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Never give up – it is that simple

25.9.2020

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.

Mohamad Hameesh comes from Syria where he studied and worked as an electrical engineer. Mohamad fled the war in his home country and ended up in Finland after a few pit stops. Today Mohamad works as a mechanic at Hilti.

Mohamad Hameesh

How did you end up in Finland?

I graduated a mechatronics engineer from the Al-Baath University and started working as an electrical engineer at a gas factory in my hometown. When the war destroyed my life in Syria, I had to flee with my wife and son to Turkey. We tried to settle there but couldn’t so we decided to try our luck in Greece and set off on the most dangerous journeys of our lives. We arrived in Greece in an inflatable boat and after roughly one year in Greece, Unicef guided us to Finland as refugees and that’s how we ended up here.

How did you start to set up your life and your professional career in Finland?

At the time we arrived, I really did not know anything about Finland, I only knew Nokia is from Finland. We arrived in Lappeenranta in knee-deep snow with our summer wear and me and my wife really did not know what to make of what is to come. Adapting to Finnish life was hard. Knowing English helped a lot to deal with people here since everyone speaks English. I started to learn Finnish in a few courses but found it very hard. I wanted to find a job and started applying but without Finnish language skills, it was not easy. After 6 months, we decided to move to Helsinki, since we thought that maybe I could find a job in Helsinki where Finnish is not a requirement. We just really wanted to come back to a normal life.

The TE services and some friends then told me about an Integration Program called Business Lead that Hanken & SSE was running. As a part of the programme was an internship so I decided to apply. Through the programme, I got my internship at Hilti, the best company in the world. After 3 months I was offered my first job contract in Finland, and words can not express how happy I was. It was my dream to continue to work at Hilti.

What main obstacles have you experienced?

People told me over and over again how difficult it was going to be for me to find a job without knowing Finnish. This became frustrating as I really wanted to find an opportunity where I could prove myself useful. The language was the main reason why we moved to Helsinki and even in Helsinki the situation was not that easy.

What is your message to international job seekers in Finland?

My message is to never give up. It is that simple. When it comes to the language, you do need some Finnish to be able to communicate with people, this is the same as in every country. It is, of course, easier if you at least speak fluent English, but the Finnish language is perhaps the easiest and fastest way to work in Finland.

What is your message to companies employing people in Finland? Why is diversity important in your opinion?

In my opinion diversity and different cultures is so important at workplaces. We need the exchange of experiences, the diversity of skills and mixing working cultures to gain a deeper understanding of each other. All this leads a company to success in my view. In Hilti, there are many different cultures represented since it is a global company. This has helped me a lot and made it easy to adapt and work here, and also my co-workers help me a lot.

#WeWorkFinland


If you are an international professional living in Finland, you can register your CV with Pointer Potential here.

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