I’ve been living in Finland for almost 6 years. I believe that it’s enough to realize most of the benefits and challenges related to life here and make up your mind on whether this country is a good fit for you or not.
A short introduction to be told first. The town where I used to live before moving to Finland is very close to the Russia-Finnish border. Vyborg is just 70 km away from Lappeenranta, and 140 km away from Saint-Petersburg, so locals tend to go to Finland for shopping and short vacations. I visited Finland for the first time when I was 8 years old, and since then I had travelled there at least once in 1-2 months. My parents have many friends in Finland, so we always had a good reason to get into the car and go there.
In 2011, I moved to Finland to get my Bachelor degree, and I told the story about ‘why Finland’ and ‘how to get a study place there’ in this blog post (read if you’re curious). And today I want to share with you my thoughts on what is positive about living in Finland. It’s just my personal opinion, and it’s up to you whether to agree with me or not. I’ll also discuss cons, but later!
Security wherever you go
Finnish people are not risk-takers, and that is why they tend to secure their lives to the maximum. First of all, there is an extremely low level of crimes. You can walk in the middle of the night along the dark streets of Helsinki, and nothing bad is going to happen to you. You won’t be robbed, kidnapped, raped or anything. The scariest thing that can happen is a drunk person asking you for a cigarette. You can feel safe, and you don’t need to worry about making it home safely tonight.
Now let’s talk about the employment law. According to it, your employer needs to have a very good reason to fire you, if your trial period is over, and you have a permanent work contract. If you don’t break the law, but deliver what is expected from you, you can feel secure about getting paid and being able to pay your bills. Yes, if the company gets bankrupt, then everyone can lose a job. However, the government will come into the picture and support you, so that you can manage till you find a new job. So, social security is high in Finland, and the institution called Kela supervised by the Finnish Parliament is there to support you financially. Typical situations in which people contact Kela are childbirth, studies, illness, unemployment and retirement.
Beautiful Finnish nature
Finland is incredible, and its nature is simply breathtaking. The country of 1001 lakes is famous for its sustainability and ‘green’ practices around the world. It’s very clean wherever you go. The air is super fresh. The tap water is delicious and you can drink it everywhere without any concerns. Finland grows vegetables and berries, so you can get natural vitamins of high quality.
Finland is considered to be the best country for growing kids – any more arguments needed?
Free education and high salaries
In Finland, you can get your higher education for free in Finnish, Swedish or English (unfortunately, from the year 2016 on, the latter one is available for free only for the EU citizens or those who have a residence permit ‘A’). I should say that the quality of education is pretty high, and local universities use the best possible study materials and equipment. There is nothing to complain about, especially when it’s for free. During/after your studies you can expect to be well-paid (in comparison to Russian salaries, for example). In Finland, the lowest price per hour is around 8 euros, and the average one is around 14 euros. However, living costs here are higher than in Russia, but it’s a different story about cons.
Finland is a very advanced country that is into high technology and making people’s lives easier. There is an app for almost everything, you can pay with your bank card even in an ice-cream kiosk on the island in the middle of nowhere. There are many startups in the Nordics that bring new innovations and improve the existing solutions, and I work at one of them! And yes, unlimited and super fast 4G for your smartphone at the price of 20 euros a month – isn’t it a miracle?
Healthy and active lifestyle
In Finland you can see many people running and cycling. Cities have special lines for bicycles only, and it’s not a problem at all to find nice routes for running, away from cars and emissions. Fitness and healthy diets are also quite popular. There are good opportunities for keeping an active lifestyle and getting fit & toned. Besides, Finland has over 70 ski resorts, so outdoors lovers can do skiing and snowboarding 8 months a year! Isn’t it awesome?
Positive, friendly and pretty people
Don’t be surprised by Finns greeting strangers and smiling at them. I can say that Finnish people are always ready to help. What’s more, Finnish people speak English quite well, so if you don’t speak Finnish, you can easily manage without it here. Finns don’t look pissed or grumpy, but smily and friendly. Positivity and lightness are everywhere! Besides, this nation itself is very pretty – blond hair and blue eyes. Men tend to take care of themselves, so you can often see tall, handsome and stylish men in a good shape (especially in Helsinki).
Alive and beautiful cities
Small towns has their own charm. Big cities have magnificent architecture, extremely convenient public transport, fantastic events, great restaurants and buffets, cozy cafes, good energy and a lot of fun and interesting stuff to do. You can travel between cities and pay for a trip a price starting from 1 euro, if you book tickets in advance! Trains are very convenient too, but a bit pricy.
I think that there are even more pros of living in Finland, but these are the ones that came to my mind at first place. What are the things you like Finland for? What is your opinion on this topic? Share it in the comments below!