“Internships are key in Finland for students and for professional life. If you aren’t giving internships to international students, then there’s no point in asking them to stay,” says law student and Project Coordinator Jorge Córdova.
Originally from Mexico, Jorge Córdova is no stranger to living abroad: he’s lived in Turkey, the United Kingdom, and, since 2018, Finland.
With an existing Bachelor of Laws degree and the experience of working in taxation law and the election system in Mexico, Córdova decided to continue studying in the Master’s Program in International Business Law at the University of Helsinki since moving to Finland with his wife.
Universities and companies: make it easier for international students to find internships
Córdova, like many international students, was unable to secure an internship as his first work experience in Finland. As noted by all our student and graduate interviewees, the competition for a limited number of internships that do not require Finnish language knowledge is high. If finding an internship already feels impossible, Córdova says, students will lose motivation to try to find a job in Finland.
“Internships are key in Finland for students and for professional life. If you aren’t giving internships to international students, then there’s no point in asking them to stay.”
Finnish institutions play key roles in creating more opportunities for internships available to international students, particularly with national goals being to retain students after graduation.
It’s not enough to just look through job postings online
Córdova sums up his experience with the Finnish job market as a combination of motivation, resilience, and luck. Being active and following up on every opportunity were particularly important strategies, he says, having joined integration programs from the moment he moved to Finland.
Though the position was not in his field, Córdova says his first job as a restaurant manager taught him about Finnish working life and how to manage an international workplace. It also kept him motivated to continue searching for other positions.
With the Covid-19 pandemic closing businesses, Córdova intensified his search for a new position.
It was through his network that Córdova learned about an open position that sought Spanish language skills at Lionbridge, an international translation and localization company. At the time of our interview, TELUS International had acquired the company’s business unit specializing in helping companies develop AI through data collection, and Córdova was about to start his promoted position as Project Coordinator for AI Data Solutions.
Everyone is different and yet the same deep inside
With Lionbridge being an international company, and with its working language being English, Córdova has been able to experience the benefits of working in an international environment: not only do teams consist of people from all around the world, but everyone also feels included by speaking the same working language.
Córdova says it has been invaluable to meet people from all over the world every day, helping him to learn the importance of adapting to one’s environment. By interacting with coworkers coming from different cultures–both at Lionbridge and at his previous position – Córdova came to appreciate that one’s culture effects everyday interactions. This not only helped create an inclusive environment, but also made it fun.
Part of working in an international office meant Córdova was also able to notice some Finnish habits and ways of working.
“Finns love to meet,” Córdova laughs when considering the differences between his working experiences in Mexico and Finland.
This Finnish love for frequent meetings has proved an invaluable part of remote working. Having started his position at Lionbridge during the pandemic, Córdova acknowledges that these meetings helped make him feel less isolated and gave everyone the chance to share their thoughts and ideas.
Córdova’s advice for jobhunting in Finland:
- Resilience is key: Finding a job as a foreigner in Finland is tough but it’s doable! Seize the moment and take as many opportunities as possible. You never know how they will pay off.
- Build your network: It’s not just if you know someone, but also what that person thinks of you. Making good impressions counts.
- Stay motivated: Jobhunting can be a long process and hard work pays off, eventually.
- Finally, once you do find a job, be adaptable: it takes work on both sides to make Finnish workspaces more international.
The interview was made by our American summer intern, Anna Bogdan.