Vietnamese Student in Finland: Starting her Internship Journey

Le Diep Linh Nguyen is a young Vietnamese student studying International Business at Vaasa University of Applied Sciences. As a passionate learner who focuses on strategies for sustainable business and human devevelop, she got an offered finance intern position at Wärtsilä – the global pioneer of marine and energy markets. Let’s take a look at her experiences in studying and working in Finland !

Vietnamese student in a Finnish library holding a book in front of a book shelf

What was your first impression when you arrived in Finland?

My first impression was maybe the weather. I still remember the feeling of trembling in a thick jacket, waiting for the train to get home after a long flight from Vietnam. Moreover, the winter is not only freezing but also long. Besides that, I noticed that people are sincere and humble in the way they think, live and work.

I had thought that in a European/Western country, there will be many amenities, modern machines, services to fulfill all demands. However, the reality is not like that. Stores close very early in the evening, many are closed on Sundays, which means that there are not many places to hang out. I think that is an interesting point because you are supposed to spend time with your family, with yourself. I believe the quality of living is high partly because of the balance between working and relaxing.

Have you ever tried sauna in the summer?

No, I have not. Actually, this is the first summer I have been in Finland. Last year I visited home, and it seems a bit strange to me to go to sauna in summer. However, I had an interesting conservation with my Finnish colleagues about this topic. Sauna is a proud, symbolic part of Finnish culture. Living in Finland for two years, I normally go to sauna once a week in winter time. Because it helps me to relax, detoxes the body and increases immune system during the cold weather. I thought it is only for winter, but my colleague said that Finns can go to sauna all the time around the year, which really surprised me. This year I am here for the summer so there is nothing stopping me from trying it. Almost every house has a sauna, no matter the size of the house, and it’s free as well.

street in Finland with trees lining it in summer
Vaasa city in summer

Could you share your internship story with us?

I am currently an intern at Wärtsila and work in their finance department in Vaasa. I hoped to find a job, and at first I applied many to places inside and outside of Finland. Then I got invited for an interview and finally landed a job here, in the city that I am living in. I was both surprised and happy!

Everyday I come to work with the mindset that I am learning to develop myself. There are many things I don’t known yet but this is a good opportunity for me to apply what I have learnt. The workload at the beginning was quite heavy, but I try my best everyday. I think that an important part of learning is asking questions and doing self-reflection. Furthermore, my coworkers are very nice and always willing to give answer to my curiosity.

Communication skills is also something I always try to improve. I am not hesitant to share my ideas to contribute and to improve the current state of things because I am genuinely concerned about the company and want it to do better. I believe this is the key in any kind of work. As my teacher has said, “Always do more than you are required, and life will take you to an interesting journey”.

What is the most challenging when studying and working in Finland?

Vietnamese girl sitting in a classroom and smiling to the camera in Finland

Each person will have their own individual difficulties. For me, I do not think the curricula, assignments and tasks are too harsh. The thing that challenges me the most is defining a plan for my life. The plan, even if it’s only a draft, will be helpful in guiding everything I do. Because it gives me a purpose and a goal to aim towards.

Although, it is not an easy task to come up with a good plan. There was a time when I struggled to figure out what I want and what I should do. For example, I want to have money to reduce my dependency on my parent’s support, and thus I have to consider how to use my time, health and energy wisely. As I prioritize studying, I will spend my semesters focusing on that. When I have only one or two courses, I will work during summer. There is always a trade-off in everything, so I would choose the one I need the most to build my plan.

What are your weekend activities after a busy workweek?

During a school semester, I mostly spend weekends doing assignments and relaxing by hanging out with friends, cooking and reading books. In summer, I have more time for myself in the weekend so I registered for some courses which are not related to my study program but suit my interests. In addition, there are more outdoor activities to enjoy in summer, including biking, camping, going to a theme park.

Adventure park in forest in Finland
Adventure park in Vaasa

Your favourite inspirational quote?

“Nothing will work unless you do.” – Maya Angelou

As I love reading lifestyle and inspiring books, it is hard for me to pick the best one. However, as we are young and ambitious, we dare to dream and dare to do. Dreams are necessary but not enough, the important thing is getting things done. Failures might come but experiences are valuable.

Any short but sweet advice for students yearning to study in Finland?

Coming to Finland, you should do some research about the city you will live in. For example where the market is, which bus you will take when you arrive, expenses and housing, etc. The more you know, the faster you adapt to the new environment. As no one else can be responsible for your health, remember to take care of yourself. That also makes your parents less worried and shows that you have matured. Be brave and address challenges with an open mindset. Prepare well and start your journey safely.

If you would want to read more inspirational stories like Diep Linh’s, check out our latest student stories.

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