Finding a place in the working world

International degree students compared notes on the Finnish working life

A group of international students

One of the greatest concerns of a student is to secure a job as soon as he/she graduates. A group of international students attended “Stories Around the Fireplace” organised by Tsemppi, the organisation for international degree students at the University of Helsinki, to learn more.

Postgraduate student from Namibia, Dora Shivute shared first-hand experiences working in Finland. She has worked in a variety of places, from Unicafe to Kustaankartano (a home for the aged) to Kierrätyskeskus (the recycling centre). Of these, perhaps only the recycling centre and TARMO are most relevant to her field of study.

Shivute shares her perspective of a foreigner having an enjoyable time in Finland. Firstly, it was important to show understanding and tolerance in an intercultural setting. Not only did she take notice of and respect Finnish values, she sought to be pro-active to learn more about Finland and its people.

She suggested international students network with their Finnish friends too, instead of just with people from their own country.

If students feel inadequate in job hunting skills, the University’s Career Services department is here to help.

Career Services aims to help students transit to working life and to develop their career management skills.

Planning Officer, Heidi Layne, observed that major obstacles international students faced include not being fluent in Finnish, poor knowledge of the Finnish labour market and weak network of contacts – issues that Finnish graduates obviously do have a edge.

Layne recommends that students find out about jobs they are interested in and request for “information interviews” from people already working in those positions. Instead of asking for a job straightaway, students can probe more about the job and enquire about the qualifications required. There are instances where students found jobs this way.

Job hunters can look up RekryForum, a job database from University of Helsinki’s students as well as The latter is a network of academic career services representing 19 different Finnish universities.

You may also e-mail Career Services at to arrange for an appointment.

Text: Mui Ching Han
Photo: Wilma Hurskainen

Translation: AAC Noodi Oy

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