Katherine Tingzon is a woman of many talents. Still in her late twenties, she has packed a lot of work experience into her professional years. Having worked as a teacher in pre-school and primary school in her hometown of Manila in the Philippines, she switched careers to work in a video production company. She worked as a digital content creator, editor, colorist and project manager, working with ad agencies, doing long shoots.
However, she knew that she really wanted to do educational content and was looking for a place that would combine both of her strengths: education and technology.
“My journey to Finland began in a sense seven years before I even applied to study here,” Tingzon says. “I was sitting in a classroom, studying for my Bachelor’s degree, when the lecturer listed top countries by educational standards in the world. Finland was number one. I never forgot that, and when it was time for me to take my Master’s degree, Finland was a clear choice for me,” Tingzon says.
Wanting to combine education with technology soon narrowed down her options in Finland: the University of Oulu. Tingzon enrolled in the Learning and Educational Technology Master’s programme. Energetic and not one to slack around, Tingzon filled her schedule in the first year, taking part in a mentorship programme, having an internship with a digital learning platform, collecting data for her thesis, part-time jobs, spending time with her Kummi family, and the like.
“I enjoyed being busy in my first year. I had a lot of courses, deadlines, meetings, thesis data collection, and the adjustment of moving to a new and completely different city. When summer came, I had work but I mostly had to do it alone. Writing thesis and working by myself. Oulu was also pretty quiet and empty in summer. It was a tough change,” Tingzon says.
But being in an international Master’s programme means you’ll meet people from all over the world, and Tingzon says this is the best part of it, socially and professionally speaking.
“My classmates come from different countries and different educational backgrounds and experiences. You learn to work collaboratively with multiple cultures and listen to different perspectives. You are surrounded by people who may be different, but in a lot of ways alike. You’re building on each other’s ideas and you create something more than you could individually,” Tingzon says.
Collaboration and community are important for Tingzon in life and in her profession. Back home, she sees the need for high quality education. While it is available, it is not affordable or accessible for everyone, and this is something she wants to change through technology, and other tools. She’s investing in her future not just for the sake of work, but to give back to the community. This longing for community has led her to be a part of the UniOulu Ambassador program.
“I wanted to do it as soon as came here. I remember asking help from the ambassadors and they were all ready to talk to me about any question I had in my mind. There was one taking her PhD in Norway and even in the middle of her dissertation was still willing to answer my questions about moving to Oulu. I want to give back the kindness that was given to me,” Tingzon says.
Since coming to Oulu, Katherine has been building on her professional career even more by working with post-doctoral researchers and university teachers. Building an even greater sense of community and looking for more ways to use her strengths and talents for a better purpose.
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Last updated: 12.6.2020