Hometown:  Mikkeli, Finland

 

About You

How did you come to choose the course and why QMU?

I was introduced to a possibility to study in Scotland during my last year of high school studies in Finland. I attended a future study event and I was told that I could get funding for my studies in Scotland which was a surprise to me; my plans to study abroad had stopped when I thought I could not afford it. I got interested about the opportunities Scotland offered and decided to find out more about courses offered here. QMU was one the universities offering a course in drama, and without an audition. I was interested about the Drama and Performance course due its modules and breadth as I was not sure what theatre specialism I would like to follow. I have always performed which also led me to choose the course as it offered some performing opportunities.

Why did you choose to study in Edinburgh/Scotland?

I had lived overseas before and I was fluent user of English so it was natural to choose a country I could use my English skills. As I mentioned, Scotland was introduced to me at the university study event, and this got me interested about Scotland. I had this image of a country with a lot nature and hills and people speaking with a very strong accent – most of which is true! It took only a short time to get used to the accent and it feels familiar now. I have enjoyed my time in Edinburgh and I was very glad to have chosen a university here; the city offers so many things to do and it’s also very beautiful. Only thing is no one told me how windy it gets here!

Living Away from Home

Where did you live whilst studying? If you were living in halls what’s was the best part?

I lived during my first year in the halls. It was convenient to roll out of bed straight to class or go to the gym on campus. Also, the library resources were at hand if I needed them. However, I needed my own space and moved to Musselburgh to my own flat for second and third year; really enjoyed the peace and quiet my own place offered. For my last year of university I decided to move to Edinburgh city centre as I was getting tired travelling on the bus for my training or visiting my friends. I was happy to have my sister join me as a new flat mate and we had great time sharing.

Life in Edinburgh – what was the best experience you had in Edinburgh? Are there any hidden ‘gems’ you’d like to share?

During first year, my friends and I did a lot of ‘tourist’ things as we were new to the city. Later, we become locals and started our routines. I have enjoyed visiting the theatres and cinemas in the city, and a dinner or cup coffee is always good way to meet. There are many nice places to eat, and some places offer student discount, just ask! Some of my favourites are Black Medicine café, St Lucas café and Frankie and Benny’s. I would also recommend visiting the National Museum which has so many galleries; the vaults under the Bridges are very spooky; Cramond Island and coastline through Aberlady Bay to North Berwick are very scenic. Lastly, don’t miss out on a tour of the Highlands!

 

"My advice for other students - be ready to take responsible of your own learning and studies, and be ready to work a lot in groups as there will be large number of group assessments. You have to be motivated to do self study to get the best out the experience. Also, take part in societies and other opportunities as these will make your experiences even better. Find the things you are interested and pursue them!"
Veera Laitinen

 

The Course

Did you attend an Open Day? If so was there any aspect of the University which made up your mind for you?

No, I did not as I did not know about an Open Day. We don’t have similar days back home as mostly universities introduce their courses on special events. Travelling from another country would have been a little expensive for a day. I have worked at numerous QMU pen Days however, and can say that the days are worth a visit if one is looking for more information or want to see the university beforehand. I came on campus on the first day and had no idea where I was…also my first day in Scotland.

 

What was the most interesting part of the course?

I enjoyed to the choice I was given within my modules. Of course we had a theme for each module but when we were asked to research or create, we were give free roam of styles and topics. I used this for my advantage and chose topics which interested me, and now has benefitted me later on. For example, during second year we decided to create a movement piece for an assessment and during this process I was introduced to acrobalance which is a circus discipline. Now two and half year later I still train in acrobalance and also perform circus skills when I get the chance.

 

Beyond Graduation

 

Tell us what happened immediately after you graduated

Immediately I decided to take a holiday and travelled around Europe. That was my deserved holiday after six years of university studies (I had studied already back home). After my holidays, I came back to Edinburgh and started a higher college diploma in physical theatre. This is my ‘top up year’ as I call it. After studying academically I needed to do some practical work so I could start generating material for future shows. So far the diploma has been great, and I really enjoy my time running around a studio on weekly basis.

 

Are you currently working? If so please give a brief outline of your job. If not, what are your plans?

I have continued my part-time work as a personal assistant which I started during my second year of study. Also, I was employed by the school at which I did my community drama engagements and my dissertation; I have been working with them as a classroom assistant and a drama specialist. I really enjoyed the work I do with the pupils – creativity lives in everyone, disabled or not.

 

Would you consider further study?

I have thought about studying Master’s maybe in the future but that is a long term plan. I'm happy with my studies now and after this I have to concentrate on finding and creating work. As my lecturer at college said “stop studying and start creating!” And this was said when I was looking for information for yet another course…