Raya about her Finnish exchange experience
NHTV student Raya van den Hooven (3rd year International Game Architecture and Design) is in Kajaani (Finland) on a one-semester student exchange at KAMK University. We asked her to share her thoughts on this experience. Besides going to school, she also experiences the fun part of living abroad for half a year and enjoys of what Finland has to offer. Like enjoying a husky safari with her new international friends!
“My primary reason to go on an exchange is to get the different experiences. Living in another country, experiencing a different culture is such an amazing way to broaden your horizon. You get to see how the people go about their life differently and you start to appreciate things about your own culture as well as the country you're exploring. I find it very beneficial to have experienced different teaching methods and look at topics from multiple perspectives. It allows you to have a more open minded and constructive opinion about certain topics.
Before going to Finland I didn't really know much about the country itself. I knew I had to prepare for cold temperatures and I was told that the local people are very distant and shy at first. As for education I wasn't expecting it to be the same as International Game Architecture and Design (IGAD) is today. I signed up for different courses and a project as well. For the project I was expecting it to be similar to our Game labs in IGAD.
Once in Finland I quickly realized that distances are a lot longer than in Holland. The bus ride from Helsinki to Kajaani took 7 hours, and even now visiting another city takes a while to get there.
Finland is a big country filled with nature, especially around the area of Kajaani you can expect more forest than city. The KAMK University is situated on the edge of Kajaani surrounding a beautiful spruce forest. Getting into town isn't a problem though, all the local people either walk or use their bike to get around. When I went to my first class I noticed right away how different the students, the teacher and his way of teaching was. The students are very shy and will stick together, being socially interactive during the class is challenging for them. The teacher will give you a lot of personal freedom to tackle the assignment in your own way. Teachers here are always still learning themselves, and therefore sometimes have to admit that they don't know the answer to your question. Even though this happens every now and then, our teacher will find ways to explain new material. He also teaches by participating himself and pointing out the errors and explaining the techniques he is going through.
I would say the biggest difference between KAMK and IGAD students is the target they are aiming for. IGAD students are very passionate and ambitious about their career in the gaming industry. While that is the same for KAMK game students, their focus is a lot smaller compared to IGAD. Where IGAD students would prefer to pursue creating a AAA game, KAMK students focus more on the smaller indie side of the gaming industry.
This difference probably comes from the divergent way of teaching. During the first two years of their education KAMK students are taught the basics for 2D and 3D graphics. I would say that the pace of teaching is calmer and slower compared to the fast and sometimes hectic way of teaching at IGAD. For KAMK getting the basic understandings down first is their main priority. Whereas IGAD likes to teach basics as soon as possible to then expand onto more complex matters.
I would totally recommend going on exchange if you really want to experience something different. Not only is it a great opportunity for personal growth and exploring the world. You will find yourself developing a broader view on the industry which gives you an advantage and something that makes you stand out.”
Raya van der Hooven,
student International Game Architecture and Design
" I study the conception and analysis of video games, team management and market research"
"We create visual effects for commercials, feature films and games."
"The programme gave me the best possible preparation for the industry I could imagine."
"You learn the full scope of creating a game including the designing and managing aspect."