Depending on where you're coming from, moving abroad can be a big leap that will undoubtedly change your life. And this important decision usually requires a lot of thought, planning, and motivation. If moving to Finland or another Nordic country has been on your bucket list for a while, you can bet that we've been in your position before. We hope this blog gives you some clarity about taking this leap (or not).
We were also in the same situation when we first moved to Finland – we had no idea what lay ahead, what to anticipate, or how significant a change it would actually be. Now that we've lived in Finland for a few years, we'd like to talk about why we chose Finland as our home – not just the reasons we moved here, but also the reasons we decided to stay.
1. Because it's Safe and Inclusive
Whether you're hopping on a short flight that takes less than an hour or a long-haul flight that takes you across the globe, everyone wants a safe destination at the end of the day. If you are a youngster looking to move abroad for your studies like we did, your parents will likely consider this one of the most important things for choosing a university and location. Knowing that Finland has a low crime rate and is one of the safest countries in the world gave both our parents and us more peace of mind about our decision to move here.
If safety is a top priority for you, Scandinavian countries are a safe bet because they consistently rank as the best in the world. And when it comes to the safest country for expats, Finland has recently topped the rankings with an impressive 99% of expats claiming they feel safe. Furthermore, Finland is also making admirable steps to be more inclusive by promoting equality, expanding the number of international students enrolled in higher education, and frowning upon discrimination. Finland ticks the box if inclusivity and safety are priorities for your future home.
2. Because Work-Life Balance Matters
If you’re intimidated by the thought of working day and night only to come home exhausted and ready to hit the sack, you may want more work-life balance in your life. It’s no secret that most of us value having time for hobbies, exercising, and spending quality time with family. And what sets Finland apart from many other countries is that finishing a task on time and taking some time for yourself are both totally doable and even encouraged. The Finnish work culture is like a breath of fresh air for many of us as more and more countries, including those in Asia and the US, normalise long hours at the office.
To give you a better picture of the work culture in Finland, the average employee works around 7.5 - 8 hours a day and leaves work around 4 pm. The balance of personal and work time really helps drive motivation and allows one to be completely focused on the job while at work.
3. Because Cities are Located in the Heart of Nature
Do you wish to spend more time in the nature and get away from the city? Most people accustomed to living in big cities will tell you that the closest they’ve gotten to nature in a while is the mini garden on their balcony or a park they’re fond of visiting. For a very long time, we likewise believed that nature was always far away from the city. But that's not the case in Finland! Even residents of Finland’s largest cities will confirm that, with just a short drive of 5–10 minutes, they may experience nature.
Over the years, we have grown to genuinely value this closeness to nature. Since Finland's way of life is so intertwined with nature, one could, for example, arrange to work during the day and then spend a pleasant summer evening with family and friends at the beach.
A quiet weekend morning in the Ruissalo forest, located less than 10 km away from Turku city centre.
4. Because Health is a Priority
No matter where you are in the world right now, we can all agree that being in good health is one of the keys to happiness. Finland has universal healthcare, which is admirable because it means people don't have to worry about the financial repercussions of getting sick. The Finnish way of life also promotes being active, with many individuals biking all year round, walking in the forest, swimming in the chilly lakes during the summer, and going for ski holidays during the winter.
5. Because of a Great Education System
Most people will agree that education helps pave the path to a better life. And we couldn’t agree more, after all, we both came here to study! The Nordic educational system is well-known around the world. Here, the emphasis on self-motivation and the use of diverse teaching methods both inside and outside of the classroom are key components of the educational system. Moreover, the educational system also heavily relies on integrating work and study so that students can get a glimpse of real-world situations.
Finland's population is highly educated because people here make good use of its educational system. Additionally, a person's ability to study is also not limited by their age or any other discriminatory factors. In fact, Finland places a strong emphasis on lifelong learning so that everyone can focus on their own personal development regardless of where they are in their lives or careers. Therefore, picking up where you left off with yout studies can happen to anyone, including those who have been working for a long time.
The modern and cozy self-study area of the new Aurum building of the University of Turku.
6. Because a Peaceful and Quiet Life is Possible
Anyone who has lived in the Nordics can tell you that daily life there is typically focused on living a peaceful life and minding one’s own business. This aspect is largely a product of culture and may not be viewed favorably by all people. After all, many cultures are proud of their boisterous culture and have large families that continue to live together in the same house or neighborhood. Life in Finland, on the other hand, tends to be quieter, with people appreciating their personal space, avoiding pointless conversations, and often spending weekends at a summer cottage to escape the city.
7. Because of Convenient and Quick Commuting Times
Wouldn't it be amazing to get at work and still have some energy left for the following eight hours? The city life nearly always requires a gruelling commute, whether it's spending an hour in the metro to reach work or being stuck in a stubborn, bumper to bumper traffic jam. Another issue you can wave goodbye to in Finland is long commutes. Depending on where you live in Finland, the commutes are generally faster and shorter.
For instance, in Turku, practically everything you require is located within a 2 to 5 km radius, making it quite easy to navigate around the city by walking, biking, using e-scooters, or using the bus. In addition to having a lot of options for a short distance, depending on the season, you can combine bike and public transportation with ease.
8. Because Social Security is Well Established
The importance of a country's welfare system cannot be understated. Finland's social security system is widely admired for being both comprehensive and universal. Housing benefits, student benefits, unemployment benefits, and numerous other benefits are all included in the benefits. What this really means for an individual is that they may rely on the government for help when they most need it. Knowing that you are not alone or abandoned when you face difficult circumstances, we believe, contributes significantly to people's wellbeing in Finland. Of course, in order to maintain such a comprehensive social security system, Finland has a high tax rate and uses a taxing method known as progressive taxation. However, the majority of people do not resent the high taxing since they are satisfied with their quality of life.
9. Because it's the Happiest Country in the World
No place on earth is perfect, but Finland comes very close. And while you shouldn't take our word for it, coming in first place for the fifth consecutive year on the World Happiness Report is no joke! Even if you might not decide to go for Finland based on what a report says, it does show the general sense of wellbeing in the community.
The rankings in the report show how content people are with their lives and if they think their society is functional. It would also make sense for countries with lower ranks to use higher ranking countries as exemplary models to strive towards. However, despite Finland's excellent ranking in the World Happiness Report, the country comes in near-bottom in a recent study of international expats. In Finland, expats reported having trouble finding employment, overcoming language barriers, and having a tough time making local friends.
10. Because You May Find Your Future Spouse
Who knows, maybe your special someone is just a flight (or two) away in Finland. After all, this is where we met. We both moved to Finland in the same year (2018) and to the same place to attend the University of Turku, which we can either call chance or fate. Before we fell in love, our friendship grew stronger as a result of our shared love for volunteering, creating content, and being active international students. While your reason for moving to Finland might likely be something else, there is always a chance that you’ll find love along the way, and before you know it, you’ve found a new place to call home.
We hope the reasons we've listed above help you better understand what to expect if you move to Finland. And while Finland may seem like a wonderful country, you should always conduct your own research to make sure that it is the right country for you.