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Meet the Sibelius Academy’s Student Ambassadors

Student ambassadors Anton, Cliodhna, Haiyun, Lucía, Mark, Michael, Miina, Ruusu-Maaria and Sabina introduce themselves. Want to ask about music studies? You can reach us at: siba.student.ambassadors@uniarts.fi.

Anton, Master’s in Music Education

Languages: Finnish, German, English

I am from Finland. My favourite thing about University of the Arts is being surrounded by so many talented, creative and inspiring people, who motivate me to get better in my own craft, as well as try new things even outside of my comfort zone!

My favourite place around Helsinki is the shoreline, especially around Hietaniemi or as the locals call it “Hietsu”. In the summer Hietsu’s main attraction is of course the big beach which is optimal for going for a swim in the sea! In the summer you can also rent a city bike and follow the shoreline all the way to Seurasaari!  Also, in the winter the sea around Hietsu is usually frozen and you can walk on the ice to the nearby island. One hidden gem is also the Hieataniemi graveyard, which is ideal for walking through, if you want to get away from the city noise. I would suggest especially going there in the fall, when the leaves are beginning to drop from the trees, or in the winter if it has snowed! One of my absolute favourite spots to relax is the little less crowded island of Pihlajasaari in Helsinki. From May to the end of August, for a small cost you can take a short ferry ride either from Ruoholahti or Eiranranta to the island. At the island you can swim, hike, have a picnic or if you are feeling adventurous, even take a tent with you and spend the night there!

As a student ambassador I’ve had the opportunity to be a part of various tasks, ranging from market research to holding presentations about the university to high school students. Back when I was still thinking about applying to SibA, talking to current students and hearing about their experiences was a major reason why I ultimately chose to apply here. Now as a student ambassador, I hope that sharing my experiences, both in as well as outside of school, can help anyone interested in Uniarts.

Cliodhna (or Clio for short) (she/her), Bachelor’s in Classical Music Performance, Flute

Language: English

I’m from Edinburgh but for the last few years have lived in a small village near the city which is very peaceful. Before I even decided to apply to UniArts, I had a consultation lesson with my current teacher which I absolutely loved. He explained how SibA works and what kinds of opportunities I could have, and it sounded amazing. I loved how there’s a variety of courses on offer, a small and friendly flute class and such a vast array of orchestral and solo performance possibilities. The orchestral opportunities and ensembles at SibA are amazing. Last year I played with the NYKY contemporary ensemble which was a very new and exciting experience for me! We worked with a brilliant dance company and subsequently were invited to play at Flow Festival in Helsinki, which is a memory I’ll cherish! Another thing I love is being able to take classes from Teak and Kuva. Whatever you want to learn at Uniarts, there’s a class that will pique your interest.

I love the libraries in Helsinki, reading is probably my favourite thing to do other than music and being able to go to Oodi (right across the street from the music centre!) is a very relaxing thing for me.

Being able to represent the university that I love so much in a working capacity has been such a joy for me. The array of tasks we get to do is so exciting; from group work with the other ambassadors to helping in the admission department to working at conferences held within the university – it’s a very exciting job with room for such a diverse group of ambassadors to find what they do best! But mostly I love being able to tell prospective students what a great place Uniarts is.

Haiyun (she/them), Master’s in Arts Management, Society and Creative Entrepreneurship

Languages: Chinese, English

I came from China and when I was looking for an arts management programme related with performing art and about how art is related with shaping the values of society, I found my current programme in Sibelius Academy. Plus, I traveled to Finland for my high school graduation trip, and I visited the Sibelius Monument! Thus, I applied immediately for this programme and I’m happy that I got accepted! In University of the Arts, I enjoy creating interesting projects with people from different backgrounds. My places to go in Helsinki are Vintage UFF and Cat café.

Being a student ambassador means being a window to the student life in University of the Arts. We’re able to have a channel to share our daily student life, reflect on the whole institution from our student’s perspective, and raise the awareness of well-being and make a difference as a student in UniArts. I’m newly onboard as a student ambassador, and I’m really looking forward to working with others during my study here!

Lucía, Master’s in Classical Music Performance, Oboe

Languages: Spanish, French, English

I am from Madrid, Spain. I chose Uniarts because of the great teachers and international community there is at the school. The student life in Helsinki is buzzing! I love the Kruununhaka area in Helsinki because it has so many cool restaurants and cafés in it! My favorite street in that area is Meritullinkatu, it’s beautiful, surprising in a way and full of incredible shops! I also love Lapinniemi, especially in the spring or early autumn when the trees and flowers look their best and when my favorite local businesses in the area are open.

I would’ve loved to have a figure like an ambassador to ask questions to when I was applying or when I was spending my first months in Helsinki. I feel like helping others, and making Uniarts a better place somehow, is really fulfilling.

Mark, Master’s in Classical Music Performance, Guitar

Languages: English, Slovene

I have my roots both in Slovenia and in Scotland. I was searching for interesting performers in my field of classical guitar, and Finnish names kept popping up! I became interested so much that I took off from my then life in Scotland to start anew in Finland. My favorite thing in the University of the Arts is that I can enjoy the openness of the study. One can take courses from any school in Uniarts with no difficulty at all, so it’s easy to explore your artistic boundaries/limits.

At the moment I have been walking to school more often and always enjoy the area known as “Linnunlaulu” – It’s a kind of long park, wedged between the railway line and Töölönlahti (the bay in front on Sibelius Academy) and there is a nice hill with these old wooden buildings. It’s a nice departure from the otherwise quite long and straight roads one walks on in Helsinki and it’s my place to go! I also enjoy the DIY sauna Sompasauna, it’s a free, volunteer-led, hamlet of three saunas where one will always meet people you might not see in your daily life. The particularly nice moments to go there are actually in the worst weather conditions – freezing winter days, with horizontal snow and lethal ice on the ground – as the sauna becomes the exact place you want to be!

Student ambassador is a job that only we as students can really do, and in a way the job asks you to be as authentic as possible, which is a rare opportunity. For example, we are not required to directly promote the school, but to voice the issues and opinions of ourselves and the greater student body. Therefore, I would say that it is important in this job more than others, to be real, say what you really think and try to voice the opinions of your colleagues.

Michael Lawrenson, Master’s in Classical Music Performance, Oboe

Languages: English, Afrikaans

I came from Cape Town in South Africa. I applied to Sibelius Academy because of the excellent oboe teaching faculty and great facilities! My favorite things in University of the Arts are 24/7 practice rooms and great freedom in deciding the course of one’s education. My favourite place in Helsinki would be Kulttuurisauna in Merihaka – it’s a fantastic wood-fired sauna, peaceful and beautifully located. I also enjoy the ski trails in Keskuspuisto in winter, and swimming at Katajanokan mattolaituri in the summer.

As a student ambassador I enjoy the opportunity to connect with the other academies, and help other students from across the world adjust to life in Helsinki.

Miina, Bachelor’s in Music Education

Languages: Finnish and English (can understand/speak a bit of German and Swedish)

I am from a little village in Central Finland. After studying abroad, I wanted to experience student life in Finland and continue studying music. The studies at Music Education provide good musicianship skills as well as general knowledge through pedagogical studies. My favorite place in Finland is by the fireplace in my childhood home in the middle of the forest. In Helsinki one of the best places is a walk or run in Seurasaari.

Being a student ambassador is a nice way to get to meet students from different Uniarts campuses as well as from my own. For me as a student ambassador it’s important to share my experiences realistically as a degree student for both people who might consider applying to Uniarts but also to the faculty of university.

Ruusu-Maaria (she/her), Master’s in Classical Music Performance, Opera

Languages: Finnish and English, also a little bit of Swedish and French

I was born in Finland, but I have lived in the UK and Canada for 14 years of my life. I chose SibA because I wanted to do a Masters degree in Opera, and I missed my family and friends back here in Finland. Getting into the program was the perfect reason to move back home for a few years. Favourite thing in Uniarts? My favourite course was probably an elective I took in stage fighting – it was such a fun mix of learning how to choreograph safe fighting scenes that looked realistic: how to punch, strangle, throw someone on the ground etc… We also got to learn fencing! Or at least how to make it look as if we were attacking and how to parry. The teacher was one of Finland’s leading stuntmen and boy did he make us work, but we learned so much!

One of my favourite places in Finland is the Tiilikkajärvi National Park in Rautavaara in Eastern Finland. It has these hiking trails that take you through pine woods and marshlands, ending up on a lake with sandy shores. The hike is just 3,5km one way, so it’s very doable as a day trip, but I hope to one day stay the night in a tent by the lake.

I’ve only been a student ambassador for a few months and I’m still trying to figure out what this position means for me. So far it has been a great way of connecting with people outside of my “Opera bubble”, both within Uniarts and also outside our community with potential new students.

Sabina, Master’s in Classical Music Performance, Accordion

Languages: Polish, English

I am from Warsaw, Poland. I first came here as an Erasmus student, and then I fell deeply for Sibelius Academy. The pedagogues were very inspiring and encouraging to go beyond limitations with a calm and peaceful attitude. The practice rooms and all facilities were also of outstanding quality. The improvisation module that I took gave me a lot of experiences that I always wanted to delve into! Also, the improvisation pedagogy conducted by Erja Joukamo-Ampuja was beyond my highest expectations.

One of my favorite places in Helsinki is Viikintien läntinen silta. It’s a place where the Vantaa river connects with the sea. I adore watching how the waterfall changes through the seasons.

I became a student ambassador because I want to help future and current students of Uniarts and improve their lives. As I can relate to their problems, it is uplifting to help and support such a unique group.

Photography and editing by the Student Ambassadors of the Academy of Fine Arts: Anastasia Lapteva (@aasyalapteva), Ellenor Rose Nish (@studiomokii), Anna Karima Wane and Rong-Ci Zhang (@rrong.ci.zhang)

Life of an art student

In this blog, Uniarts Helsinki students share their experiences as art students from different academies and perspectives, in their own words. If you want to learn even more regarding studying and student life in Uniarts and Helsinki, you can ask directly from our student ambassadors.

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