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Expat stories

Ekaterina Popova photo
Expat’s Opinion: 7 Pros of Living in Finland
Ekaterina Popova
Has been living in Finland for 6 years

Expat’s Opinion: 7 Pros of Living in Finland

This post was originally published on ekaterinapopova.fi.

I’ve been living in Finland for almost 6 years. I believe that it’s enough to realize most of the benefits and challenges related to life here and make up your mind on whether this country is a good fit for you or not.

A short introduction to be told first. The town where I used to live before moving to Finland is very close to the Russia-Finnish border. Vyborg is just 70 km away from Lappeenranta, and 140 km away from Saint-Petersburg, so locals tend to go to Finland for shopping and short vacations. I visited Finland for the first time when I was 8 years old, and since then I had travelled there at least once in 1-2 months. My parents have many friends in Finland, so we always had a good reason to get into the car and go there.

In 2011, I moved to Finland to get my Bachelor degree, and I told the story about ‘why Finland’ and ‘how to get a study place there’ in this blog post (read if you’re curious). And today I want to share with you my thoughts on what is positive about living in Finland. It’s just my personal opinion, and it’s up to you whether to agree with me or not. I’ll also discuss cons, but later!

Security wherever you go

Finnish people are not risk-takers, and that is why they tend to secure their lives to the maximum. First of all, there is an extremely low level of crimes. You can walk in the middle of the night along the dark streets of Helsinki, and nothing bad is going to happen to you. You won’t be robbed, kidnapped, raped or anything. The scariest thing that can happen is a drunk person asking you for a cigarette. You can feel safe, and you don’t need to worry about making it home safely tonight.

Now let’s talk about the employment law. According to it, your employer needs to have a very good reason to fire you, if your trial period is over, and you have a permanent work contract. If you don’t break the law, but deliver what is expected from you, you can feel secure about getting paid and being able to pay your bills. Yes, if the company gets bankrupt, then everyone can lose a job. However, the government will come into the picture and support you, so that you can manage till you find a new job. So, social security is high in Finland, and the institution called Kela supervised by the Finnish Parliament is there to support you financially. Typical situations in which people contact Kela are childbirth, studies, illness, unemployment and retirement.

Beautiful Finnish nature

Finland is incredible, and its nature is simply breathtaking. The country of 1001 lakes is famous for its sustainability and ‘green’ practices around the world. It’s very clean wherever you go. The air is super fresh. The tap water is delicious and you can drink it everywhere without any concerns. Finland grows vegetables and berries, so you can get natural vitamins of high quality.

Finland is considered to be the best country for growing kids – any more arguments needed?

Free education and high salaries

In Finland, you can get your higher education for free in Finnish, Swedish or English (unfortunately, from the year 2016 on, the latter one is available for free only for the EU citizens or those who have a residence permit ‘A’). I should say that the quality of education is pretty high, and local universities use the best possible study materials and equipment. There is nothing to complain about, especially when it’s for free. During/after your studies you can expect to be well-paid (in comparison to Russian salaries, for example). In Finland, the lowest price per hour is around 8 euros, and the average one is around 14 euros. However, living costs here are higher than in Russia, but it’s a different story about cons.

Digitalisation is everywhere

Finland is a very advanced country that is into high technology and making people’s lives easier. There is an app for almost everything, you can pay with your bank card even in an ice-cream kiosk on the island in the middle of nowhere. There are many startups in the Nordics that bring new innovations and improve the existing solutions, and I work at one of them! And yes, unlimited and super fast 4G for your smartphone at the price of 20 euros a month – isn’t it a miracle?

Healthy and active lifestyle

In Finland, you can see many people running and cycling. Cities have special lines for bicycles only, and it’s not a problem at all to find nice routes for running, away from cars and emissions. Fitness and healthy diets are also quite popular. There are good opportunities for keeping an active lifestyle and getting fit & toned. Besides, Finland has over 70 ski resorts, so outdoors lovers can do skiing and snowboarding 8 months a year! Isn’t it awesome?

Positive, friendly and pretty people

Don’t be surprised by Finns greeting strangers and smiling at them. I can say that Finnish people are always ready to help. What’s more, Finnish people speak English quite well, so if you don’t speak Finnish, you can easily manage without it here. Finns don’t look pissed or grumpy, but smiley and friendly. Positivity and lightness are everywhere! Besides, this nation itself is very pretty – blond hair and blue eyes. Men tend to take care of themselves, so you can often see tall, handsome and stylish men in a good shape (especially in Helsinki).

Alive and beautiful cities

Small towns have their own charm. Big cities have magnificent architecture, extremely convenient public transport, fantastic events, great restaurants and buffets, cozy cafes, good energy and a lot of fun and interesting stuff to do. You can travel between cities and pay for a trip a price starting from 1 euro if you book tickets in advance! Trains are very convenient too, but a bit pricey.

I think that there are even more pros of living in Finland, but these are the ones that came to my mind at first place.

Watch also: Life in Finland: Pros and Сons (video)

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Salary calculator

€ 36000

A minimum base salary for relocation starts at € 36000 per year, while more leading roles (architects, team leads) can bring you gross annual income of € 70000, without bonuses.

*The figures are imprecise and reflect the approximate salary range in this country. Keep in mind that the salaries you’re offered when relocating may differ from those you can get already living in the country.

Annual net income:
€ 24816 $ 0000

Monthly net income:
€ 2068 $ 0000

Explore cities

General

Helsinki, the capital of Finland, is the largest city in the happiest country in the world. Helsinki, as a beautiful place, was named the World Design Capital in 2012. Furthermore, this city is a political, cultural, financial and educational center of Finland. In 2016 the Economist Intelligence Unit`s liveability survey placed Helsinki on the 9th place among 140 cities. As a bilingual city, where Finnish and Swedish are official languages, Helsinki is famous for a very high proficiency in English. There is one interesting fact that Helsinki is an unusual capital because it is not only on mainland but also includes some islands.

1st

in the most honest cities in the world

1st

in the life quality


Cost of living

Property prices
  • Apartment rent (small) in City Centre € 952
  • Apartment (small) Outside of Centre € 746
  • Apartment (big) in City Centre € 1,786
  • Apartment (big) Outside of Centre € 1,226
Utilities (monthy)
  • Basic (Electricity, Heating, Cooling, Water, Garbage) for big apartment € 170
  • Internet € 24
Transportation
  • One-way Ticket (Local Transport) € 3
  • Monthly Pass (Regular Price) € 55
  • Taxi 1km ride € 1.6
  • Gasoline (1 liter) € 1.5
Food & Restaraunts
  • The average food basket € 39                                                                                                                                                                                         milk (1 liter), 1 bread (500g), eggs (12), local cheese (1kg), chicken breasts (1kg), apples (1kg), potato (1kg), water (1,5 liter), a bottle of wine, domestic beer (0,5l bottle)
  • Lunch € 13
  • Meal for 2 People, Mid-range Restaurant, Three-course € 70
  • Beer € 6
  • Cappuccino (regular) € 3.7
  • Coke/Pepsi (0,33 liter bottle) € 2.3
Sports and leisure
  • Fitness Club, Monthly Fee for 1 Adult € 42
  • Cinema, International Release, 1 Seat € 13

Healthcare

Finland is famous for good healthcare services. That`s why it is among top 5 satisfied with the level of medical care countries according to the European Commission. Helsinki is not an exemption. In this city primary healthcare is provided by municipal health centers. So if you need to visit a doctor, you should make an appointment in the closest center to the place of living. Finland is a country with Very High Proficiency in English, so it is easy to find a doctor who speaks English well.

Medications in Finland are provided by pharmacies. There are self-care and prescription drugs. A prescription is valid for two years and can be electronic or printed one.

If you live in Finland you have to be insured. There are two types of insurance: public and private. In Finland almost everybody prefers to choose a public one because of the high-quality treatment.


Education

Finland has one of the highest education index in the world. Furthermore, higher education in this country is ranked first by the World Economic Forum. There are two sectors in the tertiary education: traditional universities and universities of applied sciences. Moreover, there are 4 types of degree programmes in Finland such as: bachelor, master, licentiate and doctoral. Here you can find universities, colleges and education providers in Helsinki.

More about education in Finland


Climate

Helsinki, as a city with a humid continental climate, is considered as a place with cold winters and warm, humid summers. The average temperature in summer is 19°C (65 °F) and in winter -4.5°C (24 °F). There are around 120 rainy days a year in the coldest capital.

 19°C

average summer temperature

-4.5°C

average temperature in winter


Safety

Helsinki, as a safe city, has a safety level of 77% safe according to Numbeo’s rating and 86% according to SafeAround. Like in most European capitals crime rate is low here, so it is very safe for residents. Just use common sense while staying.

86/100

Safety index "SafeAround"

77/100

Safety index "Numbeo"


Economy

Helsinki is one of the richest capitals in the EU. 83 of the 100 largest companies in Finland are headquartered in this city. Helsinki is known for service-related IT and public sectors in the economy. This city can be considered as the best place for large investors to settle their businesses. A lot of highly qualified and skilled employees are employed in Helsinki. That's why Helsinki can be considered as a good place for professional relocation.

3300

Average monthly

salary


People

Expat communities are common in Helsinki. There you can connect with other expats, find friends and help if needed. Here are some of them:

InterNations

HelsinkiExspats

Expat-Finland

  • General

    Helsinki, the capital of Finland, is the largest city in the happiest country in the world. Helsinki, as a beautiful place, was named the World Design Capital in 2012. Furthermore, this city is a political, cultural, financial and educational center of Finland. In 2016 the Economist Intelligence Unit`s liveability survey placed Helsinki on the 9th place among 140 cities. As a bilingual city, where Finnish and Swedish are official languages, Helsinki is famous for a very high proficiency in English. There is one interesting fact that Helsinki is an unusual capital because it is not only on mainland but also includes some islands.

    1st

    in the most honest cities in the world

    1st

    in the life quality

  • Cost of living

    Property prices
    • Apartment rent (small) in City Centre € 952
    • Apartment (small) Outside of Centre € 746
    • Apartment (big) in City Centre € 1,786
    • Apartment (big) Outside of Centre € 1,226
    Utilities (monthy)
    • Basic (Electricity, Heating, Cooling, Water, Garbage) for big apartment € 170
    • Internet € 24
    Transportation
    • One-way Ticket (Local Transport) € 3
    • Monthly Pass (Regular Price) € 55
    • Taxi 1km ride € 1.6
    • Gasoline (1 liter) € 1.5
    Food & Restaraunts
    • The average food basket € 39                                                                                                                                                                                         milk (1 liter), 1 bread (500g), eggs (12), local cheese (1kg), chicken breasts (1kg), apples (1kg), potato (1kg), water (1,5 liter), a bottle of wine, domestic beer (0,5l bottle)
    • Lunch € 13
    • Meal for 2 People, Mid-range Restaurant, Three-course € 70
    • Beer € 6
    • Cappuccino (regular) € 3.7
    • Coke/Pepsi (0,33 liter bottle) € 2.3
    Sports and leisure
    • Fitness Club, Monthly Fee for 1 Adult € 42
    • Cinema, International Release, 1 Seat € 13
  • Healthcare

    Finland is famous for good healthcare services. That`s why it is among top 5 satisfied with the level of medical care countries according to the European Commission. Helsinki is not an exemption. In this city primary healthcare is provided by municipal health centers. So if you need to visit a doctor, you should make an appointment in the closest center to the place of living. Finland is a country with Very High Proficiency in English, so it is easy to find a doctor who speaks English well.

    Medications in Finland are provided by pharmacies. There are self-care and prescription drugs. A prescription is valid for two years and can be electronic or printed one.

    If you live in Finland you have to be insured. There are two types of insurance: public and private. In Finland almost everybody prefers to choose a public one because of the high-quality treatment.

  • Education

    Finland has one of the highest education index in the world. Furthermore, higher education in this country is ranked first by the World Economic Forum. There are two sectors in the tertiary education: traditional universities and universities of applied sciences. Moreover, there are 4 types of degree programmes in Finland such as: bachelor, master, licentiate and doctoral. Here you can find universities, colleges and education providers in Helsinki.

    More about education in Finland

  • Climate

    Helsinki, as a city with a humid continental climate, is considered as a place with cold winters and warm, humid summers. The average temperature in summer is 19°C (65 °F) and in winter -4.5°C (24 °F). There are around 120 rainy days a year in the coldest capital.

     19°C

    average summer temperature

    -4.5°C

    average temperature in winter

  • Safety

    Helsinki, as a safe city, has a safety level of 77% safe according to Numbeo’s rating and 86% according to SafeAround. Like in most European capitals crime rate is low here, so it is very safe for residents. Just use common sense while staying.

    86/100

    Safety index "SafeAround"

    77/100

    Safety index "Numbeo"

  • Economy

    Helsinki is one of the richest capitals in the EU. 83 of the 100 largest companies in Finland are headquartered in this city. Helsinki is known for service-related IT and public sectors in the economy. This city can be considered as the best place for large investors to settle their businesses. A lot of highly qualified and skilled employees are employed in Helsinki. That's why Helsinki can be considered as a good place for professional relocation.

    3300

    Average monthly

    salary

  • People

    Expat communities are common in Helsinki. There you can connect with other expats, find friends and help if needed. Here are some of them:

    InterNations

    HelsinkiExspats

    Expat-Finland

Finland
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