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language skills and the jobs offered in English were very limited, especially in the field corresponding to my field of expertise. Additionally there was increased competition due to many people losing their jobs thanks to the enduring financial crisis. I thought I should at least give it a try, and applied daily for a variety of positions and took also courses offered by TE-toimisto. One of the ones I applied for was organized by a consulting company, called ECAMrekry. The difference with this was that the courses only started after you or ECAMrekry would find a suitable training place for you in a company. Finally they got me some interviews and after the second one I actually got the place. This time it was a company called Haarla where I would be working as a logistics coordinator and a sales assistant. And for the first time the working language was going to be Finnish. This was April 2013 and I remember being very scared and worried but I also told myself to remain patient knowing that with time I will adjust to using Finnish daily. I got a lot of support and I am still employed there as I write this article.

Doina’s way: - TE-toimisto - ECAMrekry - Finnish language tandems - Do not give up. Overcome adversities!

Me vs. Finland When adjustment to Finnish culture affects your career

It is said that emigration should come with health warning. Truth is that being an expat in Finland demands great courage, adaptable skills and patience. How many times you have felt lost in the darkness and completely misunderstood as an outsider among the weird Finns? The demanding process of learning Finnish can be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. Especially, after you have spent your first winter in Finland, you can only timidly mumble “moi moi” and “miten menee”. The sneaky symptoms of culture shock are coming to you with a mixture of feelings: discouragement, loneliness, tiredness, social anxiety and homesickness. There are many of them, including physical and mental presages, and sooner or later, it will affect your job-hunting efforts and quality of life in general. Working through the culture shock is a sort of personal experience and there is no schedule or timeline for overcoming it. However, the sooner you acknowledge yourself with the problem, the easier you can overcome it. Culture shock is a natural process of adjustment to a new environment. If you suffer for it at the moment, it means that you are getting accustomed to Finland. Take it on the chin. It makes you stronger.

We may distinguish following 3 main culture shock’ phases: 1st phase: Honeymoon phase – usually the beginning of living in Finland, when you are discovering new culture and meeting new people. You cannot see any serious culture differences. Everything seems to be easy and understandable. Finns are friendly. 2nd phase: Culture shock phase - test of your endurance. Usually for foreign students, it is the time close to the graduation from the university. Finns do not seem to understand your problems. You are discovering the bad things and obstacles. You are trying to find a job in Finland according to your aspirations and education profile. That is the time to face the reality and usually, to lower your expectations. Many foreigners in Finland have started their work e.g. in cleaning companies or pubs. If you cannot find anything suitable for you at the moment, don’t lose hope, consider to start with any job to survive and to give yourself more time. 3rd phase: Culture adjustment - you are realizing that the place you are living in is about bad and good things as well and you are able to manage with it. Your language skills are getting better and better, you know how to communicate and coexist with Finns and you feel more confident.

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Work in Tampere  

WORK IN TAMPERE © Tampereen ammattikorkeakoulun opiskelijakunta Publisher Students’ Union of Tampere University of Applied Sciences (Tamko)...

Work in Tampere  

WORK IN TAMPERE © Tampereen ammattikorkeakoulun opiskelijakunta Publisher Students’ Union of Tampere University of Applied Sciences (Tamko)...

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