Do We Move to Finland?

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amerilain
Posts: 6
Joined: Sun Jul 24, 2011 9:22 am

Do We Move to Finland?

Post by amerilain » Wed Apr 06, 2016 12:49 am

My girlfriend of 5 years was accepted to Aalto University’s Entrepreneurship and Innovation Management master’s program in Espoo. I am a 32 year old Finnish/US citizen. She is American. I don’t speak Finnish other than a few words (mostly curses, numbers, food, etc.). I have a bachelor’s degree in political science and Spanish and have worked as a fundraiser in the nonprofit field for about 7 years. I’m also a pizza cook.

My question is: do we move to Finland and, if so, do I have any chance at finding reasonable housing for us and work for me in the Espoo/Helsinki area?

It’s my understanding that I will get some benefits from Kela because I’m a citizen. She has enough savings to prove that she can support herself, as is necessary. I have student loan and credit debt that I need to pay each month, so living off unemployment alone while she studies is not an option for me. We have talked about marriage before we do this as to help with obtaining a resident permit along with possibly some benefits for her (?).

I have lots of family in Finland, have spent a few summers there when I was younger, and one cold winter while serving in the army. I know the country pretty well and am aware of the difficulties that we face. I’m looking for some realistic perspective on our situation and recommendations on how we might be able to make this work – or warnings as to why it might not.

I love my girlfriend and want to support her on this endeavor. We tried maintaining a long distance relationship while I was in the army, and it almost broke us apart. So if I don’t go, she won’t either. I want her to be able to take advantage of this opportunity but also want to be realistic about the challenges we face. Any feedback is helpful.

Cheers. :beer_yum:
Last edited by amerilain on Thu Apr 07, 2016 6:39 am, edited 2 times in total.



Do We Move to Finland?

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betelgeuse
Posts: 2779
Joined: Thu Aug 29, 2013 1:24 am

Re: Do We Move to Finland?

Post by betelgeuse » Wed Apr 06, 2016 1:41 am

amerilain wrote:My girlfriend of 5 years was accepted to Aalto University’s Entrepreneurship and Innovation management master’s program in Espoo. I am a 32 year old Finnish/US citizen. She is American. I don’t speak Finnish other than a few words (mostly curses, numbers, food, etc.). I have a bachelor’s degree in political science and Spanish and have worked as a fundraiser in the nonprofit field for about 7 years. I’m also a pizza cook.

My question is: do we move to Finland and, if so, do I have any chance at finding reasonable housing for us and work for me in the Espoo/Helsinki area?
You do have access to student housing which makes things easier.
amerilain wrote: It’s my understanding that I will get some benefits from Kela because I’m a citizen. She has enough savings to prove that she can support herself, as is necessary. I have student loan and credit debt that I need to pay each month, so living off unemployment alone while she studies is not an option for me. We have talked about marriage before we do this as to help with obtaining a resident permit along with possibly some benefits for her (?).
If you have cohabited for two years, marriage makes no difference. Residence permit based on family ties does come with better terms than a student permit.
amerilain wrote: I have lots of family in Finland, have spent a few summers there when I was younger, and one cold winter while serving in the army. I know the country pretty well and am aware of the difficulties that we face. I’m looking for some realistic perspective on our situation and recommendations on how we might be able to make this work – or warnings as to why it might not.
Your education does not seem like one in high demand for Finnish employers. The uneducated and no language skills jobs market has higher supply than demand.


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rinso
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Joined: Fri Aug 25, 2006 7:22 pm

Re: Do We Move to Finland?

Post by rinso » Wed Apr 06, 2016 7:55 am

I’m looking for some realistic perspective on our situation and recommendations on how we might be able to make this work – or warnings as to why it might not.
Finally someone who wants real advice instead of conformation that his dream will come true.

I think you'll have a hard time of making this work.
Look at your disadvantages:
- no Finnish (dramatically reduces the jobs you can apply for)
- bachelor instead of masters (many Finns have masters)
- a skill set that requires communicating
And with a loan to pay of you need a job immediately. No time for a long search.

You should start hunting for a job immediately and base your decision on its results.
And use your family contacts to open doors.

NB: Don't expect to find a job as a pizza cook. Those places are all run by Mediterranean families who look for family ties rather than experience. (which you can taste :twisted: )


inkku
Posts: 624
Joined: Wed Apr 04, 2007 8:26 pm

Re: Do We Move to Finland?

Post by inkku » Wed Apr 06, 2016 9:14 am

Actually fundraising for NGOs might offer an opportunity, depending on the level and type of experience you have. Finnish NGOs are not yet very professional in fundraising and new ideas/approaches for marketing and communication could be welcome. If you have done proposal writing, even better. Many NGOs have just laid off huge amount of people, so permanent jobs are tight but you could possibly also look for an opportunity to work as a consultant as well. Lack of professional Finnish skills (cursing not included) is definitely an issue but nothing that you cannot overcome.


AldenG
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Re: Do We Move to Finland?

Post by AldenG » Wed Apr 06, 2016 9:59 am

Your consumer creditors may call in your debt if you change your address with them to a foreign one. It's less likely with your student loans but you should make discreet inquiries. Making payments will be an expensive hassle. Your American bank might close your account if you change the address abroad. All this stuff got stricter with post-9/11 legislation.
As he persisted, I was obliged to tootle him gently at first and then, seeing no improvement, to trumpet him vigorously with my horn.


amerilain
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Joined: Sun Jul 24, 2011 9:22 am

Re: Do We Move to Finland?

Post by amerilain » Thu Apr 07, 2016 6:22 am

Thanks for the insight, everyone!
You do have access to student housing which makes things easier.
Any idea what student housing is like? Is there an option for families or "older couples"? I don't want to live in a dorm again...
If you have cohabited for two years, marriage makes no difference. Residence permit based on family ties does come with better terms than a student permit.
Thanks for this bit of advice.
You should start hunting for a job immediately and base your decision on its results.
And use your family contacts to open doors.
Any English language websites where I could start my search? I've come across mostly Finnish language sites and IT positions.
NB: Don't expect to find a job as a pizza cook. Those places are all run by Mediterranean families who look for family ties rather than experience. (which you can taste :twisted: )
Any New York style pizza places that aren't crap in the Helsinki/Espoo area? I'm familiar with Finnish style pizza and know that it is mostly a pizza/kebab type thing. But Are there any straight pizza places that focus on good pizza in Helsinki/Espoo? Given my limited language skills, I feel like this is my best skill that I have to offer at the moment. I have worked for some solid New York style pizza places...
inkku » Tue Apr 05, 2016 10:14 pm
Actually fundraising for NGOs might offer an opportunity, depending on the level and type of experience you have. Finnish NGOs are not yet very professional in fundraising and new ideas/approaches for marketing and communication could be welcome. If you have done proposal writing, even better. Many NGOs have just laid off huge amount of people, so permanent jobs are tight but you could possibly also look for an opportunity to work as a consultant as well. Lack of professional Finnish skills (cursing not included) is definitely an issue but nothing that you cannot overcome.
My professional expertise lies mostly in grant proposal writing and donor data management. I have been thinking about working remotely, but I'm not sure I can earn enough money to support myself doing so. I was pretty sure that nonprofits don't exist in Finland quite like the US, given the Finnish social welfare state. What NGOs or Nonprofits should I look into?
Your consumer creditors may call in your debt if you change your address with them to a foreign one. It's less likely with your student loans but you should make discreet inquiries. Making payments will be an expensive hassle. Your American bank might close your account if you change the address abroad. All this stuff got stricter with post-9/11 legislation.
I'll still have a home address in the states but I will look into this. Thanks.

I feel like my best bet at this moment is to figure out a way to make money online. If I were to live in Finland and earn money online, say grant writing consulting, or optimizing ads, would I have to pay taxes? And, if so, how would that work?

I appreciate everyone's help.


Rip
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Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 12:08 pm

Re: Do We Move to Finland?

Post by Rip » Thu Apr 07, 2016 10:02 am

amerilain wrote:Thanks for the insight, everyone!
Any idea what student housing is like? Is there an option for families or "older couples"? I don't want to live in a dorm again...
There are family apartments for couples or couples with children (both of the adults do not need to be students). If you (come here and) can get one, do that. Price level is clearly below market level, renting your first apartment on the free market is difficult when you're not here, and even if it were not the best part of the city I think our "slums" are among the best in the world.
If you have cohabited for two years, marriage makes no difference. Residence permit based on family ties does come with better terms than a student permit.
Thanks for this bit of advice.
Family member permit is clearly better. It maybe slower to get though (student permits are often applied only couple of months before start of the studies and they do their best to process them in time).


inkku
Posts: 624
Joined: Wed Apr 04, 2007 8:26 pm

Re: Do We Move to Finland?

Post by inkku » Thu Apr 07, 2016 10:36 am

charities are there, possible more complementary to the public sector than main actors.

one umbrella organisation working with development cooperation
https://www.kepa.fi/international/english.
members
https://www.kepa.fi/jasensivut/jasenrekisteri

many are small and work mostly in Finnish but the major ones can work in English as well. An important factor in fundraising in Europe is EU funding which often requires collaboration between different organisations and often also organisations from different countries.


betelgeuse
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Re: Do We Move to Finland?

Post by betelgeuse » Thu Apr 07, 2016 10:59 am

Rip wrote: Family member permit is clearly better. It maybe slower to get though (student permits are often applied only couple of months before start of the studies and they do their best to process them in time).
A family permit can be applied in Finland though if they have lived together for two years. If applied in the embassy, it could be possible to get expedited processing based on the studies starting. In theory they should handle everyone with studies starting the same regardless of the permit type.


Rosamunda
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Re: Do We Move to Finland?

Post by Rosamunda » Fri Apr 08, 2016 12:47 am

There are two chains that do Italian-style pizzas: Classic pizza and Dennis. They don't do kebab.

http://www.classicpizza.fi/
http://www.dennis.fi/

Maybe others. https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurants ... simaa.html

You will need to get a Hygiene Passport which is a certificate to prove you are aware of food hygiene issues. It's a multiple-choice test and you need a score of 36/40 to pass. You can take the test in English. There are test dates regularly in most Finnish cities.

You have several strings to your bow: pizzaiolo, NGO consultant, etc and I suggest you do all of them. Many people in this country combine several part-time jobs to get a decent salary (self included). Your global income will be taxed here in Finland as soon as you are resident here (ie as soon as you register as living here). Once you are here, you just need to network like crazy and make loads of friends while improving your Finnish. You won't be rich but if your priority is to give moral support to your girlfriend while she studies, then I reckon it is doable (not knowing anything about your US debt situation).

BTW, I recently went to a talk given by the Finnish Red Cross (on the refugee crisis) and the speaker was Italian, spoke fluent English (don't know about his Finnish/Swedish) - so there are foreigners working inside Finnish charities. The big international charities (Save the Children Fund, Unicef, Red Cross, Greenpeace, WWF etc) are all present in Finland.


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wolf80
Posts: 445
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Location: Helsinki

Re: Do We Move to Finland?

Post by wolf80 » Sun Apr 10, 2016 12:18 am

Rosamunda wrote: It's a multiple-choice test and you need a score of 36/40 to pass.
You pass with a minimum of 34/40.


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