thinking of coming to live in finland - alone - advisable?

Where to buy? Where can I find? How do I? Getting started.
Juha H.
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Location: Palokka, Finland

Post by Juha H. » Fri Aug 15, 2003 2:33 pm

It appears Helsinki is being given more votes than Oulu... Doesn't anyone else live within the influence of the University of Jyväskylä? It has students from more than 50 countries and lots of foreign teachers, including British. Further information in English: http://www.jyu.fi/indexeng.shtml



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Caroline
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Post by Caroline » Fri Aug 15, 2003 2:43 pm

Hilsbury:

I think the likelihood of you moving alone, successfully, to anywhere in Finland depends mostly on you. How much homesickness are you willing to put up with (since you're an EU national you could easily make trips home).....how much culture clash can you endure (it's virtually impossible to lose all of one's native culture when they reach adulthood)...how persistent and stubborn are you (the more the better :) ) I think it is somewhat challenging to make longterm friends here, so if you are the sort who needs to have a whole group of kindred spirits, you might have a difficult time; however if you willing to give it some time and build a friendship network based on a few friends, there should be no problem.

Something like nearly 50% of foreigners in Finland live in Helsinki and its suburbs. I agree with those who say that it's harder to live as a foreigner in northern Finland (Julie and I both live in Oulu), despite the fact that we have a university and Nokia here. There is just something about folks the more north you go, the more reserved and less outgoing they tend to get- I'm just now getting used to the fact that people up here do not shake hands or say "nice to meet you" unless it's a business situation. But there are exceptions of course!

How about Turku or Tampere?


I did sort of the same thing....I was 24 and single when I moved from the States to southern Finland (Lohja) in 1999 to do a job search (how näive I was back then), and now, after a series of adventures, I am married, fairly fluent in the language, and starting a business. I also turned a deaf ear to folks who advised me not to come here, because I had been visiting Finland and studying the language since 1995....and felt that Finland was my second home. The bottom line is that you have to do what you feel is right, and if you don't like it, you can always take it as a learning experience and move back.
Former expat in Finland, now living in New Hampshire USA.

sodengiles
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Location: Espoo

Post by sodengiles » Fri Aug 15, 2003 3:14 pm

Hi Hilsbury
I have had a similar kind of past as you, I am a brit, I have lived in FRance for 8 years, and a studied in Japan and UK, and now I am living in Espoo.

One could say that I am a linguist (but i hat grammar and never learn a language that way), so from the point of view of the language as you might have gathered Finnish is not the easiest. However it is ver logical ie once you have memorised all the pieces, they all fit together as said .. no irregularities but a lot of pieces! (endings, changing of vowels etc...).

Concerning the people, they are definatly not the easiest individuals to make friends with, but once you are in "a group of friends" I find that one is welcomed by all. The problem is finding the first reall friend. As mentioned work or forums like this are always a good place to meet people. Universities are also a good place to meet people, there are many students of a mature age in unis over here, so even if you just take a course which is vagely interesting to you it could provide you with an excellant socialising atmosphere.

There is a well know article titled something like "you know when you have been in Finland too long when..." and in that one of the points is that if you are walking in the street and someone smiles you assume that they are either drunk or a loony.
An thats generally how people react here, occasionally you will get a smile. This meeds to cutomer service (a general topic but amusing), they don't seem to know what is cust. service but then again when it is good it really is.

I moved to Finland as my grilfriend is Finnish and i worked 1 year in London and got fed up with bad tube services, trains, blocked traffic and spending more than i earnt before i even got to have a good time so i moved here.
My view on Finland is that I do not regret one bit moving here, their bureaucracy is a nightmare, their inflexibility is sometimes annoying but everything works, almost everywhere is clean. Helsinki is very internationalised, it is a very relaxing and pleasent place to live and I have only heard of one foreigner (French person) who returned home because they didn't like it here.
Hope this was all usefull.
Oh and if you don't have a job set up start calling and sending CVs before you come here!

Regards
Roland

hilsbury
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Joined: Thu Aug 14, 2003 7:12 pm
Location: UK

cheers!

Post by hilsbury » Fri Aug 15, 2003 4:40 pm

wow, that was a really comprehensive list of advice! honestly, I feel very much more informed now. Thanks to all of you for giving such straightforward and honest advice.

It would be a massive thing to do - and only one that I should do if I felt strong enough to do on my own.

I'll keep thinking about it until I know I'm in the right frame of mind to do it.

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fionna
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Post by fionna » Tue Aug 19, 2003 2:05 pm

Coming in late to this.

Hilsbury, I moved here when single and just under 30 (and female) - it took some getting used to. If you can find hobbies and clubs to join, preferably ones that aren't exclusively expat, then that makes everything *so* much easier.

Finnish men tend to regard me as a predatory female who is here just to land myself a Finnish husband, which makes talking to them just a little offputting, but apart from *that*, it's quite an easy place to live in.

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Hank W.
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Post by Hank W. » Tue Aug 19, 2003 2:59 pm

fionna wrote:Finnish men tend to regard me as a predatory female who is here just to land myself a Finnish husband,
....well, guess what they regard all the foreign dudes are doing... :mrgreen:

PS. wanna go out on a date :mrgreen:
Cheers, Hank W.
sitting here like a lemon looking for a gin.

Tom and Jerry

Post by Tom and Jerry » Mon Aug 25, 2003 6:52 pm

Hank W. wrote:For linguistics though, the University of Rovaniemi has some very interesting programs on the Sámi languages. More or less in danger of extinction, there is 9 different 'languages' or dialects in Sámi the farthest away don't understand each other (the writing is totally different).
"wow, that was a really comprehensive list of advice! honestly, I feel very much more informed now. Thanks to all of you for giving such straightforward and honest advice. "

Lapland is quite a good choice for a woman alone. Look at this example: Petronella.
This woman came alone to Lapland in 1949 and stayed there for a few months. Fifty years later, they have given her name to a boat, a restaurant and two hills (The latter for her impressive breasts).

http://www.ravintolapetronella.fi/history.htm

Matty

Post by Matty » Mon Aug 25, 2003 7:18 pm

My question is, as a 30-year-old single female, would I meet people easily?
Can you post a picture?

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zmt
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Location: Espoo

Post by zmt » Tue Aug 26, 2003 7:43 pm

I have only heard of one foreigner (French person) who returned home because they didn't like it here.

Believe me, there is a looong list of those who decided to return home!

Caroline
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Joined: Sun Jul 13, 2003 8:38 pm

Post by Caroline » Tue Aug 26, 2003 9:30 pm

zmt wrote:
I have only heard of one foreigner (French person) who returned home because they didn't like it here.

Believe me, there is a looong list of those who decided to return home!



I know a French couple who left- they didn't like Oulu and didn't want to give the rest of the country a chance.....and a Finnish-American couple who, last I knew, is planning to leave Finland when they reach retirement.

Heard of a former elementary school assistant from Scotland- returned home.
Former expat in Finland, now living in New Hampshire USA.


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