“As soon as they mentioned that there would be a relocation specialist helping us, we were like yes please!” We interviewed Kim from Canada, who moved to Finland with her family. For them, the relocation services were not only a reason to move to Finland but also an important part of the successful relocation in a challenging situation.
Kim and her family moved from Sweden to Finland after her husband got a job in Espoo. The couple moved with their two kids and two cats.
Before Sweden, the family had also lived in Denmark. “This was the third time when we moved to a country where we don’t know the language or the culture. In Denmark everything went well, thanks to relocation services. In Sweden, we did not receive any relocation assistance, so we had to do everything by ourselves. It wasn’t easy, it was painful and made a horrible first impression of the country. So when my husband received a job offer from Finland, as soon as they mentioned that there would be a relocation specialist helping us, we were like “yes please!” Thanks to the smooth relocation, we have got a really positive impression of Finland.”
Kim says that they had seen the news about how Finland treated coronavirus, and they were really looking forward to coming here. “We are relieved to be in Finland, it feels safe here. Many people in Finland do not wear face masks either, but there seems to be this general awareness that you should keep the distance and wash your hands. And there is hand sanitizer available everywhere.”
Moving to Finland during the pandemic
Just when the family was to move to Finland, the country’s borders were closed. They were also unable to apply for a residence permit after the Finnish missions closed the processing of permit applications. “Normally you can also go to the country in advance. Because of corona, we had almost no pre-preparation.”
“Everything that should have been a no-brainer, was suddenly a challenge and required many people helping. Everything was so last minute. Usually when you move, you decide when and how you move, and you have many options. Now all of the control was taken away from us. It was extremely stressful, a challenge after challenge.”
“For example, normally we would have many flight options, but suddenly there was only one flight from Sweden to Helsinki that allowed cats. The only flight left from Stockholm and we lived in Malmö, so we had to rent a car. We had never driven in Europe before, so we were anxious. On the way, we learned that one of the cats gets motion sickness very easily, which made the situation even more difficult. We were also worried that if for some reason we were turned back from Helsinki Airport, we would have nowhere to go with two small children and cats.”
The relocation consultant helped in a difficult situation
“Our relocation consultant kept us calm. In a complex and changing situation, she explained everything thoroughly and explained things clearly. She never pretended to know more than she did, so we could fully trust what she said. She really understood our situation and put herself in our shoes, so that she could help us better. While I was going through everything in Sweden, I felt like I had an ally in Finland, somebody who was truly in our team”, says Kim.
According to Kim, everything went very well and quickly in Finland, thanks to the relocation help. “This was very good for my husband, he could immediately concentrate on work and didn’t have to worry about anything. The help of a relocation consultant was very comprehensive and personalized: she not only helped us with the necessary registrations and housing, but also gave useful suggestions.”
The goal is to stay in Finland for a long time
The family likes a lot to be in Finland. They were positively surprised about the nature and the cleanliness. “I knew Finland is going to be beautiful, but I didn’t expect so much natural nature. It’s also very clean here, Helsinki and Espoo are so clean even compared to other Nordic cities.”
With the help of the relocation consultant, the family found a very good home in Espoo. “Our home is almost like a paradise. It’s beautiful, quiet and peaceful, and surrounded by nature. But the public transport is great and we can easily get everywhere.”
Kim says that they have decided that moving to Finland is a long term commitment, and even considered buying an apartment. That is why their children will go to a Finnish school and kindergarten. “In Sweden, we didn’t have relocation help so I didn’t know about any other options than international school. Here we want our children to learn the language and culture, so they will study in Finnish.”
How to succeed in a challenging relocation?
“I can’t imagine a more difficult time trying to move a family with two kids and cats, so If you can survive this you can survive everything. If we can do this, and be happy, I think anybody will be successful.” Kim says
She advises those who move to a new country: “You have to be open-minded and willing to try new things, and accept that Finland may do things differently. Many people move to a new country and expect it to be the same as where you come from, and I think that’s not fair. You have to trust and be patient to make it work. And Google Translate is your best friend.”
Tags: children, Coronavirus, families, Finland, interview, pets, Sweden