Emigration and life in Finland - personal experience

One of our readers offered to tell her experience of emigration to Finland and write a guest post on this topic. Her scheme is clearly not for everyone, and, to be honest, I have never considered Finland as a country to move, but nevertheless it was interesting for me to read my impressions about this country, especially since Irina is also the mother of a special child. I don't know about you, but the local climate scares me, we are lovers of warmth and sun and it is not for nothing that we love to travel to Thailand for the winter..

The content of the article


Hey! My name is Irina, I am 35 years old and for the last four years I have been living in Central Finland, in the suburbs of the city of Jyväskylä. I noticed that Oleg and Daria's blog has many readers who are interested in emigration and life in different countries, so I decided to share my experience, I'm glad if it turns out to be useful to you.

Gardens bloom on the platform in Helsinki

Gardens bloom on the platform in Helsinki

Well, it all started with the fact that I really, really disliked my life, and I really wanted to change it. There was a lot of everything, and the difficulties of relations with parents and an ever-ill disabled child and work that exhausted me and squeezed me out to the last drop, well, I didn’t really like living in Russia (read - I didn’t like it at all).

I thought it would be cool to go somewhere, preferably to the ends of the Earth, but instead I went on a bus tour of Scandinavia. Yes, yes, I was far from being such an advanced traveler as Oleg with Daria and Yegorka. Before that, I was only once in the Czech Republic and once in Thailand. And you know what? This trip changed my life! I just fell head over heels in love with Scandinavia and I wanted to return there. Moreover, the least time we were in Finland, I decided that it was unfair, and I came there again two months later - to take a walk without haste and breathe the Finnish air.

And here I am again in Finland. My friend and I rented a car and drove along the south coast. It was July, the weather was wonderful, and this country finally conquered me: with the wind from the sea, cafes with delicious cakes, small toy towns, and importantly chickens walking there. In which city I saw them, I don’t remember, since I moved here I have never seen chickens walking freely around the city.!

A rooster walks down the street in some Finnish city

A rooster walks down the street in some Finnish city

How it was with me

What I decided on in the end was a complete gamble on my part. I accidentally found out that Finland has a free higher education in English, I quickly passed the TOEFL (you can estimate the scale of my lack of advancement at least by the fact that then I did not even have a normal bank card to pay for this TOEFL - I had to urgently draw up) and submitted documents to the chosen university.

My second cousin and I celebrated the New Year on a ferry between Finland and Sweden, and in April I was on the Lev Tolstoy train again to Helsinki, and from there on another train to Jyväskylä, to take the university entrance exam. As a result, exactly a year after I first visited this country with a bus tour, I received an answer that I had entered the university for a specialty “international Business” and they are waiting for me in August with things 🙂 I was happy just to the point of disgrace, with pleasure I applied for the calculation, and with my parents we agreed even earlier that the son would stay with them for the first time. He was then 4 years old.

Why was it a gamble? Because I had neither money to live normally in Finland with a child (and even without a child), nor guarantees that I could stay there after my studies. I rented out two apartments in Perm and this was barely enough for me to buy food, toothpaste and travel to Russia to visit my son in the first year. In a year, I never used public transport in Finland (I rode an old, half-broken bike, the cheapest one I found), I didn't buy myself anything at all, and went to a grocery store 2 km away, because there was a little cheaper.

I diligently studied Finnish, and at the same time Swedish, registered an individual entrepreneur in Finland and was 100% sure that I would not leave here. Apparently, I was so persistent in my desire to live in Finland that the Dear Creation helped me and I met the man of my dreams, who, by a lucky chance, turned out to be a Finn and offered me a hand and a heart. To which I immediately agreed. Three years have passed since then, and last week we had a fight for the first time (already made up :))

Life in Finland

I bake pancakes in a student apartment. First year in Finland

How can you have it

Despite the fact that I sincerely think Finnish men are wonderful, and women too, I do not urge you to go all out now! But if you also really want to move to Finland, perhaps one of the following options will suit you.

Working in Finland

It's just perfect! Even if only one family member has found a job, you can absolutely safely transport the whole family here: children will be assigned to kindergartens / schools, they will be fed and taught the language, and an unemployed family member will be sent to language courses and will be paid a scholarship, and then unemployment benefits. if the work does not appear instantly. The pluses are countless. The main disadvantage is that it is not easy. But it does not mean at all that it is impossible. I have a familiar family, my husband is an architect, in his work in St. Petersburg he often came across a Finnish company that is engaged in the design of residential buildings, as a result, he now works there. There were also friends from LJ, they also came to Finland on work visas - both husband and wife, found work here. But they are already in America, in Finland they found it bored.

Job search sites:

  • LinkedIn,
  • http://www.monster.fi/,
  • http://www.mol.fi/tyopaikat/tyopaikkatiedotus/haku/ (here you will have to use the google translator, unless you speak Finnish yet. Most jobs are in Finnish, but there are also in English)
  • Well, in general, show your imagination. Go to the websites of the companies you are interested in, find a page about vacancies and act!

About visa and other points: http://www.migri.fi/

Business in Finland

Good too. But you have to fight for a place in the sun! A residence permit as an entrepreneur is more difficult to obtain than for work, you will be closely scrutinized under a microscope, and the social benefits of Finland are unlikely to shine on you in the first year. If you prove your worth (expressed in average monthly income and taxes paid), everything will come. Here they write how to do it http://www.migri.fi/ And in Finland there are government organizations that help start-up entrepreneurs, including Russians, who want to open a business in Finland for free (!!!). For example, here's one in Joensuu http://www.josek.fi/rus/ .

Study in Finland

Doesn't give you any benefits or guarantees. At the end of your studies, you will have 6 months to find a job if you haven't found one yet. Or go to another study .. Studying in Finland is endless. So far, education is free for everyone, but they promise to introduce paid education already in 2017. However, most likely, it will be cheaper than education in another European country. Everything you need to know about getting higher education in Finland in English is here: http://www.studyinfinland.fi/

There are also refugees, but Finland is sooooo reluctant to accept them, and if you want to become them, you will have to prove strongly that otherwise you face imminent death.

Well, those who had Finns in their family. I know almost nothing about this type of emigration, except that they have been waiting for such decisions for years and almost decades..

If you like Finland and think you could live here, good luck!

Life in Finland - as it is

To be honest, I find it difficult to describe life in Finland in two words. I love this country! Although I sometimes grumble about the climate, the Finnish language and Finnish culinary preferences 🙂 Seriously, I think that Finland is good for those who like to live in the countryside, but with all the conveniences 🙂 That is, fresh air, forest from the doorstep and there is a river around the bend, only in the Finnish version it will most likely be a lake. Plus, a bonus to this will be excellent roads, a school nearby or a free taxi to it, and a high standard of living. But everything will be kind of small-town, a little rustic in the good sense of the word.

Most likely you will NOT like Finland if you like to break traffic rules, like parties, especially at night, like the noise of big cities, a lot of people around and the crazy pace of life. Finns value calmness, predictability and adherence to rules..

A very typical Finnish painting

A very typical Finnish painting


Finland is one of the most expensive countries in Europe. Expensive here: any services, transport, gasoline, alcohol, restaurants, utilities, insurance. For example: the normal price for a man's haircut is 20 euros, for a woman's - 50. I understand that in Russia there are such prices, but in Finland this is the lower limit. Traveling 200 km by train will cost you 60 euros, if you are not a student, and 20 km by city bus will cost you more than 6 euros. I just live in the suburbs, 20 km from the city, i.e. if I traveled by public transport, I would have spent at least 12 euros per day just for the road, this is if there are no transfers.

We pay for electricity from 100 to 200 euros per month. For understanding: we are a family of 4 people, we live in a three-room apartment with a sauna (electric), an electric oven that is used to its fullest, a dishwasher, an autonomous boiler, heated floors in the shower and toilet and electric heating. Water costs 4 euro / cubic meter.

Products in supermarkets, in principle, it seems to me that if they are more expensive than Perm ones, then it is not so dramatically (I am from Perm, therefore I compare mainly with Perm, you don’t excuse me, residents of two capitals and other cities and towns of the Russian Federation). But the drugs cost some unrealistic money. Valerian will be offered to you for 18 euros, and iodine for 11. Maybe that's why nobody uses them here and for all diseases the Finns have one remedy - ibuprofen?

Another Finnish feature, to which I got used to for a long time - everything local is here ... EXPENSIVE! Moreover, the closer it is grown or produced, the more expensive it is sold, because meeeeestnoooooeeee! And if you expect to buy cheap apples in the market from a granny, you will be very disappointed, apples will cost three times more than in a store and granny will stand at her price to death, rolling her eyes menacingly and proving that apples are something weooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo You already understood, yes, that the Finns are great patriots and originals?

Real estate prices are quite different from the type of property and location. The most expensive thing is a surprise surprise! real estate in the capital. Also, Finns are very fond of private houses and so that the neighbors are not visible (if you look at this point, then I am definitely a Finn!). In our region (city of Jyväskylä and its surroundings), a normal, solid house can be bought for 200 - 300 thousand euros. Well, for example, like this:

talo 2


In general, I recommend this site if you like to hang around, looking at properties for sale as much as I do 🙂

Finland and children

I know that many dear Russians associate Finland exclusively with juvenile justice and horror stories about children taken away from innocent parents. My opinion is that Finland is a wonderful country for families with children, including (twice underlined) for families with special children..

My children run to local kindergartens with songs and dances, although in Russia kindergarten was one of the worst nightmares of our family. And the same picture of my friends Russian families. Among the Finns, by the way, I met those who are dissatisfied with their kindergarten, but I think they simply have nothing to compare with..

Schools here are not subdivided into some kind of elite or shameful, there are no entrance exams to the first grade at all. And in general, control and exams are held mainly between times, children do not prepare for them in any way, but show what they have. Here they do not create any particularly stressful tension associated with school and study. Homework is given little by little, but not on weekends.

The main thing for a child is a happy childhood, and the main function of a parent is to have fun and usefully spend time with children, for example, go hiking or ice skating, but certainly not to drill, and not to do homework until everyone becomes hysterical. There are many articles on the Finnish school system. I like this one, it very well reveals the topic of the Finnish school riddles: you study less - you know more?

Fedya and ducks. Jyväskylä

Fedya and ducks. Jyväskylä

Special children

I mentioned special children here. The fact is that I had the opportunity to learn from my own experience - what it is like to be the mother of a special child in Russia and Finland. I must say right away that this is not just either there or there. But here (in Finland) I receive such tremendous support from teachers and other representatives of the state in relation to my son with a severe hearing loss that I practically ceased to perceive him as special! For me, this is just a son, well, yes, it is different from others, and there are no identical people, all children are different!

This happened due to the fact that I do not need to achieve acceptable conditions for my child, for example, to be taken to a regular school or for teachers to take into account his poor hearing. Vice versa! A special city curator for hearing impaired children constantly contacts me, asks how we are doing, and how she can help us. She also communicates with the teacher, makes sure that Fedor does not have problems at school caused by his hearing, takes over negotiations with the attending physician, if necessary..

In the classroom, all the legs of tables and chairs are upholstered with felt - for the sake of one child. He uses an FM system to hear the teacher better - for free. We have all the necessary equipment that can make his life easier (an induction system to hear the TV, a doorbell with a light signal, a vibrating alarm clock, a fire alarm), and it was free for us. The main thing that they do is do not leave their parents alone with their children's peculiarities, they really HELP! This is very valuable to me.


I hope I was able to show you at least a little what Finland is like. And maybe you even wanted to visit here if you have not yet been. Come, the Finns are very glad to Russian tourists 🙂 And if you fall in love with this country, I am sure you will find a way to move here!

If we talk about me, then my life has undergone global changes after moving to Finland. Well, in addition to the fact that I had a wonderful daughter, my son with grade 3-4 sensorineural hearing loss now speaks Finnish better than me and I am no longer eager to travel, because I feel good at home (!!!) 🙂 I also gradually freed myself from the husk, loosened up and learned to trust my dreams. I went to study again - as a baker-pastry chef! And I already make money by making cakes, rolls and muffins to order. I just love this job and invite you to my blog about pastries, desserts and strange Finns: http://finbake.ru/

And I am also in LJ: http://irina-staro.livejournal.com/ Look at the light!

Our family

Our family

Thanks for reading!