Interview of Birat Sapkota – Nepalese International Business student in Finland

Birat is studying bachelor’s degree in international business and specializing in trade in the city of Kouvola. He finished high school in Kathmandu in 2013 where his major topic was business and marketing. After graduating from high school, he joined the university in Nepal and studied social work for 2 years. His studies in Finland started in 2015 and he’s now near to the end of his studies. In the future he plans to go back to Nepal to start his own business.

How is studying in Finland different from studying in Nepal?

“Lifestyle and education system both are completely different in Finland from Nepal. In Nepal, we are always interdependent upon each other (friends, family) whereas in Finland the whole system helps a person to become more independent. Education system in Nepal is very much theory based where we have to memorize the things from the book as it is whereas Finnish education is more practical, and teachers focus more on using practical ways to make a student understand instead of just relying on the book.”

 

What made you study in Finland?

“To be honest, firstly it was free education but later I did a little research and found how good the education system of Finland actually is and decided to come here.”

 

Nepalese student in Finland, Enjoying summer
Photo courtesy: Birat Sapkota

 

How did you imagine Finland before coming here?

“I didn’t really know that much about Finland before coming here. Most of the people I talked about Finland warned me about the cold winter which never ends. Turns out it does stop for a couple of days a year.”

 

When you arrived in Finland, was there anything surprising to you for example on Finnish culture, Finnish education or Finland in general?

“A lot actually. Almost everything about Finland surprised me – especially Finnish food and ‘Avanto’ which is ice swimming.”

 

What is your favorite memory from studying in Finland?

“My fondest memory from my study period has to be the event I arranged with my colleagues Sandesh and Anil for Patteri Entrepreneurship Society called ‘Touch Your Future’ at Kotka.”

 

Nepalese student in Finland. travelling
Photo courtesy: Birat Sapkota

 

How is your Finnish?

“I do know few essential phrases and can understand basic Finnish but struggle to speak the language. Learning Finnish is very important if you want to live and work in Finland. Finnish people do appreciate when you make an effort to speak in Finnish even if it is not that good.”

What do you think of the Finnish people?

“Finns are mostly kind and honest people. It takes time for them to open to new experiences but once they do, they will surprise you. Finns are most honest when they have a ‘Tuoppi’ (pint) in their hand.”

Where or what is your favorite place in Finland?

“I have traveled a bit around Finland but still most of the Finland remains unexplored for me. For me, Helsinki seaside bars are the best place to be especially in summer because of the view and the crowd.”

 

What will you miss from Finland if you would go home?

“Finnish summer, ‘juhannus’ to be specific.”

 

Any advice for future students travelling to Finland for their studies?

“Finland is going to be like a roller-coaster for you so, hold tight and enjoy the ride.”

 

Did you feel it was difficult to find a job in Finland?

“It’s hard to find a job anywhere in the world and Finland is no different. The key is to keep trying and making connections.”

 

Nepalese student in Finland working, serving drinks
Birat is currently working as a bartender.

 

Read also Chen’s story, A Chinese student in Finland.

If you’re interested to know more facts about life in Finland, check out living in Finland!

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