Wednesday, 5 August 2009


I'm an Australian, and I've lived in Finland on and off starting from about 2006. I came here after having spent 4 months in South Korea, as well as having lived in Japan for some years. I've also spent a bit of time in India where I've been for a few visits and extended business trips.

I first moved to Joensuu, over in the east of Finland where (at first) I found it more or less a nice country place to live.

However despite things looking like a normal western country you soon find that there are many omissions and differences which are perhaps all the more stunning / shocking / mouth dropping / frustrating when you find almost everything else familiar (I mean like compared to Japan, India, Korea or China).

So this blog is about me coping with change as much as me reporting what is strange here (in my view).

Hopefully these pages will also serve to help others who may be thinking of coming to Finland to get a better picture of what things are really like here rather than just the dreamland stuff you'll normally find on this topic.

If you are thinking of moving here I would say to you the following: if like being lonely, don't expect to make any friends or meet anyone and you are independently wealthy (meaning you don't need to get a job) then sure ... try living in Finland. Skiing and winter is nice and I love winter here.

If your a health professional (Doctor, Dentist, Radiologist ...) you'll likely find a job. If you are not then don't hold your breath, and expect to spend 2 years unemployed and you really really need to be fluent in the language or really lucky (as I was).


I suggest you take a moment to read this page, I have found it to be quite spot on. IF you make the break then working can be good here and you may survive longer (I hope you are not gay, or that will present its own problems, Finns are NOT Swedes and this is not Sweden).

For my own experience Helsinki seems to have nicer people, and I have met some nice people through my work ... but most of the towns folk I've met here are enough to discourage anyone from moving here.

Why am I here? Well if you marry a Finn you'll find your self living here in the end.

Finland has its positive sides, Corruption is low and police are actually civil servants not Gestapo as they are in places like USA, Russia ...

But its not cheap to live here and if you come from a modern western country you're in for some confrontations. Look on the globe at where it is, keep in mind the isolation (geographic, cultural and linguistic) and you'll get a better picture.

Lastly I'll say that Finland was hit hard by the Global Financial downturn. Staff layoffs have bitten hard and job competition is really tough. With no (that I can see) fundamental strengths to the economy (no mining, no oil, no manufacturing industry, no electronics industry) it will be interesting to see how the economy fares in the longer term (with the cheap labour entering the country from Estonia and Poland where they've had it much harder). Finland may have survived due to protectionism in the past, however their EU membership has opened up the country now so it will be interesting to see how it can cope.

With Nokia and all the other IT companies that fueled the technical boom moving off shore, myself, I wouldn't lay bets on an upward swing in the near future.

1 comment:

  1. Hi there,

    Found your blogs from your recent comment on the Macrobusiness blog.. as a Finn now living in Australia I read this with great interest, some very good points in your posts! :)