Expat Insights – Kostiantyn Khrameshkin
Kostiantyn Khrameshkin arrived in Finland in February from Ukraine. From the moment he set foot on the airport, everything has been new. “I haven’t been to Europe or Finland before, so there were a lot of surprises. First off, I wasn’t sure how to find my address, so I was a little worried. My English isn’t very good, and I was worried how to talk with Finns. But people were very kind, they explained how to find my way. They helped me to buy a ticket too. My first expression of Finland was very positive.”
Finland and Ukraine don’t share a lot, but Kostiantyn likes the differences. “The biggest difference was how honest Finnish people are. For example, I have lost my hat twice in the bus, but after two days I get it back! This isn’t possible in Ukraine. And of course the weather too, but that’s ok. I like cold weather, it’s good!” he laughs.
When asked how he finds his Finnish coworkers and others, Finns get a lot of praise from the Ukrainian engineer “They are very kind, but a little bit distant. But when they get to know you better they are more open and very close to you. But even then they can feel distant, it’s funny”, he laughs again.
The challenges Kostiantyn has faced since moving are surprisingly common everyday issues. Although Finns are willing to help and have good English skills, things like going to the store take time and effort. “Because all the products are strange and the words are in Finnish, going to the store or some restaurants is a challenge. Especially for me, because I can’t eat everything, so I need to translate everything.”
Kostiantyn’s family will be joining him soon, and he is excited. Although he’s only been in Finland for a few months, the country receives very high grades as a family friendly place to live. “Helsinki has very good public transport and the streets are very quiet and safe in the evening as well. I like that there are places to live in the city, and that all places are safe. Also, although we haven’t had experience with it yet, we have heard and read a lot about the Finnish education, how good it is. All these already make Finland very good for children and family.”
Kostiantyn’s move to Finland was the first time he moved abroad, and according to him the help he received was invaluable. “I got a lot of help. It is very difficult to move without help, that was vital. One of my friends is moving to Finland and because I told him how easy it was for me he thought that maybe he doesn’t need help. But I told him and I tell you, that my move was only easy because of the local assistance I got.”