Ibrahim Al-Rashid has found his home in Tampere, Finland. Finland is also the country where the marketing and export manager of Pikotec Oy has lived longer than anywhere else.
- My parents are from Iraq, but I was born in Austria. Because of my father's work, we lived in various countries, including the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Italy and Jordan.
Ibrahim first came to Finland on business.
- I arrived here in May 2004. I was not very impressed during the first couple of days. Then something happened, and I began to enjoy my stay.
Ibrahim decided to stay in Finland. After a few months, he moved to Tampere.
- Tampere is the best place for immigrants in Finland. It is easy to be seen here, and people are friendly and trustworthy. Tampere is also one of the safest cities I have ever been to.
Work integrates into society
Ibrahim, who had worked in the commercial sector, soon found a job in Finland. He is currently the marketing and export manager of Pikotec Oy, a Tampere-based company operating in the electronics sector.
- My boss is a great man who understands the strengths of a multicultural workplace. And, thanks to him, I am also an ardent supporter of Ilves, the local hockey team.
Even greater support for him is at home: a Finnish wife and two young daughters.
- This is where I live. I don't have a satellite aerial to watch programmes from the Middle East, and I don't recommend one for anybody. You have to stay grounded where your life is.
Apart from work and family, Ibrahim says learning Finnish makes you feel more at home.
- I have taken Finnish courses, but there is still much to learn. My children are now teaching me Finnish, he laughs.
Winter is a matter of attitude
Ibrahim does not even shun away from the Finnish winter.
- The first serious frost and having to wear a hat were initially a shock, but I have grown to like winter. It is down to your attitude: you can decide to like winter the same way you decide to like spring.
But Ibrahim has also discovered two things he dislikes about Finland.
- Having to dress the kids in winter clothes and quadricycles. I would get rid of them.
Ibrahim Al-Rashid believes that the greatest single factor to his success in Finland is his wife's fantastic support.