Andrei Sirbu: Working and studying at the same time in Finland


Who are you and what do you study?

My name is Andrei Sirbu. I’m 29 years old and I’m coming from a small country from the south of Europe, Republic of Moldova, which is famous for the collections of wines which are preserved in the undergrounds of historical basements. I’m also a third year student of HAMK Häme University of Applied Studies (International Business) and I really enjoy being here.

How did you end up in HAMK? Why did you choose to study International Business?

I applied to HAMK spontaneously and I would have never thought about coming Finland if somebody would have told me about it. It was one day when I was eating breakfast before I was going to the office to my brother and I was watching TV when I saw an advertisement of the applications to apply for studying in Finland, after that I applied all the documents and passed all the exams  and I ended up in HAMK which I will never regret this decision! I will always be thankful for this opportunity to study at HAMK and I am enjoying all of the benefits of studying in this university.

Are you working while you are studying? What do you do and where?

Because I was a student and students need money to pay for their rents and all the costs, I started to look for a job right at the beginning when I came to Finland. It was not a easy task but with a network which I created with my fellows students I found out that Lidl’s ware house in Janakkala was hiring students for summer jobs. I applied and got through two steps of recruitment process and got accepted to this job.

My task for this position is to fulfill the orders which comes from Lidl shops and also be willing to do the jobs inside the ware house, like operating fork lifts or check the goods which are coming in. After my summer job ended, the company offered me to apply to a permanent contract and they said I can work only 25 hours /week which made me really happy since I can combine studies and working at the same time.

How you have managed to work and study at the same time?

My job place is in Hämeenlinna so I decided to move into this city. Driving to Valkeakoski to study takes around 45 minute so I’m driving back and forth whenever is needed because of courses from university.  I have to be honest sometimes is really tough to get up early mornings to go to university after a long day of work. But it does not matter because success needs sacrifices.

Studying and working at the same time is possible but I really do not recommend to work too much since it might affect your studies. Remember to focus on quality of your studies and get the most benefit of it! For example working for 10-15 hours / week and studying at the same time is totally ok.

What are the benefits of studying and working at the same time?

The first benefit about working and studying is of course financial freedom, you do not need to worry about money since you will get enough to pay your bills and there is no need to ask money from the parents for living costs. The second benefit is that you can integrate in the working environment of Finnish society and understand how the things work from inside, and also you can apply a lot of knowledge from the courses from university and use them in practice, you can get experience related for example in organizational tasks or Human Resource duties.

What about living costs in Finland?

Living costs are high but they have a great quality. When I moved to Hämeenlinna, I asked from student affairs office from Valkeakoski if they can help me to find an apartment from that city and they recommend me a student apartment from Hämeenlinna where rents aren’t too high. I would say that the government really helps students to integrate easier in the society providing them low costs accommodation and also lunch for the reduced price.

Was it difficult to find job in Finland? 

For me, it was easy and I would say that I was lucky to get a job directly from the first job application which I applied in Finland. Normally it is not always so easy to find a job, but usually the most common job what students are doing in Finland during their studies is to deliver newspapers for example.

What has been the best thing at HAMK? And the most challenging?

The best thing at HAMK is of course the teachers, and great people which I met inside this organization. At HAMK I have created such a great networks with whom I look forward to work in the future. The most challenging thing has been all the changes what has happened at HAMK during these three years of my studies. Those create a slightly discomfort feelings sometimes, but I would say this is how is going in business life where you have to be always ready to adjust to changes!

What would you like to say to people who consider applying to HAMK International Business? Any tips?

I would like to say that apply to HAMK and you will never regret that you did this step! Your life will change and you will be satisfied on the knowledge and skills which you are getting in HAMK. HAMK is a great organization with great people and a lot of stories which you will never forget.

My tips will be that take out as much as possible from the student life, be active, participate in all of the activities you can and have fun!

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Because my hobbies are everything what is related to car industries, so in ten years I see myself owning a car dealership which will provide high quality cars at a reasonable price. I would also see myself in owning a rental car company which will provide luxury cars for the high end customers. And of course the top of my dreams will be buying rare cars which are going up in values and selling them after the price will go up for the reason of rarity of the product.

Check out more about HAMK International Business:

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