Well, time to write in the blog. Life has been pretty active recently with other projects. As maybe some of you have noticed, I spend most of the time now in Estonia combining my work with FREE! with other freelancing stuff as writer and translator, and also working with an IT company as “the serious job”.
In total, calculating, I must have spent around 5 years in Finland and 1.5 in Estonia in total since 2001. Time flies!
I know that many of the readers are people who live abroad and are planning to move to Finland. Of course once in Finland, Estonia is one of the first destinations, due to the easy access by ferry between Helsinki and Tallinn.
So in all these years, I think I have learnt a couple of things about these countries, and in these times of crisis, I just wanted to share some opinions with you.
First of all, for all of you who are planning to come and try to find a job in Finland, I must advice you that is very very difficult, especially in these times of crisis, and if you do not speak almost native Finnish. For people with background in IT, like developers or testers with knowledge of programming, the task can be a bit easier, but for the rest, it is almost an odyssey. Finnish managers do not want to risk hiring a foreigner who needs time to learn the language, and the mentality is still quite narrow-minded compared to other countries. Excepting some big IT companies, you do not see many foreigners working in communications, PR or HR departments.
In Estonia situation is similar. You also need to speak Estonian (and Russian is always an advantage too), but I have noticed that maybe people are more open to hear your ideas. In Estonia the average salary is about 3 times less than in Finland, but prices are getting ridiculously expensive. Many items like computers or clothes have almost the same price than in Finland. I feel that the attitude of the people is a bit more down to earth than in Finland. In Finland, the average worker always complains about the lack of money, but then you see that they go on summer holidays for 1 month to Thailand. In Estonia, when they complain about money, is basically because they cannot pay their loans or put bread on the table.
Music scene is also growing in Estonia, overall in Tallinn where more and more good concerts are organized and venues opened. But of course is still very far away from Finland or Sweden in these aspects.
For those foreigners also interested not only in finding jobs but in making their own business, my opinion is that it is also very difficult. It requires a lot of time and patience to build up business relations with Finnish, and once again, if you do not speak the language, they won´t trust on you. Networking is the key. Try to get acquainted with as many people as possible and sell your skills to your friends. It is always the best way that something good happens. If you want more detailed information about job search or building up a business, it is easy to find in different blogs and forums. In our partners section you will see many interesting links.
Otherwise, I can tell you that probably you will be gladly surprise about the Finnish and Estonian nightlife, and that the foreign community really enriches the country. Many of the most interesting people I have met in Finland or Estonia are expats, and usually they have many interesting anecdotes and travel stories to share.
If you need more detailed information about aspects of life in Finland or Estonia, you can always drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are planning to visit this side of the world, welcome!!!