Expat Insights – Shama Goel

”All this furniture and these beloved items that have found their way into our living room over the years and that have a lot of memories attached to them” Shama Goel sighs deep and contentedly on her sofa “these make this apartment feel like a home.”

Shama lived in Singapore before moving to Finland and was in particular concerned over finding a suitable apartment. Her husband Sanjay Goel has worked for Nokia for a long time, visited Finland multiple times, and warned her that apartments in Finland are not as spacious as they are used to. They may have to get rid of some furniture.

The Goels came to Finland on a previsit last spring to see the Helsinki region before the move and to find a suitable apartment. Despite the small size of the rental market they saw a multitude of different options, until finally they hit the proverbial jackpot. Their furniture fit perfectly and in fact appear as they were built with this apartment in mind. Shama is especially grateful for how their FRS consultant understood their needs from day one, was patient, and alleviated their fears during the move. “If we had not found a comfortable home, we would be in a hurry to move back. Instead, now we can concentrate on enjoying the different experiences that living in Finland offers us”, Shama says as she looks outside the window. As a vice president Sanjay’s work includes a lot of travel, so it is very important that everything at home is to the wife’s liking.

Shama has a very positive attitude with an outlook that every place is different and offers new and novel experiences. Regardless, she would wish employers would offer expats and their families cultural training. She wishes to learn to better understand the local culture and values as well as the ways in which the locals think about and perceive matters.

After several months in Finland the experiences have been good and the surprises have primarily been positive. “Yes, of course things are different here, but everyone speaks English and are willing to help when asked”, Shama shares her experiences. “Although there could be more places that accommodate foreigners better” she notes, telling of her husband’s experiences in trying to get his car out of a locked garage. She has been especially pleased to find that vegetarian options exist in all fine restaurants and that local vegetables are of high quality and tasty.

Winter, something many people have warned her about, is something that she expects with an ounce of trepidation. So far however Finland has only shown its best sides. Before we sit down to enjoy a home-made Indian meal she says “Coming from the bottom of my heart, we are truly happy here”.

Tags: ,