Working in Finland during the pandemic

Petro from Ukraine talks about his experiences living and working in Helsinki.

Petro Deminskyi, originally from Ukraine, moved to Helsinki at the beginning of 2020. Before that, he got his Ph.D. in Ukraine and worked as a Post-Doctoral Researcher at Bilkent University in Turkey and Linköping University in Sweden.

Active academic and research life, including academic mobility, collaboration with the multinational research community, and participation in various research events all around the world made his relocation to Finland fairly easy, even though he had not been here before. “Although not many things could surprise me, Finland made that immediately: almost no snow in Helsinki in the entire 2020. Really unexpected! Luckily, 2021 started much brighter with cold weather, frozen sea bays, lots of snow, and happy families sledding on the Helsinki hills – that met my best expectations of Finland.”

Working in Finland

In January 2020 Petro started his career as a Senior Process Engineer in the rapidly growing international company that is the world-leading supplier and developer of semiconductor process equipment and novel materials. “Even though working in such a place is challenging and requires a creative mind, fundamental knowledge in this field, responsible attitude, and deadline compliance, the work is still very interesting and enjoyable.” Petro also emphasized the safety regulations and immediate actions from the company side due to the pandemic situation. “Safety first – the main rule in the company. Work in the lab space is optimized to minimize the risk of spreading infection. That, together with the responsible attitude of colleagues, makes me feel safe at work.”

Petro appreciates the good work-life balance in Finnish working life. “Not a surprise why Finland year-by-year is holding the first place in the UN World Happiness Report as the happiest country.” He also likes his work community: “Now when I have lived in Finland for over a year, I’m sure that Finns are not cold, as people often believe. At least at my workplace, I find Finns as open-minded, kind, and warm people. I especially appreciate Finns’ respectful attitude to others; as an example, they usually don’t speak Finnish with one another when there are people who don’t understand it.”

Smooth relocation to Finland

Petro says that he has not faced big challenges so far living in Finland. “While some new things here might seem challenging, they could be solved fairly easily compared to other countries, which I refer to the well-organized Finnish society. I like that people whom I have met in Finland are polite, supportive, and open to answer questions, which is not always the case in other countries.”

At the same time, Petro believes that without the help of a relocation consultant, he would have faced many challenges during his relocation to Finland. “The relocation consultant helped a lot. I appreciate her kind, professional and fast guidance and help. She solved all the challenging tasks, such as documents and registration preparation, belongings relocation from Sweden to Finland as it was planned. Special thanks for a comprehensive search for suitable apartments, and well-planned meetings arrangement. I got to know that there is a strong demand for apartments in Helsinki. You have to be fast. With her professional help, a perfect apartment was found in the Kallio area, which is within a walking distance to the city center and my work. All of these saved lots of my time, which was devoted to adaptation in the company.”

Helsinki and Finland through the eyes of a foreign employee

According to Petro, Helsinki is a nice, clean city with its own atmosphere, active enough and at the same time calm enough – perfectly balanced. “I like the city center for its architecture, Kallio as a nice hipster area, and the coastal part of the city for its beautiful landscapes. Street art, especially murals painted by the best muralists from all over the world, makes Helsinki sparkle with new fresh colors each time when urban art festivals are organized.”

Petro finds life in Finland fairly easy so far because everything is well organized. “The society here is healthy and made for people, including people with special needs. Compared to many other countries, Finns are very responsible and try to follow the rules. At the same time they look cheerful, have self-irony, and know how to laugh at themselves, say:
– These new distancing rules during a pandemic – 2 meters distance apart is crazy!
– I know! Why do they want us to stand closer together than normal?”

Due to the pandemic, Petro has not been able to explore Finland and communicate with people as much as he would have liked. “I do have a hope that the pandemic will finish soon, people will be safe, life will get back to normal and I can explore Finland better. I would be happy to travel more domestically: to visit Åland islands, Lapland, and many other interesting places.”

Asked what advice Petro would give Finnish employers to attract international experts, he says: “Finland has all that is needed for a full and happy life. Happiest people in the world – is real proof. As a suggestion: keep moving in the same way with slight improvements as there is always a way for this, value what you have – only in comparison it is possible to understand how happy you are with what you have, and finally: share how it really is to live in Finland.”

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