Finland is a kick-ass country. As a Finn, I agree 100%. But unfortunately, we have several things which can make life in Finland miserable. Today I’ll teach you eight reasons why you shouldn’t move to Finland and stay away.
1. Shy & Reserved People
As a Finn, I can say the Finnish people lack social skills. Even if they want to talk, they don’t do it. They keep it inside. It can be challenging to make friends here because Finns also don’t engage in conversations with strangers that easily. So if you’re not a type of social person who speaks to people, it might be challenging for you to find Finnish friends. However, social skills often emerge when they get the social potion – king alcohol, as we say in Finnish. To conclude, I wouldn’t say It’s challenging to engage with Finns, but it’s challenging depending on how social you are.
I think Finns definitely should work on their communication. The problem is that we Finns care about our business, and we have the personal space. We would have a much more fun time if we sometimes managed to step out of the private space and see what’s happening around us.
2. The high price level of Finland
It’s good to point out that being expensive is a subjective matter. In Finland, everything’s so expensive. Because if you, for example, come from Norway or Sweden, the prices might be even lower in Finland compared to Sweden and Norway. Things like groceries, rent, public transport, and recreational activities are expensive, especially in Helsinki. And don’t get me started on the booze again because the alcohol is costly. If you go to a bar, you want to get the beer, prepare yourself to pay at least five, six euros for a regular. That’s pretty expensive.
In Finland, VAT value-added tax is 24%. This is the tax consumers pay when buying goods & services. And then we have a lot of excise taxes, such as alcohol, tobacco, and stuff. And talking about taxes, the rates here are rather high. For example, if you earn around 30K, the tax rate is 24%. That’s a quarter of your income. In Finland, we have progressive taxation: The more you earn, the higher your tax rate. If you make 1 million euros a year, your tax rate will be around 50%. So basically, you’ll have half a million there in taxes. But on the flip side, we have some pretty cheap things, like mobile plans and the internet.
We also have to keep in mind that the salary is quite decent here. But all in all, Finland is a pretty expensive country. Keep that in mind if you’re planning to come to Finland.
3. Horrible weather
This is one of the most daunting aspects of life in Finland. The temperatures are not ideal for most people, especially in the winter, because it gets so cold. It could be easily minus 20 degrees. Not to mention the snow and ice make things much more inconvenient. You have to wear more clothes and layers to stay warm. If you’re driving a car, you need to remember to put your vehicle warming up in the morning. Otherwise, it won’t start when you have to go to work, and then you’re screwed.
If you like riding a bicycle, you have to be much more careful because it’s very easy to slip, crash your bike and hurt your ass in the process. And then we have this annoying loska (slush) when the snow starts to melt during warmer temperatures. The slush will freeze in a perilous shape when it gets cold again. which is very dangerous to walk on and too easy to slip your ass over there.
4. Endless darkness
In Finland, we have so many dark hours in the winter. We have as little as two to three hours of sunlight a day during the darkest season. You go to work at eight in the morning, and you come back around four in the afternoon; you don’t even see the sunlight because the sun already sets during work. Damnation!
And that’s not the only problem. When it’s so dark, people are more sleepy and depressed and have less energy without forgetting the fact in more challenging to see in the dark. You have to remember to wear a reflector to be seen in the traffic. In winter, life in Finland is much more annoying than in summer or spring.
5. The infamous Finnish language
Finnish is not an Indo-European language like most other languages in Europe. It makes it completely different than what you’ve used to before, so you can’t use your previous language skills to start learning Finnish unless you’re from Estonia. Finnish is one of the most complex languages globally, which is pretty much because the grammar is quite complicated.
I’ve also heard from many Finnish learners that Finns often reply in English. What’s the big idea? To add insult to the injury, the spoken language that we Finns use in everyday life is quite different from the standard Finnish that you learn in classes. So it’s not helping you much because the language you learned in the classes is so foreign that we use. Dang! But don’t worry. The Finnish language is learnable, and I’ve also had many people on this channel, foreigners who have learned Finnish, like Raul from Mexico. See the video below.
So, you need some Sisu to learn Finnish, but it’s learnable and worth it. Many people have done that before you, but it’s going to be quite a challenge, but not an impossible one. You will get much more out of your experience and life in Finland if you learn even a little Finnish.
6. Challenging job markets for foreigners
Getting a job is the key to maintaining a stable life in Finland. We just talked about the fact that Finnish is so tricky. Many people have been complaining that they have an excellent degree, like a master’s degree in. whatever field, but they still can’t get the job here because most jobs require Finnish. I even heard stories that people with master’s degrees end up doing toilet cleaning jobs here because they can’t get anything else. At least part of the problem is that some Finnish employers are hesitant to hire foreigners.
Of course, many international companies in Finland hire mostly foreigners because their primary language is English. Sadly, every once in a while, I hear the story that people with a foreign name get fewer job interviews than those with a Finnish name. I understand that specific jobs require native Finnish skills. If it’s a job where you need to interact with the customers, Finnish customers, mostly, then it makes sense that you need to be speaking Finnish there. Because if I went to a grocery store and I would have to speak English, I might think, what the hell is this? But the point is. It is challenging to find a job here in Finland, but not impossible.
Again, many people have done that before you, and several jobs need no Finnish at all. Many of my foreign friends have found English-speaking positions. But not all jobs are like that.
7. Ill-mannered people
Finns can be a little bit rude and even a little bit xenophobic. For example, getting up basic “Excuse me” can be difficult. Or if you just opened the door to someone, they might go in and without saying “Thank you” What the hell?
Some say that things are racist. I wouldn’t say racist. This may be the correct word, but I would say that more like xenophobic. That means that Finns may not be used to hanging around or spending time with foreigners around them. We get maybe a little bit shy and might not know how to be with them because we Finns are used to being around Finns. If there is any form of xenophobia, it’s more structural than verbal. At least I’ve never heard that a foreigner would get physically assaulted or verbally abused because they are foreigners.
Another aspect of the not-so-good manners is the customer service here in Finland isn’t that great. Many times, when I’m looking for some particular product, I’ve faced something like the following:
“Hey, I’m looking for product X.”
The answer I usually get is something along the lines of:
“Go straight from here, then turn left and the third shelf on the right.”
Obviously, this changes from place to place. You’ll get instructions on where to go. If I were in their shoes, I would personally take them to the right place and also help them select the right product. Again, I’m not saying the whole country is like this because there are stores where you can get excellent customer service.
8. The booze culture
I think it’s safe to say that alcohol is part of our culture. When I was 15, I remember I was still in upper secondary school. That was usually when the youngsters became interested in alcohol, at least back then. They tried to get some people to buy it for them because the age limit is 18. There were some home parties where youngsters would have had alcohol. I wasn’t invited to these because I wasn’t into that stuff. When I was 17, some people asked, If I was a good drinker, but I said I’d never had the alcohol. I got the “Haha” reply from Nelson in the Simpsons.
I’m saying this from a Finnish perspective. You get left out if you’re a Finn and don’t drink that much. I’m not saying thoroughly, but you’ll get reactions:
“Why isn’t this guy drinking?”
I drink myself now, though, but I’m not like a heavy drinker. I might get a few drinks to get a bit tipsy and stuff, but my goal is not to get wasted. And that’s unfortunate, what many Finns think. If you go to a party, you need to get wasted to celebrate or party in a properly Finnish way. That is something I hate in Finnish culture. What’s the point? It’s much more fun to get a few drinks and talk to people and dance, these kinds of things. Unfortunately, the booze culture is annoying here in Finland.
However, I don’t think this will be a big problem for you in your everyday life in Finland. Still, you will see this thing or this phenomenon because if you go to parties and you go to clubs and bars, you might see that Finns get drunk, but I don’t think it won’t affect you personally in any way. Let’s say, if you have a pikkujoulu party with your company, they usually have free booze there. If you don’t want to drink much, that’s completely fine. I mean, you, you won’t get discriminated against or left out in, but this is just something that we Finns face.
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