My first day in Finland was not a pleasant one, to say the least. I just landed in Helsinki straight from Nigeria, full of zeal and ready to dive into student life at the University of Lapland. Retrieving my luggage took so long time. So I missed my connecting flight from Helsinki to Rovaniemi. Also one of my luggages could not be found. I cried. That moment, my excitement about being in Finland went down the hill. Then a very nice Finnish man noticed my dilemma, and came to help me. My faith came back to life.
Now I have been here for 3 years and my life has changed in many good ways. I have shared and I am still sharing my Experiences here on my blog and majorly on my YouTube Channel (here is the link). This includes some of the Finnish cultural practices I find to be Interesting, Similar or Different from my cultural background. I have also featured some other Immigrants and International Students on my Channel as they share their experiences and thoughts on Life in Finland.
Today, would I say that I have been able to blend into the Finnish society so far? Would I call Finland a “Foreigner-Friendly” country? I will be answering these questions in two aspects:
1. The System: One of the very first things i noticed is that the system works. This is a huge thing for me, because back in Nigeria, it is a whole different story. Also there are a handful of services and associations particularly targeted at Immigrants and Foreigners to help them settle down comfortably. Personally I have come across some of these organizations and I have gotten so much guidance from them.
2. The Society: But then how about the People, the very natives among whom the Immigrants seek to live? Do they give the new comers a chance (even if tiny) to be known, without any prejudgements or bias? These are the very reasons why I am so grateful to be surrounded with so nice people that love me and have taken me as family. I see a successful Integration plan as the fruit of a collaborative synergy in which both the natives and the foreigners had to make some adjustments and compromises at certain points in time.
I have a new video where I talked about this in more details and also talked about other important issues as well. Click here to watch it.
Finally, a little advice for other Immigrants here in Lapland, especially the new comers: Although you may be coming from a totally different background, try to Recognize and Respect the cultural values and practices of this new place. Everyday, make a conscious effort to Influence this country, your new home, positively.
Thank you for reading. I hope you enjoyed this Article. I will be sharing more of these on this Blog so definitely Follow This Blog so you can get the Newsletter delivered straight to your email inbox. Please also take a moment to watch the video My Thoughts On Integration In Finland. I would love to know what you think about this topic. Please feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments section of the video.
Thanks and have a lovely evening! :D.