Say hello to Vittorio Dal Bianco, number 20 of this special countdown to Christmas. He talks about his open relationship to Helsinki and why he calls himself an IT wanderer.
Where are you from and for how long have you been living here? I’m from Italy. I grew up on the southern coast of lake Garda, I studied in Trento and then moved to Helsinki. Now it has been almost four years. I came for an exchange, but I never left because I dropped out of my Italian university and started a new master’s program here.
What do you do for a living? I studied telecommunications engineering, then moved on to digital service design and engineering at Aalto University and now I work as an IT professional at Nokia. I’m part of this two-years graduate program, where I’m rotating, so my next station will be in London and then I come back to Helsinki.
How do you like Helsinki? It’s great. I guess, comparable to a relationship, I’ve experienced different stages. First, you’re super in love and there is this passion period and then later you have some lows, well, highs and lows, and now I it feels like home. But I realise there’s still more to explore. I like this set-up that I’m going to London for six months. I don’t know how it will turn out in the long-run.
So in what relationship stage are you now? Not yet married? No! Not yet. It’s an open relationship right now.
Okay, I don’t know how Helsinki likes this, but I think it’s very open-minded. Do you have a favourite place in the city? I’m transitioning from student life to working life, but I’m still pretty much emotionally attached to Otaniemi. It has been home for quite a few years. I used to go running around Laajalahti or at Seurasaari and it was just cool for emptying your mind.
And there are so many nice restaurants; it’s difficult to pick one. I used to like Siltanen in a lot. But it really depends on my mood. Sometimes I have this obsessive-compulsive behaviour (laughs). I like a place, I go there very often and then, all of a sudden I don’t go there anymore. It’s the same with music.
Do you listen to Finnish music? Yes, I actually started learning Finnish like that. It was a trip organised by a skiing association of the university. We were partying on the bus and they played Finnish reggae, so I listened a lot to Jukka Poika and similar stuff, and I could pick up the lyrics so easily. As soon as I knew a word, I’d rapidly recognise it. And it was so intriguing and motivating to study more and get the Finnish slang words.
What is your dream? Eventually, to do something remarkable. It would be something I feel in line with my passion and something I believe in, most likely in the field of technology. And I would like to feel, that what I’m doing is helping people, and affecting them in a positive way. And I want to settle at some point, but I wish that my life never gets boring, and I want to continuously learn new things, for example languages.
What have you been proud of lately? Well, I’ve been changing a lot of projects because of this rotational job program and I constantly have to meet new people at work, ask them things and collaborate with them. I’ve been very proud that I got really nice feedback from my colleagues. I’m also glad that I made a personal connection with all the people that I’ve been interacting with and I feel that they appreciate me.
If you could travel in time, where would you go and what would you do? I’d go back to the time when I finished high school and I’d apply for a bachelor’s program somewhere else than in Italy.
If you could be one person for one day, whom would you pick? I don’t know if I’d like to be a president of a country, because eventually you cannot change so many things in one day. I’d want to be a person that inspires. For instance, let’s take Ruben Lenten, a professional kite surfer, he is an extreme athlete, he is living his passion, but he also keeps up the fun.
Do you have a special memory of your first month in Finland? When I came here I went right away to university and I was quite impressed by all the different university traditions they have and how they organise so many trips, parties and all the student union activities. I was also wearing this special overall. I got so into it. It was just white, but it didn’t stay white for long, we had sitsits, sauna events or orienteering across the city.
What is a sitsit? A sitsit is something like a traditional university dinner. You should wear a suit and there are certain rules, you are not allowed to take off your jacket before the master of ceremony says so, eventually now and then you hear a gong, and everybody has to sing and after singing everybody has to toast. You never manage to eat the food while it’s warm (laughs).
Are you a Christmas person? Well, it’s the time of the year when you come home to your family and meet friends, memories come up and the favourite activity during that time is eating. I have this jumper that I wear for Christmas. It’s red and has white dots for the snow, but on top it has penguins, polar bears and anchors. During the night of Christmas Eve, we go to a bar in my neighbouring town and you can be sure to meet people that you used to know in high school. That’s kind of a tradition.
Thanks so much and merry Christmas!