Expat Insight – Ashwini’s Story
We have often talked how important a trailing spouse’s role is when moving to work abroad. We are pleased to introduce Ashwini and her success story about her life in Finland. She is a shining example that with a proactive approach a spouse can find meaningful work and activity – even in Finland.
Ashwini Gore-Deshpande moved to Tampere in 2016 with her husband and two children for his work. Her first foreign move has been an inspiring success story despite early trepidations. “The move was great for my husband’s career and he was happy about it. For me it was difficult, because I had no idea of what I would be doing other than taking care of the family and try and explore being in Finland.”
Back home in India, Ashwini had a successful music career and leaving this behind was a major decision. “I’ve been performing vocals for fifteen years in India. Also, I was part of a famous reality TV show, I was in the top 10. I’ve been pretty active. Of course it slowed down a little after I had my children, but I was back to performing since a few years. Moving here was a huge change for us, because the place that we lived in was the best for my music career. We were very well settled in Pune, my son was in school in the first grade and we had everything in place”.
Finland was a very exotic country to Ashwini and her family. “I knew little about the country. Luckily, my husband had traveled to Tampere before and had really liked it. The dark and cold winters were a big concern before moving here. But, he had seen what it means to live in -30 degrees, and he said that it’s ok, we can survive!”.
Upon arriving, she had two paths before her, either take her time and get settled, or take launch into action and start being active. She chose the latter. “Being independent was the first thing I needed to do, and taking initiative was the second. Finland’s daycare system has been extremely helpful to me in being independent. I started meeting people, who did Indian music or anything related to that. I also happened to meet few artists practicing Indian Music when we traveled to Stockholm, during the autumn break. I feel lucky that within a few months, I was performing again”.
A year after her arrival, Ashwini has an established career in Finland. She has been part of multiple projects, including the Sweden-Finland Project (bringing together Indian music performers from Sweden, Finland and India) – performed in Tampere and Stockholm; an Indian music workshop at the prestigious Sibelius- Academy in Helsinki; the Suomi 100 project – “Explore different moods and seasons of Finland with Indian Music” – wherein she collaborated with Finnish musicians practicing Indian Music; International singersongwriter Festival, Tampere; India Day– biggest Indian event in Helsinki; Indian Embassy Independence Day celebration programme in Helsinki, Nordic’s biggest dance festival IDF, Tampere and a lot more. “My work gave me freedom, independence and value, and that’s a huge thing. Along with performing. I started teaching music at a Bollywood academy, after school club, private classes and online classes. It is a great experience to teach Indian as well as Finnish students.”
Ashwini considers a few things to have been paramount to her positive stay: relocation support and work. “Excellent relocation support was vital, because that’s where it all began. It was more than just the professional service provided, it was more personal, more caring. It gave a great emotional support which is really essential when there’s such a big change in life.”
Thinking back over the past year and outside of work, positive experiences and what she would like to see had turned out differently. “Within a few days of arrival, we were fortunate to meet some Indian families who became great friends. We’ve loved it here. It’s so quiet, calm, peaceful and beautiful. People have been kind and helpful. I would like to stay here longer. It’s also the best place to raise children. They have great education and they are happy. The work-life balance is also good for my husband.”