Multi Story Edinburgh

Episode 42: Class of 2021 - Sara, MA International Business with Chinese

September 30, 2021 The University of Edinburgh Season 2 Episode 6
Multi Story Edinburgh
Episode 42: Class of 2021 - Sara, MA International Business with Chinese
Show Notes Transcript

In episode 42, Sara tells us about self study, getting on with life and unexpected new perspectives. 

Each episode is a snapshot, a moment, a sneak inside the minds of our graduates. As the world emerges from pandemic paralysis, are our Class of 2021 feeling inspired or inhibited, glad or gloomy, chaotic or calm? In this episode we meet International Business and Chinese graduate Sara who shares her story and her insight.

Welcome to Season 2, a little bit of the same but quite a lot different. Subscribe now and find out what everyone is up to and how they feel about life, the last 12 months and future plans.

All opinions expressed are those of the individual and do not necessarily reflect those of the University of Edinburgh. 

Multi Story Edinburgh has been created and produced by the Alumni Relations team at the University of Edinburgh. If you are interested in telling your story, please get in touch and let's talk.

Music: Since When by Mise Darling from 
Artwork: Vector created by redgreystock from

[Theme music] 

Sonia  0:09  This is a snapshot, a moment, a sneak inside the minds of our graduates. This is season two, class of 2021. A little bit the same, but quite a lot different. 

Sara  0:22  My name is Sara Ketovuori and I have now graduated from the University of Edinburgh, where I was studying International Business with Chinese. Well right now I am in a flat in London, where I have moved with my partner recently. And I'm actually again, kind of at a point of change. So I spent the first six weeks of my holiday after finishing University, looking after someone's children, au pairing for a little bit, making some cash. And now I'm done with that. And as of actually today, but I'll probably start tomorrow, I'll be more focused on self study.  

A fun thing happened in early June, when I heard that I was accepted into this Master's programme. So I'll be, I'll be doing a Master's of Science in Analytics at Georgia Institute of Technology. But they kind of want me to be proficient in AR, in Java, in Python. And I also need to kind of recap some high school calculus, probability, statistics, linear algebra, all of that before the 23rd of August. So that's where my focus is now going to be. I feel like it's very different from kind of undergraduate studies, because I'm very much studying for myself, especially just now leading up to the start of the masters. I've already looked at some of the material and now what I need to do is I need to sit on my bum. And although, you know, it's nice and sunny outside, I just need to sit and study, sit and study, just get through the material. And I feel like what I've learned in my undergrad is that anything is learnable. It just requires putting in the hours now, which is slightly stressful knowing that I've only got a month to do all of this, but I've got a study plan.  

I'm from Finland. So like not doing a Master's is kind of unheard of. If you go to university, you do the full five years. So I think I always thought this is something I'm gonna have to do. I'm starting a full time job in August, as well and I'll be studying part time. And I think some people are a bit 'will you have enough time? Will you have enough energy to you know, get through all that?' But I was offered this graduate scheme that I'm going to start and I had the ability to pull it back by one year just to go and do kind of a traditional one year Master's. And then I was thinking, do I want to work and study at the same time two years really full on intense or do I want to be a student for one more year, not have an income for one more year, not have a stable home for one more year, all of that. And then after that start working. And I feel like I was just in a place where I thought, you know what, I really need to get this Master's, I want a Master's, I feel like I also want a stable home, a beautiful home. No more weird flatmates and a stable income. So I'm quite happy that there's a way to kind of accomplish both at the same time.  

I'm in this weird in between place just now where you know, I'm not a student anymore. I've very much moved on from the student identity. But then again, when I talk to people, and I say-- they ask what you're going to do this weekend, or what are you doing this evening? And I say I'll study some calculus, or I'll study some statistics. And they're like, oh, so you are a student? I'm like, well, actually, yeah, I will be but also-- it might also be because I started University at a little bit later age and, and my partner has already been working for a number of years, and he's just kind of been waiting for me to graduate so that we can move on with our lives. Definitely, if I went to uni when I was 17 or 18 I wouldn't maybe feel as ready. So I feel like finally I can do all of the things that people my age are normally doing. One of the things that I'm really jealous is if I've got any friends back home who've got their own cars, just because I used to drive so much and have an income and work and all that before I moved to Scotland before I moved to the UK to study. So it's been very much like I was an adult before university, during university, I became this kiddie again. And now I can finally-- I really wish one day I will have a car and I can drive around and have that freedom and have that sense of, you know, I've got this.  

For Christmas, I had some friends who made the mistake of going home. And then after the UK cases started coming up, they were actually unable to come back to the UK, so they got stuck in their own countries. And I think I just decided I didn't want to take the risk, I didn't want the stress so I just stayed in the UK. And, you know, I've done the pre settled status and all that, I've very much kind of made the decision that I live here. It feels really nice to go back home. But at the same time, I feel really excited to be-- to have been living in Edinburgh, and to now be living in London. I feel like I've made the most out of the pandemic. So just to give you an idea, I was studying abroad in China, and I was backpacking across Southeast Asia with my boyfriend when the pandemic started. And then Edinburgh Global emails me and says you're not allowed to return to Beijing to get your things, you need to get on the next flight to Edinburgh. So then, I arrived in Edinburgh with a rucksack full of shorts, and I was on my friends sofas and I was borrowing literally jeans and stuff from my friends because I didn't have any, because everything I owned was in Beijing. So the uni organised like a Chinese course for everyone who returned from China for a solid six weeks and after that, Edinburgh closed and everyone went home, leaving me thinking I've just managed to get a flat in Edinburgh for this semester, and now everyone's leaving. And then we were kind of just told that your year abroad is now over, you can do whatever you want, and this was in March. So what I did was I got a job working in a care home in Granton. And I worked there for the entire summer up until when my internship started, which was then online. And then after I finished that, managed to go home for a couple of weeks, semester started, worked in the care home part-time for the entire academic year, as well, as you know--. It just kind of completely threw off what I thought. I thought I was going to be in China for a full year, I was going to finish my exams, come to London, for a 10-week summer internship, enjoy London, and then I was going to go, you know, none of that happened. But I think like working in a care home as well, something I would have never ever, ever done, gave me a fantastic perspective on life. This summer, you know, it wasn't my plan to be babysitting for six weeks. But the thing was, my graduate scheme start date got moved back by two months, and I had to pay rent during those two months. When you don't have that security net in the UK, and you can't leave the UK, you need to take care of yourself and you need to do weird things.  

I think I am happy that I kind of have the skills and I've got a CV full of weird jobs that I've done during my time. You know, at the same time, I managed to get a first from a prestigious university and now I'm getting on to another prestigious university in the States. And I'm doing a job in finance. I did all of that without any money from anyone. Everyone has their own path. And I feel like if you are so privileged that you have family in the UK, or your family can give you money. There's nothing to be ashamed about that. I feel like through our university, it's always kind of been like thinking really long term to make sure that I've got it. But if you're in a place where you don't have to plan that far ahead, then you know, you can be spontaneous, and you can do all sorts of cool things. 

Sonia  8:59  We also asked our graduates to share a place, somewhere special, somewhere we can get together when all this is finished. 

Sara  9:09  It would definitely be in Finland. I feel like so many of my uni friends have been asking so much about Finland, and I've been wanting to take them there and wanting to you know, show them you know, my hinterland, like this is where I'm from. This is where I was made. One of the things that we like to do in Finland in most homes, a couple of times a week is you've got your own sauna, and you gather with your family or you just go on your own to chill or you invite some friends for a sauna. It's kind of a meditative thing. You just sweat and chill and you might have some really deep conversations or you might just like breathe. And last summer, the two weeks that I was able to go back I was actually helping out the scout camp in the-- in one of the islands outside Turku. And there's this beautiful outside sauna and midnight stars anywhere, so many stars. And then you just go in the sauna, and then you go swimming in the cold sea afterward. And you can see all of the stars and its just so beautiful and so relaxing and, and you have some cool conversations with friends. And then you go back in the sauna, and then you go back in the sea, and back in the sauna and back in the sea. It's just really nice. 

Sonia  10:34  Thank you for listening. Join us next time for another graduate and another story. 

[Theme music] 

Kate  10:52  I hope you've enjoyed meeting members of our University of Edinburgh community. To connect with more, join Platform One, our online meeting place for students, alumni and staff of the University. To find out more, search Platform One Edinburgh.  

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