Expat Insights – Prateek Agarwal
Prateek Agarwal sits down in a café after work. He is one of the thousands of foreign professionals who arrive in Finland for work and who make up the international and intercultural Finnish workforce. He’s been in Finland for a few months, having relocated here from India in the end of January. Despite the radical change in climate, he has enjoyed his stay.
“It is cold, but the people are nice. Even the cold weather is nice, quite different from other countries I’ve been to” he says.
Prateek is no stranger to international moves. He has worked in India, the Middle-East, and France, and has travelled in other parts of the world as well. When he was offered the position in Finland, he had a preconception of what the country would be like, but says that he was positively surprised.
“I read everywhere that Finnish people are really difficult to interact with, they don’t talk to you. But it’s totally different. Everyone talks to you. People are nice, friendly. You make friends and I now have quite many Finnish ones.”
The Finnish working culture is very capable of assimilating foreigners “People accept foreigners very easily and are very friendly. The best part is that they are always ready to speak English and interact with you. They are always ready to help you and work with you in different cases. So in my company and really everywhere, I mean they are always ready to help you.”
When asked what he appreciated the most, Finland gets a lot of praise from the Indian engineer “First, language. It’s very easy to move over here and work knowing English. Second, it is a beautiful place. It looks nice even during winter, so the nature definitely. Third, nice drinks, especially tervaleijona”, he says and laughs.
Finnish drinks are not the only part of Finnish culture Prateek has come to enjoy, and he talks about his love of saunas with great enthusiasm “Such nice saunas! I would definitely like to try it more, like go to sauna and then dive into the lake! That’s something I haven’t had a chance to yet, but there are so many lakes so close to the city that I am sure it is easy to arrange.”
The relocation experience was also very easy, even compared to the ones before “It was really smooth from day one. I got help with immigration, there was pre-arrival support, when I came to Helsinki there was a relocation-representative here which made my move very easy from dealing with the tax office to the bank account, you know whatever was needed. Very helpful with apartment search as well! Very systematic, very friendly approach.”
Prateek finishes with a piece of advice for Finnish companies looking for foreign talent and a word for foreign talent looking to move “For companies, I would definitely recommend using professional relocation assistance. I think this is the most important thing that made my move to Finland so easy. For people moving here, it is a welcoming country and friendly people. It’s good to work here”