Embracing Finnish Language, Culture, and Professional Growth at Tampere Chamber of Commerce and Industry

Srilankalainen Kavindya Sulakshini on valmistunut Social Science Research -maisteriohjelmasta ja suunnittelee jäävänsä Suomeen Tampereen yliopistossa tohtoriopinnoissa jatkavan miehensä kanssa. Kesäkuussa Kavindya oli suomen kielen harjoittelussa Tampereen kauppakamarissa.

Three years ago, I arrived in Finland, a place I had never been before. On my very first day here, I knew that this journey would be full of excitement and beauty.

The reason for my visit was to be with my husband, Gehan Wishwajith Premathilake, who was studying for his master’s degree in Industrial Engineering and Management at Tampere University. Initially, I had come solely to support and be with him, but I ended up deciding to pursue my own master’s degree in Public Choice at Tampere University and graduated last summer.

After graduating from Tampere University, my next priority was to learn the Finnish language. Before moving to Finland, I worked in the field of Human Resources and wanted to continue the same career in Finland. Not knowing the local language was one of the barriers for me to enter the workforce. In Finland, the Finnish language is not only for communication; it is a cherished aspect of national identity. So the Finnish language holds a special place in the hearts of its speakers. Therefore, I decided to learn the Finnish language after completing my master´s degree. In Finland, there are ample opportunities to learn the language. Taking the integration course offered by the TE office is one of the best options for learning the language. Therefore, after my master´s degree, I went to the Tampere TE office and got myself registered to learn the language.

Enrolling in the integration course has been instrumental in helping me learn not only the language but also in gaining a deeper understanding of Finnish culture, traditions, and history. After several months of learning the language, students are expected to participate in internships to practice their language skills. Moreover, it helps to fill the gap of immigrants’ lack of knowledge about Finnish working culture gaining valuable insights into local practices and dynamics of the workplace.

After being in the integration program, students were supposed to select companies or organizations to practice their language skills. From the beginning of the course, I wanted to find an internship place in an organization where I could relate my previous working experiences and academic background. Before sending my resume to organizations, I did proper research about organizations that aligned with my interests and goals. Afterward, I selected a few organizations which aligned with my expectations. Tampere Chamber of Commerce and Industry was at the top of the list among those few organizations.

My story at Tampereen kauppakamari (Tampere Chamber of Commerce and Industry)

I sent an email to Tampereen kauppakamari along with my resume mentioning that I would like to do my language internship at kauppakamari. One day, Milla Ojala from kauppakamari contacted me and mentioned that kauppakamari would like to offer me an internship in their organization. After a short interview with Milla, she welcomed me to the kauppakamari.

My experience as a Finnish language student at the kauppakamari was truly transformative. I received a warm welcome from the beginning. All the employees were very welcoming and supportive. Throughout my three weeks at this place, I attended many business events organized by kauppakamari, which helped me connect with native speakers. Moreover, these events helped me explore Finnish working culture more, connect with new people and talk with them and explore more about Tampere. Once, I attended the event organized by kauppakamari and International House Tampere together. This event was organized to discuss retaining international talents in Tampere. I even got an opportunity to introduce myself in Finnish to a Finnish audience.

Each day at kauppakamari was a fresh chance for me to explore and grow. I had the chance to attend new events, meet new people, engage in conversations and practice the Finnish language. By participating in these events, I was constantly exposed to the natural flow of Finnish conversations, allowing me to sharpen my listening and adapt to different dialects and accents. These daily interactions in Finnish also helped me improve and accelerate my learning journey, helping me become more confident and proficient in Finnish communication, especially in comprehension and speaking.

All colleagues at the kauppakamari showed insights into the Finnish work methods, business etiquette, and values upheld in the workplace. I especially would like to thank Milla Ojala, who gave me this opportunity to work with kauppakamari. Moreover, I would like to thank Katriina Nousiainen, who always accompanied me during various kauppakamari events. She taught me so much about organizing events and other aspects. Lastly, I want to express my deep gratitude to Päivi Eskelinen for allowing me to create this blog post.
Finally, I would also like to thank my Finnish Language teacher Tiina Pursiainen for her patience and dedication toward her students.

Kavindya Sulakshini


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