Nothing you want to achieve in Finland is impossible
1 June 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.
Esraa Ismaeel Saed is a journalist originally from Iraq. Esraa holds a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and has worked with various TV and radio broadcasts in her career. Today Esraa works as a TV reporter for the Finnish National Public Broadcasting company YLE.
How did you end up in Finland?
In 2015 my home country became too unsafe for me and I had no other choice but abandoning Iraq and leave everyone behind. I then came to Helsinki on my own and have been here ever since then.
How did you start and set up your new life in Finland?
I was determined to become a successful, self-made woman in my new home country and to pursue my dream of becoming a TV reporter. The first thing I did as a newcomer was to seek volunteer work. I offered up my time and experience at a youth care centre, where I gave a program in Arabic. Volunteering helped me to learn Finnish and network. I quickly formed new friendships, which brought me many opportunities. Together with a few fellow Iraqi journalist friends, I created the Espoo Fm Radio channel to support Arabic-speakers in Finland by providing current news from Finland and the world in their own language. This brought me in contact with the Finnish journalism sector and has allowed me to get that much closed to my dream of being a TV reporter.
What challenges in the working life in Finland have you encountered?
Like many other non-nationals, I have had less opportunities due to language and cultural barriers. As a newcomer, my challenges included learning Finnish and English so that I could be a part of the local culture and restart my professional life again. To fully integrate, and to be successful both personally and professionally, I quickly understood that I had to learn Finnish and English. I would not have achieved my goals without learning these languages. To become a local, you have to learn the local language. Also Finnish culture was completely new to me. I had to create new relationships and build a completely new life, a life I wanted, in my new country.
What do you see as the main value of international professionals working in Finland?
Diverse knowledge and other kind of thinking enriches Finland’s workforce, culture and economy. International professionals foster strong international ties that can create trade opportunities and other economic benefits.
What is your message to international job seekers in Finland?
No matter how difficult it is, nothing you want to achieve in Finland is impossible. This is one of the greatest things about this country. Learn to overcome your struggles. Never lose hope and always try to seek the best path toward your goal. Prepare for opportunities that come your way and strive to improve yourself. Remain positive and hopeful and never give up.
What is your message to companies employing people in Finland?
A diverse workforce increases knowledge-sharing, tolerance and strengthens our economy. Newcomers will always work hard to be the best at their jobs, as they are motivated to create a successful life in their new country. They will use their expertise and language skills to grow strong business relationships. Newcomers are proud of their new home and work to foster positive attitudes in the workplace and communities. Don’t lose out on that opportunity, make use of that.
If you are an international professional living in Finland, you can register your CV with Pointer Potential here.