From Spain to Tampere’s folk music scene, the story of Paloma Catalá Parga

Tampere Talent Ambassador Paloma Catalá Parga is a musician that moved to Tampere in December 2019. After living in Finland for almost four years, she shares how she and her family began their life and integration path in Tampere.

Paloma and her family started to plan the move to Finland one year in advance to make some savings, sell their car, and plan the ideal time for moving. 

“We tried to find a rental apartment in Tampere while still living in Spain, but it turned out to be almost impossible.” 

In the beginning, it was decided that Paloma’s husband will go to Tampere a few weeks in advance and live in temporary accommodation (Airbnb), so he could find a suitable place for their family to live in. During that time, Paloma and her daughter stayed behind in Spain, where Paloma continued working and making arrangements to use her vacation time for the big move to Finland. Paloma started sending boxes with the family’s belongings to her husband and at the end of that same year, the family’s plans for a new start in Finland became a reality when Paloma and her daughter moved to Finland during the Christmas holidays. 

Regarding about the language, Paloma and her husband already had some understanding of the Finnish language since they attended Finnish language lessons in Coruña, Spain a year prior to moving.  

“Even so, we didn’t know much more than Hello, my name is Paloma, and I’m Spanish.” 

The couple also was familiar with the Finnish Integration Plan, which helps anybody that has become a resident or has the right of residence in Finland, this Integration plan looks to strengthen the language skills (Finnish or Swedish) as well as find training in their own profession to remain competitive in the job market in Finland; in other words, once the couple became permanent residents, they were able to benefit from language studies in addition to part-taking in events that promote employment within each person’s area of expertise.   

“Since we did not have secured jobs in Finland when moving here, we knew we needed to register as jobseekers so that the Integration Plan could be drawn to us. We also understood that without any Finnish language skills, we were likely to get jobs only in cleaning or the logistic sector.” 

“In February 2020, I got my first job in hotel cleaning. After a month and a half, I was able to change to a more suitable company. This, and because my husband also got a job in cleaning, we were finally able to register and therefore obtain the right to Kela and TE services.” 

“In July 2020, we obtained the permanent residence permit, and my integration plan would begin in November.” 

To the couple, it was clear right from the start that learning the Finnish language was crucial for them. 

“The more we know about the language, the more we feel that we also know about the culture and the country.” 

 “We like education, and as educators of children, knowledge of Finnish was a prerequisite.” 

It took approximately ten months for Paloma to settle down in Finland. She kept working in the cleaning industry while at the same time, she began to network and make some contacts in the music industry. She was able to perform in her first concert in Finland in September of 2020 and thanks to the integration plan and her remarkably proactive nature she was able to further her training, follow her passion and work in cooperation with various organizations such as TAKK (Tampere Adult Education Centre), Pipoo cultural center, Tampere Konservatorio (Tampere Conservatory) as well as one of Paloma’s personal favorite organizations in Tampere: Culture Cooperative Uulu, which promotes Finnish folk music and different music cultures. 

“My path is still moving forward, grateful for what I have received but eager to continue seeing where life takes us. Always loving music, protecting childhood, and spreading joy.”

Tampere Ambassadors are a group of inspiring and influential individuals, who share a love for Tampere and are willing to create opportunities for Tampere to become even more international cityTampere Talent Ambassadors are international experts of various fields, who have moved and settled to Tampere. They provide information about Tampere – in Finland and abroad – as a good place for living, working, and studying.