Jan Pacesa hails from Slovakia and made the bold decision to relocate to Finland. This idea of working overseas, acquiring fresh experiences, and stepping outside his comfort zone had been on his mind for a long time. He understood that international work experience would be beneficial for his future career, as it could help him adapt to the ongoing changes in the world of work.
Therefore Jan began to look for opportunities outside of his home country; Finland was at the top of the list, as he had visited Finland before on vacation and had fallen in love with the country. Now Jan works in Porvoo as an application engineer. He lives in Helsinki, and commutes are easy thanks to the bus transport offered by his employer.
First Steps in a New Country
Jan hasn’t experienced severe culture shocks because life in Slovakia and Finland is similar. According to him, there aren’t many cultural differences between the two. Immediately after the move, there were some challenges with his new work and settling in, but “Thanks to Finland Relocation, the pieces fell together nicely. Professional help in looking for an apartment, registration, and local orientation was a big help in the beginning. It’s also very nice to have language training offered by the employer.”
In the beginning, he was tired in the evenings after learning new things all day and the inevitable strain of moving, but within a few weeks, he had gotten used to his new responsibilities and obligations both at and outside of work. Jan was positively surprised that everything related to the move was taken care of in 1,5 days and none of his time was wasted. “There were quite a few forms to fill in those 1,5 days, but despite that, the registrations and official matters were taken care of very quickly!”
Settling In and Embracing the Finnish Life
When we asked Jan about his three favorite experiences while living in Finland, the first thing on his mind was visiting his friend’s summer cottage. “It was a fantastic experience! Going to the sauna, swimming in the lake, and barbequing were really the best things about that weekend. Other than that, it is easy to go to the stores. You can get by with English everywhere. People, especially my colleagues, have been very helpful and offered their assistance whenever I’ve needed it.”
Jan hasn’t run into big surprises during his first months in Finland because he had already visited Finland four times before moving here and because he had read up on Finland extensively. “My first interest in Finland came about in 2011 in the Bratislava ice hockey world championships, where I met some Finnish hockey fans. Also, this summer has been very pleasant, the temperatures were almost the same as back home”.
Jan had begun studying Finnish in Slovakia before his move and now has employer-organized Finnish classes once per week. He also looks Finnish by himself in his free time. “It is vital to learn a country’s language and understand the local culture and customs. This makes it much easier to integrate into the local lifestyle,” he says.
Although Jan already had a couple of Finnish friends before his move, his goal is to be socially active and expand his circle of friends. There are several groups for foreigners to meet and socialize in Helsinki that organize events and activities, so it is easy to find other expats to befriend. Finns, on the other hand, take a little more work.
Looking Ahead: Plans for the Future
Jan enjoys his current work immensely and plans to stay in Finland for a long time. He thinks that Finns should be proud of their modern and equal country, their clean nature, and their technologically advanced society.