Episode 82

Eva Valkovicova and Her Way to Mastering Finland

This episode sees the ‘Mastering Finland’ founder return to the microphone and interview one of the key people from behind the scenes of the podcast – Eva Valkovicova. Eva has been with the Mastering Finland project for the last two years and brings over fifteen years of wisdom and experience of living and working in Helsinki as an international to her interview.

Since arriving in Helsinki from Slovakia in August 2007, a single person with just two suitcases and a job with an international company, Eva has seen her life and the city grow in ways she could not have imagined.

She found love with an Italian man and has established a multilingual family speaking Finnish, Slovak, Italian and English. Her children go to Finnish schools and are growing up as fluently in both the Finnish language and community. Eva shares a lot of tips about family life in Finland for internationals, which are a goldmine for tourists and locals alike.

These are:

  • making sure to ask the right question such as ‘Does the bus stop near the train station?’ as opposed to ‘Does the bus stop at the train station?’,
  • knowing how to make rules work for you (rules are very important in Finland),
  • being really proactive about everything,
  • learning spoken Finnish sentences to say rather than trying to understand the grammar,
  • asking open sentences every time,
  • explaining the right and wrong ways to ask ‘How are you?’

The city of Helsinki has become a lot more international since Eva arrived. Petra and Eva discuss the pros and cons of working for international companies, differences in business and language cultures, and the importance of developing and being involved with multiple communities both in and out of the workplace.

Eva’s definition of a Finnish summer is surprisingly accurate and not to be missed – both summer itself and her definition of it.

Eva’s considerable experience as an international in Helsinki has led her to develop her own project ‘Reflections of Helsinki’ and after doing a social media marketing course during the pandemic, she has lent her energy to keeping the spirit of the Mastering Finland Podcast alive and well.

Listen to the podcast to learn about Eva’s top three ideas for people visiting Finland and her amazing insights into growing to live, love and laugh on the way to Mastering Finland.

To learn spoken Finnish, we recommend you try the courses of Finnish language by HerFinland: https://herfinland.teachable.com/?affcode=322051_zlm-cnns