Follow-up on a successful student exhange

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Instituto Federal Santa Catarina (IFSC) has been a significant partner to HAMK for many years. One of the most important activities between universities are always exchange programs. Since the Research Unit for Smart Services was established in 2014, we have had seven exchange students from IFSC working with different kind of projects related, for example, to Internet of things and software development. Ernani Rodrigues De São Thiago was the first Brazilian student in our unit, so it is safe to say, he is somewhat a progenitor! We had a special opportunity to make an interview with Ernani when he visited Finland and HAMK last week.

First, tell a little about yourself

My name is Ernani and I’m 24 years old. I graduated from college in 2017 with a Bachelor’s degree in Telecommunications Engineering and I currently work as a Senior Software Engineer for ConsenSys Inc, a New York based blockchain venture studio.

On what project did you work on during your exchange in Finland?

The main goal of the project was to evaluate the Finnish device ThingSee to collect data and visualize it with existing Dashboard technologies, such as Microsoft’s PowerBI.

What have you been doing since?

After going back to Brazil, I immediately got my first job at an IoT startup called UpPoints. Since then I have focused on improving my skills on Software Development and Engineering in general.

I heard you have some exciting plans for the future?

Yes, on my Bachelor’s thesis I used Neural Networks to create a voice recognition service, I intend to continue to learn more about Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning by applying to a Master’s degree on Tampere University, which I’ve been told is a great University for someone who expects a more hands-on approach.

Why Finland?

I always say that I never choose a country, I choose the project. Back in Brazil, students receive a list of projects (on different countries) that they could apply for, the Finnish one was working with a hot topic (IoT) and had the clearest objective.

What was best in Finland? Did you have any difficulties or cultural collisions?

I had never seen the northern lights or snow before coming to Finland, that was really awesome. I wouldn’t say that there were cultural collisions, but it was tricky to understand how to behave in conversations in general. Brazilians basically interrupt each other all the time when talking, and the Finns tend to wait the other person before starting. There are good an bad things on each way.

It has been many years since you participated in this program. What is the one story you always tell about Finland?

Oh, it’s definitely that one time when my colleagues at the university took me to watch an ice hockey game! That was a completely new experience.

What is different when studying in Finland than in Brazil?

Well everything, basically. Brazilians behave in a very different way than the Finnish and of course this affects the university and the workplace. I feel that Brazilians are more intense and can clearly talk about how they feel. Finns tend to be more discreet and understanding, and I think that sometimes they end up having to put up with things that they don’t necessarily agree on.

Two whom would you recommend (exchange) studies in HAMK?

I would definitely recommend exchange studies in HAMK to the Telecommunications Engineer undergraduates which are eager for a more practical experience and also to the Mechatronics Engineers who would experience new techniques and devices used by local companies.

Ernani Rodrigues De São Thiago

– It has been wonderful that we have had this opportunity to work with so many students from IFSC. The students have been a valuable asset for our team since every one of them have been extremely motivated and competent. We wish that all of the students have had a good experience with us and that we have succeeded in teaching them new things. I finally have the opportunity to visit IFSC myself and we are heading there with our director Vesa Salminen next week. I am looking forward for our visit and I am eager to see what the everyday life of our exchange students is like back home in Brazil, says Research Manager Joni Kukkamäki from Research Unit for Smart Services.

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