At first, living in Finland may seem complicated, confusing and yet still exciting as you explore all there is around you. However, with a little time and exploration, you’ll become accustomed to your new surroundings and life in the nation will get easier, more comfortable and even advantageous. As an expat and non-EU national, you are required to have knowledge pertaining to the nation’s economy, laws, culture, medical care, language, and currency system. Get familiar with all these facets before you even leave the U.S. You may need to prove your knowledge while applying for Finnish residency, visas, permits and citizenship.
Getting to Know Your Surroundings as a Foreigner
Finnish natives are extremely into the outdoors. They take great pride in their country and all that it has to offer. Helsinki, the capital of the nation, is one of the largest cities and greatest places for expats to explore and reside. The capital has a lot to offer non-EU nationals including employment, entertainment, housing, and many great expat communities, groups and programs.
Finland’s weather is similar to the northern states located in the U.S.A., depending on where you live. Living in south Finland will offer much shorter winter months than the regions in northern Finland where winter and snow last for 6 months at a time. Nevertheless, even with this cold, Finland is known as one of the happiest places to reside throughout the world, with rich culture, a high interest in tasty cuisine, annual festivals, marketplaces, and much more to be enjoyed and explored.
Since Finland’s natives have a high regard for outdoor activities, it’s not uncommon to see the natives skiing, picking berries in the fall, dog sledding, snowshoeing, skating, and even sunbathing. Another thing that you’ll notice is that the Finnish celebrate cottage season where they go to cottage communities in the warmer weather months to escape their everyday lives.
Make the Transition Easier by Finding other Expats in the Nation
You can make the transition of moving from the U.S. to Finland much easier by living in an expat community or city dedicated to the residency of expats. There are also many groups and programs you can enroll in that will help you become better acquainted with the nation. You’ll meet other like-minded individuals that came to the country for the same reasons you did and you are likely to find other U.S. natives also residing in Finland.
By joining any expat groups you can find, you’ll find it easier to explore and learn about the nation. Many of the groups and programs for expats will also help you to find housing as well as employment. They can even help you to learn Finnish and become more acquainted with the culture and lifestyle differences. Look online to find further information regarding expats in Finland. You’ll have many different options.
The Cost of Living in Finland
In comparison to the U.S., the cost of living in Finland is actually much more affordable. Obviously, it will depend on where you choose to reside in the nation since larger cities such as Helsinki will be more expensive than the nation’s smaller regions. However, you can definitely live comfortably in the country if you have the right financial means whether you have money saved in the bank or choose to work as you reside in Finland. Below, is an itemized list that will give you a better idea of what things might cost in the foreign nation. Take note that the currency is different than the currency in the U.S. So with that being said, $1.00 in U.S. currency is equal to 5.08 Finnish Markka.
- Typical lunch meal- FIM$13
- Fast food meal- FIM$7
- 1 liter of milk- FIM$1.10
- A dozen eggs- FIM$2.79
- Monthly rent in large, more expensive city- FIM$1,910
- Monthly utilities for 2 people- FIM$83
- Monthly Internet charges- FIM$16
- 1 liter of fuel- FIM$1.51
- Monthly public transport ticket- FIM$53
- Dinner for two at local restaurant or pub- FIM$40
- Single beer from local pub- FIM$5.52
- Cappuccino- FIM$4
According to statistics a little over 25% of an expat’s income is spent on rent or housing. While a slightly larger portion of their income (30%) is spent at markets. Eating out and public transport are the next largest expenses sitting around 14% and 15% of a person’s income. Remember all of this knowledge as you make the move from the United States to the foreign nation.