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“I especially like the kindness of the people”

René, Netherlands,, PhD Student, Sociology

'Political trust in Romania' sounds like an exotic topic for a doctoral thesis, I guess." René is Dutch and he is working on his PhD thesis at the University of Turku. "The university here is a good place to study even slightly uncommon topics, and the level of quality is high." René studied Sociology in the Netherlands and in Romania.

After one and a half years in Finland, René speaks decent Finnish as he has participated regularly in the university's language courses. "There are quite a lot of opportunities to learn Finnish, if you really want to." The Dutch sociologist states that as a foreigner in Finland, he felt obliged to learn the local language. "Even if it is a challenging task, it was certainly worth putting some effort into it", he says. "I was able to use the language in everyday situations already after a short period of time and it brought me closer to the people. Finnish is not as difficult as it is said. If you study it and use it regularly, you will proceed quite fast."

René comments that it has not been an easy task to find even a part-time job without high language competency in Turku. "I applied, for example, through a private job agency and the agent said that it should be possible to officially employ a foreigner. Once she figured out that there are no obstacles in employing an EU citizen in Finland, she then again refused my application because of my supposedly insufficient Finnish language skills."

Summarizing his experience, René says: "It might be that in Finland everything takes a bit longer, learning the language or getting acquainted with the people. But after a certain time and some effort you start to understand things better and you appreciate the country even more. In my case, I especially like the kindness of the people and the amazing diversity of choices within the study programmes at the university."

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