Carolina, Environmental Engineer

Carolina Cantone

Tell us about your work at SMHI? What are your duties? How long have you worked at SMHI, lived in Sweden?

I moved to Sweden in 2014, 5 years ago, with the Erasmus program. I was supposed to study for six months at KTH in Stockholm, but then I decided to stay longer. I have been working at SMHI since 2016. I am a hydrology consultant, working on the business department and I work with a set of quite broad duties.

Part of my work consists of hydrological analyses (modelling, evaluation of data/model results/forecasts, and calculation of statistics) addresses to the hydropower sector. I also work more closely to the water management sector and developed model and tool for evaluating freshwater availability throughout the year.

Since 2018 I am product manager for International Hydrological Services, which consists of more marketing/selling duties in the international – mainly European – market for promoting SMHI’s hydrological products.

What challenges did you encountered while moving to Sweden? 

One of the main challenges in moving abroad is to get familiar with the habits, the culture and the rules of the society you are about to join. I think this applied to any Country, but I would say that coming from Italy, the cultural difference with Sweden is quite strong. I had to adapt my mindset to completely different times, food, weather, human relationships… and of course the language is a big portion of this. Italian and Swedish don’t have much in common, and as long as I did not learn the language I could not feel as I was properly stable here. Now I know Swedish, it’s still difficult, but a bit better…

What is the best thing about working at SMHI? 

To me there are two main aspects. The first is the international framework: SMHI gathers people from everywhere in the world and this make it much more interesting and motivating to work and exchange opinions and ideas with colleagues with different background from your own.

The second is the trust and possibility of growing. Maybe this depends on your own group but in just 3 years I experienced a huge growth in the kind of assignments and responsibilities I was assigned to and this also makes work more motivating. 

Is there anything important you would like to tell someone who is in the position of moving here?

For certain aspects it could be extremely hard to live in Sweden and feel part of the community, maybe this would take many years to happen. On the other hand, Sweden is one of the few Countries in Europe where there are so many advantages in living, human rights are respected, it is possible to imagine a future, the welfare is high and topics as climate change are taken seriously.