Siyuan Xue and Ling Zhang live in a townhouse in a charming neighbourhood in Kokkola, Central Ostrobothnia. The residential area is a typical Finnish one: close to nature, but a walking distance from city. The inside of their home is as Finnish as the outside. Their mugs are by Arabia, their candle holders by Iittala, and their curtains by Vallila – all known brands that are found in almost every Finnish home.
“My wife loves Finnish design”, laughs Siyuan Xue while pouring coffee. He’s lived in Finland for ten years.
Siyuan enjoys his work as a software programmer at Raisoft, a software company in Kokkola. He originally came to Finland to study IT, and staying in the country became obvious when he landed a job he wanted. Ling Zhang moved to Finland after the couple were married in China in 2016. Ling currently studies Finnish and has had her first contact with Finnish working life through an internship.
“The atmosphere at Raisoft is nice and international”, Siyuan says. Ling describes her surprise at how flexible employers are about working hours and remote work.
“In Finland, employees also have more free time than in China”, she says.
Siyuan and Ling think that both Finnish and Chinese people are a little shy and reserved, although these traits are nowhere to be seen in their garden in Kokkola city where neighbours greet each other and talk about their day. The couple has adjusted effortlessly to Finland, and Finnish friends have acquainted them with local culture and pastimes. It’ll be weekend soon and weather forecasts promise it will be a sunny one.
“I think tomorrow might be the perfect day to go fishing on the Perhojoki river”, Siyuan says to his wife.