From Brazil to Lapland

By Chris Brennan / Photos: Luiz De Mello's archive

Luiz De Mello is a 27 year old Audiovisual Media Culture student at the University of Lapland who hails from Belo Horizonte, Brazil.

Luiz chose to study here in Rovaniemi, in part because, “…the courses appealed to me and were rather unique among the ones I saw in Finland…. I liked the idea of coming to the North of the North and the likely differences I would find”.

Before taking the 11,000 kilometer journey from his home to Rovaniemi, Luiz only knew that the university was “…far away, and cold. But also that it produced a large part of the art graduates in Finland”, a fact which really caught his attention.
Since moving to Lapland, Luiz has been living on a student budget and hasn’t always been able to do as much as he would like to, but a new beginning in a new country has given him needed time for himself.

He explained, “For me this is in many ways the beginning of a new life, and am really having an inner journey. But not only inside me, because I am also taking part in local activities to get a better taste of Finnish culture, and am watching public events”.

As an international student in Finland, Luiz has also embraced the unique style of independent learning in Finnish universities:

“There is one thing I really like, at least on the courses I have attended, is that it is far less centered in lecture time and a lot on independent research, even at the bachelor’s level. Contrast with the daily classes people have in Brazil and the high emphasis we put on class time (our system doesn’t even count or recognize independent study time, it is all about class time), and the fact I’m terrible with a system like that – I need my own time to think by myself”.
All in all, it seems Luiz has definitely been enjoying his new life in the far north.

When asked to sum up his experience here in Rovaniemi so far, Luiz simply said, “Magical. Complete with Santa and elves”.