Friday, 24 October 2014

Things you should know about living in Finland!

I know, I know... I talk about Finland way too often. Go ahead and tell me to put a cork in but it's really all I've got going on right now, (Sorry). So today, I thought I would treat you with a handy little guide of things you should know about living in Finland. 

1. Speeding
Do not speed. Seriously. I mean it goes without saying, speeding isn't good anywhere in the world; but if you are unlucky enough to get caught speeding in Finland you will find yourself lumped with a hefty fine. It's calculated as a percentage of your wage and based on whether or not you have any dependents, such as children. I've personally known people to have paid just shy of a thousand Euros in a single fine alone. It's a one-way street to bankruptcy so be warned!

2. Food Intolerances
If you're lactose intolerant, you'll fit right in because pretty much everyone else is too. Okay, maybe I'm slightly exaggerating on that front; but food intolerances are really well catered for here. Almost all places to eat and supermarkets will offer gluten-free and lactose-free choices. Take that allergies!

3. Sausages
You will not eat a tasty sausage in Finland, they don't exist. Oh how I long for a sausage sandwich on a hangover day, only to be presented with what appears to be fortified rubber in a bag. Trust me, they're vile. Avoid at all costs!

4. It's Hot
I mean, sunburn kind of hot. In the Southern regions in Summer, it can readily hit the 30 degrees (C) mark and yes, you really can sunbathe. Who would have thought?

5. It's Freezing
On the flip side, Finland gets cold. Unholy, frost-biting hell levels of cold. The kind where you want to shed a tear just walking to your car, but you can't because it's a bazillion degrees below freezing. Brrrr. 

6. Shopping
Unless you speak Finnish, you will not be able to go food shopping without your mobile phone set up with Google Translate. Neither will you complete such a task in under an hour. I buy sparkling water by accident on a weekly basis and I once made a meat pie using pre-rolled sweet pastry. If anything, it keeps you on your toes. In terms of where to shop, the high street in Finland isn't spectacular. As far as I'm aware, there's no Topshop, River Island, Miss Selfridge etc. I could go on all day about the lack of shopping opportunities on offer. Online shopping will become your best friend, although you can pretty much guarantee a Kioski, (Corner shop/newsagent equivalent) to be around every corner. 

7. Bugs
I can't say I've spotted too many creepy crawlies whilst living in Finland; and from research conducted before moving here, there doesn't appear to be a population of huge spiders. As a complete and utter arachnophobe, this pleases me somewhat. (If you know this not to be true, please let me down gently.) However, in Summer, you can expect to be inundated with flies and mosquitoes. So if you're anything like me, you'll want to bathe in insect repellent from May until around the end of August. 

8. English
Finns tend to speak really good English, particularly the younger generation; however that's where it stops. Don't expect to see many signs or information in languages other than Finnish, Swedish or Russian when you're out and about. Particularly so if you're out of the larger towns and cities. 

9. Strange Habits
Don't be surprised/concerned if you see someone weeing in the street, spitting or making that disgusting snorting sound. In Finland, it's totally fine. Better out than in I guess...

10. It's Expensive
The cost of living in Finland can often be eye-wateringly expensive. You can expect to pay over the odds for the majority of things and if you're craving home comforts, your best bet is to order them online and have them shipped over. Just imagine what you would pay for something in the UK; and then double it and you won't be far off. 

11. The Postal System
Which leads me onto the postal system. Everything seems to take an age to be shipped out here and if you're ordering for a special occasion, you're gonna want to make sure you've allowed yourself at least two weeks for things to arrive. In addition to this, the Finns have a weird system in place whereby if a parcel arrives for you, the postman delivers a note to tell you (think those little Royal Mail cards you get when you miss a delivery), but you have to pick the parcel up from the Post Office yourself! I don't know if this is a universal thing across Finland, but it's certainly the case in my town and it drives me mad! If you've gone to the trouble of delivering me a note, just deliver the damn parcel! 

12. Low Crime Rate
One of the great things about living in Finland is the fact that the crime rate is particularly low, even more so when you move out of the capital. It's no secret that the Finnish like to drink, and a high percentage of incidents occur whilst people are under the influence. Though Finland is one of the safest places to live and to travel to, you should still keep your wits about you and take reasonable precaution as you would anywhere else. 

*It's worth noting that I'm speaking from my personal experiences of living in Southern Finland, as well as information I have gathered through speaking to my friends here. Not all of these may apply in some areas. 


  1. Aww I loved this post so much, its so interesting! Dont worry about 'talking about Finland too much' - because I love reading about it and Im sure others do too!
    That postal system seems a bit lame though, haha :)

    Jemma xx

    1. Thanks Jemma. I feel like I mention Finland in waaay too many of my blog posts!! I hate the postal system here, especially now that it's getting really cold outside, do not want to be walking to that damn post office!! xxx

  2. Thank you so much for this post. I really enjoyed it. I'm an expap myself (moved from Germany to the UK) and I always like reading about others who've moved away to live in a different country where things are a little unusual. However, living in a foreign country for some time is so rewarding after all and you learn about other cultures as well. I hope you're having a good time in Finnland despite the long food shopping trips and weird mail system xxx

    Caz | Lunch Break Adventures

    1. I'm really glad that you enjoyed it Carolin. I'm sure you have a lot of interesting tales about the UK from an expat point of view! It's funny how we all find different things weird when it's not our home country. Thanks for commenting xxx

  3. I do love your Finland posts ;) Totally vouch for all of these, as well as j walking that everyone stops on the road when there's a red light even if there is no traffic coming! I was so happy about the no insects thing but i had an infestation of ants in my uni accommodation eww! Never understood the spitting in the street, i found the whole fruit machines in all the supermarkets and corner shops weird too haha xxx

    1. I totally nodded along whilst reading this!! Haha.. I could have gone on forever with all the weird and wonderful things but I'm definitely with you on the j walking. No one ever crosses the road when the light is on red, well, except me and I get a few dodgy looks! Another thing is the Finnish obsession with rug washing... the carpet kind! It's a highlight of the Summer!! xxx

  4. I went to Finland last Christmas and let's just say, I'd LOVE to go again! It was such a lovely place, I went to Saariselka and it was all cute and Christmassy! I miss it a lot! I love it when you talk about Finland!

    1. Aww, that sounds great! I'm spending my first Christmas in Finland this year so I'm really excited about it. Thanks for commenting xxx


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