Internship in electronic maintenance
When I arrived in Rauma in September 2022, the little knowledge I had about Finland and its people was from travel guides and some facts from the internet.
So, from the moment of my arrival, I was quite surprised by the hospitality and “down-to-earthness” of the people here when my plane landed at the small airport of Tampere. Instead of being greeted by the typical tensed German border control that I was used to, a single officer took his time for each of the passengers and asked me where I was heading to and if I needed some assistance getting to central Tampere.
The company in Rauma I am working for would welcome me with equal warmth the following days fitting me with all the things I could possibly need and therefore taking a lot of the anxieties that one might have in the beginning of such a journey.
Rauma Old Town
Lunches in Oldtown and independent work
While adapting now to my new environment I really liked the ‘Äyhönjärvi’ Lake directly in front of my doorstep, Rauma’s beautiful oldtown ‘Vanha Rauma’, the seaside and all the various restaurants it is common to go to with colleagues during lunchbreak (even though lunch at 11:00 was a difference to get used to at first). And as soon as you would leave the roads you find yourself in a densely grown needleleaf forest. Finland vast nature is something my home country cannot compare to nowadays.
As for the working part: I experienced work life here so far to be more pleasantly arranged in general. A higher level of trust in everyone’s capabilities and the freedom to work independently on projects are what I found in particular, compared to my native country. The work tempo is not dictated by someone else which leads to a much more relaxed atmosphere.
Sauna with colleagues
In my case (electrical maintenance company with approx. 100 employees) there were even some occasional work trips/events that brought everyone closer together. Going fishing there and having Sauna with colleagues and superiors shows that typical Finnish informal and uncomplicated working culture, at least at my company.
During this whole I also noticed some smaller differences coming from Germany like the heavier use and good infrastructure everywhere for card payment. What football was back home is Ice hockey in Finland. An event worth a visit, where whole communities meet and even companies hold their business meetings while supporting their local club.
Travelling around and meet the finns
When travelling to other parts of the country I can recommend the quite popular and cheap ‘Onnibus’ where it is also easily achievable to take bigger luggage with you. And as an advanced tip, try to look for information always on the Finish version of websites that have often times more information for you to find the hidden gems that are all around.
It is true in my opinion that Finns are rather conservative when meeting with strangers. This was one of my bigger struggles at first but once the ice is broken, they are quite outgoing and will make for good company. In addition, I was surprised at how easily I found and made friends among other exchange students and foreigners who were also adjusting to life in a new country.
And while the language is not the easiest to learn, being surrounded at work by the Finnish language helps a lot and any effort to learn Finish will receive great recognition among native speakers in my experience. Communication in English was very rarely a problem. People frequently understood English well and were just sometimes a bit timid to start talking to me in English.
Forest in winter
Conclusions and summary
So, 4 Months into my 8 Month long internship I would say I recommend going abroad to anyone who wants a memorable time and lots of new learnings personally/work-related. I gained independency and made friends, in the process of arriving and working here with new people. In Retrospective the positive experiences outweighed the challenges always by far. Of course, now being able to curse in a third language is one of the benefits :)
David from Germany