Our last full day on the excursion was Thursday and it started with a visit to the Finnish Embassy in Madrid. It was relaxing to hear a presentation and have a chat in Finnish with our hosts for the first time on our trip. Our host, Sara Tuxen, works at the embassy as a First Secretary. She and a trainee Enna Hakala told us about their work. They are working with different kinds of groups such as Business Finland and Visit Finland who in turn deal with almost everything Finnish in Spain. Each group is a part of Team Finland.
Business Finland is helping Finnish entrepreneurs in establishing companies in Spain and extending their network. They explained Spanish business culture and told us that it’s somewhat different from Finnish work culture. Finns tend to go straight into the actual conversation in a meeting and don’t usually trade much words, whereas Spanish like to chat about football for 10 minutes and get to know each other at first. Also the importance of knowing the right authorities seems to be much more important than it is Finland, so Business Finland is helping representatives of companies to set up meetings with so called key persons.
Besides business advices the Finnish Embassy is also helping Finnish people with problems they are facing in Spain such as lost passports. One of the main tasks of Team Finland is also to maintain and improve the vision of Finland in Spain.
After the visit in the embassy we visited Instituto Cultural de Finlandia. They arrange different kind of events featuring all thing Finnish and now they have an exhibition about Nordic textiles and designers.
On the porch of the institute they had a sauna, which unfortunately was not in use because of the lack of showers and changing rooms in the building. Also the price of electricity in Spain is so high that it would cost a ton to use the electric sauna stove.
In the evening we had our last meal together in Spain. Our excursion master Tuomas Orava gave us a brief speech about our trip telling us how well everything had turned out. This trip has been a real eye opener to Spanish engineering and business life. There has not been any shortage of Spanish culture either, we came to realize when reflecting the past days in this excursion over dinner. We have met terrific people, experienced a traditional Spanish festival, eaten countless paellas, seen Real Madrid win on their home field and, of course, enjoyed the company of each other and our excursion hosts. This trip would not be possible without our foreign excursion team Kata, Daniel, Mia and Laura and the many cooperation partenrs.