Interview with Hang Nguyen – an Environmental Engineering Student in Finland

Hang is a Vietnamese student, who is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s program in Environmental Engineering in Finland.

Why did you choose to study in Finland?

I was caught in the all-encompassing web of  info overload and confusion on where to study abroad. At first, I chose the Netherlands but Finland seems promising as it offers world-class education and living costs, housing is not too high. And for me, it is a new experience: people regard privacy and equality plus the country showcase a safe environment and great variations of the seasons.

Life in Finland

Everything here is well-organized. In general, this is a good place with a good structure of the government, and lifestyle. It only took me one year on getting adjusted. I also managed to find part-time jobs during studies and full-time jobs eventually. In the summertime peak seasons, I find it hard to balance the work-life, social-life and time for myself at some point.

Helsinki cathedral Finland Europe

How is your school life in Finland?

Finnish education is less demanding. I can freely choose what to study, and study programs are flexible. There are lots of good options, but sometimes I might not know what to do, what to study, a study counselor could be a good help. My professors are interesting people. They are coming from different backgrounds, and they might have different lifestyles and teaching styles. Also, in class, I make friends with lots of international students, more than I expected and most of them fall in the age range of 25 to 35.

About work and other activities

I work 40 hours per week full time in the summer, nowadays 20 hours or less, because now I want to focus on myself. My employer understands me and does not expect me to work overtime even though I want to work overtime because I can still do it. Well, in general, I am well-treated. I like working here in Finland.

Finns and Finnish language

There are good and bad sides to everything. Overall, Finns are well-behaved, polite, though sometimes they might not be straightforward as what stereotypes have described. Many people are from different backgrounds. Finnish language is a bit challenging to learn in the beginning, and it takes time. However, it is not that hard if you are really putting effort into it.

Do you have any difficulties communicating with Finns at first?

Challenging at first because of the Finnish language but I have no difficulties in communicating with Finns, because they are open-minded. I only have problems with people who has a conservative mindset.

How do you think of the scenarios of finding jobs here in Finland? 

It depends. Every one has their journey on finding work. If you plan to stay here and live here even for few years, commit on learning the local language, eventually you’ll become accustom. Also Finns speak good English compared to other Western European countries that I have visited, but still, knowing the language remains a big plus.

working table with laptop

What would you advise to potential students who are planning to study abroad?

Try and learn to adapt to new cultures. I encourage them to study abroad, not to just study only, but learn new things, adapt but do not forget your roots.

What is your life motto?

Change is not that scary, you just need to be brave to adapt.

How do you think of the weather in Finland?

Weather in Finland is quite diverse, if you’re thinking of studying here, plan ahead. But as the weather is somehow challenging, you will also experience the different sides of Finland. Northern lights? Winter time, sleep in an ice hotel, visit Santa Claus. Finland, it’s still a magical winter wonderland!

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