Marie Curie Fellow’s secondment to VTT

by Kristina Livitckaia

Expectations and general feeling: When I was coming to VTT I knew that everything will be organized and the care of necessary procedures will be taken of ahead. The research institute is successfully functioning for more than 20 years in the biomedical data analysis domain with many international co-operators involved. The high level of Finnish quality was expected! And I have to say that my expectations were met. Smooth, organized, friendly and with daily unlimited coffee for free! Yay! Of course, everyone has its own standards, but I believe the key is in the change of the environment. When you have to relocate for a couple of months to an entirely different place from the perspective of culture (in both, daily life and work-related) and climate, it can’t leave you without any discovery of something new, something that might bring to the point of reconsidering of previous experiences and opening new horizons of yourself. I believe that my planned VTT experience in technical skills development initially, turned into a substantial growth of several sides of personality as well. A considerable contribution, I believe, was brought by three work-related factors: supervisor, manager, and colleagues. Open-mined professionals who are trying to help and support. It is my successful experience!

The culture:  What about Finnish culture? I loved it! Of course, it all depends on the person you are, but for me, the Finnish “setup” is one of the most European! Life is organized, and most of the services are well-functioning, people are very open-minded and accept your choices (e.g., appearance-like) without judging. Well, then I say “culture,” I mean what is happening in the walls of VTT and outside as well.

Other essential daily aspects:  The weather is not a concern in Finland if you have a proper set of clothes. But when the summer is coming, it is beautiful and green in Tampere. Everyone who loves healthy lifestyle will find Finland a fantastic place from the “food” point of view. Many choices and intersections with Russian cuisine. Lovely!

Overall:  A couple of months of my Ph.D. work spent in Finland worked in the best way for me. I don’t know if it is a matter of time and being ready for a change, a friendly Finnish culture, or a great organization of work at VTT, but I feel better and happier in my work and personal life. Thank you VTT and Finland!

“Thank you” note:  I would like to thank my VTT supervisor Mark van Gils and manager Jari Ahola for turning my Finnish experience into a great experience! I also would like to thank my AUTH supervisors Ioanna Chouvarda and Evelyn Kouidi for supporting me with the patient study procedure while I am abroad. Thanks!