- The whole thing started off, when I spoke to a friend of mine in Ruka at the beginning of the summer, and I said my dream would be to move to Ruka. There happened to be a vacant apartment downstairs from my friend.
Erika Tuominen, who is from Helsinki, immediately called the owner of the apartment, who was prepared to rent the studio to Erika. There was only one but along the way.
– I didn't have a job in Ruka yet. However, I decided to take the risk and rent the apartment, because I was sure I would find some work.
A week after signing the rental agreement, Erika also had an employment contract in her back pocket. Erika, who has graduated from Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences with a degree in experience tourism management, found work from the sales services of Ruka Ski Resort.
26-year-old Erika’s belongings travelled from Helsinki to Ruka in a van. Her own parents helped her move.
– The apartment in Ruka is my first permanent apartment as an adult, because so far I have lived the life of a traveller around the world. Perhaps I will now settle down for a little longer, laughs the young woman who has travelled all over the world.
Erika has worked as a travel guide in Africa, Greece and Portugal, in Australia under a Working Holiday visa, backpacked around Asia and has taken part in a student exchange in Bali.
– I look forward to the everyday life that involves regular working hours and the opportunity to enjoy leisure activities during my free time. At Kuusamo and Ruka, the leisure activities practically start at your home door, and I can hardly wait to go mountain biking and to try rafting, and once we get to winter, I want to go snowboarding of course.
Erika says she started snowboarding only a few years ago, but she is naturally getting the hang of it on the basis of skills she gained on the waves in Bali.
– Apparently it is more difficult to move from snowboarding to surfing, Erika laughs.
Half way through the interview, Erika admits that a few years ago she hated winter, snow and the cold. The traditional story – love – brought her to Ruka in 2016 for the first time, and the North won her heart over. Erika finished her thesis in the landscapes of Ruka, and her subject was how seasonal employment affects the motivation and well-being of employees
– From Ruka I ended up in Ylläs, where I worked as Lapland Hotel’s wedding coordinator for a year and organised several weddings a week.
Approximately 90 percent of the customers were British and the rest were from Italy, Germany or Sweden. There were only a few Finnish couples’ weddings.
– Who knows, if I can utilise my skills in Kuusamo, once I have mapped out the area and network of Ruka, considers Erika, who is largely interested in tourism.
Erika has a particular soft spot towards Ruka, and both the environment, people and the area’s sense of community made her return to the area. Her ex-boyfriend and some old friends also continue to live in the same areas on a seasonal basis. Some friends are also coming to Ruka as seasonal workers, so there are support pillars around.
As a tip for seasonal workers in finding housing, Erika reminds to utilise contacts.
– If you have any acquaintances or acquaintances of acquaintances, it is worth asking about housing from them first. I had amazing luck, when I found a lovely apartment just a walking distance away from my workplace.
Text: Titta Vilpa/Kuulu Oy
Photos. Ruka-Kuusamo Tourist Association and Iida Kaijansinkko
This content is part of project "Gamificational Recruitment and Regional Initiation System of Ruka-Kuusamo Tourist Region"(Initiation Game). sponsored by: