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10 Themes or Things Every Newcomer in Finland Should Consider

Many reasons drive people to change their homes, to relocate. Immigration, displacement, or any kind of relocation from one country to another comes with challenges and opportunities. For a newcomer, challenges may include unfamiliar environments, communicative patterns, customs, traditions, food, work, values, and other underpinnings that every individual and every society holds on to some degree. That was the motivation behind this small survey we conducted to collect opinions on what one should know in Finland. We have received around 60 responses and classified them under ten categories based on their theme and content. Ten themes are listed below with the direct responses of the participants under each.

  1. Traffic

– If you’re driving in Finland, pedestrians are the priority.

– If your driver’s license is not from Finland, be sure to review Finnish traffic rules.

– Learn not to act like your job is the most important one in the traffic.

  1. Weather

– Never complain when you see the sun, because there will be days when you won’t be able to see it for a long time.

– Do not say that it is raining and we cannot go out. Buy local clothes that fit the weather.

– In the months of dark weather, put reflector products on your clothes.

  1. Hobbies

– Take up winter sports as hobbies, you don’t want to stay home for a long period.

– Make sure you get hobbies, because. friendships with people you have common hobbies are formed faster. Also, hobbies are even asked about in job applications.

– Every person in Finland has a few hobbies and it is a very important part of introducing  yourself. People here give great importance to spare time and hobbies. Have a few hobbies for 

   sure. 

– Sports are very valuable. If possible, do walking, cycling, and gym.

  1. Voluntary Activities

– Volunteer work and the documents you will receive afterward will make a great contribution to your background.

– Volunteering is very important and valuable in this country (Finland). Volunteering is an  important credit.

– Participating in volunteer activities is very important to you for a future job reference.

– To learn the language, your initiatives in volunteer work or related hobbies will introduce you to new people very easily.

  1. Friendship, Networking, and Participation

– The network is very important, one of the first things to look for in CVs is your reference,  especially if it’s a Finnish person.

– Be an initiator, enter social environments, and be included in the new windows that open from there.

– In Finland, take your time…

– Don’t ask Finns about their private lives. Like religion, love, salary, home life…

– If you come from an environment where there is plenty of food around large tables and the host serves everyone, you have to accept that this hospitality in Finland will be simple and not frequent (except for your origin ethnic group).

– For the adaptation of your children, they must spend time with their friends who speak Finnish  as much as the ones of your co-ethnics, this will increase their self-confidence.

– Being active on social media; I can say that it is a way to learn and gain knowledge. Especially  Facebook; new hobbies, courses, joining your local groups, teach you many unknown things  about the place and is a way to meet new people.

– Have a detailed CV with photos and video if possible. Here in Finland, job applications are done on LinkedIn and Facebook.

  1. Language/Finnish

– Learn the local language i.e. Finnish.

– Don’t be afraid to learn a new language, all you need is practice.

– Do not be deprived of learning Finnish by being content with only English. The way to get a job, to be in social life is the language of this country.

– The language learning situation is in the form of a pyramid, so at the beginning, you should study regularly without giving up, it will get easier after the first modules.

– Give a lot of importance to the language.

– I realized that language is the key concept. In this context, I recommend learning the language quickly, eliminating language and academic (professional) deficiencies in the first 3 years, if possible, investing in yourself, so to speak.

– Children are already learning Finnish, it should be ensured that they do not forget their mother tongue. In this context, many home country language books should be read.

– Speak Finnish wherever possible, not English. It is very welcome for foreigners to speak Finnish, even if the level is poor.

– If you have children, you should gradually be in environments with Finnish children and help them find Finnish-speaking friends.

  1. Behavior, daily life tips, and values

– Approach exterior doors with pulling force, not pushing force.

– Learn to rest during vacation time.

– If you take treats to your friends, always ask if they have allergies.

– Check the bus times again before leaving the house, it may not leave at the same time every day. The emergency number is 112.

– Do not call your contacts on holidays if you are not too close to call.

– If you report your children’s food sensitivity in schools, they pay attention.

– Throwing away unused items such as the sofa, bed, etc. is costly. But you can give your items to the second-hand markets for free.

– Learn to focus on one task while doing that task.

– Dress as you wish, everyone dresses as they are comfortable.

– You are free to express what you wish to say.

– If you are treated badly, you can go to the police, it is your right.

– Don’t hesitate to greet your neighbors, whether they reply back or not.

– While you’re the pedestrian, I know it can be very difficult to raise your hand, but wave your  thanks to the driver waiting for you to pass.

– Do not touch small children you do not know, even for affection or love without permission.

– If you are married and you come from outside the geography called Western countries, know that there will be pressure on your family values ​​or family habits and you will be exposed to a constant internal conflict on that matter.

– If your children don’t like the school meal, you should never cook from home and send them, this will cause them to be separated from others and not get used to the food at all.

– When you go to a government institution or any corporate place, don’t say let me handle my partner’s work, everyone is doing their work here.

– Use the libraries as offices, go and loan books, participate in activities, and remember that libraries in Finland are not just places where you can loan books, they are places where you can loan all hobby items, where seminars and language learning activities take place, where you can loan music CDs and movie CDs, where you can play instruments in special music rooms. They are multi-purpose places where you can perform.

– Follow the rules of the apartment and learn well what facilities are available in your apartment. – On the lower floors of many apartments, there can be cellars, cold air cages, storage, bicycle parking area, sauna, laundry, and drying room.

– The warehouses in your building, where you put your bicycles, prams, etc. are checked annually, at the time of control you receive a notification. Take the notification into consideration or your stuff can be taken away by the staff. 

– Inform the house management when the installations in your house (electricity, water, bathroom, etc.) break down.

– Since the time of sun visibility is less, you and your children should take daily vitamins.

Get a blue insurance card from Kela when you go abroad. You can use it in hospitals in the country you go to.

  1. Time Concept

– Do not go to a place later than your agreed time, if you are going to be late, let the other person know.

– While waiting in line, learn not to act like the most important job is yours.

– Learn to be at the appointment place 10-15 minutes before the appointment time and wait in front of the room without knocking.

– In Finland, punctuality is important. Get to your appointment on time.

– Do not make noise in your house after 22 o’clock. There is a penalty for this in some communes.

– Pay attention to bills and tax payments, pay on time. Attention to it is paid during the  citizenship application.

– Breathe deeply in the fresh air of Finland and learn to be patient, especially if you come from the Mediterranean or a more populated country.

– You’ve found a job and you’re going to the place of work, every time you see someone you may get the idea that I’ll chat for 5-10 minutes, but don’t do that, try to schedule it for a coffee break and after work.

  1. Nature and Environment

– Whenever possible, try to commute with environment-friendly vehicles such as bicycles.

– Maximize your environmental awareness.

– There is a special interest in nature and animals in Finland. Many Finnish people have dogs in their homes.

– In Finland, it is very important to respect and protect nature.

– The separation of garbage is the most basic application of life and it is very valuable in terms of protecting the environment we live in.

– Needs other than food can be taken care of very cleanly and conveniently from the second-hand shops.

  1. Trust

– Employees generally know each other. This makes the concept of trust very important, as in other areas of life. Finns need to trust you, and trust is not built overnight. However, to build trust, the right things must be done, rules must be followed, and local culture and people must be respected.

– Become a member of unions and associations related to your work and hobbies.

– Your written and verbal statement is very important, be careful when making a statement about  a subject and do not conflict later. You may encounter it.

The survey was conducted with the Turkish community members who are living in Finland for 1 to 5 years at the time of the survey. It was conducted in Turkish and the final draft was translated to English. We simply placed the answers /responses under the relevant (in our opinion) theme. It should be noted that this blog does not aim to essentialize, rather our aim is to present the perspective of the Turkish community on the matter of the topic. We hope that you find this useful. What comes to your mind when you read this – please let us know in the comments of this post.

Nermin Karaoglan, Feyza Kara and Ilkhom Khalimzoda

Suomen Kulttuurienvälinen Yhteisö, 2022.

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