Logo f16200781045f22a3436181e198153d74bdf6c9e588d5cb1b1f86796924cb2f5

Tampere Ambassador: Kate Suominen

Where are you from?
I am originally from Dudley in the UK. I moved to Finland in December 2009 to live with Eero (my husband). He is from Tampere so we always planned to end up there after all my education was completed.

What would you like to tell about yourself?
I studied my master’s in Renewable Energy (sustainable energy production) at the University of Jyväskylä, then went straight on to my DSc (Tech) Energy Engineering, around 18 months to completion. The subject is improving biogas utilization in a microalgal biorefinery.  I work between Aalto and HAMK.  

We have lived in many places during my time here in Finland from Tampere, Jyväskylä, Hämeenlinna and now Lempäälä (we are now permanently staying in Tampere). I am very social, active in both my work network and Finn-Guild’s. I enjoy helping other people, problem solving and large event planning. I enjoy being busy and constantly like to push my own limits. I see failure as part of the path toward success.

In my free time, I volunteer for Finn-Guild a British-Finnish charity. I am the Education and Communication Manager in Finland and I am based here in Tampere. We focus on supporting both English/Finnish language as well as cultural events and providing support for members. We run a lot of events in Tampere such as Nursery Rhyme Time, Intensive Finnish Language School, themed events, meals together, handcraft and chat meetings. Any kind of events our members want to be involved in.

Why is Tampere the best place to live?
For me, Tampere was the first city I stayed for more than a week. I found time to explore both the city and the environment around the city. I have always enjoyed how easy it is to move around Tampere, and the ease I can leave the hustle of the city and be completely “lost” in the woods or lakeshore with just my own thoughts.
Tampere is also a safe city, where you can get help easily by just asking people around you. Tampere has become much more international over the last 5 years and I can’t wait to help it further its goals to become more international and improve its branding in Europe and further! Skies the limit!  

Tell about your professional activities?
I am very active within my own field of Energy Engeineering. I am a perfectionist, planner and I talk a lot. I enjoy working hard and playing hard. Interestingly, I am motivated to achieve my end goals and don’t really back down easily from a challenge. I am almost on my 3rd year of my DSc (Tech) and I am just about to start my laboratory work in order to complete the whole process. I am hoping to be a university lecturer after this has been completed or work for a large international company where my language skills are an asset as well as my professional network. I will hopefully begin a professional teaching course next year which should end around my gradation time.

Finn-Guild wise, I have always been proud of my involvement with them as it allows me to remember my own culture and to help others overcome culture shock as well as just relaxing with other people who are like-minded. However, we have many members who are not Brits/Finns and are just interested in the events we have. We are the only charity which publishes a quarterly magazine in both the UK and Finland which has 20,000 readers. I am on the executive committee for Finn-Guild and also the committee at Finn-Brits Tampere. My goal is to help people avoid the pitholes I fell into when I moved here, not knowing anyone, anything, to help people make friends and strengthen their own network.

What is your involvement in international activities?
I am involved with companies which are in the UK as well as a few universities. I try to be aware of any companies which are starting here in Finland (normally UK based) and I enjoy being in contact with the British Embassy, Helsinki. Working in universities gives me a large area of other international companies and other universities which can be looking for funding, research or study exchanges. Other than that my LinkedIn network is large and covers many countries from China, USA, Africa, etc.

What is your mission as a Tampere Ambassador?
I would like to help provide a strong support network for international people, to help integrate them into Finnish culture using the network of Finn-Guild and the expertise I have acquired within the last 5 years. To help support people who would like some more confidence and practice using English (with native speakers), Finnish Language Saturday Schools for adults studying for the YKI tests, English Language Saturday Schools (bimonthly) helping children learn throw play, singing and interaction with both children and adults. We support all age groups from families, adults, and people who are retired. 2015 is our 50th anniversary year so we have some special events as well. We also raise money for other charities through annual British Open Golf Tournaments in Tampere and Jyväskylä.
Finn-Guild are also setting up a blogging platform where expats/internationals can come together in order to share experiences/hobbies/city life/events/businesses with others.  The subjects will be vast covering anything to do with English/Finnish under the language, culture and support categories. For more information on events we can be found on Facebook “Finn-Guild Finland” for further listings of events both local and national.

What potential do you see for Tampere in the future?
Tampere has great potential to be a leading city for international people and businesses working together (international, local and national industries) for both a successful and profitable end goal. Professionally, I would like to be a part of helping Tampere lead with sustainable Clean-Tech industries. I am excited to be part of raising the profile of Tampere, so we can all help it grow to reach its full potential.

Link with Kate on LinkedIn >>

Want to become an ambassador? Here's how: Become an Ambassador