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“Everything is possible with Materials Processing Technology!”

Johanna Kaartinen

“There are many programmes to train as a mechanical engineer in Finland, but none of them will give you the unique and specialized knowledge that materials processing technology offers,” Johanna Kaartinen says. “Since we are also talking about proper hands-on knowledge, you can rest assured that you will find an interesting job on graduation.”

If there is chaos among the moving boxes at Johanna’s place since she recently returned from an exchange year in Skövde, Sweden, there are few things better sorted than her study credits and her plans for the future.
“Designing clothes was my big passion for many years, but after a while I felt like it was time to broaden my horizons,” she says. “Many people can design pretty things, but are they functional and why do they tend to break the same second you’ve bought them? What I’m learning here at Arcada is how the design, the choice of materials and the manufacturing process affects the end product. With a starting point in plastics and polymers you become an expert on the whole chain of events from getting an idea to holding the thing you have created in your hand. With that skill set the doors open wide to many different work places.”

Parallel programmes

A short explanation might be in place. At Arcada you can choose to study Materials Processing Technology in English, or like Johanna, in the Swedish parallel programme Process- och materialteknik. The curricula are identical, in many courses students from both programmes study together, and no matter which programme you choose a modern and truly international study environment awaits you.
“For me the international experience doesn’t just come from studying alongside foreigners and having many classes taught in English. As a Finnish speaker, born in Lappeenranta, I also chose to challenge myself by signing up for a programme in Swedish. Sure I was a bit nervous, but there is much to be gained from stepping out of your comfort zone. And of course – the more international experience you have, the more of an edge it gives you in the labour market.”

A flexible education

Johanna didn’t have to be asked twice about studying abroad as an exchange student. First chance she got she was off to study at University of Skövde. 
“I’d recommend to anyone to take the chance to study for a while at a partner university. I really enjoyed my time in Sweden and I’m quite sure I’ll end up there for further studies in the future.” 
As an added bonus during her stay abroad she also got the opportunity to tailor her education to her interests by studying integrated product development. 
“It’s a good example of the flexibility that studying at Arcada offers, which is something I really appreciate. No one has ever said that: ‘Nope, you can’t do that.’ It’s up to you what you really want to focus on and by choosing extension studies you can increase your options even further. I’ve also been able to take a few courses at another university in Helsinki to get precisely the competences I want when moving on to the master’s degree programmes I’m in interested in in the future. The goal is to return to Sweden to study product development at some university there.”

Work practise gives new insights

Key to the Arcada students’ hands-on knowledge is the experience from working life they get through their work practise periods. The first of Johanna’s three ten-week periods she spent at a research project in plastics recycling. 
“It gave me many new insights and I really felt like I knew a lot more about my field when I was done there. Getting to spend time in an actual work place of course gives you so much more experience than a book ever could. But also, you should never forget all the aha-moments you stumble across during your time in the labs at Arcada. It’s extremely rewarding to, for example, first prepare a sample of a certain material, then sit down and calculate its strength in theory, but also have the opportunity to test it in practise. You gain so much more valuable and versatile know-how by actually experimenting with things than just by having a teacher tell you that that’s just how it is.”

October 2014