I believe that life is full of opportunities. Different levels of opportunities for sure. The ones you have in life are completely different to the ones I have, nonetheless they are still opportunities. The secret is how you use and grab them. Sometimes you might not even see it as for what it really is, the chance of a lifetime.
Can you love a city? This is a love story but not about two people, instead about a person and a place. I am Talita Tobias Carneiro and I come from Brazil. This is my love story with a country and with a city. Because you must love the country to love the city!
Before digging into the details of where and when, we must go back in time. I mean, way back.
There was once a little girl dreaming of far away lands and exciting adventures. We are in 1999 and I am now 8 years old and a dreamer. Always dreaming about what life will be when I grow up.
One beautiful day I woke up with a fever and did not attend school. Little did I know that fateful day would decide a big portion of my life. The day I missed school the kids chose countries for making a presentation to class.
The next day when I went to school I learned about the assignment and got all excited about which country I would get. You can certainly imagine my face when I got Finland (pardon me, but an eight year old would choose a famous one, like Spain or France but instead got what remained).
As any good girl, I just knew I had to make the assignment, which I did. To my surprise when researching Finland I learned that it was where Nokia was from.
Let’s stop for a moment. Bear in mind that this is 1999. Every kid has a Nokia phone, everyone is quite addicted to the snake game. If you do not have a Nokia you are a loser (and yes, I was a loser).
After learning about Finland I got very excited about the country. I was hooked.
And that was like a dormant dream. Finland stayed in my mind (and heart!) for a long time until I almost forgot about it.
Then comes one of the many opportunities life throws at us. In 2012 the Brazilian government created a program called Science Without Borders, where the main objective was to send undergraduate and graduate students to study in universities all over the world.
At this point, I am an undergraduate Electronics Engineering student at UTFPR in south Brazil and the Science Without Borders program is the perfect opportunity.
As soon as I heard about the program I went to check the requirements. I also checked the countries available. I was stunned when I saw Finland. Everything I learned when I was a kid making my presentation came to my mind (and my heart!). I still remember the feeling, my heart racing and my eyes burning with tears. Long story short, I applied and got accepted. I was going to Finland! It was incredible.
I came to Finland in 2013 to be an exchange student at Aalto University in the Electrical Engineering School in Helsinki. As part of the program I had to find an internship for three months. I remember sending hundreds of applications (and of course I applied for Nokia!).
Can you guess? I heard back from Nokia and I was selected for an interview. This was the biggest achievement of my life so far. Yes, again the same feeling, my heart racing and my eyes burning with tears. The position was in Tampere! And the interview was in Tampere.
And here it is, as plain and simple as it can get. The first time I came to Tampere was to have a summer trainee position interview at Nokia. After the interview I went for a stroll in the city centre. When I reached the rapids of Tammerkoski I was amazed. What a beautiful city! And yes I got the position and got to live in Tampere for the summer (it was an amazing summer by the way, very warm!). After, I went back to Brazil from my exchange period.
Fast forwarding to 2015 I again got an opportunity to work as a summer trainee in Microsoft (yes, Microsoft had acquired Nokia mobile phones division). I worked during another summer and back to Brazil I went.
So far, all my opportunities in Finland had a start date and an end date. I was determined to change that, even if that time I had to create my own opportunities. Which I did. During my stay in Tampere I got to know the Tampere University of Technology which is located in Hervanta (just opposite to Microsoft’s office).
At this time I am an Electronics Engineer (Brazilian’s bachelor) and I am puzzled about what comes next.
I already knew the TUT’s master degree program when I applied in 2016. I already knew Tampere. I already knew Finland. But still when I got accepted and I knew that I got myself a position in the Pervasive Systems program, I was insanely excited. I would study what I always wanted. And yes, again I still remember the feeling, my heart racing and my eyes burning with tears.
I have been living in Tampere ever since. This is a city full of opportunities with the best of Finnish culture. You can experience SISU as I did. Only after living here for some years I understood that I got a little bit of SISU and that is the only reason I am here today. For the newcomers on Finnish language, SISU is the ability to sustain courage against the odds.
Tampere is a vibrant city with so much to offer. From an IT and tech point of view Tampere is paradise. It is blooming with start-ups and big tech companies.
As for me? Well, I am currently working at Nokia! I am a System on Chip Engineer working with next generation 5G products. I am also a happy and proud Tampere Talent Ambassador where my main objective is to share my story and inspire others, especially those interested in working in the tech industry.
Can I be proud to live in Finland if I am not a Finn? Can I be proud of working for Nokia if I am not a Finn?
Absolutely yes. Do not get me wrong. I love Brazil, I am Brazilian in all of myself. But the thing is, Finland and especially Tampere have a huge space in my heart. It is home.
Me and my husband got married in Tampere. Two Brazilians. The Priest who married us was puzzled as to why we got married here and not in Brazil. Truth be told, we could not think to get married in any other place in the world. We chose Tampere. We chose home.
Whatever your dream (or you dormant dream!) is, you can realize it in Tampere. Come and fall in love. Soon you will be the one telling your love story.