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A Pakistani who has lived most of his life out of Pakistan, Aftab Khan has fallen in love with Finland.Once I arrived in Finland, I could not believe such a friendly country and such friendly people existed on Earth. I have lived both in Poland and the UAE for a long time, and was expecting something similar; to live as an expat. Yet it seems that in Finland, there is no great difference between expat and citizen – here everyone is treated in the same way.

My first trip to Finland was to visit a friend for a few weeks. I was so impressed by the country, the weather (I came in the summer), and the system and customer services. It was all amazing and high class. I felt like there was a lot that I could learn, as someone who has lived in a very different culture and with different traditions. There is a lot to appreciate here, especially the attitude, the cooperation and a lot more.

To me, it didn't seem like Finns don't talk much. Whenever I needed to talk to someone, I got a proper response and a healthy discussion started in a friendly way. Whenever I visited offices, English-speaking staff were very helpful, which impressed me a lot. If you would like to see the contrast, visit a Eastern European country. You feel handicapped without speaking the local language. You'll see how difficult it is to even buy a bus ticket, and appreciate how easy it is here.

My view of Finland is positive and I think Finland has adopted me well.

In terms of food, I am sorry to say, in my opinion it is not tasty here at all. It is nothing like what I am used to eating- the spices and chilli used in food in Asia. So going out to eat is not possible due to both the taste of food, and the cost of it. Shopping is also out of reach – everything is so expensive. I can only go shopping when I'm abroad. The trains are empty, as are the shops, so why not fill them by attracting customers with better deals? If other countries can offer better deals on travelling and shopping, why not Finland? If it wouldn't be so expensive to live and visit Finland, it would really help tourism from abroad. Tourism is also helpful for the economy.

The working atmosphere here is amazing, and the rights of workers are the best as far as my past working experience in different countries is concerned.

For me, who has lived in a climate of +45 degrees Celcius in the Middle East, even snow and low temperatures are a blessing. I love seeing snow around me. It helps me forget the deserts of the Middle East burning around me. Some people complain about the cold weather here, but me - not at all. I find it refreshing after the hot climate of the Gulf region in the summer. It's a paradise on earth with lakes, trees and forests. It's possible to go on excursions, and there are plenty of fun activities that everyone plans for in the winter.

ICP3

Finland in the world press

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