Ask Me Anything 1

VPF started 2021 with a banging success with the event “Ask Me Anything – Ep.01 Finnish Working Life (AMA)” on January 15th. This was our first member-exclusive event. We invited 5 experienced Vietnamese professionals to be panelists to talk about the Finnish working life. 

Nga shared her incredible journey from Vietnam to Finland at the age of 24. Back then, she spoke neither English nor Finnish. Through dedication, she overcame the hurdles and became Coordinator of international affairs of Espoo. Now she helps other internationals thrive.

Loc, a Financial analyst at Normet Group, recently acquired his Finnish citizenship. He has worked in companies of different sizes, thus knowing extensively about Finnish working culture on many different levels.

Bao is a Segment controller at Stora Enso. Having worked for over 3 years in a big Finnish company, he shared his experiences in a corporate environment that leads the country’s pulp and paper industry.

Thuy has been a Consultant at August Associates for almost 4 years. While she started working in English, she made a gradual transition to speaking in Finnish within a couple of years.

Vu has stayed in Finland for over 30 years. Now working as a Finnish-Vietnamese Interpreter at Semantix Oy, but previously he spent many years in plastic chemistry engineering. Being the most seasoned panelist, Vu had many stories to tell.

Image 1. Distributions of the years the VPF members have been in Finland.

We also asked them what their biggest obstacles are when it comes to integrating into the Finnish working life (Image 2). Most of the answers were related to the Finnish language, and the second most common was lack of network. Culture, friendship, and weather were also mentioned.

Image 2. Biggest obstacles when integrating into the Finnish working life.

Content highlight:

There were questions on numerous aspects of the Finnish working life including making friends at work, especially with Finnish colleagues.

Panelists gave the participants many useful recommendations on how to integrate into Finnish society and make friends at work:

  • Give effort to learn the language
  • Immerse and act like a Finnish
  • Understand Finnish culture and mentality by reading books and news or watching documentaries
  • Be proactive and initiate the conversation with colleagues
  • Do not be shy
  • Ask colleagues to join sport activities

Also, the discussion highlighted the importance of bringing new ideas or cultural approaches from your own cutture into working life by giving factual data and case studies. In this way, you can contribute greatly to the diversity of the company.

At the end, there were many key takeaways from panelists from their own experience regarding what advice they would give to 20-year-old themselves:

  • Be confident about yourself but also be humble
  • Show your spirit in any kind of situation
  • Think clearly about your career path in the long term
  • Do not settle down with jobs that you do not like
  • Keep learning further


We received really positive feedback about the content of the event and the stories shared by the panelists.

Overall, it was an informative event.

Very inspiring and funny panelists, I had a good time discussing different things

I enjoyed most of the panelists.

VPF would like to thank our five panelists Nga Phan, Loc Nguyen, Bao Pham, Thuy Le  and Chirstopher Vu Tran, and of course our awesome moderator, Hai Ta, for creating an exciting discussion. 

VPF is doing our best to bring more interesting speakers to our future events. We are committed to building a strong community of expats in Finland and looking forward to seeing you at our next events!