Helsinki – Anni – Singer & Producer

We love to feature some of the more interesting members in Helsinki. This month you meet ANNI (Mattila), she is Finnish and I ran into her at SXSW in March 2013 here in Austin, TX. She is now living in Helsinki but she lived in Boston for 1,5 years while studying at Berklee College of Music.

When and why did you start playing??

We had a piano at home of which I was really interested in ever since I could reach my fingers on the keys. My parents taught me some children’s songs and when I went to school I started piano lessons. I loved it, my first compositions and original songs started coming right away after starting the lessons.

Which instruments do you play?

My musical foundation is in playing piano.

Is your family musical??

My family has always been culturally active, though I’m the only one taking a professional career path. My older brothers played instruments, we read a lot of books, and we went to see art exhibitions quite often. The kind of “food for thought” aspect was somehow always there.

Which famous musicians do you admire? Why?

Obviously, there’s a lot of them. For different reasons. I admire jazz pianists like Herbie Hancock and Keith Jarrett for their virtuosity and eloquence. And on the other hand, different “pop” acts like Michael Jackson, Beyoncé, Common, Daft Punk… Anyone who’s able to create a whole imaginary world around his or her music amazes me. Also, I’ve got lot of friends and colleagues in the industry that I hugely admire because of their vision and perseverance.

Which famous musicians have you learned from?

I’ve studied a lot of Stevie Wonder’s songs, so I think part of my songwriting comes from there

What are your fondest musical memories?

As a kid, my mom used to accompany me with piano while I sang old Finnish movie tunes and jazzy evergreens. We did that a lot. And when my grandparents came to visit, I played piano together with my grandfather, who was a violinist. It wasn’t anything spectacular, but it was a nice, comfy way of being surrounded by music and your closed ones.

Were you influenced by old records & tapes? Which ones?

Recordings are the foundation of this craft. You have to listen to a lot of music to be able to play it yourself, or to write it. It’s the only way. I love music so much, and different genres. You might fall in love with one style or artist for a while, but you never really let go of the other stuff – it all just builds up.
If I have to name a few old records, I’ll give you three, though they might be quite obvious: Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue, Michael Jackson’s Thriller and Stevie Wonder’s Innervisions. On top of that, I love bossa nova. I think it’s the Brazilian saudage that really connects with the Finnish melancholy – the beautiful melodies with sorrowful yet hopeful harmonies.

Who are your favorite musicians? Groups? CD’s?

At the moment I’m really diggin The Robert Glasper Experiment and how they’re combining jazz with hip hop elements. Then again I love great songwriting and singing, so women like Kimbra and Luai really get me. It doesn’t even matter what genre it is, if the songs, the vocals and the production is good.

Have you been in competitions? Fleadh’s? Any prizes?

I haven’t been to any American Idol styled competitions, because I don’t believe in building a career like that. If I wanted to get my face on the TV, there would be other ways to do it. But I studied at Berklee College of Music with a scholarship, so I guess that counts as a prize!

Do you perform in public? Describe those occasions?

Yes, I love performing. I just finished a 3-week tour on the East Coast playing mostly in New York. I’ll be doing a live performance on a radio morning show in a month which is going to be very exciting.

How do you handle mistakes during a performance?

Mistakes are part of life – and performing. Actually I think it’s kind of fun, when something unexpected (i.e. “a mistake”) happens and then you can have fun with the whole situation. That also brings the audience closer, and builds an environment of trust, that I know what I’m doing, as an artist. Of course you have to master your instrument, your voice, your songs to be able to deliver the performance the best way possible, but it’s not about the little mistakes. In life in general, we shouldn’t count our mistakes, we should count our blessings.

Do you get nervous before a performance?

Yes, always.

What advice would you give to beginners who are nervous?

It’s energy. If you’ve mastered your performance, turn the energy towards good. Think positive, enjoy the situation and be grateful of the possibility to perform.

How do you balance your music with other obligations?

Besides my career in music I’m studying world politics in the University of Helsinki. It’s a tough combination, yet extremely inspiring. Getting deeper into both, I see political science and artistry as the two ends of a single line: One is the extreme close up of an individual learning to connect with other individuals, the other is studying big systems trying to understand them as a whole.


Austin – Csilla Somogyi

We love to feature some of the expatriates in Austin who are members of EuroCircle. This month you meet Csilla, a Hungarian/European entrepreneur in Austin. Do you know other Hungarians in Austin?

What’s your name, from what country are you from and when did you come to Austin??

My name is Csilla Somogyi. I am from Hungary, lived in Algeria for 2 years, Mexico for 5 and NYC for 9. Love Austin, happy to have opened my boutique on Congress Avenue (between 5 7 6th) where as a fashion designer I make and sell all CsillaWear dresses and tops.

What does fashion mean to you?

Love to see women wear items that are out of the ordinary. That makes you look at her again. Happy to see fashionable women be interested in my unusual hand crafted dresses.

3. How would you define Austin’s fashion style vs NYC vs Hungary?

It is phenomenal to see Austin getting quite fashion forward. The weather lends itself to resort or summer dresses nearly year round.
NYC has first hand influence of international designers and it is the home of many established designers who have been in business for decades such as Oscar de la Renta, Narciso Rodriguez, Donna Karan.
All I can say is that I am glad I am not a fashion designer in Hungary. I don’t think beautiful materials are in such wide selection nor are the affluent clients seeking high fashion.

4. When did you realize you wanted to become a fashion designer and what was the first article of clothing you ever designed?

My friend in Mexico asked me to work in his boutique on the weekends when I was 15. I loved the styles he carried and I realized that with the little salary he gave me I could buy fabric and create fabu dresses myself. That summer I made a new dress almost every day by hand-stitching the seams – in lack of a sewing machine. My parents bought me a sewing machine 6 months later.

5.Describe the general process you go through to design and realize a piece of clothing.

Unlike other fashion houses I get inspired by fabric and can visualize a fabu silhouette that would fit the feminine and slimming curves of us girls.
A few times I year I travel to New York and Los Angeles to buy fabrics for the season. Then each print or handfeel/drape of the fabric inspires me to create a certain silhouette (many designers come up with silhouettes first and then they source the fabrics to match).
Then I create the paper patterns, cut the fabric and then sew the dresses together.
The advantage I have built in my local boutique is that I can test out the success of the new dress immediately. Some new dresses don’t even make it to the rack. Customers see it on my sewing table half finished, try it on and pay for it (then I finish the garment and mail it to them). That defines a best seller look.

6. What are some of your accomplishments as a designer?

My first phenomenal fashion show in Manhattan in 2008 with models from Ford and MC2 agencies, followed by a Bacardi Bombay Sapphire sponsored after party at Flute Champagne lounge. This put CsillaWear on the map for both clients, fans and the Bacardi brands.
The many sponsored events that followed through 2008, 2009 and 2010 by Cazadores and Corzo tequilas, 42 Below and Grey Goose vodka and Bombay Sapphire – all Bacardi brands.
The opening of my store in Tribeca, Manhattan across the street from the Bubble Lounge and the Ghost Buster’s fire station, up the street from Robert DeNiro’s residency as well as Uma Thurman’s.
The numerous fashion shows for the past 6 years both in Austin and NYC.
Finally the opening of my downtown Austin boutique on March 9th 2012.

7.Who are some of your favorite designers/ your favorite clothing stores/catalogs/websites??

Diane Von Furstenberg, Kate Spade, Bottega Veneta – for Spring and Fall New York, Paris and Milan Fashion Weeks’ Runway shows
Vogue and Women’s Wear Dialy

8. Where can readers buy your clothes/jewelry?

504 Congress Ave – Corner of 5th St and Congress – Austin

9. Where do you buy your fabrics and other sewing materials?

NYC and LA

10. What advice do you have for aspiring fashion designers?

Work your hardest, put in as many hours as you can, don’t let ANYONE discourage you, your best feedback will come from customers and most importantly keep your INTEGRITY; meaning that never go back on your word, on your offer of a lower price even if it kills you and deliver on time (or give heads up if you are running late).
Use your own money, be frugal, keep overhead at its lowest, ask friends for favors, listen to your gut always.

11. How would you define your personal style and the style your line exemplifies?

Beach, resort, feminine, sexy, vivacious

12. You are going to be be mom soon…how does that work your work? Are you scared…

I feel very lucky that I will be able to bring my newborn to work with me every day. This has also prompted to grow more aggressively my business and hire capable sales and sewing staff. I hope they like babies and diapers. 🙂

Just one more comment: I am happy to have the opportunity in my Austin boutique to feature local talent, people that make jewelry, accessories and handbags. I am impressed by their professionalism, creativity and success they receive from my clients buying their creations


Expatriates in Paris: Meet Lauren Woidela, The Beautiful Harp Player from America

If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to live in Paris, or if you live in Paris and wonder what life is like for your fellow expatriates, you’ll enjoy meeting a few of the people who have successfully settled in Paris. Everyone’s story is unique. Let’s hear Lauren’s story.

Where are you originally from and when did you come to Paris?

I was born in Melbourne, Fl and started school in Atlanta, Ga and graduated college in Kansas. There are a few more states in between. I moved to Paris in September 2012 from Overland Park, Ks. I now live Paris, France 75006 (6th district)

Did you move with a spouse/children and why did you move; what do you do?

toute seule! (all alone). I was accepted in a French graduate program and conservatory (MA Musicology – harp)

What do you enjoy most about your host city, how’s the quality of life?

I love the daily food markets, the fresh, cheap baguettes, the inexpensive, but amazing wine, the flavorful cheeses….the list can go on! I love how much I walk during the day! They numerous museums and all the activities that go on here! From movie premiers to Fashion Week, there’s always a celebrity around the corner! Although I had to wait about 8 weeks for my internet, phone and cell phone, now that I have it, calling the US crystal clear for a very low rate per month. There are a lot of vacation time as well. The French work to live.

Any negatives? What do you miss most about home (or where you moved from)?

French administration and their paperwork. I miss people from back home, and Crest toothpaste.

Is the city safe? Are there any areas expats should avoid?

Just be smart and young ladies-be extra cautious. There are many people out at night, but just be careful. France is the opposite in America, where the city is safer than the suburbs. Gangs are outside Paris.

How would you rate the public transport? What are the different options? Do you need to own a car?

They are great, providing that there the weather is nice, no strikes or a demonstration going on! There is a metro station every 500km, and many, many buses (even night buses as well). Paris also is introducing tramways along the edges of the city.
If you are a student younger than 26, you can apply for an ImagineR pass which gives you a 50% discount on your monthly metro pass (but it’ll take 3 weeks to process this).

There are many taxis all over Paris, which have fairly descent prices.

There is also an extensive bike rental system called “Velib” which are rental-able 24/7 and over 1,800 bike station locations around Paris.
If you must need a car, there are “Autolib’ ” electric car-sharing program, its the method as the “velib” but for cars. The cars are all GPS equipped.

But really, if you can walk, this city is best by foot.!

How would you rate the healthcare?

Amazing and basically free.

Which are the best places/suburbs to live in the city as an expat?

I wouldn’t suggest living outside Paris. It’s true, the cost of living goes down significantly but the daily commute will become a hassle and you’ll miss out on the joys of walking around Paris (the best part of Paris!). Plus your transportation will be more expensive. Also when you have your dreadful meeting at the OFII (immigration office), you’ll be taking trains, buses, and standing in long lines at 3AM. Where, in Paris they are more “organized”. Trust me, just get a place with a zip code of “75″; especially if this is your first time in France.

Best locations:
The 16th is the largest and where most upper-class Parisian families live.

The 5th and 6th are very nice and great location but pricey.
The 7th are where most Americans live, you’ll hear lots of English. Its also home to the Eiffel Tower.
The 4th is very charming as well.

How do you rate the standard of housing in the city? (what’s good and what’s bad)

Luxury is having a private toilet. Your studio will be small. Be prepared to climb many flights of stairs.

What’s the cost of living compared to home? What is cheap or expensive in particular?

Paris real state is extremely expensive. Finding an 11m2 apartment for 600 euros is a steal.

With that said, there is government aide for students under the age of 26. You generally will receive 150-200 euros per month. Go to for more information (in French)

What are the locals like; do you mix mainly with other expats?

Yes, the French can be rude, but that’s mainly in touristy places. When in a quieter-less touristy part of Paris, the younger generation loves America and will want to practice their English.

I think there’s always a common interest with Parisian expats: our love for Paris. Most of us like one or all of the following: art, music, fashion, food.

What do you find hard to accept or understand in Paris? What was super positive in some way compared to the USA for example?

Anywhere you move will have your ups and downs. You must really want to live in Paris to be away from your comfort levels, friends and family. It’s a different culture that you’ll experience. Processing French paperwork takes forever, even the French complain about this!

Was it easy meeting people and making friends?

Yes, through my school and work mainly. I also have family in Paris which I do a lot with. Plus my neighborhood shop owners are always striking up a conversation!

14.Did you have a problem getting a work visa/permit? What’s the economic climate like in the city, is there plenty of work?

I have a student visa which allows me to legally work 21 hours per week. If you are a native English speaker, then you have plenty of jobs. Most of them are child care/English teacher positions.

How does the work culture differ from home?

Depending on your job it varies. The French work week for an average office/retail job is 35 hours. You most often times will have a very long lunch break as well.

What are the schools like, any particular suggestions?

Schools in France a bit different from American schools. They start full-day school “Ecole maternelle” at age 3. For 3-14 years old, there is no school on Wednesday. The school will push for your child to go home and have lunch, but there is of course, a cafeteria where children may have their lunch.

Is there any other advice you would like to offer new expat arrivals?

If you are making this move all on your own (no job transferring), its going to take a while to feel comfortable. On average, it takes 3 months to get everything like internet, cell phone, bank account to be set up. But don’t get discouraged, Paris is truly amazing when you are not dealing with the French administration. You’ll have a lot of down time, just take this time and go for walks, set a cafes or go to a museum.

Lauren’s Blog Life in Paris with a limited wardrobe:

Expatriates: Finnish in Barcelona – Meet Katja Rusanen

We love to feature some of the expatriates in Barcelona who are members of EuroCircle. This month you meet Katja Rusanen, a Finnish/European entrepreneur in Barcelona, Spain. Do you know other Finnish people in Barcelona?

Where are you originally from?

I’m originally from Eno, Finland.

Where are you living now (city + suburb)?

I’m living in Barcelona, Spain. The neighbourhood, where I live, is called Les Corts and it’s located in the western part of the city. This neighbourhood’s must-see for visitors is the Barcelona Football Club’s home arena Camp Nou.

When did you move here and from where?

I moved here from London in September 2004.

Why did you move?

I moved because I was looking for warmer weather – there are plenty of sunny days here. I had also fallen in love with the beauty and the cosmopolitan feel of Barcelona during my visit.

What do you do?

I’m a fully qualified Spiritual Life Coach ( I help people to make minor or major positive transformations in their lives. My coaching program will inspire and empower people to move from fear to courage, from insecurity to confidence and from confusion to clarity. The coaching sessions include specific information about how people can overcome different aspects of their challenges, access to their innate wisdom, and tangible action steps to help them take the steps to release the past and move forward in their lives.

I’m also a published author of a novel entitled “And You Must Love Me” ( It’s the first part of a transformational trilogy.

What do you enjoy most about Barcelona, how’s the quality of life?

I enjoy most the sunny days on the beach. I find that the quality of life in Barcelona is very high. We have the beach, the mountains, the mild climate, the rich culture, and the beautiful architecture. Of course some things could be better, the financial crisis are affecting heavily many people.

What do you miss most about home?

I miss most my family and Finnish rye bread.

Is the city safe? Are there any areas expats should avoid?

I find the city quite safe but unfortunately there are pickpockets especially near the tourist attractions and in the metro.

How would you rate the public transport? What are the different options? Do you need to own a car?

I’d say that Barcelona has a very good public transport (metro/bus/tram/taxi/train). It’s not necessary to own a car if you live in the centre.

How would you rate the healthcare?

As with any business or service, there are good and bad tales about Spanish medicine. Personally I have received good healthcare while in Barcelona. It’s good to note though that not all doctors speak English. When it comes to dental care, I was lucky to find a Nordic dentist in Barcelona who saved my tooth with a root canal treatment while his Spanish colleague wanted to take it out.

Which are the best places/suburbs to live in the city as an expat? How do you rate the standard of housing in the city?

It’s hard to say as this really depends on your needs and wants. There are many short-term housing options available, so it’s not necessary to secure long-term lease before visiting the city. The standard of housing varies a lot. My biggest complaint is that most of the flats have very poor isolation, so it can get cold during the winter. Also the central heating and double glazed windows are not that common.

What’s the cost of living compared to home?

The cost of living in Spain has increased over the years, but the average Spanish salaries have not, this formula makes life a bit tricky here. Therefore I’d say that the cost of living is higher here than back home.

Was it easy meeting people and making friends?

Yes, it’s very easy to meet people here and make friends. Barcelona is a very active city and there is always something happening. It’s easy to find an activity where you can connect with like-minded people.

What’s the economic climate like in the city, is there plenty of work? And how does the work culture differ from home?

Spain and Barcelona have been hit hard by the economic crisis, and the Spanish unemployment rate is sky-high. Though there are many multinationals and foreign businesses and huge tourism industry which still offer many job opportunities, especially those who speak many languages. Every company is different, but in general, I think that the Finnish culture values more a healthy work/life balance. Also the time management seems to be more flexible here than back home.

Is there any other advice you would like to offer new expat arrivals?

Give yourself time to adapt to the culture. Learn Spanish and/or Catalan. Take things as a positive learning experience and bring a big bag of patience with you. Some things will work here smoothly and some things will require patience and persistence before they will be solved. It’s also good to connect with other expats as they can give you useful tips.

I must also warn you that Barcelona has its unique charm; many people plan to stay here only for a month or two and end up living here for years.


Austin – Apr 06 2013

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Hi All

Are you feeling the weather warm up slowly? Positive energy building up everywhere? Natures’ blooming flowers and cool winds? Feel invigorated? Let’s kick off spring and cheers to a bright and sunny summer ahead! This will be an ALL WHITE party! Fresh, elegant and glamorous!

EuroCircle will be hosting another great event at the Stephen F. Austin (or also named Intercontinental). They have just renovated their bar area and patio and it looks very sleek! If you have not been yet, now is your chance to come and mingle with a great crowd over drink specials, good humor and outstanding conversation! We will have some good background music for you. Cheers to good times and company! Take a break and enjoy the evening. We look forward to seeing you all there!


Drink specials:
$7 bellinis and mimosas
$1 off house wine and draft beers
Dinner options

Atlanta – Apr 03 2013

Greetings everyone;

April is just around the corner and our next Atlanta EuroCircle Get-together will be at Davio’s Italian Steak House located at Phipps Plaza in Buckhead. We will meet on Wednesday, April 3rd at the bar area and if the weather permits, we may also have access to the outside patio as we did last year. Complimentary appetizers will be served as well as a couple of drink specials.

Please be sure to RSVP for this event!

Looking forward to seeing everyone next week,

Atlanta EuroCircle

Miami – Ana Bozovic

We love to feature some of the expatriates in Miami who are members of EuroCircle. This month you meet Ana Bozovic, a Serbian/European entrepreneur in Miami. Do you know other Serbians in Miami?

What’s your name, from what country are you from and when did you come to Miami??

My name is Ana Bozovic, and I am originally from Belgrade, Serbia. I have been here in Miami for the past eight months, and arrived at the end of a multi-year international journey. In the last five years, I have lived in six different countries.

Tell us a bit about yourself and your entrepreneurial journey.

My story starts in Belgrade and quickly turns to NYC. At three years old I moved to NYC, and I lived there most of my life. About five years ago my husband and I embarked upon a journey and have lived in Panama, Switzerland, Serbia, the Ukraine, Canada, and of course the USA.

The exposure I have had to different countries and cultures has been a defining force in my development as an entrepreneur. Seeing how other people live and do things gives you invaluable perspective: your eyes are opened to different and perhaps better ways of doing things. You start being able to identify inefficiencies in your home country that could be improved by what works in other countries.

Is your latest venture,, an example of an internationally inspired idea? is a perfect example of a business directly inspired by exposure to different cultures! A strong inspiration for the site was seeing how jewelers based in Asia sell gold jewelry. I was shocked to see unique pieces being sold at prices directly linked to underlying gold weight and value. Prices were much lower, and most of the money was paying for the actual gold! I learned from my Asian friends that this is how they buy gold jewelry in Asia: based upon actual, lasting gold value.

So you saw a method, a way of selling gold jewelry, that could be brought from Asian culture into western culture?

Exactly! In America, and the entire Western world today, gold jewelry is sold like disposable fashion. The prices in the stores are all high retail markups that have absolutely no relation to the underlying gold value of the jewelry. We all know that when you buy a dress, most of the value is lost the second you put it on. Well, most people here don’t know that gold jewelry is sold the same way. Typical retail markups for gold jewelry are 300-600%. Even classic pieces with no unique design components, like hoop earrings and wedding bands, are sold this way.

Throughout history gold jewelry has been the perfect glamorous investment for women: beauty plus value. The way that it is sold today in the USA is a historic anomaly, and perhaps a reflection of the current consumerist culture.

My new site,, is trying to change this. We sell 18K jewelry at prices directly linked to the gold price. The site updates the price every hour, and for each piece you see exactly how much gold you are getting. We have the best prices, per gram of gold, of any western jeweler, including online shops.

What has been your biggest business struggle as an entrepreneur?

The biggest struggle for me has been not getting to too personally attached to ideas. You don’t want to get so emotionally invested in an idea that you refuse to see when it needs to pivot or simply be put aside. It is very important to realize that even if an idea is not working out, it may serve to lead you to something better. As long as you are learning you are moving forward. Now this is all easier said than done, because after putting a lot of work into something, the last thing you want to do is walk away!

What advice would you give to a new entrepreneur?

I have three pieces of advice: One, surround yourself with the best people you can find. And two, share and collaborate as much as you can with those people. No ideas are born in a vacuum and we all pick up on the energy around us. And please do not be scared of anyone stealing your ideas. Ideas by themselves are rather worthless, it is execution that is key. So surround yourself with the smartest, most interesting entrepreneurially minded people you know, and create an open environment in which you call can share your ideas.

The third piece of advice is to help other entrepreneurs. Help others make connections, and not only will it feel good, but your value in the network will increase and the good deed will come back to you.

You are a big believer in physical fitness, do you find it helps you with your work-life balance?

Absolutely! Fitness is really key to keeping a healthy mind and a healthy balance. A reporter once asked Richard Branson how he, the reporter, could be more productive. Branson replied, “work out.” Exercise literally fuels the mind, improves brain chemistry, and keeps your body healthy. There is no better way to get a boost of energy and happy chemicals! I actually lead a workout group here for friends in South Beach, and my business partners work out with me as well. I can easily see what a positive effect it has on my friends’ moods, energy levels, and health. So my advice: when you feel most busy and disbalanced in life, this is when you need a good workout 🙂

Have you had much experience with EuroCircle?

I first found EuroCircle in NYC about six years ago. I went to some events, but shortly thereafter I left the USA and embarked upon my five year journey. Now that I am back in the states and in Miami, I am hoping to be a part of the EuroCircle community here! I am a huge fan of EuroCircle and the concept behind it. I hope to be able to contribute to growing the community here in Miami.

Who is the cat in your picture?

The cat is Maca (pronounced “Matzah”). She is from Belgrade, Serbia. She was born on the same street that I lived on as a baby, and we have had her since she was two months old. On a visit to Belgrade six years ago, she approached us on the street, and next thing you know, we took her to NYC. She has been with us for the whole journey. Racking up her frequent flyer miles, in her life she has been to the USA, Panama, Switzerland, Serbia, the Ukraine, Hungary, Austria, Germany, Canada, Italy & France. She is an intrepid traveler, loves new places, new foods, new languages, and new people 🙂 She is never phased by travel, and each new place is immediately her realm. She makes each new home feel like “home” and I personally like having another girl from Belgrade along with me 🙂

Twitter personal: Ana_Global