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Galimatias Blog

I was willing to do whatever needed at IKEA

Kirjoittanut: Elitza Gerova / 15.5.2023 11:00


"Opiskelin Galimatiaksen maahanmuuttajien kotoutumiskoulutuksessa vuonna 2022 huhtikuusta syyskuuhun. Koulutuksen aikana valmistauduin YKI-testiin ja suoritin työharjoittelun IKEA Logistiikassa, jonne myös koulutuksen päätteeksi työllistyin."


Catharina3             Catharina2

Hello, Catharina. Thank you for sharing your success story with our readers.
Please, introduce yourself.

I am Catharina Van Den houwe, a bioengineer with over 20 years career in HR and retail sales, mostly as a manager. Currently I work as an ED&I leader (= Equality, Diversity and Inclusion leader) at IKEA.

When did you study at Galimatias in the integration training for immigrants (kotoutumiskoulutus)?

I studied in the integration training programme at Galimatias for 6 months, from April to September 2022.

What were the benefits for you from the integration programme (kotoutumiskoulutus)?

The main benefits were the preparation for YKI-test (National Certificate of Language Proficiency) and the internship at IKEA Logistics.

How did the career coach help you to clarify your career plan?

My career coach was always available and a good partner for exchanging thoughts and discussing possibilities. But it all starts with yourself.

In what way did your internship lead to employment or new contacts?

After my internship at logistics IKEA, I got a permanent part-time job as a co-worker in logistics. A physical job, not connected with my background, but at the employer I was hoping for. When the vacancy for ED&I leader opened, I applied and was chosen. The fact that I was experienced at logistics, as a happy and hard-working person, was a plus regarding the other candidates.

How much effort did you make in order to get a job in Finland?

During my integration programme at Galimatias I focused on only one employer - IKEA. I was willing to do whatever needed at IKEA, because I valued the organisation as the perfect fit for me. And I was determined to do that job as well as possible, with pleasure. I aimed for the perfect CV and covering letter, custom-made for IKEA. I put a lot of effort into making myself seen as a person with the right values, attitude, and skills. My career coach at Galimatias was a good guide in this.

What hints could you give to people, who are learning a completely new language and culture, when they have already a lot of work experience?

Learn hard. Really hard. Don’t miss a lesson. Always be present at the integration program. Take every learning opportunity. Share with study mates. Go fully for the YKI test, although you might not feel ready for it. Study for yourself, make yourself proud, try to integrate on the long term. Make it fun to integrate. Join a Finnish singing course. Don’t waste time in thinking it is too difficult. The YKI test is a big plus for employers, and the job market. Choose your desired future employer deliberately. Try to figure out where you would love to work and why. Go for that. And have plan B’s.

What is your advice to foreigners who are looking for work in Finland?

It is important to try to figure out what is a realistic future for you in Finland, in the short term and in the long term. The reality is that if you don’t speak the language fluently you are most probably not able to do the same job as in your home country. See it as an opportunity. Be willing to start from zero again. With pleasure. A job gives you the opportunity to be part of society. Consider every job as important and a possible starting point for a job which might be more fitting for your background.


Catharinan haastattelijana toimi Galimatiaksen asiakaspäällikkö Elitza Gerova. Aikuisten maahanmuuttajien kotoutumiskoulutukseen sisältyy 3-6 viikon kieli/työharjoittelujakso. Onko sinun organisaatiosi kiinnostunut ottamaan harjoittelijan? Tai onko teillä tarvetta suomen kielen koulutukseen tai osaavan ulkomaalaistaustaisen henkilöstön rekrykoulutukseen? Jätä yhteystietosi tässä ja olemme yhteydessä! Työyhteisön tuella on avain asema suomen kielen omaksumisessa.

Lue vinkit:   Tue suomen oppijaa työpaikalla 


Maahanmuuttajien kotoutumiskoulutuksessa on ilo seurata onnistumisia. Lue myös Omarin, Sohelin, Claran ja Apurvan menestystarinat.

Aiheet: suomen kieli ja työelämän kulttuuri, kielen opiskelu, suomea maahanmuuttajille, aikuisten maahanmuuttajien kotoutumiskoulutus, integration training for immigrants, menestystarina, success story, Finnish language training, Opi suomea, learn the Finnish language, learn Finnish, työharjoittelu on tärkeä, työharjoittelu voi johtaa työllistymiseen

Elitza Gerova

Kirjoittajana Elitza Gerova

MSc (Econ) & MSc (Tech.), experienced project manager and consultant and career coach. Eager to help immigrants integrating in the Finnish Labour Market.


Galimatias on vuonna 1996 perustettu valmennusyritys, joka tarjoaa palveluja yrityksille, organisaatioille ja julkishallinnolle.

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