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Tampere Ambassador: Ursula Helsky-Lehtola

Where are you from?
I was born in Tampere, a Finn, but my mother is originally from Poland. I speak Finnish as my mother language, but have a lot of Polish in my heart and looks.
I have lived in 4 other countries in Europe for short times (Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Austria), 6-16 months, but always came back to Tampere, to my roots. Now I live close to Pyhäjärvi lake in Pirkkala, where Tampere airport is situated.

What would you like to tell about yourself?
I consider myself also highly sensitive and international. I am mother to a 10 year old son. He has kept me busy for many years. I love classical music, especially piano music and Italian operas. I love Fado, Latin and Italian pop music too. I am a huge cat lover and have 2 cats at home. I am fluent in Finnish, English and German, can manage with Swedish too. I have studied also little Spanish and Italian too. I love foreign languages and cultures. I would like to learn more languages. I have a degree in Tourism and Business Administration. I gratuated my Master´s degree in International Project Management in 2015.

Why is Tampere the best place to live?
Tampere is a great mix of city and country, not too big, not too small. Nature, forest and lakes are everywhere around the city. Tampere has a great offering in tourism, culture, music, art, hobbies, shops, yoga schools, restaurants etc. Tampere Region has lovely beaches and peaceful places too. Tampere has 3 excellent schools for higher education and an international school for kids.

I love Pispala-Pyynikki-Tahmela region, Tammerkoski rapids and the red-brick buildings in the city centre. There are some lovely buildings too. For kids there are lots of opportunities too. One of my favorite places is in Tahmela, Varala Sports Institute. And when I walk around Finlayson area, near the Palace, old factory buildings and Tallipiha, I think of my grandmother´s parents working in the area “some” years ago! It is so fascinating!

Tell us about your professional activities.
I have had a job since I was 14, summer jobs, weekend jobs etc. So I have been in working life over 20 years. As an adult, I started my work career in private companies and my first permanent job was at Valmet Automation Inc. as Marketing Services Assistant. I now work at Tampere University of Applied Sciences (TAMK) since 2004 and have worked in different positions and units (Vocational Teacher Education, Research and Development Services, Administration and Event Services, project communication.) I love education, marketing, social media, events and international business. I try to keep my English and German fluent as I love to work in international environments.

What is your involvement in international activities?
I have worked as a tourist guide in Tampere, when I was 20. At TAMK I have been organizing international weeks for Research, Development and Innovation. I am also planning, organizing and guiding international delegations and groups at TAMK premises. I also apply yearly to go abroad to another university through Erasmus staff exchange programme.

I would love to be a mentor and support a younger foreign person living in Tampere Region.
I also love travelling and have been travelling since I was a two-month old baby! My son is used to travelling for holidays abroad too. Travelling to foreign countries and different cultures is in my blood. My mother is Polish and my Finnish father used to work abroad and made his career in Export Business. I just love to see different countries and different kinds of people.

What is your mission as a Tampere Ambassador?
I wish to promote Tampere as a great place to live, work, study and enjoy cultural activities. My mission is also to get better flight connections to Tampere in order to promote international business to flourish and get more international congresses to Tampere. The greatest mission in my heart is to make Tampere a more tolerant, antiracist, multicultural and ecological place to live.

What potential do you see for Tampere in the future?
As a positive person I want to see a positive future for Tampere. Companies and universities could hire more international and foreign people in order to make their international activities prosper. With cooperation, networking, skilled and talented people and lots of work, we can make Tampere succeed – together!

Link with Ursula on LinkedIn >>

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