Keep on moving – always! The opportunities in Finland are endless.
5 August 2020
More than 400 000 people with an international background live in Finland. In Helsinki alone, every sixth person has a background other than Finnish. The We Work-series shares glimpses of the real-life stories of international professionals living and working in Finland.
Marco Leite was born and raised in Santos in Brazil. Marco started his career in TV production already in Brazil as a camera assistant, while studying at the Fine Arts Center University of São Paulo. Today Marco works as a Production Manager and Television Director at IRR-TV/AlfaTV. Marco calls Finland home as he became a Finnish citizen about five years ago.
How did you end up in Finland?
In 2001 we moved abroad, first to Israel and then to London, UK after that. We lived in London for five years where I also worked with media and TV. During that time I met my wife, a beautiful Finnish lady. We got married in 2005 and moved to Finland in 2006.
How did you start and set up your new life in Finland?
Being a Christian, me and my wife joined a church community in Helsinki. There we got to know a few people involved with media and TV production. I got my first freelance gig for TV7 and did a few concerts for a Finnish friend whom I met yet in London. The work I do today at IRR-TV/Alfa TV came through our church pastor. As a part of my Finnish language course, I had three months of work experience to complete, so I asked if I could do it at IRR-TV. After those three months, I was offered a full-time job. The Finnish language school also helped in that sense.
What challenges in the working life in Finland have you encountered?
In the beginning, the language was the biggest obstacle, but if you are patient and keep learning, it gets better all the time.
What do you see as the main value of international professionals working in Finland?
For me, the main value is the different experiences and the approach of how to deal with your circumstances at work, in my case especially on a creative level.
How would you comment on the language matter? Do you feel you need Finnish/ Swedish?
Knowing English was essential for me in my first steps to integrate in Finland. Depending a bit on who you work for, what you do for work, and where you live in, but I think you can survive with the English language in Finland easily. However in my opinion, if you really want to be a part of society, be fully integrated, find more opportunities, be politically active, finally feel at “home”, learning Finnish is essential. It also helps you to learn about the culture you are living in on a deeper level when you know the language. But as I said before, you need to be patient, because the Finnish language takes time to learn, at least for me!
What is your message to international job seekers in Finland?
My message is to keep on moving – always! What I mean by that is that, it’s easy to stay home and live on government benefits and feel sorry for yourself, living a life you feel is not going anywhere. All the time thinking about if you made the right decision or not to come to live here. Or you can keep moving all the time, studying the language, getting to know people, doing sports, going to church, attending free galleries and concerts, search for work, open your own business, search for a school. The government does give amazing support for you to study, and even to change your career entirely. The opportunities in Finland are endless.
What is your message to companies employing people in Finland?
To the companies, I would like to say that, you would be very surprised, in a good way, on how much enthusiasm, creativity, and hard work a foreigner can bring to your company. Even sometimes a whole upgrade on the general atmosphere of your working place. In my opinion, diversity enriches every relationship and activity. Differences through the eyes of fear, brings nothing, only more fear. Differences when accepted and developed, bring the new – it complements, it balances, it surprises you, and it’s a great asset to any company or relationship.
If you are an international professional living in Finland, you can register your CV with Pointer Potential here.