International Business, student Camila Vergara Salgado

Studying at JAMK has helped Camila grow as a professional and as a global citizen

Camila Vergara Salgado

"I wanted to study at JAMK, because I always had a dream of living in Europe and I knew that JAMK would open many doors and opportunities for me to have a more solid future here in Europe."

Camila is an energetic 22-year-old from Colombia. As soon as our meeting starts, she’s ready to go, excited to share her unusual story of how she ended up studying International Business at JAMK Finland – and why she thinks it’s one of the best decisions she’s ever made.

It all started with an exchange

Camila studies in EAN Universidad in Bogotá, the capital of Colombia. Back in 2019 she was just biding her time, waiting for her class to start, when her friend mentioned that she would be applying to go on exchange to Spain, and asked Camila to join her. Camila laughs a bit as she describes what went through her head back then: “I wasn’t really sure about myself and didn’t believe I could achieve it. But the idea just didn’t go away. I spoke with my parents, like ‘hey, I want to do this and it’s an opportunity I can’t miss’.

At some point during that process Spain switched to Finland, and the study language from Spanish to English. Camila investigated different factors, such as housing, living costs, MIGRI, etc. and presented them to her parents, who agreed to let her go. The rest of the process went through different agencies and before she knew it, Camila had landed on Finnish soil – her new home for a longer time than she had originally planned.

Everything was so new – and silent

The first time that I saw the real winter, the snow, the temperature, it was so crazy to me! It was also so silent – I’m not used to the silence! Everything was so new”, Camila looks back at her first week in the cold January weather in Finland. The first week really pushed her out of her comfort zone. She didn’t have internet straight away, so she couldn’t contact her parents, who she had usually relied on: “It’s the first thing that changed for me – I learned how to adapt, how to fix something by myself when my parents weren’t there to solve them for me”, Camila shares, now proud of the person she’s grown to be.

Camila met a lot of new people between whom English was the common language – not Spanish: “In Colombia, we’re not that good in English, since we speak Spanish frequently and English isn’t very common there, and now I had to communicate and study in this second language.” The beginning of studies was also the first time Camila met people from so many different countries: “It was the first time I got close to other nationalities – German, French, and so on. These interpersonal skills were a huge achievement for me!

Studying at JAMK and in an international setting has taught so much more than just IB

Camila is a bit surprised about all the things her studies at JAMK have taught her: “I’ve learned interpersonal skills, how to adapt to new things, to be more confident in my English… And one of the most important things I’ve learned has been how to be more open minded and to appreciate the different backgrounds people have – I can’t expect them to act like people act back in Colombia. I need to learn how to work with people from other cultures, to be more objective, instead of just living by a certain stereotype. I learned about punctuality, friendship, loyalty. I’ve taken it to my life, and I feel like I’ve improved as a person, as a future professional, and as a global resident.”

From Autumn 2021 onwards Camila will be studying at JAMK as a fulltime student, but she looks back warmly at the exchange that started it all: “I came to JAMK as an exchange student in 2020. It was a beautiful experience; it changed my life! I’m grateful for JAMK - my life changed in so many ways, not just academically, but also personally. I wish I could do more to thank JAMK for what JAMK has done for me.” Don’t worry Camila – just hearing that you’re happy and content is enough on its own and we’re thrilled to have you join us as an actual degree student in the Autumn!

Covid 19 caused unexpected changes to Camila’s original plans

But wait, if Camila started her exchange on January 2020, how can she still be at JAMK in Spring 2021? Well, the answer lies in the pandemic that shook the whole world – Covid 19. When Camila began her exchange in January 2020 it was supposed to last only 6 months, as they usually do. But then covid came, and flights to Colombia were cancelled. “There were some humanitarian flights”, Camila says, “But I got the info on them a week before, and it wasn’t enough time to get my business in order in Finland.

Camila turned this into an opportunity and contacted her university about extending the exchange: “My university was okay with it, because nobody was going on exchanges in the latter half of 2020”. Camila got a summer job at a berry farm and continued her studies at JAMK in the Autumn. “I had new courses, new people, new corona virus situation… But by the end of the year, I still didn’t want to go back to Colombia, and I looked for new opportunities here in Europe”. Camila finished her extended exchange in the end of 2020 but started to look for internship opportunities. Camila brought this up with her teachers at JAMK who helped her contact her current employer – already indicating that the match-up was very successful on Camila’s part: “The teachers helped me contact diversophy®, who I already knew, because they were part of the cross-cultural management course at JAMK. I was so impressed by their product that I wanted to work with them. The teachers helped me get the right contact, after which I contacted some people, and now I’m here!

Camila’s internship focuses mainly on social media management and data base management: “I also maintain relationships with our customers and translate some games into Spanish. At the same time, I’m taking some courses from my home university and I hope to graduate soon”, she elaborates.

“I knew JAMK would open many doors and opportunities for me”

After Camila graduates from EAN Universidad, her degree will be International Negotiator in International Business. She will continue her studies at JAMK as a fulltime degree student in order to become a Bachelor of Business Administration. “I wanted to study at JAMK, because I always had a dream of living in Europe, and I knew that JAMK would open many doors and opportunities for me to have a more solid future here” Camila explains.

She also thinks that the international environment at JAMK is something she could never experience in Colombia, making this a great move also for her professional development: “By studying in Finland, I can also apply for future studies in here. I’ll of course work for a couple of years after graduating – to relax from the studies and to gather more work experience to choose what I really want to focus on. Having an upper degree in Finland is an opportunity that I’m really interested to take.” 

And what greetings does Camila have for students who are thinking of studying International Business at JAMK?

JAMK has so many things to offer to a student. I think JAMK has a very well done and structured programme, and a great setting for student in terms of practical training, studies, and environment. As I said before, JAMK is a place to develop and grow our character, personality, and identity. To have such an international environment helps us widen our mind and develop our interpersonal skills. If I was previously scared to study abroad, then JAMK has, without a doubt, shown that there are more gains than pains to studying abroad. People at JAMK are very friendly and help you with everything from studies to wellbeing. That’s why I would recommend JAMK.

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