Life in Finland

In Autumn 2019, our longed-for Finnish life had finally begun. Knowing that we were going to celebrate a magical snowy Christmas made us even more happy. Autumn and winter have always been our favorite seasons and being able to enjoy Finland at this time of the year was really exciting. We dreamed of meters of snow, hot chocolate and ice skates.

Unfortunately, the 2019-2020 winter was as sad as the pandemic that came with it. It was snowless, wet and gray. In reality, however, we were so busy with our lives and our projects that we did not suffer too much from the lack of snow and cold.

Ten days after our arrival, we started working. Already at the time of signing the contract I noticed the enormous differences in the Finnish world of work.

First of all, the respect for the worker's free time. They explained me that in Finland you are not allowed to work more than six days in a row, the shifts could not last more than 9 hours and breaks and weekend shifts are paid more. For example, Sunday shifts are paid double.
In addition, shifts before 6 in the morning and after 18 in the evening normally have an increase of 4 euros per hour.

Holidays such as Christmas, New Year or national holidays are recognized as such and most of the establishments are closed. For the first time in my working life, I celebrated Christmas and New Year at home. We spent the 30th, 31st and 1st in our beloved Kota in Äänekoski. However, it was also the last time: despite the firewood prepared in the summer, we could not heat the environment enough to spend the night below - 20. In the next months, we waited for March and then for May to return to work on the ground.

Back to my Finnish working life: I found out that sickness is paid the same as a work shift. It was therefore sufficient to call and notify at least two hours before the start of the shift. Then by email informing the private doctor, provided by the company who based on your symptoms, sends a medical certificate.

For us, this was all science fiction.

Another huge difference found at work was the relationship with colleagues. Initially I had difficulty integrating: I could not understand if their coldness and their detachment were due to my presence. They were kind, they almost always spoke in English so as not to make me uncomfortable, but I was not used to those long embarrassing silences and that little if not nonexistent facial expressions. Over time, I began to understand them as they began to understand me, with my gesticulating hands and my sarcastic spirit. However, it was initially a great culture shock.

In order not to embarrass the team, I learned the basics of Finnish in order to be able to serve customers. My colleagues left me post-it notes around the shop with various idioms. With not a few blunders, even the customers began to get used to me. It must also be said that finding someone who doesn't speak English perfectly in Helsinki is difficult. In fact, the times when I did not understand, customers, they quickly switched to English without any problems, which really put me at ease. I would certainly have preferred to avoid the part of the "ignorant" but I consoled myself knowing that Finnish is among the most difficult languages ​​in the world.

Linguistic internationality is intrinsic here: Swedish, Finnish and English are learned since childhood .

Swedish and Finnish are taught immediately at school due to the long history that binds them: but woe to exchange them, they would not forgive you!

English, on the other hand, is learned even earlier, for the simple fact that films and TV series are not dubbed. This leads to easy learning of the language, idioms and especially pronunciation.

The level of education here is the highest in the world, universities are free and university and school books are always found in large public libraries.

There is great respect for the environment, which I have never seen before. In 2020 Finland was the European country with the greatest cut in CO2 emissions (-5.2%) and reached 40% of energy produced using green resources. We ourselves, through an app that regulates our contracts and electricity consumption - can choose our personal energy source.

Support for families in the welfare state is very strong. In fact, between 2020 and 2021, we were unable to work for several months (thus unfortunately slowing down the projects for our land). During the redundancy fund, the government pays 33 euros per day per person (about 700 euros per month) plus half of the rent, in addition to family allowances and the baby bonus (100 euros per month up to the child's 17th year).

The health service is free and advanced. I am currently on maternity leave and the support that is offered to me daily during pregnancy is exceptional. Through an app, I can contact my midwife, book appointments, see my analyzes and get suggestions. In addition, the government sends all pregnant women a box called "maternity package", which contains dresses, rompers, jackets, bed sets, toys and toiletry items for the baby on the way.

Going to the dentist, for example, is also extremely easy. It's enough to call a number, requesting an appointment (urgent or not). The operator checks your residential address and books you at the clinic that's closest to you. Normally, caries surgery is around 30 euros.

We could spend hours talking about the reasons why we are in love with Finland. Let us know in a comment below, or via social media, if you want to know more and what you would like to find out!


Ambra Norcini

Ciao Chiara!! Grazie mille per aver dedicato del tempo alla lettura del nostro blog e al tuo supporto! Lavoravo da Starbucks (al passato perché sono in maternità da marzo!). Ho lavorato da Starbucks come Assistant manager e cover manager a Londra per 6 anni.. Quando ho parlato al mio capo dell’eventuale trasferimento in Finlandia mi ha offerto di mettersi in contatto con la manager distrettuale di Helsinki! Mi hanno proposto come shift manager (supervisore) e così è andata! Grazie ancora, un abbraccio!

Chiara Sala

Super interessante Ambra! E complimenti per questa avventura! Ora sono curiosa di sapere di che lavoro ti occupi e di come lo hai trovato! Se non sono indiscreta. In bocca al lupo per tutto ;)
Ps: mi piacerebbe venirti a trovare e a comprare i vostri prodotti un giorno <3

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