In any country it can be tough for a foreigner to find work, but many foreign students who graduate from Finnish universities do find jobs in Finland. Several of them tell us their stories.
Giang Hong Pham, 24 (Vietnam)
I always knew that a good education would help me get a good job in the future. I chose Finland to complete my studies because you can get an international-standard education in a peaceful environment. Also, Finns have a reputation as honest, decent people. And that’s exactly what my fellow students and workmates have proved to be.
I got my secondary education at home, graduating from the Tran Phu High School. In Finland I was accepted to Kymenlaakso University of Applied Sciences, where I studied in the international business department for four years. During the course I learned Finnish and did an internship at a Finnish company.
The teaching was a good mix of theoretical and practical. I enjoyed everything, except that there wasn’t a full course on Finnish legislation. I have happy memories of my time studying. We worked together in groups a lot and became really good friends.
After I graduated, it wasn’t easy to find work, but I succeeded in the end. Right now I’m working as an assistant accountant at a Helsinki accounting firm. Over 400 people applied for the job. I speak Finnish with my workmates, and I’m not planning to leave Finland any time soon.
Polina Noeva, 25 (Russia)
When I was still a student at the applied maths department of Petrozavodsk State University, I applied to do a two-year master’s degree in machine learning and data mining at Aalto University. To get in, I had to pass the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) exam and translate my bachelor’s degree certificate into English.
In my view, students in Russia learn more theory. In Finland education is more practical – more like real life, you could say. For example, we attended lectures by scientists who’d been given grants for their research.
A few months before I finished my course, I started actively looking for work. At the start of January I sent my resume to a software development company. I got through three levels of interviews, and in April I started a full-time job with the company.
There’s a really nice, friendly atmosphere in the team. You can ask anyone for help and advice at any time. Over the years I’ve become used to the calm and measured way of life in Finland.
Natalia Vyslovska, 29 (Ukraine)
I decided early on that I wanted to get my higher education in a European country. I was always interested in the Scandinavian countries because of their stable economics, close relationship with nature, healthy outlook on life and standard of living.
TOEFL certificate in hand, I passed exams in maths and written and spoken English to get into the international business programme at Kymenlaakso University of Applied Sciences. At first I studied Finnish at Kymenlaakso, then carried on taking courses at Helsinki University.
I’ve now been working as a marketing assistant in Vantaa for more than a year at a company that specialises in industrial technology solutions for measuring the concentration of liquids. I really love my work because it’s never routine. I go on business trips, organise sales conferences and work with more than 100 of our reps around the world.
I speak English and Finnish with my colleagues. A few times a year we get together to things, like play football or run a triathlon. I feel totally at home in a team of Finnish people.
By Anna Liukko, October 2014