Embracing Tampere in November

Ensilumi Tampereen koskipuistossa, maa on valkea mutta vaahteran lehdet hekuvat keltaisina.
The first snow fell early in 2023 right at the beginning of November. Picture: Visit Tampere

Immigrating in the gloomiest month in Finland, and well, I thought, 'Why not add a little extra challenge?' Pregnant and all, I was in for a royal adventure!

After studying for a long time, you have finally entered the university. This is a great success. Some of you like me have come to this university from another country while, others are natives of the same city where you have been accepted. It is certain that adaptation is easier for local people and more difficult for other groups and adapting to a new country was even more challenging for me.

I arrived in Finland, being 27 weeks pregnant in the midst of November’s gloom. It is often said that November, with its long nights and early sunsets, can be one of the quieter months in Finland, and as a very pregnant newcomer, I could certainly testify to that. However, I decided to conquer this month like a true knight, as if I had a say in the matter.  Immigrating in the gloomiest month in Finland, and well, I thought, ‘Why not add a little extra challenge?’ Pregnant and all, I was in for a royal adventure!

First things first, I had a baby room to decorate – because, you know, babies have a tendency to arrive whether November likes it or not! And, speaking of unexpected arrivals, I quickly learned that while Finnish people may not always initiate conversations, they are known for their warm hospitality and readiness to help they are incredibly supportive. I remember having trouble finding the right blanket’s warmth rating in IKEA, and since I couldn’t locate an employee to ask, I had to approach a random stranger for help as I stood in that IKEA aisle, lost, a fellow shopper became my guiding light. She took the time to help me find the perfect blanket to ward off the Finnish cold. Her husband, with an eager smile, read the specifications, and together, they made me feel less like a newcomer and more like a welcomed friend.

In that moment, as I stood there in the IKEA store, a stranger’s kindness warmed me just as much as the blanket I was searching for. It was a small act of generosity, but it was a powerful reminder that I was not alone in this new country. I realized that adapting to a different culture and climate might have its challenges, especially while carrying a baby, but it was also an opportunity to encounter the warmth and hospitality of the Finnish people.

My journey in a foreign land was never going to be easy, but I knew that with the support of such kind-hearted souls, I could face anything. And just like a true knight, I embraced the challenges of that November with courage and determination. Today, as I look back on my journey, I’m filled with gratitude for the remarkable people who made this beautiful city, Tampere, feel like home.

Picture: Visit Tampere

About the author:

Student Ambassador Elnaz sitting at a table.


Hello, I am Elnaz, a Master’s student in International Business Management from Iran, now living in Tampere since November 2022. I enjoy hitting the gym, reading books also love travelling and visiting new places.