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Ingrid Helsingen Warner - Swiss alumni ambassador


Our international alumni ambassadors are at the heart of our global network.

They act as the linchpin for activities in their region, organise events and help raise awareness of the University where they live. Throughout February we will be asking some of our ambassadors how they got involved and what they get out of it.

This week Ingrid Helsingen Warner (BA Politics with International Studies 2003-06) explains how she became involved with the alumni group in Switzerland.

Did you know that…

  • there are close to 350 Warwick alumni in Switzerland?
  • one of our alumni was the first international student to graduate from Warwick in 1975?

Every year we host six events in Geneva and Zurich. These are casual after work drinks or more formal dinners in the autumn where we bring together alumni and students about to depart to Warwick. Each time we meet, I leave feeling re-energized. I have met a few new alumni who were excited to find out that a chapter exists here in Switzerland, new phone numbers have been saved on my phone and lunches scheduled over the next week.. By the time I get home, the alumni have sent pictures from the event and I forward them to the Warwick Alumni chapter – as well as saving them on my computer. All the photos look the same – whether they were taken in Geneva or Zurich – people are either laughing or in deep conversation with each other. It is as if we all graduated the same year.

Ingrid (red scarf) with
other Swiss-based alumni
We didn’t. At Warwick I was very active in the international student environment both as coordinator of One World Week, chair of the International Committee in the Students’ Union and helper at Orientation Week. I truthfully felt at home at Warwick – although I was far away from anything familiar – even in a new country. The friends I met became my family abroad and I have attended weddings in India and Cyprus following graduation.

After I graduated in 2006 with a BA in Politics and International Studies I returned home to Norway looking for a job. That is when I realized that it was true – Warwick was one of the best times of my life, it wasn’t just that the alumni who had told me this before had had boring lives...

I immediately contacted the alumni office to gather the contact details of Warwick alumni in Norway and activate the alumni chapter there. Before I knew it I got a job in Geneva, working as a communications consultant. Moving to Switzerland I knew nobody but realised that there had to be alumni there as well. Through LinkedIn and Facebook I traced about 100 alumni and started organising regular events. Work brought me to Norway regularly but after two years it was time to hand over my position to a local in Norway. Martine Lunder runs the Norway chapter today.

Today I am still in Geneva, now with a new job working for O&CO Communications Consulting, a leadership, strategy and communications consultancy but still running the Warwick alumni group. So if you are moving to Switzerland or already are here and not in touch with us – do get in touch and we look forward to welcoming you to our next event.

If you would like more information on alumni activities in Switzerland , please e-mail Ingrid.
You can find more information on your nearest alumni ambassador here.