If you are a Brazilian and want to try something different, here is one idea: move to Finland. This is one place you’ll encounter a different climate, cuisine and culture.

According to Statistics Finland, by the end of 2013 just 826 Brazilians have found their way to Finland. Hannele Leppäneva is director of the Suomi Brasilia Seura, a ‘friendship’ organisation between Finland and Brazil, and says that Brazilians come to Finland following love, as exchange students and students, and to work. Most Brazilians work in the IT and game industries, and as entrepreneurs according to the Brazilian Consular. Leppäneva adds that the Brazilians who arrive in Finland often come in pursuit of a new adventure.

The Suomi Brasilia Seura organisation keeps some Brazilian traditions alive; they started the first Samba school Papagaio in 1976, which was the first in Finland and incidentally in all of Europe.

According to the Brazilian Cultural Centre in Finland, there isn’t otherwise an active Brazilian community in Finland, as Brazilians are sparsely spread out across the country. Another reason for a less active community may be that many focus on learning the Finnish culture rather than keeping up their own.

Yet there is perhaps a more subtle Brazilian presence. The Samba school has persisted for 25 years, and the Helsinki Samba carnival is also celebrated each summer. It’s a very Brazilian event where many Brazilian traditions of parade are used – costumes, dances, and samba music. The event is organised by both Finns and Brazilians.

There is also a volunteer organisation called Gente Brasileira which promotes Brazilian culture by teaching Portuguese to Brazilian-Finnish children and organising other events. The Cultural Centre also teaches Portuguese, and promotes Brazilian culture such as cinema by holding seminars, and organising folklore, literature, and music events.

What attracts Brazilians to Finland, says Cristiano Clementino, an exchange student from Brazil, is how well society works and is organised. Leppäneva highlights that security is important and something that Brazilians appreciate in Finland.

There are a lot of differences between the two countries. Clementino points to the culture. “First of all we are more sociable. We don’t have a problem engaging people in conversation. I think we don’t have a problem touching others.”

He also says he misses the culinary culture of Brazil. In Brazil, he had rice and beans daily. He also misses Farofa, and Brazilian barbeque.

Luckily, there are some things that ease the transition, making Brazilians feel more at home in Finland. Stockmann, for example, sells a typical Brazilian soda called Guarana Antartica, for those missing a taste of home.

Alicia Jensen