I moved from Italy to Finland almost 4 years ago and now I am studying Environmental Engineering at TAMK. The very first thing I remember about Finland is that when my plane landed at 3 o’clock in the morning the sun outside was shining as bright as it would in midday somewhere in Italy.
Despite the literally warm welcome, my first months in Finland did not go too smooth. People here seemed to be so much colder and more distant than in Italy. I tried to get out and talk to people, make connections but was quickly met with ignoration and sometimes even anger when I approached people in bars and in the street. Now after almost 4 years I actually appreciated the fact that everyone mind their own business and don’t try to get into your personal life but during my first months in Finland it really knocked me down.
“Here everything is more relaxed, well-paced and everyone are very encouraging and forgiving”
Despite that I believe Finland is a wonderful place and I enjoy studying here. Finnish universities are very different from Italian ones. Here everything is more relaxed, well-paced and everyone are very encouraging and forgiving, so you always know you will get through even the hardest courses. Finnish universities are an ideal place for people who can organise themselves and find joy and value in learning something new every day.
I came to Finland as an exchange student from Brazil, where I have studied social sciences. A year later I have returned to begin my studies in the Leadership for Change programme at Tampere University. Before coming here, I have prepared myself for the cold, but it was darkness that threw me off. My first winter in Finland was very hard. I was constantly tired and sleepy and could not focus on studying too much. It got better after a while, but I still remember those days.
“I do recommend everyone to come here and study”
Another thing I was not prepared for was the difference in Finnish and Brazilian culture. I remember how strange it was to sit in completely silent bus as in Brazil everyone is always talking to each other and here people seem to even avoid social contact.
This difference is also quite prominent in the classroom. Back in Brazil people constantly talk about the topic of the lecture sharing their thoughts and ideas, whereas in Finland there is always a specific time for that, and teachers have to encourage people to speak. It certainly makes studying here less stressful and a lot more relaxed than in Brazil.
All in all, I do recommend everyone to come here and study. But keep in mind that Finnish people like their personal space so it takes time to build a relationship with someone. The other thing to remember that people here rarely mix professional and personal life so don’t be discouraged if you feel like someone is unreasonably unfriendly to you. Just spend some time to know them and you can easily become friends.
I came to Finland from India to do my Master’s Degree Programme in Electrical Engineering at Tampere University (Hervanta Campus) in 2017. I have already had a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Gurukula Kangri Vishwavidyalaya and I have worked for almost 6 years in the industry. However, I realised that in order to grow in my profession I need to broaden my knowledge about advancements in electrical engineering.
After an extensive research I have decided that I want to pursue a degree in Smart Grids at Tampere University. It was hard to begin studying after a 6-year gap, especially since Finnish universities are so different from Indian ones. It is not enough to only learn the theory and then pass an exam to get the best grade. Lab works, exercises, workshops are all an essential part of studying engineering in Finland.
I was overwhelmed and really frustrated that I can’t get my things in order. However, I soon realised that teachers are very supportive and understanding and always willing to help when they have time. It was especially surprising since in India the hierarchy is very pyramid-like and you can’t really approach your professor as easily as you can here.
“I can say that in Finland everything is possible if you work hard enough”
So, things started to become better and better. Soon I have started to look for a summer job in the electrical engineering field. This process was also very different form what would happen in India. The competition is very high, and I have not received a single invitation to the interview. The good thing however was the fact that I got replies to most of my email saying why exactly I did not get a job rather than just being ignored.
I also realised that employees in Finland value your social activities just as much as technical skills and want you to show initiative and willingness to work. In the end I have managed to get a summer job and later a project for my thesis, so I can say that in Finland everything is possible if you work hard enough.
Cover photo: Essi Kannelkoski