Meet our Alumna! Dancing with multicultural children

saara saturo_blogName: Saara Saturo
Study field: Religious Roots of Europe Master’s Programme
Graduation year: 2013
Employer and position: Danceteam International (Formerly COO nowadays Head of Finance) and Head of Danceteam Africa as well as dancer and dance instructor

How did you end up studying in the Religious Roots of Europe Master’s programme?

I was born in Finland and studied there my whole life. I was studying my bachelor in the faculty of theology in Helsinki University when I heard of the programme. I had been looking for something international that would expand my field of study away from purely theological fields. RRE seemed like a good option and i decided to apply.

RRE interested me mainly due to the comparative aspect of three Semitic religions and how they have influenced each other and the modern western culture. Also the international aspect of the programme with 24 students in different countries was appealing. The study method of distant studies in own home universities with intensive seminars was also perfect for me at that time.

What is your profession at the moment and have you worked somewhere else before that?

I am nowadays dance instructor and a general manager of an international dance company. Past two years I have worked as the Chief Operating Officer of Danceteam International. This autumn I moved to Tanzania and will be working with Danceteam Africa organising performances, creating events and training local dancers.

My work is basically working with multicultural children and youth. The field of work is dancing and creating free time activities within urban cultures.  Also my job consist lot of operational activities with management and finances. Now in Tanzania, I will continue working in the same field but in a very different environment.

How did the studies support your employability aspect? Did you do an internship and if so, what kind of experience was that?

I started working with Danceteam International already while studying and was employed full time right after handing out my thesis. Dancing has always been important to me and during my academic years of studying in the programme I slowly moved towards that world more and more. While learning a lot and expanding my knowledge in the academic field, I also realized that it is not my future.

When looking back, how did the University of Helsinki provide you with support, advice and guidance?

Helsinki University was very familiar to me already before joining the programme so I did not have major problems. Special thank you I would like to give to Anne Hopia, whose genuine interest of the well-being of the international students was always very welcome.

Are there any concrete benefits or disadvantages you gained from your international background in your study and/or work life?

I have definitely gained benefits for the international background in my studies. That gave me the first lessons of how to work with different people coming from different cultures. Understanding difference and seeing differences as positive things is something i have learned from studying in RRE.

What kind of plans do you have for the future? Any good advice for the readers?

At the moment my plan is to build my life in Tanzania the way I feel like it. Everything is at the moment very open and I have no idea where life will take me. But getting to know African culture has also thought me not to worry too much and live life one day at a time.