In this week’s episode, Matt speaks with Olivia Kumpula, a Nigerian Youtuber, social media blogger, and entrepreneur who lives in Pori with her husband and her children.
Olivia’s story in Finland started when she decided to continue her student life in Finland, in Rovaniemi by participating in a master’s degree program in international comparative law. Back in Nigeria she used to practice law and was working for a customer service company. When she decided to move forward with her career in that company and join the legal department, she realized that she should first continue her studies by enrolling in a master’s program overseas. Obtaining a master’s degree from a university abroad is considered in Nigeria of great importance. While she was browsing the programs, she stumbled upon a program taking place in Rovaniemi. That program was exactly what she was interested in. In addition to that, the location was a huge plus for her since she had heard that Rovaniemi is the hometown of Santa Claus. She was also intrigued by the fact that Rovaniemi is a snowy place and snow was something that she had never experienced before.
In regards to Olivia’s personal life, she shares her story on how she got to know her Finnish husband during her search online for a church that she would like to start visiting in Rovaniemi, as she, as a newcomer there, was not familiar with the whereabouts. Her story can also be found as a video on her Youtube channel.
Social media is for Olivia an important part of her everyday life. She’s a blogger and content creator on Youtube, Instagram, and TikTok. What inspired her to take this pathway is her will to make information regarding life in Finland for immigrants and international students more accessible to them. Back in 2014, when her journey started in Finland, there was not enough online content for foreigners in Finland and therefore it was more difficult for people like Olivia to find their bearings.
“Why don't you do something about the lack of information?", Olivia says and adds “So I started a Finland blog "My Finland Story" and also a youtube channel”.
On her channel, she documents her life, shares insight on the topic of integration in Finland, talks about the Finnish culture, as well as about cultural differences between Nigeria and Finland. What motivates her to keep going are the positive comments she receives from people that have benefited from her content. Beyond the positive comments she has been receiving from her followers online, she has also received some racially offensive comments that back in the day used to hurt her, but nowadays, Olivia highlights that these comments have helped her grow more as a person.
Besides her social media life, Olivia at the moment is attending various online courses.
"Finns and Foreigners club" is a club she created on an online platform - app, called “Clubhouse”. As most clubs on the app were mostly in the Finnish language, she decided to create a room - or “club” - for English-speaking people in Finland.
“So we started an interactive club. The point of that club was to make it an interactive club and right now we have over 450 members, it is an inclusive platform, where we can have open discussions on diverse topics related to life in Finland and the aim is to create interactive rooms where both Finns and foreigners can have a chat, connect, share insights and talk about current events and have discussions towards making an impact that would contribute to Finland positively”, Olivia mentions.
The topics discussed on Clubhouse are economics, aspects of living in Finland, social aspects for foreigners, Finland-related news, current events in Finland, Finnish culture, food, music, dating, and many others.
Olivia’s contribution to the international talent community in Finland is remarkable, as she has recently registered the “International professionals Finland” association, whose aim is “to provide customized guidance and create collaborative opportunities for international professionals to establish and use their skills in Finland”. The association’s work focuses on assisting international professionals qualified for a profession abroad to overcome obstacles that hinder them from using their skills in Finland. There are various free-of-charge programs and services available for those who are interested, all available on the association’s website.
Asked about the challenges that international professionals face in Finland, Olivia states that there is a good number of people in Finland that are either unemployed or employed in positions that fall out of the scope of their skills and studies, something that would not be beneficial for Finland in the long run. Furthermore, she points out that reports show that Finnish companies are not that open to international talents, an issue reported recently also on YLE. Many job applicants with foreign names get their CVs tossed aside and so they don't even get the opportunity to get to the interview stage.
Lastly, Olivia shares her small piece of motivational advice:
“Stay true to yourself and your values, who you are, live your life in your own terms and set your own standards for yourself” and adds, by referring to immigrants in any country, “if the system puts you in a box, get out of that box and don't settle for less than what you're worth.”
Olivia’s LinkedIn profile:
My Finland Story:
HOME | My Finland Story Finland Through The Eyes Of A Foreigner (Olivia’s blog)
My Finland Story (YouTube channel)
My Finland Story - Home (Facebook page)
My Finland Story 🇫🇮 (@myfinlandstory) • Instagram photos and videos (Instagram account)
Olivia’s personal TikTok and Instagram account:
Finns and Foreigners:
The Finns&Foreigners Club - Clubhouse (Clubhouse link)
International Professionals Finland:
International Professionals Finland ry - InterPro Finland - Home (Facebook page)