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TAMK ends world's first "influencer degree"

The English-language programme was aimed at students from outside the EU paying 35,000 euros for the degree.

Yle News

Tampere University of Applied Sciences (TAMK) said it has decided to discontinue an influencer training course it launched with much fanfare in 2021.

Twenty-eight students were to begin their studies in January 2022, but many never actually made it to the country due to visa issues, Yle found.

The face of the programme — and only non-paying student — Finnish influencer Joalin Loukamaa abandoned the course midway, despite calling the degree a "dream come true (siirryt toiseen palveluun)."

The programme cost students from outside the European Union 10,000 euros a year, or 35,000 euros in total. The English-language "Influencers Academy" degree programme was incorporated into a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from TAMK.

Hanna Saraketo of TAMK said the programme ran into difficulties from the beginning, as students from the Philippines, Thailand, India and Sri Lanka struggled to get visas and bring their families to Finland.

The students were selected by Edunation, a company which seeks to attract foreign students to Finnish educational institutes.

Despite focusing on the world of social media, many of the foreign students who participated in the course told Yle they were looking into more traditional forms of entrepreneurship, such as starting a restaurant business.

"The programme's goal wasn't necessarily to turn students into influencers, but to give them an opportunity to learn skills and find new perspectives that will help them work with influencers," Harri Suominen of Edunation said.

One of the students, Patrick Cayabyab from the Philippines, said he thought the 10,000-euro annual cost of the programme was reasonable.

"It's more affordable to study in Finland than in other countries, but the level of education is still high," he said, adding that he was looking to open a Mexican restaurant in Finland.

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