Jaryd and Gabrielle from South Africa had been dreaming about moving to Finland for years. Their dream came true when Jaryd got a job in Finland. “We had high expectations but they exceeded”, the couple says.
From South Africa to Finland
Jaryd and Gabrielle Baker had always wanted to live in another country, somewhere very different than South Africa. They were especially interested in Nordic countries because Gabrielle has Scandinavian roots and they like the Nordic culture. “Finland has been on top of our list for years, especially after we heard it’s the happiest country in the world. So we were very excited when Jaryd got the opportunity to work at Cojot Oy in Finland.”
Because of the coronavirus pandemic, Jaryd and Gabrielle couldn’t visit Finland before moving there. Instead, they did a lot of research to make sure it’s the right decision: for example Youtube videos and Facebook groups helped to understand how it really is to live in Finland.
Only positive surprises
Even though the couple had high expectations, they have only faced positive surprises in Finland. “We were surprised how good the Finnish grocery stores are: there are a lot more options than in South Africa, and everything is high quality. We had read online that Finnish food is not so special, but we think it’s very good! Food, clothes, transport and other everyday things are also surprisingly affordable – the prices are the same as in South Africa, but the quality is better.”
“We thought the cold weather would be a problem, but it’s not. The houses here are so warm, warmer than in South Africa. The language hasn’t been a problem either, as everyone speaks English here. But it’s also about the attitude, we wanted to move to a country where they speak a different language, so we were prepared. And we have already learned a bit of Finnish.”
Relocation services took away all the stress
Jaryd and Gabrielle are happy they received relocation and immigration services from FRS. “Even if you really want to immigrate and are motivated like us, it’s really hard to know what to do. All the immigration, applications, knowing which documents we need, tax things, etc… it would have been overwhelming without an expert helping us. But with FRS there was never a point when we didn’t know what to do. It’s also great to have a friendly contact here in Finland, as our family and friends are far away.”
“I can’t even express how helpful it was to have relocation services – it took away all the stress, it made the relocation a really enjoyable experience. We have talked with other South African people in Helsinki who didn’t have relocation help, and they struggled a lot, with documents and everything. They keep saying how lucky we are having FRS helping us.”
“We want to stay in Finland forever!”
When asked what is best in Finland, Jaryd and Gabrielle say everything has been great. For example, they like Finnish nature a lot: “We are excited about nature, forests, and hiking – it feels unreal, we can’t believe we are living here! It’s like a painting with all the trees and snow.” The couple also appreciates the Finnish society, respectful people, and safety. “It’s a lot safer for women than in South Africa. Here I can walk to a store by myself”, Gabrielle says.
Even during the pandemic, life has been relatively easy in Finland. “It’s like a different world. In South Africa, people don’t follow guidelines so there is a strict lockdown. In Finland people follow the rules, we really like that. Here you can walk outside.”
The couple likes Finland so much that they are planning to stay permanently: “We want to stay in Finland forever, we are even planning to buy a house. Our wedding and honeymoon got canceled due to the pandemic, so this Finland trip has been our honeymoon and it has been perfect. It has been like a fairytale.”
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