Swiss Travis Finneran

Swiss Travis Finneran moved to Finland in 2010. Like many immigrants, love is the reason he came, and also his reason to stay.

What do you do here in Finland?

I’m a sushi chef at sushibar+wine. I help design the menus and do research on developing new plates. My fiancé and I are also starting up a dog training school, Home School Dog Training, for rehabilitation of dogs that need special care, as well as basic training. Our school is a bit different because we don’t just train the dogs, we also help dog owners to understand their pets better. The bond between a person and their dog is crucial. Later on we hope to do rescue training as well.

When and how did you end up here?

I came to Finland the day after Vappu in 2010. My wife at the time wanted to move here, and after we got divorced, I thought about leaving, but realised I had it pretty good here, so I stayed. Then, in early 2012, I met my current fiancé at a dog park.

What attracts you about the Finnish culture?

I love the strong character of the Finnish people, and I appreciate the respect for nature that Finns have. The Lapinkoira is now also one of my favorite dog breeds. You have to give credit to the old time Finns for raising such an intelligent and hard working breed.

What culture shocks did you experience when coming to Finland?

I’m very talkative and outgoing and friendly. In Switzerland we say bonjour to everyone on the street. The refrained interaction of people surprised me.

Have you been able to settle and integrate in to Finnish society?

I think I’ve been able to. My Finnish is getting pretty good, though there are still a few hang-ups. Being here I am playing by the Finns’ rules, but I’m OK with that.

What were/are your worries?

When I first started working, a few people made my life hard because I was an immigrant. I was worried things would always be that way, but it has changed and things are much better now, and I can count Finns among my friends.

What are your future wishes for your life here?

I want to keep working at sushibar+wine. I have climbed the ladder and want to see the company thrive. I also have high hopes for starting up Home School Dog Training, and someday I want to help create a Helsinki dog training and rehabilitation center.

What is your favorite Finnish word?

Lämpimämpi (warmer). When you say it, it sounds so silly. The Finnish language sounds mostly strong and masculine to me, so lämpimämpi just seems so silly by comparison.