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From Paris to Tampere – Integration at top speed

Passionate about fitness and sports, Serge Tcheuffa came to Finland out of love for his partner... and for Finland. With outstanding energy, in three years he succeeded in changing country, diving head first into the Finnish language and training for a completely new career… in Finnish from the very start!

While still living in Paris, his Finnish wife was worried about how Serge would deal with such a great change and if he would feel at home in Tampere. “No problem,” he would say, “I'll pick up my basket-ball, find a court, throw it and there will always be someone willing to catch it.”

On arrival, he gave himself a few months to enter into the language before taking classes at the Varala Sports Institute. He then started doing volunteer work, gained an internship at a sports hall, and started his training at the sports massage institute of Pirkanmaan Urheiluhierojakoulu. Learning a new skill in a foreign language is a big challenge but Serge made it:  “As an athlete, I'm used to the unexpected, to being outside my comfort zone, and getting out there while learning the language allowed me to meet lots of people and build a network.”

Serge then built up his business Sergonomia, offering massage therapy and fitness coaching. He is also working with an organisation that helps caregiving families. During his studies, his school and Ensimetri provided the essential information and orientation to start, and his network helped with the rest. “It's true that the language counts but it's not only that - it's also a matter of attitude and an open heart.”

He enjoys being independent and working close to home, in Tammela. What does he love about Tampere? “Everything is close by! The doughnuts of Pyynikki of course, the forest of Kauppi ... and Tammelantori in summer,” he says smiling.

“It's not always easy being different, but we can also use differences to create richness.”

Eva Wissenz

Licensed massage therapist and personal trainer Serge Tcheuffa serves his clients in English as well as in Finnish and in French.​
Licensed massage therapist and personal trainer Serge Tcheuffa serves his clients in English as well as in Finnish and in French.​