Tampere Ambassador: Lauren Stevens

Where are you from?
I am from a city called Reading which is just outside western London.

What would you like to tell about yourself?
I am seeking to promote Tampere, expand my network, and make new friends. I recently became a University of Tampere Student Ambassador, I believe that I can relate my experience as a University of Tampere Student Ambassador to the role of a Tampere Ambassador. This experience involved marketing the university through answering prospective students’ and applicants’ questions and sharing my experiences with them. Attending various national and international events that involved networking made me realise the importance of promoting Tampere and expanding my network.

Why is Tampere the best place to live?
Tampere is the best place to live because it is so diverse and welcomes internationalisation, and from my experience this distinguishes it from other Finnish cities. Therefore it is my favourite city of all the places I have visited in Finland. There are many things to do, it is a convenient distance from Helsinki, and has its own airport. It is neither too big nor too small and provides the right balance between industrialisation and nature.

Tell about your professional activities?
My previous positions include customer service through catering, teaching English, and volunteering with various organisations. I gained my intercultural awareness and ability to communicate through learning German, Spanish, and Finnish, which included, respectively, two exchanges to Germany, working as an English Language Assistant in Spain through a Year Abroad Placement, and moving to Finland to study my Master’s degree.

I am studying a MA in Peace, Mediation and Conflict Research at the University of Tampere. I studied a BA International Development Studies with Spanish at the University of Chester in the United Kingdom. The topic of my dissertation was ‘Media coverage: British perceptions of immigration’. The topic of my European Project was ‘Immigrant integration into Finnish education’.

Other activities:

  • Involved in the Student Union of the University of Tampere (Tamy) Committee for Environmental Affairs, and Committee for Development Cooperation
  • Secretary of the United Nations Association of Tampere
  • Former Secretary of TIPSY (Tampere Peace Students)
  • Member of the United Nations Women local committee of Tampere
  • Team Member of Demola’s "Creating UX with Study Advisory" project, envisioning ways in which Study Advisory could be more attractive for students, and engage and interact with website users
  • Participant in the ASAP Asylum seekers + Students Assembly Project, familiarising of asylum seekers and university students with each other and with each other’s cultures through a cooperation project of two universities
  • Participant in Minä luen sinulle -kampanja ('I read to you'​ campaign), the 'I read to you' campaign, part of the Finnish 100-year independence celebration in which immigrants studying the Finnish language read simple texts to the elderly or people with learning disabilities
  • School Visitor for Erasmus in Schools, visiting Finnish primary, secondary and sixth form schools to talk to students
  • Representing the University of Chester as The ONE Campaign UK Youth Ambassador at a London conference, and the annual summit alongside the G7 summit in Munich, receiving training on parliamentary affairs engagement, and press releases, representing the University of Chester as Student Leader at a conference
  • Representing the University of Chester as Communications Officer at a People & Planet national conference in Oxford and later as President in Birmingham, and organising meetings and events, following up on feedback, maintaining communication, increasing publicity, and managing the budget
  • Representing the Henley College in the Amnesty International UK 2010 AGM and Youth Advisory Group

What is your mission as a Tampere Ambassador?
I would like to promote Tampere and Tampere Ambassadors to my contacts abroad through relating my writing and activity on social media to my experience of studying and living in Tampere.

What potential do you see for Tampere in the future?
I see lots of potential for Tampere relating to internationalisation. From my perspective, I believe that the United Kingdom could be a good marketing opportunity for Tampere. Many of my friends in the United Kingdom chose not to study a Master’s degree due to the high costs and none seemed to consider moving abroad, as I did. I consider it a real shame that the Finnish government has introduced tuition fees for non-EU students, as this is likely to affect the creation of international networks in Finland. Therefore, I think that existing international networks should be utilised and reinforced.

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