Migrant Stories: Finland, Exceptionally Offers High Living Standards

Let’s check out Arcile’s journey, why she calls Finland her second home and what she likes most about Finland.

Why Finland as most of Filipino students are moving in either Canada, Australia or the UK?

I arrived in Finland 12 years ago, I studied at Tampere University of Applied Sciences, International Business. I choose Finland as their system is highly efficient, very safe country. Their social system is superb! The country is diverse and offers a lot of opportunities for foreign students. As I came originally from the Philippines, I wanted to study abroad. The opportunity to have an international education seems priceless for me. Finland seems a gorgeous country to discover and enjoy.

Lakes in Finland

How did you process your application here in Finland?

From Manila, I applied for a Schengen visa then after a few months, I applied at Tampere University of Applied Sciences to pursue my education here and got my student visa. It’s easier too if you have a sponsor, in my case yes, there was a sponsor. After arranging and submitting all the required documents, I got my residence permit and started my studies in Tampere city. The processing time was really quick and transparent.

After I completed my study program, I worked here in Finland and decided to study again and I also got married. I’ve been living here in Finland for a total of 12 years, I’m also a mother now and after all the hard-work, I’m now a Permanent Resident.

On balancing work and daily life

I have learned how to work on realistic time management. You need to focus on your goals and don’t dwell on your circumstances. In life, there’s what we called ‘attitude vs. circumstances’ that I usually apply on my day to day living here.

Life is pretty challenging here, it was a culture shock at first, especially I am from Asia. – But for 12 years I did manage and acquired how to be determined and resilient, you must be determined to reach for your goals.

Why do you think Filipino’s look for opportunities outside the country?

There’s no doubt that Filipino’s are highly skilled and employable, can integrate easily in a foreign culture and explore opportunities abroad, I guess it’s because of self-worth. Your worth within the community, you feel relevant. Moving abroad means not just about monetary benefits and getting an international degree. You should feel happy too, and by that, you are creating success, there’s fulfillment!

There is an ever-present opportunity to reach the world. I think those elements are few among so many reasons why Filipino’s work and live abroad.

How did you overcome/ win over homesickness?

I always look for activities inside and outside my home. It creates a routine and makes me active and productive. For newbies, don’t isolate yourself, create/do hobbies, e.g. learn how to play new instruments. Enhancing your talent and skills will do good for your mental and physical health. Do some yoga, go to the gym when possible, avoid isolating yourself, always pray. Call your relatives and friends back home, technology also helps us with our daily communication with them. It makes everything easier.

Top 3 things you love about Finland

Everything here works! Their system, the benefits for each citizen! The country’s health system is highly efficient, Finland is a nice and safe place, the country provides good insurance.

Finnish customs and personality traits that you admire

Finns are highly practical, they focus more on solutions rather than dwelling on the problem. I’m very impressed! They’re really smart. They have simple solutions and it always works. Finns are very honest people, they’re very private too.

I admire these traits as Finns regard to trust and privacy. They’re also innovative and highly collaborative. They’re very punctual. I learned a lot and by living here for more than a decade, I acquired this trait. Also, they’re nature and sauna lovers!

On being an immigrant and Finnish social security

I currently work at Upwork (Freelancing /project site) telecommute / remote jobs. I’m accepting online assignments and I work at home. For me, work here seems less stressful and more manageable. Since I’m already a permanent resident here, there are also student grants for PR status and I should say I enjoy my current work, I feel really happy!

Also, here in Finland, the government helps their people, e.g. Childcare is free, / affordable, they help low-income earners, there are benefits for unemployed, grants that are provided for the society. The system is structured and works fine. World-class education and superb healthcare system.

Best advice for Filipino students who wish to study in Finland

Research! Get a huge amount of information about the country and the course/program that you are about to enroll. Learn the local language, be ready, accept changes, learn the can-do attitude! As I’ve said, attitude vs circumstances!

Embrace Finnish culture! It might be an adjustment first but it will be all worth it! You’ll miss your relatives and friends back home but you have new opportunities coming. Comparing to the Philippines, culture might seem very different here. In Manila, There are a lot of people outside, people are clannish, opinionated. There are always instant interactions/ people get to meet people daily.

Here in Finland, Finns are shy and very private. You’ll also adjust to seasons and the weather. Parts of the country are entirely dark or light for part of the year. You’ll adjust but I’ll tell you- It’s magnificent! Mysterious yet marvelous place. During winter, layering is a must, and sometimes it’s depressing but you’ll get used to it! You’ll find great things and hobbies during that season too. Learn how to embrace change. Always be ready. If you’re thinking of coming to Finland, Don’t hesitate, do it now.

More Filipino stories in Finland here!

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