Keodara Kelly ( Kelly Keodara ) came to Finland in 2015 in search of new horizons of life. She first taught Business English at various technology companies and colleges in the Satakunta region. In parallel with this, she received her master’s degree in media communications. Today, Kelly is a Marketing Communications Manager for Aerospace and Intelligent Systems. She is also the Tampere Talent Ambassador , whose mission is to help attract international talent to Finland’s third largest city ( Tampere Talent Ambassador ).
I found my current job… During the most unstable period of my life. The startup I worked for was going through financial difficulties, which ultimately led to my departure from the company. At the same time, I received my master’s degree and wondered what would happen next. To stay in Finland, I only had a few months to look for work. In those days, all I did was sit at the computer filling out hundreds of job applications. And, to my horror, I received many rejection letters. But the determination did not leave me. After several months of searching, I came across an interesting job posting on one of the many job search portals. This was the position of Marketing Communications Manager, and the message was written entirely in English! That in itself was amazing
After reading the list of required qualifications, I considered myself worthy of this position, until I came to the point about the need to be fluent in Finnish. My mood dropped immediately. I am learning Finnish and I like it, but it is definitely not the easiest language. But suddenly Finnish sisu suddenly appeared and became stronger in me , and I sent an e-mail to the contact person asking for a meeting. Needless to say, this person soon became my boss and I was the first foreign employee to join the team.
Any advice I can give to those who would like to move to Finland for work … be brave. At first, finding a job in Finland or starting a business here can be very difficult. Language barriers and local regulations can be significant obstacles in many ways. But don’t let that stop you. From my personal experience, the rules can be changed a little. The way of thinking can be changed. Finland needs international experience to thrive. Find people who will support you and believe in you. Expand your network of contacts, and at the right time you will be where you wanted to go.
The Finnish word that best describes working life in Finland … mielenkiintoista , which means interesting. Working in Finland is interesting because it sometimes makes me smile or even giggle, and sometimes it confuses me.
Working in the Finnish aerospace and intelligent systems industry … has strengthened my belief that anything is possible. Moreover, both in one and the other direction. What is happening today may be irrelevant tomorrow. At the same time, the leading innovations in the industry, which I have witnessed, sometimes seem to be just on the verge of fantasy! It’s always nice to come to work without even knowing what to expect from a new day. I like it!
What I love most about Tampere is … that there are many people who support me. This is my family, partner, friends, colleagues and many others. I believe that both personal happiness and a general sense of fulfillment are necessary to achieve maximum success. Quality of life is not only work, but also the harmony of all aspects of life that are important to you. And here in Tampere I find this balance.
The qualities that expatriate employees bring to the workplace … are what I call excitement and diversity. Foreign experts can offer something new. We can open up a new perspective. We can share experience and knowledge from other countries. We can help Finnish companies achieve greater prosperity if we only get this one chance to prove ourselves.
My experience of studying in Finland … a dream come true. I never thought that I would have the opportunity to study for a master’s degree at a Finnish university. And then she asked herself why not. I applied and was accepted. Studying here was very different from my experience at an American university. I had time to fully immerse myself in student life and immerse myself in the local culture. It was during my studies that I first began to communicate with people with similar interests and began to expand my network of contacts: from local to national and international. During the couple of years that I was studying, I have grown a lot, both personally and professionally. This is the period of my life in which I would not change anything.
The transition from school to work here went … quite calmly. After I got a permanent job, the tension disappeared. Fortunately, thanks to the organizations and associations in which I was involved, and also thanks to the fact that I have many Finnish friends, I was able to deeply understand Finnish culture and adapt well to work. My colleagues are the friendliest people I have ever worked with. The only «but» is still the language, since communication within the company is conducted mainly in Finnish. But I see it as an additional opportunity to learn the language. In conversations with colleagues, I often thank you for the opportunity to get to know the Finnish language every day and learn new words and phrases. Little by little, step by step, my Finnish is getting better!
As Ambassador of Tampere, I noticed that… for the international community to feel as comfortable as possible here, all of us — foreign and local professionals — must help foster work diversity and inclusion. You need to understand that we are not here to take jobs from local residents, we just want to expand opportunities for everyone. We must admit that English as a working language is both possible and useful for everyone. Our task is to convey the idea that foreigners will contribute to the further development of Finland, if only we give them a chance. Sometimes it seems like hiring international experts here is akin to stigmatization. I truly believe that this is only due to fear. And the only way to get rid of this fear is to face it face to face, that is, to hire a foreign specialist.
The organizations that have supported my professional growth in Finland … there are a lot of them! In addition to the companies in which I work or have worked, it is worth mentioning the local, national and international structures of which I have been a part and which have contributed to my growth. Among them: UNICEF Rauma, Suomen Punainen Risti , Finnish Model United Nations , AIESEC Tampere , Tampere United Nations Association , United Nations Youth Association Network , Tampere University Student Ambassadorship , City of Tampere Ambassadorship , Tampere Entrepreneurship Society , EU Aid Volunteers of DG EU Commission Humanitarian Aid Office, United Nations , Tampere Ilves Hockey Media Team , WeWorld Italy . And also the non-profit organization Bloom ry , which I founded to help foreigners better integrate into Finnish society.
The main difference between working life in Finland and other countries where I worked … is the balance between work and personal life. I value this because I know how rare it is in other countries. At work, I do what I have to do, but if I have any urgent things to do at home, I can choose to work flexibly. This approach reduces stress, which in turn only benefits companies. When employees are happy and they work better.