Greetings from Brazil! The land of the sun! Even though we are at the peak of the winter, the temperature is 28 degrees Celsius… That could possibly sound like a paradise for a Finn! I could say that not considering the time I was born, this is being the eightieth I am in Brazil and yet, it feels very strange to do an exchange to my home country. Living one year in Finland has been a big experience to me and it has made me see my country with completely different eyes.
I am back in the city I was born, João Pessoa, by the northeast coast of Brazil. It pretty looks like any post card you can imagine about the country. Beach, warmth, white sand, and always sunny. And this time, the city has shown itself to me even more beautiful then what I remembered.
I am working at the administrative sector of a traditional construction company in the city. I work as a quality management intern and my function is to check if the company is following up with their defined quality standards and quality management related tasks. One of the things that has mostly caught my attention is the hierarchical culture of Brazil, which is very different from Finland. The higher the employees are in the company’s hierarchy, the more formal they are treated. The strangest example are the CEO and CFO (and other higher positions) who are called by “doctor” even though they are not “doctors”! Even between themselves I caught the employees into saying something like “is Mr. Doctor Anthony going to do this?” (Mr Doctor was an engineer). While the lower you go on the hierarchy, the sense of informality grows proportionally and the workers treat each other more like friends than co-workers.
During my free time, the activity that I do almost every day is to go to the beach, enjoy the warmth, go out and enjoy time with my friends and family. The calm sea, the sea breeze and the smell of the city hit the memory as strong as the waves breaking in to the shore and all those feelings are together with the idea of going back to Finland, which believe it or not, I am already missing.