First Impressions: Finland, HIT, and Adjusting During Covid-19 Times

There comes a time when structure becomes chaos, you have more questions than there are answers, and life asks for a bit more flexibility than you are used to. Covid-19 times have tested our ability to adapt but moving to a foreign country can also do the same!

Picture it: a Texas girl, grew up in suburbia (shopping malls, sport stadiums, schools, swimming pools, and Starbucks everywhere) moving to the cold (borderline Arctic) country of Finland – a country that lacks sunlight in the winter months but still has the happiest people on the planet. In a short three months and even during Covid-19 times, I have gotten to experience a bit of Finnish culture and let me tell you – Finland is different. But different is good – different introduces something that allows you to explore a new part of yourself, whether that be as a student, professional, or person in general.

Starting my master’s studies off during a pandemic, I thought that there would be minimal interaction with others and an online study format. While the latter is mostly true, I have still been able to meet other students, as well as be a part of so many professional development opportunities already. I am thankful to Hanken HIT, Kamilla, Natalia, and the rest of the Hanken staff in ensuring we are all still connected, networking, and learning despite any potential necessary adjustments due to the pandemic.

Just last week, I had the opportunity to speak to several companies in Vantaa alongside two other HIT students. For any international student, I highly recommend applying to be a part of Hanken’s International Talent program: you can be matched with a mentor and/or company which can truly help your professional development as well as help you score an internship. Also last week, I had the chance to feature on Hanken’s panel on the Impact of the US Presidential Elections (more information and link to the discussion here: I learned a lot from my co-panelists and was really happy to have the opportunity to speak live while representing both an American and student perspective for the discussion. 

Event at Hanken
Discussion “What is happening? – The impact of the US presidential elections” at Hanken. 29.10

And finally, I will leave you with some foods that I have tried since arriving in Finland and recommend to you:

  • Sea buckthorn juice (very healthy!)
  • Crawfish Crawfish
  • Reindeer (I have tried both reindeer tartare and reindeer roast) reindeer dish
  • Blueberry pie (blåbärspaj) blueberry pie
  • Crispy herring (sill) Crispy Fish
  • Salmon soup
  • Toast skågen
  • Karelian pie with egg butter (karelsk paj)

Feel free to reach out to me (Sophia Rahimeh at with questions, comments, Swedish or Finnish movie/song/food etc. recommendations and stay safe! 🙂