#PittsburghMe: Meet Siiri Nikkinen, Psychology Major from Finland Student Profile
Meet Siiri Nikkinen
- Psychology (clinical, child, community and forensic)
- April 2021
- International Ambassador
- Oulu, Finland
- High School
- Oulun Suomalaisen Yhteiskoulun Lukio / Butler Senior High School
- Dream Job
- Working with children who have experienced trauma, finding coping mechanisms in art and therapy
"After finishing high school in Finland, I came back to the U.S. for a visit and a good friend of mine, Amedea Baldoni, gave me a tour of Point Park. I felt that I had finally found my place."
Why did you choose Point Park?
I have lived my whole life in Finland where people are generally very reserved, quiet, and like to keep to themselves. As an extrovert, I have always felt a bit out of place. Not belonging is a terrible feeling. In 2012, I traveled to America to be an exchange student in Butler, Pa., and I felt like I had the whole world open up in front of me. I had so many opportunities and most importantly, I connected with the culture. After finishing high school in Finland, I came back to the U.S. for a visit and a good friend of mine, Amedea Baldoni, gave me a tour of Point Park. I felt that I had finally found my place.
How are you involved on campus?
I am involved with the Campus Activities Board, planning fun and exciting events for everyone to enjoy. I also belong to the Confluence Psychology Alliance. On top of that, I work at the school bookstore and the café. I see my jobs as fun activities because I enjoy working with others.
What is the biggest difference between living in Finland and Pittsburgh?
The biggest difference has been learning to express myself in another language and to understand and read others. Body language, wording and expressions are so different here, especially because in Finland all of those things are very reserved. It took me a while to get comfortable with small talk. Adjusting to another culture is always hard, especially because you have to step out of your comfort zone to reach your goals. However, understanding differences and learning about U.S. culture is what I love.
Where is your favorite view of Pittsburgh?
My favorite view of Pittsburgh is driving through the Fort Pitt Tunnel into the city. The city just opens up in front of you. It takes my breath away every time because I know I’m back home again.
What advice would you give to incoming students?
Smile at everyone. Smiling and good energy will take you to amazing places. Meeting new people and getting involved becomes much easier when you have an open mind and a positive way of thinking. To have a positive and happy heart, also remember to take time to yourself.
Text by Sydney Patton, senior sports, arts, and entertainment management major
Photo by Grace Ruiz, junior sports, arts, and entertainment management major