Amber Tsai

Photographer. Manager. Traveler.

Raised in Taiwan, Amber Tsai traveled to the other side of the world for a hands-on education.

Amber Tsai was raised in Tainan, Taiwan and moved to Chicago in 2016. While researching American schools, Tsai was drawn to Columbia College Chicago for its location and hands-on approach to learning. The school, she says, has delivered on its promises, providing her local opportunities to work in events management and photography as she studies.

On Choosing Columbia

The school offers really hands-on experience. [For example, I got to work] on the Hilton Project. [My] class is basically collaborating … with fashion designers from the fashion department here [and] agency models [working in Hilton Hotel rooms]. Each week it’s different people shooting, so we switch roles. We’re either an assistant or a producer. We’re managing actual people, we’re really working in the industry already. It’s all … useful for our portfolio. It’s a mock-up of the real industry. And the professors [work] in the field, so they know … what clients want.

On Internships

The internships for famous companies are all downtown, like Live Nation is right by the river. I interned at the Art Institute for eight months. I did the event-management marketing for the museum, and I managed three performances per week. 

On Chicago

I’m so glad I chose here, because in LA, you need a car. People here are so nice. It’s like the perfect city to be in. Lollapalooza, Pitchfork, all of those music festivals are around the corner.

On Being a Student

I’m so happy that I’m doing what I love. It’s like, every day I wake up, I want to just go do. I just really want to encourage people to come here … because if you work hard for it, you’ll easily get the connections and get the job that you hope for.