No jobs, so what?
Finding a job in Finland seems to be particularly difficult, for both international students and immigrants, with little or no knowledge of Finnish. Although Finnish websites such as www.mol.fi, www.oikotie.fi, http://hae.monster.fi etc. seem really helpful, very few international students can boast of getting jobs through them in smaller cities like Joensuu.
After the first year, several international students in various Master’s degree programmes return to their home countries to find employment or resume their normal life. With the flexible Finnish higher education system, it is possible to sign up for extra courses and fulfil the required credits within the first year. Writing your Master’s thesis can be done from your home country, if supported by frequent correspondence with your assigned supervisor.
A few friends with irregular jobs such as babysitting learn of such offers from friends or via social networks like Facebook. Part time jobs such as paper delivery, waitressing and cleaning jobs are even harder to come by. A few students who find part time work in bigger cities like Helsinki, shuttle between both cities from time to time, in a bid to combine schoolwork with paid employment.
Starting a business in Finland is a risk that few graduates are willing to pursue, although it may be a good way for immigrants to obtain work. Taxes and high overhead costs may further deter young entrepreneurs. Nevertheless, several local organisations like Joensuu Science Park (www.startmeup.fi) continue to encourage individuals to come up with business ideas, which can be developed and financed. Coming from a country without a social security system, I believe that entrepreneurship is quite vital in driving the informal economy.
Another viable option to consider could be social entrepreneurship. According to Ashoka, “Social entrepreneurs are individuals with innovative solutions to society’s most pressing problems for wide-scale change”. Social entrepreneurs consider wealth creation as a necessary tool for effecting social change. One of such Finnish success stories is Mifuko, a Helsinki-based company, which produces bags, baskets, carpets, etc. from recycled material in Kenya which are sold in Finland.
The tuition free education offered in Finland continues to attract skilled students from all over the world. It would not be incorrect to say that many of the international master’s degree students, like me, resigned from adequately paying jobs to acquire knowledge and desired expertise in chosen fields of study for career advancement.`
Many of us desire a fulfilling career; we dream of having a job we absolutely love that rewards handsomely. Well, I simply choose to take life one step at a time, never stop learning and take advantage of any opportunity that comes my way. Ultimately, I desire to go back to my country and make a difference.
By: Tayo Olatoye
Master’s Degree student in Linguistics University of Eastern Finland
This story has been published in Karjalainen newspaper and produced by JoMoni