Iris: Estonia came after Nicaragua and Taiwan

Photo from a personal archive

When Iris first landed in Estonia two years ago, she remembers seeing a huge lamp in the clear, dark sky. It was the full moon, so big and so close; it felt like you could grab it. In other parts of the world where Iris had lived, the moon seemed to be so far away.

This was the beginning of what Iris calls a magic experience with Estonia. Here she first saw the snow and the sky so blue. Having lived in Taiwan for seven years, she appreciates the purity of the air. In Tartu, everything is so close – you can walk everywhere and, importantly, at any time, as Estonia is a safe country. This is one of the similarities with Taiwan, which is one of the safest countries in the world.

Another similarity with Asia relates to the native people’s character – Iris has noticed that Estonians are composed and don’t show emotions, pretty much like the people she met in Asia.

Iris came to Estonia from Taiwan, and to Taiwan from her home country, Nicaragua, where she had received her first bachelor’s degree in banking and finances. Supported by a stipend, she aspired to a second bachelor’s in Taiwan. This time it was Chinese as a second language. Having learned Chinese, she still finds Estonian difficult. She sums up her experience with Estonian as “I tried and I cried”.

After studying and working in Taiwan, Iris came to Estonia to pursue her master’s degree in Innovation and Technology Management. She learned about the University of Tartu with the help of a friend, who also found a fitting programme and came to Tartu.

Despite having two bachelor degrees, Iris did not have the experience of writing a thesis before coming to Tartu. This is what she was doing during her last semester here. It was also when she started to work as a business development analyst at Glia.

Iris’ schedule was tough, and that is where her Asian experience came in handy. She admits that Asian culture is very disciplined – this is the place where she built her mental strength. She woke up at six, exercised for a while, got ready for work, worked until five or six, got back home, had dinner and worked on her thesis for a couple of hours, then went to bed. She managed to have some social life as well.

Despite the strict schedule, Iris evaluates her last semester as an awesome experience. She praises her supervisor and advisor, Elina Kallas, who was supportive and always available.

Iris says that she feels really comfortable in Estonia and plans to stay here longer. After half a year at Glia, she is transitioning into a new position at this company. “I want to work for Estonia and for Glia”, says Iris with a smile.

Listen to the interview with Iris Del Carmen Izaguirre Orozco:

Iris receives her master’s diploma. Photo by Andres Tennus
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