What does a Student Tutor do?

Students at an orientation event.
Photo: Tampere University

Are you worried about what it might be like when you arrive in Tampere from abroad? Unsure about how to find your way around in the very first days and how to get in touch with other students? Fear not! You will get support from your tutor, a fellow university student who has been in Tampere for a while and is committed to helping you settle in.

What does the student tutor do? What kind of help do they provide?

Every incoming student in Tampere gets a tutor assigned to help them get started. You, the tutee, will be in touch with your tutor even before you arrive in Tampere, so your tutor is likely to be one of your first contacts here.

When I came to Tampere for the first time, my student tutor was meeting me at the station and had the keys of my TOAS student apartment with her. This was great as it saved me the hassle of rushing to the TOAS office during working hours with my large suitcase and without any clue how to even get there!

But it doesn’t stop there, of course. Your tutor might also give you useful tips on where to shop your groceries or get the furniture for your new place, what public transport options there are and how to get to the university campus, etc.

Apart from this initial guidance, your tutor should also be able to help you starting your studies. They are probably from the same faculty you’re going to be studying at, or even from the same degree programme. Therefore, they can tell you a lot about the study practices in your field, academic contact persons at the faculty and how to sign up for courses.

Students walking in the lobby.
New students on campus. Photo: Tampere University

A tutor’s main job is probably to introduce their tutee to student culture in Tampere. Especially for students from abroad who are new to Finland and don’t know anyone yet, it is important to meet peers. Your tutor is likely to have other tutees or at least be in touch with other tutors and can connect you with some other new students directly.

Also, your tutor is probably part of one or more student association(s) that they can get you familiar with. Your subject association is especially interesting for you to know since it’s this association that organises events for students from the same programme and advocates for you on a faculty level. Find out more about tutoring and how to start your studies here: Starting your studies at Tampere University.

How is it all done? – Tutor organisation at the university

A student tutor is always from the same campus as their tutee(s) and can be a Finnish student or an international one. Even though a Finnish student may not know what it’s like to settle in a new country, all student tutors alike are prepared well for the tutoring task: they undergo a training, consisting of several sessions, in which they learn about the struggles that incoming international students face and are sensitized towards issues like culture shock.

Tutoring – which is managed by the student union TREY, the International Office, the faculties and the student subject associations – also pays off for the student tutor. In addition to making friends with their tutees, they receive a small financial compensation and ECTS for their tutoring activities. All this results in most tutors being dedicated to assisting their tutees as well as they can!

Cover page of a guide for international student tutors by Tampere University.

I myself am very happy to have had a friendly and supportive tutor when I first came here – and I have enjoyed being a student tutor myself. In my opinion, it’s a great asset that the university carefully organises, compensates and credits the tutoring task to ensure new students are not left alone. My previous university in my home country could learn a good deal from tutoring organisation at Tampere University. 😉

– Tatjana

About the writer: Tatjana (or Tati) came back to Tampere after an exchange semester during her Bachelor’s to study the Master’s degree in Leadership for Change – Governance for Sustainable Change. She’s very enthusiastic about sustainable lifestyles, all sorts of animals and Game of Thrones.