My time at Ekokumppanit

A photo of five hands together over an office table.
Mario Kolkwitz

To summarize the reasons how I came to work at Ekokumppanit I first have to go back in time a bit. I was born in Germany and lived, studied and worked there until last year when me and my Finnish girlfriend decided to move to Tampere to begin our Master’s degree studies in sustainable architecture. Sustainability has been one of the driving reasons for me to choose Tampere. For me the city stands for innovation and the will to change environmentally towards the better.

After only a few months in finland I received the task to travel back to Germany where I helped corresponding for a collaboration project which aimed on the adaptability of concrete structures to lower the carbon footprint in the built environment. Interestingly this short trip back to my home country sort of opened completely new posibilities for me and my future career as a trained architect.

Only half a year later that event I received the offer for a research job at Ekokumppanit. The task sounded exciting however I struggled with the idea to leave my predefined career path yet eventually accepted.

Fo me Ekokumppanit doesn’t only mark the beginning of my work as a researcher, it also has been my start into the Finnish working culture. Luckily my colleagues have always proved to be extremely helpful whenever I had questions or problems.

The working ethics turned out to be exactly as I have imagined them to be in a Nordic country: efficient, goal oriented yet with high values for free time and personality. The flat hierarchy between the staff and supervisors on the other hand surprised me very positively, I felt that my ideas and comments were taken into account and so I could contribute my share to the final work.

Even though I’m the only non-Finnish speaker in the office the language barrier – not to speak of the cultural one – hardly ever seemed to be a challenge since everyone speaks fluent English. From the beginning I was welcomed with open arms and now that my contract comes to an end I only reluctantly leave.