One of the main topics that we have been discussing about with our participants has been the importance of friends and relationships in their job hunting and integration processes. If friends can be linked to networking, they are also very much linked to your own well-being and integration in Finland.
Loneliness impacts your general well-being and therefore your job-hunting process. Meeting new friends is often a big challenge for people who recently moved here. Our first advice is to get active and find a hobby or activity that will connect you to link minded people. Many NGO’s as well as city services offer free or very low-priced activities.
Having a Finnish spouse, you might feel like your friends are your partner’s friend, and that it is difficult for you to have your own circles. This feeling of being dependent on your partner might create a lot of frustrations for you and for your partner who will feel responsible and guilty. Having your own friends is an important part of having a balanced relationship.
Another issue that many of our participants have had has been into making Finnish friends. Not speaking Finnish might feel like a barrier to you, as well as some cultural differences. From our participants’ experiences, volunteering and hobbies are the most efficient way to meet new Finnish people. Don’t hesitate to ask them out for coffee!
Integration is a process, and you will notice that at some times you are more ready to open up to Finnish friends, when at other times, you will feel like spending more time with people who speak your mother tongue or connect with your old friends back home. These phases are normal, and you shouldn’t feel guilty about it.