Originally from China, Annie has been interested in Europe for a long time. She is particularly intrigued by the Nordic countries. In her last year of school, she saw a picture online of a wintry landscape washed with the colours of the northern lights. The picture was captioned “Lapland, Finland”. Annie wrote it down in her notebook and wasted no time looking into this magical place. A few years later, Annie found herself enrolling in a Finnish university to study tourism.
Annie, 22, tourism student
– It feels strange to be here. I was a bit nervous at first, wondering how I would get along, but luckily everything has been going great. The main things that took some getting used to were the cold winters and the lack of traffic jams – although I think the latter is definitely a good thing! It’s easy to get by with English here, and I have also learned some Finnish.
Annie is very happy with the welcome she received in Finland. Everything went smoothly, from paying the tuition fees in foreign currency to sorting out the living arrangements. The university offered her plenty of support and additional information to manage her affairs with the local bank and the Social Insurance Institution. Soon her daily life in Finland was sorted – without the frustrating red tape that she had been expecting based on her experiences back home.
– At first, it was hard to believe that things could be so easy in Finland. In China, applications and all official documents need to be submitted to many different places for approval, which always takes time. What’s more, my fellow students have been really welcoming, and it was nice to see that there were other people from foreign backgrounds, as well.
Annie has enjoyed her studies, and she has great expectations for her career. She is especially eager to work in northern Finland, in either Kainuu or Lapland, surrounded by the same scenery that attracted her to Finland in the first place. Annie finds that northern Finland offers a great variety of interesting possibilities.
– I have already looked at some potential places of work online. Northern Finland has all kinds of interesting things to offer to both tourists and people in the tourism industry. There are fun glass igloos and modern holiday resorts, as well as atmospheric accommodation options surrounded by beautiful nature. Lapland is full of amazing scenery, and the tourism industry definitely makes the most of it.
Annie knows that northern Finland is a very popular destination, especially among Asian tourists. Employees who speak Chinese and English are in constant demand. After graduating, Annie plans to start her career by working as a receptionist or a guide. After gaining some experience in the industry, she hopes to pursue her particular interest in the development of tourism in Finland. She has in-depth knowledge of both cultures, as well as Chinese taste and preferences.
– Lapland alone offers a lot of activities that Asian tourists love, such as northern lights safaris, snowshoeing and dog sledding. It would be interesting to promote them more specifically to Asian tourists. Lapland’s charm doesn’t melt away with the snow, either: there are plenty of people who wish to experience the autumn colours in northern Finland!
All the hard work that Annie has put into her studies is about to pay off, as she is graduating in a little over a year. Before moving on to working life, she plans to travel to China to visit her parents. There is a second reason for the trip, as well: Annie has been invited to visit her old school to talk about tourism studies and opportunities in Finland.
– It is customary for my old school to invite former pupils who have gone on to study or work abroad to share their experiences. I am so happy to have been offered this opportunity, as people in my hometown know very little about Finland. I have managed to get my little sister excited about Finland, too. She has been thinking about applying for the Master’s degree programme in Northern Tourism.
Click here to learn more about opportunities to study tourism in English.