– When people leave their home country to study abroad, they face various challenges related to academics, culture, survival, and career development. To help overcome these challenges, we decided to organise an event to connect new students with Bangladeshi expats already living in Vaasa, explains doctoral researcher Rakibul Hasan on behalf of the organising team.
The number of international students and researchers in Vaasa is growing, and so is the Bangladeshi expat community, which already consists of around 200 individuals. This autumn, more than 30 new students from Bangladesh started their master’s studies in the city.
– Many of the newcomers already have some experience working in industry and academia. Therefore, the existing Bangladeshi expats felt that it was important to support these new talents by providing inspiration and helping them prepare themselves to contribute to the Finnish job market, Rakibul Hasan explains.
A need for community-specific events
While there are already many events and activities for international students in Vaasa, the organisers see that a special event for the Bangladeshi community has additional value.
– Connecting with fellow expats and hearing success stories boosts the confidence of newcomers and motivates them to pursue similar opportunities, says Rakibul Hasan.
In the event, Bangladeshi talents shared their experiences of studying and working in Vaasa. Coming from a similar background and having gone through a similar process, they have first-hand knowledge of how to overcome the challenges that newcomers may face in a new academic and cultural environment.
– Newcomers learn about local customs and cultural differences from the perspective of someone who has experienced the same adjustment and adaptation. This kind of an event can reduce the cultural shock and enhance understanding of Finnish norms and values.
Although the newcomers have valuable knowledge, skills, and experience that could benefit the Finnish job market, they still need to develop their cultural knowledge and networks to enter the job market during the two-year master's programme. Events like this provide and early opportunity to make connections in their field.
How to find work in Finland? Tips from Bangladeshi talents
Cultural differences between Bangladesh and Finland can be seen in job-seeking. Bangladeshi alumni and students now working as experts and engineers in companies and researchers and assistants in universities shared their tips on how to get hired in Finland.
Keep your CV short and concise. In Finland, employers appreciate a short, one-page CV whereas in Bangladesh, a CV for an experienced person would be expected to be two pages. In Finland, it is common to let your personality, personal life and soft skills show in your CV. The university’s career counsellor can help you create your CV in the Finnish way.
Stay in contact with the potential employer. To stand out from the crowd, staying in contact with a potential employer is important. Attend job-fairs to meet company representatives and learn about their needs. Use LinkedIn as a tool for networking. Do a follow-up call after sending an application.
Whatever you do in Finland, include it in your CV. Finnish employers value work experience from Finland. In the beginning, you may need to start with a job that is not related to your field of expertise. Even this experience should be included in your CV since it shows the Finnish employer that you are familiar with the Finnish way of working.
Ask for help. Take advantage of career counselling and other career-related services. In addition to that, remember your networks. Perhaps you could prepare for an upcoming interview with a friend? Maybe you already know someone who works or has worked in a company that you are interested in? They can give you valuable advice.
Keep on trying. You may need to send multiple applications to land a job. If you get rejected, it just means that your talent didn’t match what the employer was looking for this time. You can learn from the experience by asking the recruiter for feedback. This way, you can improve your application strategy and learn what areas to focus on in your professional development. At the same time, you signal the recruiter that you are willing to learn and they are more likely to remember you when they have a suitable position open.
A joint effort of Bangladeshi expats
The event Welcoming New Bangladeshi Talents to Vaasa was planned by senior academics, including Dr. Arafat Rahman from the Hanken School of Economics, Dr. Ahm Shamsuzzoha, Dr. Anisur Faroque, Dr. Anupam Dutta from the University of Vaasa and doctoral researchers, including SM Feroj Mahmood, Enamul Hasan, and Rakibul Hasan from the University of Vaasa. The organising team included students Yeasin Arafat, Sajid Ahammed, Rakin Tajwar, Mustafizur Rahman, Fatima Sultana, Tarek Hasan, and Shariful Islam from the University of Vaasa.
The organisers plan to continue and developed the event further.