Meet LFC Student Reyver Serna: “Here students are treated like adults”

We met with Reyver Serna, who has started his studies in the Master’s Degree Programme in Leadership for Change. Reyver moved to Tampere four years ago and was glad to share his thoughts and tips regarding the university and the city of Tampere.

Who are you? Where do you come from and what is your educational background?
– My name is Reyver Serna. My full name is Reyver Arley Serna Lerma, but it is too long, so I have cut it down to a more universal standard! I’m 26 years old. I have been living in Finland for 4 years. I was born in Lanzarote, but my parents are Colombians, so I have been lucky to grow in two environments: the Spanish sophistication and Colombian creativity. I have a Bachelor’s degree in History, which I did in the University of Alcalà in Madrid. I came to Finland as an exchange student. The last few years I have been studying Russian and European studies and Business Sustainability in the Faculty of Management, University of Tampere.

What are your hobbies and personal interests? What do you like to do on your free time?
– That’s a difficult question because I do many things! I like reading, travelling, learning languages, watching series. But one of my biggest hobbies is music. I play three instruments: drums, guitar and bass. I have the instruments at home. Every once in a while I like to play and it can be very relaxing, especially after thinking a lot, writing an essay and so on. Also, this may sound a bit childish, but I do like to play with legos, because it helps me to clarify my thoughts. Cooking is also one of my passions. I like to try new recipes. Especially on weekends I have free time for that. I’m really good at soups!

How did you find out about the Master’s Degree Programme in Leadership for Change?
– Mainly because of the University of Tampere. When I was doing my Russian and European Studies through the UTA Open University, I saw the posters and leaflets, and study coordinators talked about it. At some point, there was a special session about the Master’s Degree Programme, which I attended and then clarified all the questions I had about the programme. I got all the instructions and information, and met with part of the staff.

Why did you choose to study in the Master’s Degree Programme in Leadership for Change?
– Because it is something new and something interesting. It mixes perfectly theory and practice – it combines the best of many fields into the same programme. And also because of the freedom you have here to shape your studies, to set your schedule, to be treated as an adult in the academic life. I also knew the staff working here and that encouraged me more to apply.

In your opinion, what makes the Master’s Degree Programme relevant today?
– It is important because it gives us the tools so that we can face the big challenges we have today. For example, the political situation in today’s world, how the corporations are behaving, how can they behave in a more responsible way…

How would you describe the University of Tampere? How is it to study here?
– Can I be a bit cheezy? It’s an emotional question! I remember the first speech I heard here. In the speech for exchange students, they said that as exchange students come to Finland, some of them never go back to their home countries. And four years later I still remember those words! You feel like at home at the university, you feel comfortable. The staff is always there to help, you have access to all the information, you have a wide variety of courses to choose from, and you have the freedom to choose them. Everything is very accessible, there is no hierarchy. You can approach the professors and academics here and you can have proper one-on-one conversations, which makes studying here comfortable.

Considering that you have been living in Tampere for four years, perhaps you could give recommendations on what to do here! What are your thoughts about Tampere?
– Tampere is so cute! It is not too big and it’s not too small – it has a little bit of everything. One thing that I really recommend to do are the breweries. Back in the days, Tampere was the capital of beer in Finland. Plevna is a well-known place for that, and also Tuulensuu is an amazing gastropub with craft beers and good, home-made food. Nordic Gastropub is also good, as you can enjoy Nordic beer and delicacies there: I recommend to try their Nordic toast that has rye bread, salmon… Pajabaari in Torni hotel is also good. And Teerenpeli! The cafes are also lovely. Pastries in those cafes and especially in Finland are one of the best! I have realized that Finns are really good at baking. I recommend Fazer Cafe: it is just next to the rapid in the center. Also Cafe Pispala – I think it is one of the best cafes in town. It is in Pispala, in the outskirts of the city. It has a special atmosphere: it looks like a “mökki” [summerhouse] inside and has a nice homey feeling. It is especially good during Sundays.
It is great how accessible Tampere is. You can cross the city by foot and it doesn’t take long. On the way you’ll see beautiful landscapes: the city is surrounded by two lakes, Näsijärvi and Pyhäjärvi, and we have a rapid going through the city center. The combination of city and nature is beautiful. And it will get even more beautiful after they build the tram! [A tramway is currently being built in Tampere].

Master’s Degree Programme in Leadership for Change consists of three tracks. Which track did you choose and why?
– I chose Politics in Wider Europe. I chose it because it deals with the current situation in Europe, some countries leaving and some countries joining the EU… The content is up to date and the lecturers are professionals. Some of them have real practical experience in these questions, having worked for the government, for example. It is also very related to my old field of history – I can apply and combine my previous knowledge with my current studies.

What would you wish to get from your studies?
– The skills for a professional career in the future. I also love to network and meet people from different places with different backgrounds, make friends. I’m looking forward to the amazing two years’ experience in the University of Tampere!

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