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Bea SAVIKARI FS2016-17, Aalto University | to London

I first visited London three years ago just before the first semester in Aalto University (Aalto). This city seemed to have its own pulse. Everyone walked with intention and had a plan. That sense of purpose really appealed to me and I decided that I’d had to find a way to get here. I kept that focus through my first and second year and noticed that this kind of clear direction was perhaps lacking in my own course, furniture design leaning more on the art over academic.


The best thing for me was to have the opportunity to study outside of my own major. Even if it means that my BA takes that much longer the added value of immersing myself in something different but still supportive of my own course turned out to be even greater than I expected. Education being free in Finland I’m lucky to be able to do this, but I’d say it’s worth it for others as well. In Aalto we do have mandatory minor studies and I think it’s beneficial to be able to explore a bit. Especially in doing something as broad as product design most of my colleagues would really want to try out graphics or furniture for example. For me this is exactly what University of the Arts London (UAL)  provided, it gave me further understanding of how things are made and helped me to develop my process.


The method of teaching is similar in UAL and Aalto so culturally the transition was easy. I’m also older than the average BA student so perhaps my life experience in general has helped me along the way, but I’d definitely say that it’s better to study abroad on a second year. There has been more people willing to guide me and compare notes than I ever could’ve hoped. I didn’t know anything about product design, so I needed help with research and validating my design but I know how to put things together. I could in return help others in the workshop and in CAD. The sharing of skills and knowledge is what studying abroad is all about and there’s more to share in the second year.


Looking to the future I feel like this opportunity has made me a better designer. UAL has exposed me to influences I could only read about back home. It’s definitely made me a more attractive candidate with better overall understanding of both design and the industry when applying for jobs.


I could never express how grateful I am, so I’ll just promise to keep working and going to places where it was supposedly impossible for me to go.