From India to Finland
It was New Year’s Eve, and the world was celebrating the transition from 2017 to 2018. I was packing my bags and was excited about my journey on the first day of the new year. I would be travelling roughly 4 000 miles, from New Delhi to Helsinki and then to a place called Kuopio. I had no idea what I should expect.
I grew up in a land where the highest temperature goes to +45, and I was going to a country where the lowest temperature can reach to -45. But I was excited to meet the new people who would form a major part of my life in the months to come. I was excited to meet my supervisor, with whom I had exchanged many emails and WhatsApp messages to plan this trip.
The best time in my life
The months that followed were some of the best in my life. I was visiting the Business School, University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio, with the EDUFI fellowship from the Govt. of Finland.
I was working with the Innovation Management Research Group at the school. I met such wonderful colleagues, who were warm, kind, and helpful. They had tried to understand me as a person and had made all necessary arrangements to make my stay and work as comfortable as possible.
I remember that when I had reached the apartment, my supervisor showed me so many things that my colleagues had donated so that I do not need to buy new things for my work and stay in Finland. It included a ranges of utilities, from warm clothes to kitchen utensils.
Debates and silence
In terms of the workplace environment, we spent rich time in discussing research, and in exchanging knowledge about our culture, society, polity, and history. In research, I had exposure to new approaches in qualitative research, which was one of my key objectives for visiting a Finnish university.
One important observation that I had of the Finnish way of doing things is that they are peace loving and straightforward people, and they talk only when it is necessary. Honestly speaking, that is exactly the kind of approach that I personally like. I appreciate the culture that speaks only when it is necessary, and focuses energy majorly on doing things well.
Experiencing the Arctic
The cold proved to be no difficult for me, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. For me it was very new and fresh.
The Arctic wilderness came with amusements, such as the husky rides and the northern lights, the smile of Santa Claus and the shiny white snow bathing in golden sunlight coming from across the horizon.
In spring and summer, the beauty abounds with the freshness of the fresh new green and the beguiling blue sky reflecting on the fresh water after the melting of the snow. It is amazing to see how beautifully the people in the Nordic have been able to preserve their environment.
With this rich natural capital, the Nordic region is also now growing in diversity of population with an inclusiveness towards people from other parts of the world. I witnessed that during my stay, and found different actors in society making necessary efforts to help and guide foreigners like me.
I met lots of new people, and made such good friends. During my research at the university, I was also given the opportunity to co-develop and co-instruct the Masters course on Social Innovation and Strategy. Teaching and mentoring a class of international students, which was a mix of both European and Asian students, was a very good experience.
I believe Finland is definitely one of the preferred destinations for any international researcher today, because of the example that the Finnish society sets in terms of being highly education oriented and welfare oriented. At some point of time in future, for short or for long, I would surely visit this wonderful part of our world once again.
Subhanjan Sengupta, PhD
Assistant Professor – BIMTECH