In this episode of Mastering Finland, regular host Matt Bowen meets Josh Hurst, an American living in Tampere who has established a strong presence on social media as 'JoshOfWestern'. Josh first arrived in Finland in 2018 to work as an au-pair, a unique choice for a male aged 25 at the time. Despite the cultural differences, Josh quickly fell in love with Finland and its people. In this blog post, we'll explore Josh's journey of mastering Finnish culture and his tips for adapting to life in Finland.
During his au-pair work, Josh immersed himself in Finnish culture, taking language classes just two weeks after arriving. He describes the role of an au-pair in Finland as a cultural exchange, where there is an expectation to integrate and engage with Finnish culture almost immediately. After a year of au-pair work, Josh changed his roles to developing his social media presence, working for an AI company, and becoming a freelance writer and blogger. His foothold and presence in Finland is well established, and he has become a go-to source for those looking to master Finnish culture.
One of the unique aspects of Josh's social media content is his ability to shed light on lesser-known aspects of Finnish culture that even Finns may not be aware of. He balances his content with material that Finns would want to watch and content that he would want to produce. Josh makes a lot of skits about Finnish everyday life, and he admits that not everything works in the way that he expects it to, but so far, he has never had any significant negative backlash.
In an interview, the host Matt asked Josh why he decided to stay in Finland, and his initial answer was simple - "I love Finland." Although he had started a relationship that didn't last, Finland has kept his heart. Moving the interview on, Matt asks Josh for his tips about coming to Finland. Josh advises people new to Finland to fit the expectation from their home culture around Finnish reality. He also gives some funny examples of cultural differences, such as when he was making small talk to a cashier as he would in America, and it was mistaken as flirting.
Josh's unique approach to exploring Finnish culture has made him a hit with both locals and visitors alike. His tips for adapting to life in Finland, such as learning to smoke (even if you don't smoke cigarettes) to start a conversation with a Finn, or wearing lots of layers when travelling in winter, are practical and humorous. Overall, Josh's journey of coming to Finland as an au-pair and becoming an influencer is inspiring and offers valuable insights into Finnish culture. Follow JoshOfWestern on social media to learn more about mastering Finland and adapting to life in this beautiful country.