Wednesday, 12 June 2013

"The future prepares itself for us." - Interview with fresh TAMK graduate Oana Syrjäläinen

The journey is over - at least for the over 800 students who successfully graduated from TAMK during this spring.
One of them is Oana Syrjäläinen, who studied for 4 years in the Degree Programme in Tourism and graduated on June 8th as Bachelor of Hospitality Management.
There are uncountable experiences and impressions to collect during the time as a student and Oana shared some of them with us.

Why did you decide to apply to TAMK in the first place?
Oana: I actually got the idea to apply for TAMK (or PIRAMK at the time) one day before the application period ended (February 2009). It came as a surprise even to me that I wanted to apply, as I was not previously considering going back to school (after having already 2 BA degrees from Romania). I guess we are not always preparing for the future, but the future prepares itself for us. Tourism felt like a natural choice, also from my recently discovered love of travelling and because the programme was taught in English.

What kind of benefits and opportunities did TAMK give you?
Oana: TAMK gave me opportunities to work and study abroad, though Erasmus programmes, which enriched my life through new experiences and the people I have met while on exchange.
In addition, for me the practical training was an excellent chance to get to know the hospitality industry from the worker's point of view also and opened the path to working life in Finland, something most people might take for granted but not a given for us, foreign students, who struggle with language and culture barriers.

Were there any unforgettable moments that need to be mentioned?
Oana: I cannot speak of "unforgettable moments" but I can speak of unforgettable people: my colleagues are beautiful people from all over the world and I am happy to have met every single one of them! I feel that we have learned a lot from each culture and that we have come together as a small team during these years.

How was the graduation ceremony?
Oana: It was great that I actually had butterflies while at the ceremony, it is I guess a unique feeling for me and for the other nowadays alumni to know that studies are over, new challenges lie ahead and we no longer have to stress about exams, bachelor thesis and credits anymore. The ceremony itself was pleasantly concise and the speakers wittily entertaining, with subtle cross references on previous speeches, uncommon for these type of events, I think. Clearly a good decision to be part of it! Bonus for me was that I got to speak to Markku Lahtinen (President, Managing Director of TAMK) during the coffee-and-cake event, it was a perfect ending to the studies.

Do you have specific plans for the future?
Oana: I am one of the lucky graduates not to find themselves in front of a big question mark about the future, as I am already part of the team that opened in July 2012 Tampere's "youngest" hotel, so I will continue working in the same place.

Would you recommend applying to TAMK to other students?
Oana: Yes, I would recommend TAMK to future students. TAMK is young, dynamic and, in addition to wide fields of study, there is a visible "fun" culture through international events and club gatherings. Basically, I think there is something for everyone on offer, no matter how demanding and what is more appealing, anyone can get involved and be a part of it.
As for studying, tourism is still one of my favourite topics, so I definitely recommend future students to take up courses in tourism, it opens up the taste for travelling beyond imagination. And a piece of advice for all those pondering whether to go abroad for a semester or not: DO IT, you will become part of a community that will give you amazing memories and you will meet people that might change your life!

Oana Syrjäläinen at the graduation ceremony

Text: Oana Syrjäläinen, Bachelor of Hospitality Management; Annika Dillenburger, Trainee, International Services
Photo: Oana Syrjäläinen

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