Europe is my oyster: experiences of Finns working abroad

Saara Koikkalainen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Mobility of the young and educated from Finland to Europe has been on the rise. This article looks at the experiences of Finns working in other EU countries, based on the Working in Europe online sur- vey conducted in 2008. When moving abroad, the loss of cultural capital may worsen the migrants’ labour market situation. However, the majority of the 364 survey respondents rate their experiences as positive and they succeed well in negotiating the value of their cultural capital. This article outlines four explanations to this happiness. Firstly, Finns have a good standing compared with some other mobile groups and their embodied cultural capital seems to hold its value abroad. Secondly, they work in international environments and thirdly, many are employed because of their language skills, especially in the Finnish and Swedish languages; which indicates that institutionalised cultural capital is also recognised. Fourthly, it is asked whether a ‘happiness barrier’ could cause this overwhelming- ly positive result. Yet some respondents, who had treaded off the beaten track leading to a metropolis such as London, did describe their negative experiences in detail. To supplement this picture a set of more thorough qualitative interviews is envisioned as a continuation of the study.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17-26
Number of pages10
JournalFinnish Journal of Ethnicity and Migration
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2009
MoEC publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • highly skilled migration
  • intra-European migration
  • European Union

Field of science

  • Sociology

Citation for this output