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Student’s Portraits: Vanessa Tan – The Citizen of the World

2018-09-03 Soon, the 21-year-old will have her Bachelor in Digital Media and Popular Music Studies in her pocket. At Leuphana’s College, it is the international orientation which she particularly appreciates.

She grew up in Malaysia, attended an international school in Hesse, her companion in life is Japanese: Vanessa Tan could rightly call herself a citizen of the world. “My mother already spoke to me in English when I was a child,” Vanessa Tan remembers. As Malaysia was a British colony in the 19th century, English is the second official language. On the other hand, Vanessa Tan doesn't understand Malay, her native country’s local language, very well: “My stepfather is German. It was important to my parents that I could also live abroad. English is universal”. She came to Europe when she was only a child and went to the Frankfurt International School.

When it was time for her to decide what she wanted to study, she heard about Leuphana’s international orientation and its English-taught courses of study: “I was particularly interested in digital media in combination with popular music studies. These are two leading-edge subjects,” recalls Vanessa Tan. Especially since the disciplines also fit her personal preferences: Vanessa Tan plays the piano herself, loves video games and could also bring her artistic talent into her dream job of ‘game designer’.

But the 21-year-old could also imagine other professional directions: “Through the practical part of my studies, I have already gained valuable professional experience in culture management”. As part of Popular Music Studies, she was asked to organise festival appearances in Scandinavia for Ms Harrington, a jazz singer. “Not an easy task. As it turned out, I bungled it. But I learned how to do better next time,” recalls Vanessa Tan. Her good knowledge of English was nevertheless very helpful in this work: “The music business is international”. She also recommends German native speakers to attend more English-language seminars and lectures during their studies. “Leuphana offers a lot of opportunities here. For me, it was quite easy to find something in complementary studies. ‘Creative Writing’ was just one of the courses I found very exciting.”

Now Vanessa Tan is graduating from Leuphana's College with a bachelor's degree and is writing her thesis on the psychology of horror in computer games. “I believe that horror games enable people to experience intense emotions within a safe environment – and since people are attracted by these sensations, this is one of the reasons why horror games are so attractive,” explains Vanessa Tan, who is already looking for a job: “I would like to gain more practical experience after graduation.” Whether that will be in Germany or elsewhere, Vanessa Tan would like to leave it open. Like a citizen of the world.

Author: Marietta Hülsmann. Translated by Beatrice Goutfer