Expat’s Insights – Lawrence Teo
Today Lawrence Teo, 46, tells how he and his family, his wife and son, experience work and life in Finland. Lawrence works in one of the global leaders in the home furnishing retailers. The Teos decided to move to Finland from Singapore because of the job opportunity Lawrence was offered and because the opportunity to experience a new country and culture appealed to them.
At the time of this interview, the Teos have lived in Finland for two months. According to Lawrence ”The first two months have been super. The service is good and we have had a good interaction with everybody”. The family has also experienced the fabled Finnish humility ”I am very happy. Finns are too modest. Everything just works”.
In Lawrence’s opinion, the country has many outstanding qualities ”Everybody speaks English and are very friendly and helpful. The weather has also been very good. The summer was wonderful and the autumn has been pleasantly mild”.
There have been some major surprises as well ”Everything I have read about Finns is not true”. When questionned further, he is happy to elaborate ”Finns are often described as unfriendly and reserved. This is not the case. Maybe some of the older generation people are a little bit introverted, but the young ones are not. They are very cosmopolitan”. Other surprises were more concrete and related to every day experiences ”For example, we have had surprising difficulties finding unmarinated chicken in the supermarket!” Lawrence says.
Some of the Finnish customs have also been interesting to observe ”The way Finns celebrate their Independence Day is surprising and funny. Everybody watches the president shaking hands with all the guests for hours. Details like this are what makes this country unique”.
Although Finland has been a pleasant experience, Lawrence finds it it a little challenging to shop for his son ”Supporting our son when he is starting to crawl and walk has been the major challenge for us. It is also difficult to find a good baby shop, which would have a wide enough selection”.
After the relocation process Lawrence thinks that ”Without professional help it would have been especially difficult to get the residence permit. Also finding the accommodation would have proven to be challenging.” He considers the FRS services very necessary ”A professional’s assistance was a very good, very helpful and very efficient support. It’s definitely a valuable service to employers and employees”.