it is not completely right and, finally, how to work with people. How to talk to them. What team role to choose. All that becomes quite easy after the first year, trust me.

By the way, working in teams is the best way to meet new boys and girls to go and have a party afterwards!

Studying in foreign language requires additional effort

Once again, a little bit too obvious, but you will have to accept the fact that after each class you will have to go through the lectures with Google translate or dictionary and also search for additional sources of information like books or articles. Well, of course, that is if you want not only to pass all your exams, but actually also learn something.

The ugly truth is that you will never have enough time to get ready for an exam. At least I never had. Especially while being on exchange in France, where we had one course lasting just two weeks and then we had an exam, I always promised myself to start getting ready a week before, but of course I ended up starting the night before. Anyway, going through lectures afterwards helps you to understand and memorize information.

Studying in foreign language requires additional effort.

“What-is-important-in-studying” accents also differ from country to country and from field to field

Some countries are more practice-oriented, as well as some fields of study. Others are more theoretical. Each university, each specialization, each subject and every teacher will wait for a special and unique approach from you. And you definitely will not be able to pay enough attention to everything. Life abroad will be full of various studying, working, entertaining opportunities, and that’s why it is also of high importance to:

Understand what you would like to do in the future (at least have a slight idea).

That basically depends a lot on what you enjoy doing now. Student life offers us a huge choice of activities, events, competitions to take part in, and you definitely should be able to prioritize. If it is still difficult for you when you are entering the university – try as many activities as you can in the beginning and then it will be much easier for you to decide.

Never try to take part in everything: you will suffer from lack of time, will miss all the fun and won’t be able to enjoy the activities fully.

Moreover, understanding your preferences helps to think of your career plans and even start actually building your working life. It is actually even scary how quickly the time runs. You can have all the fun and have a feeling that just yesterday you had your first day… And then find yourself standing with your diploma with absolutely no idea where to go. Things like that happen way too often. Do not let them happen to you as well.

Studying abroad helps you to prepare for the future.

Life is too short to be shy (especially when studying abroad 😉

I do not even have much to add here. I am shy myself but still I think that the worst thing about studying abroad is the fact that one day you will have to say goodbye. It is unavoidable. And you will never be ready for that. So what is the point of wasting time on being antisocial and sitting alone waiting for others to say “hi”? What is the point in not doing crazy things while you can?

The only thing you will definitely regret afterwards is that you either didn’t take part in something or didn’t spend enough time with somebody. So, never be afraid. People in international environment are very nice, and you will definitely have an awesome time while being around them, because:

You would be surprised how many amazing, nice, kind and interesting friends, coming from all over the world, you can find.

They will be with you no matter what and will help you no matter where you are. Those are the kind of friendships that last a lifetime. And this is probably the best thing about studying abroad – all those people you meet.