"I have been enjoying the employee-friendly working environment that we are having at KOSKE and KEHO, in which employee’s wellbeing, mental health, equality, and voices are important"

There is a reason why Finland has been chosen as the happiest country in the world four times in a row. As a foreigner, who is lucky enough to access Finnish education and Finnish working life, I am on my way to unfold the secret behind this phenomenon.

I have been having my work trial at KOSKE, the Centre of Excellence on Social Welfare in Central Finland, and KEHO, Central Finland Health and Wellbeing Ecosystem, for nearly 4 months, where I can practice my academic knowledge from the previous study, learn more about Finnish working culture, and improve my Finnish language. My main tasks focus on planning social media marketing for webinar events and developing content. Besides, I also translate the organizations’ materials from Finnish to English to help more people reach the needed information. Even though I receive tasks from two different organizations, organizing the job is at ease as they connect to one another to some extent.

I still remember that at the end of the interview for my current work, I was encouraged to tell and ask what I want. That came as a surprise. With a foreign background, working in various roles and fields in Vietnam before coming to Finland, I found this is not common. It immediately brought to my mind the thought that: “This is the place I want to work for”. As time goes by, that thought has been confirmed. The work allows me to apply what I have learnt and tried out new things at the same time. The fact that I can do various tasks on top of the main ones fascinates me as I can further extend my knowledge.

I have been enjoying the employee-friendly working environment that we are having at KOSKE and KEHO, in which employee’s wellbeing, mental health, equality, and voices are important. During the pandemic, working from home seems to affect employees’ physical state, therefore, a short walk during lunchtime, a 5-minute stretch, or even working in a nature-friendly surrounding are always encouraged. We also had virtual “kahvitauko” or coffee break in English, to connect with other colleagues virtually. Besides, I feel strongly involved in the decision-making process as I can propose tasks that I would like to do, feel inspired to do, and complete them. Moreover, flexible working hours, a professional working environment, and possibilities for job-related training are noticeable perks that the work offers me.

So far, this has been a great journey from the perspective of work and self-realization. It does not only strengthen my academic knowledge but also helps me appreciate the value of being well, understand thoroughly the importance of wellbeing, and social works. I have more time to reflect and figure out how neglecting I have been to my own self and inner voice. Therefore, I feel grateful for what has been happening and the work I am doing as it brings me a bunch of good experience and colleagues who are always supportive and always patiently listen to my not-yet-fluent Finnish.

A Vietnamese Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh, a global spiritual leader, wrote:

If we are peaceful, if we are happy, we can smile and blossom like a flower, and everyone in our family, our entire society, will benefit from our peace.

Although I have not yet discovered the concrete answer for the secret recipe of the happiest country in the world, I am glad to be part of this community as I am enjoying my life than ever before both physically and mentally. Now I am sitting on a bench outside, enjoying the warm sunlight of the summer, listening to birds chirping, and writing this blog. There is nothing more I can ask for.

Ai Le Yli-Kuivila
Trainee at KEHO and KOSKE