Tampere Ambassador: Matthias Rigal

Where are you from?
Vienna, Austria.

What would you like to tell about yourself?
Since 2011 I have gotten to know Finland, and Tampere, as a traveller through several and regular trips. (Because I get that question a lot: Yes, also in winter.) My wife Julia and I moved to Tampere in summer of 2016. It was our first choice from the moment we started to look for a place to live, and it was the right one. I now study physiotherapy at Satakunnan Ammattikorkeakoulu (SAMK) in Pori and commute on a daily basis, but living in Tampere is well worth the effort!

What makes Tampere special for you?
Tampere seems to combine the best of everything I was looking for, in my new hometown. It manages to feel like a big city. There is always something interesting happening and I do not miss any conveniences. At the same time, Tampere does not hassle you with the stress of a major metropolitan area. It does not feel crowded and I would call the traffic here relatively non-existent. If you want to escape the city, the next forest, lake or national park is never far away. And even after 4 months of living here I feel like I still have not explored everything there is to find. On a more personal note I want to say: since our move I naturally have been in contact with lots of different people, privately and with officials. So far, with all of them, communicating felt friendly, respectful and as if everyone meets each other on an equal level. I am starting to value this societal attitude as an important contribution to quality of life.

Tell about your professional activities?
My main focus right now is on my studies of physiotherapy. I aim to do my upcoming clinical practices/internships in Tampere and start building my professional future here. My other background is in music. Previously I worked in Austria as a drummer, drum teacher and entrepreneur in music and music education. Aside from going to some nice gigs, I had to put these activities on hold during my move to Finland and the first term of my study programme. I am now looking forward to look into what Tampere has to offer in that area.

What is your involvement in international activities?
My study programme at SAMK is an international one (and the only English-language degree programme for physiotherapy in northern Europe). Through my second background in music, I still have ties to my Vienna-based company. And personally, living and studying in Tampere and Pori, I connected with Finns as well as international people. (Being an immigrant myself, more than I did in Vienna.)

What is your mission as a Tampere - All Bright! Ambassador?
I want to help to put Tampere on the map in my personal and professional network. When I talk to people or read articles about Finland, I often get the feeling that Helsinki and Lapland are well known, but everything in between seems to get lost. Tampere is one of Finland’s highlights everyone should know about!

What potential do you see for Tampere in the future?
In Tampere there is already a lot happening. And it seems to be on the right track to expand upon this. Tampere has a great, central location in southern Finland, from where you can reach some of Finland’s major destinations within reasonable time and distance. It can be the perfect base camp for exploring Finland, whether you are visiting or building your life here.

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