Hannah Hung came to Finland first as an exchange student. Immediately, she was intrigued by the many differences she found between Taiwan, her home country, and Finland. Falling in love especially with the serenity and nature, she later on applied for a master’s program in Finland to continue her journey in this winter wonderland. She has recently finished her four-month internship at Edunation.
Below you will find Hannah’s story, where she talks about how everything started and what Finnish work culture is like. Perhaps it will inspire you to live, study and work in Finland!
How it began
I remember it was just a normal day on the bus in the afternoon. I saw my friend, Shelly getting on the same bus. She spotted me and came to sit next to me. We talked about how our days have been lately, about school, about working out, about boy issues. Typical chitchat. And then she mentioned her internship.
I remember it was again just another usual day at the university, I just finished lunch and was walking out of the canteen to get to the next class. Shelly saw me on the hallway and came to say hi. She mentioned that the company where she was doing her internship was looking for new interns, and asked if I would be interested.
Before she shared the information with me, I had been looking for internship position or some job opportunities for some time. I made phone calls, subscribed to job hunting websites, and I talked with people who had similar experiences. Yet, the opportunity came so silently and subtly. So…effortlessly. I thought that maybe I was just lucky.
And then I read about the law of attraction. When you really want to achieve something, you have been thinking about it so much that eventually, your behavior, your actions, your words lean towards the direction of your goal. Perhaps it was that kind of mindset, all the conversations I had, and everything I had done that led to the opportunity. Every little thing counts. I am really grateful to have received help from many others and eventually, an opportunity to do an internship in Finland.
In Finland, many job or internship opportunities might be hidden. Always keep an open eye and be active. Here are some practical tips for you:
Check your university mailbox: Sometimes information is forwarded from the university.
Join related Facebook groups: People are posting new information all the time in this era.
Talk to people: While you’re chatting, bring up the topic and who knows, your new friends, old friends, or even strangers might have information for you. Perhaps not right away, but after spreading the word, your friends might keep this in mind and let you know when they hear about something
Take action: Whether it is emailing or calling, contact the place you are interested in working at. Even if they don’t have the need at the moment, they can still add you to their contact list and contact you once a suitable position opens.
What it is like to work in Finland
The work culture is unlike anything I have experinced back home. It is as if the atmosphere at the university has been extended to the workspace: Flexible, independent, supportive and low hierarchy.
Flexible and independent
As an intern, you are trusted as an independent individual. Since you are trusted to complete your tasks in the best way you can, there is always room for flexibility and your creativity. With flexibility and independence, however, comes responsibility. I believe this working environment has taught me how to organize the tasks based on the priority and how to utilize the flexibility to get the best result.
Right from the beginning, I had been given orientations on different topics and themes. There was training about market research, SEO, communication, etc. In addition to the organized orientation, if you feel the need to receive more training in a certain area, you will also get more information about it. There are also instructions and templates for different documents. In the office, you can feel that everyone is always helpful and whenever you have questions, someone is willing to assist you.
Just like at the university, where the relationship between the teacher and students is relaxed. In the work environment, even as an intern, you also have a voice. You can give suggestions, raise a topic to discuss, and everyone’s opinions are respected and valued. This is very much different from the Asian culture I have been exposed to.
Studying and living in Finland has been an amazing experience to me, and it is why I came back to Finland for the master’s program. Doing an internship in Finland is another enjoyable story that really hooks me to continue staying in Finland. I learned from different feedback and suggestions I received at work, and by doing different tasks, I have come to understand more about my strengths and weaknesses. There are some things you cannot learn in school, and it is only through experiencing and living that you can obtain them. For me, Finland is this magical place. Not only has Finland taught me to see the world in a new light, but also to listen to my inner self, embrace the imperfections and grow into a better version of myself.
There are also plenty of opportunities to work in Finland! Find more information on these blog posts, Top 5 popular jobs in Finland and Top 5 promising fields to study in Finland, and apply to study in the best country in the world!