In 2013, Lukumanu Iddrisu decided to study abroad after his polytechnic education in Ghana. As a native of Ghana, a country in the West African subregion with a population of approximately 30 million, Iddrisu’s decision to study in Finland specifically was because of his cousin who was already studying at the Vaasa University of Applied Sciences and he had told him a lot of good things about the country’s educational system. He secured a study place at the Vaasa University of Applied Sciences (VAMK) to study degree program in International Business in 2014.
Arriving in Finland in the fall of 2014, everything was new to him — from culture to weather conditions. The sparsely populated, socially distant, cold, and snowy Finland was a direct reverse to his crowded, collective, and tropical homeland.
“… Everything was new to me when I arrived. The way of doing things was very different from what we do in Ghana. Also, the autumn and winter seasons were very challenging at the start since it was my first time experiencing them” He stated.
Fortunately for him, his wife also in 2015 got admission to study a nursing programme in Finland. “I was so elated when she got admission and was able to make it to Finland. We were able to plan our lives together as a couple. Thanks to my wife, I am now enjoying most of our Ghanaian delicacies I use to miss like Jollof, waakye, tuo-zafi and so on when I was living alone here” Iddrisu relished.
Iddrisu’s homeland is a multilingual country which comprises of over 80 languages with English as the official language. The Ghanaian society is known for its collectiveness, friendliness, and hospitality. One would expect to receive a very warm reception upon arrival with the greeting “Akwaaba” which translates as welcome or “Tervetuloa” in Finnish.
Ghana is noted for its richness in natural resources like industrial minerals and precious metals. It is also regarded as one of the prepotent of gold and cocoa production and its exportations to the world. The country’s economy is dominated by the private sector which includes small and medium based enterprises (SMEs). The West African state is also a host to multinational companies operating in the manufacturing, telecommunication, oil and gas extraction industries.
With these incredible facts about Ghana, one may wonder why Iddrisu and his wife would decide to stay in Finland after completing their studies. After they both graduated in 2017 and 2019 respectively, they made up their minds to stay and raise their family here due to the high standard of living such as the good welfare and social system as well as healthcare system. These reasons influenced the couple to stay and charter their career paths in Finland.
Iddrisu’s wife was able to get employed in her nursing field immediately after graduation. However, despite Iddrisu’s numerous attempts to land a job in his specialization, the Finnish language seemed to be a barrier. Due to this reason, he enrolled in an intensive Finnish language integration course to get acquainted with the Finnish language and culture, Finnish working environment as well as increase his chances of employability.
The course gave him the opportunity to undergo job training at the Vaasa University of Applied Sciences to intern at the marketing department and the international study office. Subsequently, the Ghanaian worked for the Ostrobothnia Chamber of Commerce as a Palkkaanuori-Kampanja (employ-the-youth campaign) specialist – a program geared towards challenging the regions’ companies to employ the youth including international students in the summer.
Currently, Lukumanu studies a master’s degree programme in Strategic Business Development at the University of Vaasa. His dream is to become a business development expert – helping businesses in changing paradigm shift.