My story as an immigrant woman in Finland


” My long-term goal is to teach fashion design some day and to become a famous clothing designer”

Fourteen years ago, I came to Finland and, currently, I am studying sewing (clothing) in Vantaa Vocational College Varia.

I studied fashion design for two years in my home country before moving to Finland. At the time, in Peru, I was working from home. After moving to Finland, it was very difficult for many years to integrate into the community and to support myself. As an immigrant, my greatest problem was the language barrier. I studied basic Finnish course for two years but doing it alone was very challenging.

In 2013 I found an internship in fashion design, which was a great opportunity for me. I chose to follow what I believe in, and I kept pursuing my career, even though I was told that I should change my profession due to the language barrier and the small demand for fashion designers in the market. There were many ups and downs along the way, but as I am a positive thinker, I just kept trying. So, about seven months ago, I started studying in Vantaa Vocational College Varia.

I found Varia when I was searching educations in design and clothing. Then I informed the TE-office. They approved my studies and covered the costs of the school. I am very happy and feel that this place will change my life. I have benefited much from this school. I respect the teachers. They are helpful, they try to make you happy and they work hard to direct and guide you.

When I came here to Varia, my aim was to improve my language skills. I have also learned how to use different kinds of sewing machines and have been mending and sewing women’s dresses. When I graduate I would like to start working and to continue developing my skills. My long-term goal is to be a fashion design teacher and to become a famous clothing designer.

As an immigrant woman I would advise other women by saying, “Don’t give up your own dreams. It is very important to learn the culture and to be active participants.”


Liz Haahkola


fashion designer

[Interview by Seblewongel Habtamu]

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