International experts are making a home in Eura, Finland - Are you next?

Susanna | 5.10.2023

Laughter and Finglish (a joyful fusion of Finnish and English) echo through a local restaurant as four nurses who relocated to Eura from abroad share their unique stories. How did they find their way to Finland, specifically Eura? What makes this town special, and what daily challenges do they face? Let's hear from Alicia, Sandra, Bincy, and Tija!

What should you know about Eura?

Aerial view of a lake and the buildings of Eura
Eura is an intriguing blend of cultural history, the picturesque Finnish lake scenery, and modern industry. ©

Eura, located in Southern Satakunta, Finland, is home to nearly 12,000 residents. The journey to the capital, Helsinki, takes approximately 2.5 hours by car. The region's largest cities are easily accessible as well: Rauma can be reached in just 30 minutes and Pori is a 40-minute drive away.  

In 2022 alone, 448 residents moved to the municipality, with 13% of them coming directly from abroad (Statistics Finland). Eura stands out among similar municipalities for its robust job market, providing employment opportunities across various manufacturing industries, services, and the public sector. However, labor shortages are not uncommon in Eura and the broader Satakunta region. 

“We will also need employees in the future, both in the healthcare sector and for diverse roles in the local industry”, says Ilkka Mäkinen, Eura municipality's business coordinator.

To address the labor shortage in the region, international recruitment efforts were initiated. In the summer of 2022, twenty Spanish nurses relocated to Satakunta, followed by 15 Indian nurses in November. In the spring, 22 nurses arrived from Zambia, and as of the time of writing this blog, the region is anticipating 20 more to arrive.

An aerial image of the center of Eura
The health center of Eura (top left corner) and many other services are located in the center. ©

A drive across Europe

Alicia Cantero Martin, who had worked as a nurse for nearly two decades, packed her car with her husband, their dog, and all their belongings in July 2022. They embarked on a five-day road trip to Finland. Her 13-year-old daughter and Alicia's mother followed by plane. They found their new home in the center of Eura, and Alicia secured a job at the Palvelukoti Suvanto, a nursing home for elderly in Kiukainen. She tells her story in Finnish, and I admire how, amidst all the new experiences, she has managed to learn the language so well!

Sandra Cuesta Ayuso also arrived in Finland with her husband and daughter. They found a charming home in the historic wooden houses of Kauttuan Ruukinpuisto. The change has been quite significant for Sandra, who moved from the bustling city of Madrid, but she shares that her whole family loves their new green and peaceful hometown. Sandra works at the Osmanrinne Nursing Home for the elderly, and her husband found employment at the Kivikylä factory in Lappi. As Sandra explains the reasons for their move, the others nod in agreement.

“The working environment is excellent, the salary level is higher than in Spain, the children receive high-quality education, and in Finland, they have more versatile prospects for the future. Everywhere is safe and clean, and there are no traffic jams”, - tells Sandra  

A group photo of Sandra, Alicia, Bincy and Tija sitting on the stairs
Above (from the left) Sandra Cuesta Ayuso, Alicia Cantero Martin, and below (from the left) Bincy Michael and Tija Joseph. ©

A journey from India via Kuwait to Finland

Close friends Bincy Michael and Tija Joseph decided to seek employment in Finland after working as nurses in India and Kuwait. The decision was not easy, as both of them left their spouses and children back in their home countries. Fortunately, grandparents are part of their daily lives, providing support to their families. Both Bincy and Tija found jobs, just like Sandra, at the Osmanrinne Nursing Home.

Under the Schengen Agreement, their European colleagues can move to Finland with their families. Non-EU workers, on the other hand, need to meet a certain income level and save money before they can obtain residence permits for their family members. Bincy and Tija share an apartment in the city center and are saving up to bring their families to Finland. 

We are happy here!

So, what makes Eura a great place to call home? Safety is a recurring theme in conversations. The women here feel at ease even during the late hours, and daily life for children is secure. The relaxed pace of life, coupled with the absence of the hustle and pollution found in big cities, is quite noteworthy. Moreover, the sense of freedom experienced here differs from that in their home countries.

“Here, you can freely live the life you want. There are no societal or external pressures.” -Bincy

An aerial photo of lake Pyhäjärvi
Pyhäjärvi and the surrounding nature trails are everyone's favorite spots in Eura. ©

Based on a year's experience, the heroes of our story have also discovered their favorite spots in Eura. Or rather, one spot, in particular. The collective opinion is that Pyhäjärvi is the best. And why wouldn't it be? Pyhäjärvi offers year-round activities, from paddleboarding to boating, and from skiing to ice swimming. Eura boasts a whopping five lakeside saunas and even more beaches. However, none of the ladies have dared to take a plunge into the icy waters yet. Perhaps next year?

Eura Sports Hall, especially its swimming pool, is also a popular place for recreational activities. In the town center, you'll find a wide range of services, and there's rarely a need to venture into bigger cities for shopping. Eura also has an intriguing history dating back to the Viking Age. During the summer, Kauttuan Ruukinpuisto hosts numerous events and art exhibitions. 

Two parallel photos, one showing the exterior of the Terrace House in evening light and the other showing the interior of the Terrace House with designer furniture
Kauttua Ruukinpuisto is a blend of ironworks history and the designs of Finland's renowned architect Alvar Aalto. ©

The language barrier makes it difficult to access the community

The language barrier is indeed real, and the ladies share that it's their most significant challenge. They study Finnish a couple of times a week in Rauma, and in their workplace, there's encouragement to speak Finnish. Yet, mastering the language requires patient conversation partners and a willingness to support each other in the journey of learning a new language. 

“Communication with the clients often goes well, even when there isn't a common language. We touch, comfort, and care for them. Especially with clients who have memory disorders, gentle and non-verbal interaction often works better than instructions and commands.” -Alicia

People taking a coffee break in the Eura municipal office
Coffee breaks and other everyday interactions are crucial for learning Finnish and making friends. How could your workplace or hobby group help with language learning? Photo from the coffee break of the Eura Municipal Office. ©

However, it has been challenging to make local friends, and the language barrier plays a role in that. While many people in Finland speak at least some English, it's essential for those coming to work here to start learning the language preferably in advance. Newcomers should confidently join various hobby groups, which is crucial for language development and overall integration. It's easier for children since they interact and play with other kids at school.

“Finnish personalities are quite different from ours (Spaniards) or Indians. Caution and quietness can make it a bit challenging to meet new people. ” -Sandra

Finnish people are often reserved and even withdrawn when dealing with strangers. This can be easily misinterpreted as a negative attitude towards new people, but it's quite typical behavior when interacting with anyone new. However, a bold and friendly approach usually breaks the ice. 

Reliable help is near

Despite some challenges in interacting with locals, the colleagues from Eura received praise from everyone. The women have a special appreciation for Mari Pirinen, who has been responsible for recruitment and integration efforts in Eura. It's clear that Mari has gone above and beyond her job requirements, and for instance, Bincy fondly calls her 'Mama Mari'. 

Mari commends her colleagues from Eura and the Eura municipality for their openness to international recruitment. 

“For instance, we prepared short videos in advance to give a glimpse of the work and the working environment. At the same time, our soon-to-be colleagues had the opportunity to introduce themselves. Eura municipality has also been exceptionally supportive, providing valuable assistance, including help with securing accommodation through Euran Vuokrakodit. This attitude and openness could serve as a model for many others.” -Mari

A group photo of Alicia, Tija, Mari, Bincy and Sandra
Alicia (from the left), Tija, Mari, Bincy and Sandra appreciate the support and help they receive from each other. ©

What does the future hold?

Everyone agrees that they have found a permanent home in Finland, specifically in Eura. They are also eager to act as mentors for newcomers, as they themselves have received so much help. Their hopes include getting to know local people better. Bincy and Tija's top wish is to have their own families close again.

“Once my husband and children also make it to Eura, we can be happy here.” -Tija

Text and photos: Susanna Lahtinen | Know Your Hoods

P.S. If you want to learn more about the municipality of Eura, its charming villages, and its services, check it out on the neighborhood portal Know Your Hoods.


Leave a comment

Please participate the discussion with good manners. Innapproriate content will be removed.

Newsletter subscription

*) Required field

The email will be used to fetch your avatar from the Gravatar service.


Allan Chanda Sakeni

This is awesome! I have been here in Rauma for four (4) now, the language barrier is yet to be broken because the Finnish people are very welcoming, yet quiet and you are not sure on how to interact with them.

6.10.2023 23:33Vastaa
2 0
Allan Chanda Sakeni

This is awesome! I have been here in Rauma for four (4) months now, the language barrier is yet to be broken because the Finnish people are very welcoming, yet quiet and you are not sure on how to interact with them.

6.10.2023 23:35Vastaa
3 0

Our warmest welcome to Finland! Thank you for reading and replying – It is so interesting to hear about the experiences of foreign expats! We Finns can indeed be rather shy. Our team at Hoods is trying to do our part to become better at this. 🙂 Hope you make new friends soon and feel at home in Rauma!

Best wishes,
Anna and the team at Hoods

9.10.2023 9:17
0 0