Tampere Ambassador: Julia Rigal

Where are you from?
I’m from Vienna, Austria.

What would you like to tell about yourself?
I’m a recent immigrant to Finland – I moved to Tampere in the summer of 2016 with my husband Matthias, who is now a degree student at Satakunnan ammattikorkeakoulu in Pori –, but I’ve traveled to Finland and Tampere many times before that. My professional background is in education and publishing and my personal interests include reading, hiking, writing, cooking, museums, and our two cats.

Why is Tampere the best place to live?
I personally love that in Tampere, you’re never far from a lake or a forest and it’s easy to have an active lifestyle. The town is great for cycling and I’m already looking forward to trying cross-country skiing, ice-skating and snowshoeing in the winter. Plus, the beautiful Seitseminen and Helvetinjärvi national parks are just a 1.5-hours’ drive away. So Tampere has the Great Outdoors, but at the same time, it’s a lively town with a very active business, social and cultural life. There is always something going on, with good networking opportunities for internationals.

Tell about your professional activities?
For the past seven years, my professional life has been all about education: Back in Austria (and partly in Germany), I worked in fields like textbook publishing and teacher training and I myself am a trained peer-tutor and writing instructor. Now that I live in Finland, a country with a highly regarded education system, I want to help promote this expertise abroad, e. g. by supporting companies which offer teacher training, e-learning solutions etc. in their education export activities.

What is your involvement in international activities?
At the moment, I’m beginning to work on the idea I described above: helping companies in the field of education connect with possible business partners in the German-speaking countries. I’m already translating materials for companies from Tampere and I recently participated in an idea competition by the Twinkle Association. I’ve started a Twitter account (https://twitter.com/bildungfinnland) and a blog (bildungausfinnland.tumblr.com) to share news and insights about Finnish education in German.

What is your mission as a Tampere - All Bright! Ambassador?
Personally, I want to help our visitors have their own wonderful and unique experiences of visiting Tampere and Finland. While everyone has heard about the lakes and forests, the Midnight Sun and/or the Polar Night, few people are aware of what a culturally rich country Finland is. Tampere especially has such a long and moving history. So I’m always on the lookout for interesting events and activities to share with my friends and family.

Professionally, I am inspired by the vision of Tampere as a brain hub, an education hub. I want to help spread the word about education from Finland and what a friend of mine calls „the human side of innovation“, made in Tampere.

What potential do you see for Tampere in the future?
In the short time I have been here, I have come to know Tampere as a small but lively and international place. Not just expertise – of which there is a lot here –, but attitude and collaboration are valued here, and networking is easy, making Tampere a good place both for individuals and businesses. I think that thanks to these factors, Tampere will keep growing also in the future.

Julia Rigal Tampere All Bright Ambassador

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