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When Katja arrived in Finland, it was difficult for her to make friends and build connections amid the pandemic. The challenges of relocation, lack of contact with others, and difficulty-finding employment began to affect her confidence and well-being.

However, through her participation in the Spouse Program, Katja was able to find a supportive community of internationals, "All of my friends in Helsinki are from the Spouse Program. We are all different ages, come from different backgrounds, speak different languages, but we support each other."  

Trained initially as an aircraft engine mechanic in Germany, Katja had grown accustomed to shifting careers and living abroad as her family often moved due to her husband's work. After living in the UK for 11 years, her husband's new job brought them to Helsinki in 2020.

Through her participation in the Spouse Program, Katja was able to get the career support she needed to regain confidence in herself. In addition, by participating in CV clinics and pitching events, Katja better understood how to communicate her skills and learned how they would translate to the Finnish job market.

She adds, "Learning how to make a pitch was very helpful, often this is the first thing you're asked in an interview. Now it is effortless for me to pitch myself, my skills and experience".

While the Spouse Program provided Katja with the tools she needed to enter the Finnish job market, it also offered a supportive community of individuals bonded by their situation. Katja credits the variety of social and cultural events hosted by the Spouse Program for helping her learn more about life in Finland and feel comfortable in her new home. 

A few months after moving to Helsinki, Katja had a dental emergency and she first turned to her friends from the Spouse Program to get help, "I was unsure of what to do and where to go. The other spouse program participants helped me right away." 

The Spouse Program provides internationals with an empathetic, supportive community. Something that is often challenging to find after relocating to a new country, paired with career-related support to help participants adjust to the Finnish job market. "Throughout my experience living abroad, I never encountered anything like the Spouse Program."


This article is part of Kasvua Vantaalle kansainvälisistä osaajista – Talent Vantaa –project that implements the targets of national Talent Boost Program and receives funding from the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment. Project is implemented in cooperation with the City of Vantaa and Laurea University of Applied Sciences.


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