From Finland to Fuengirola

Laura Kemppi Credit: Eeva Roots

Swapping the Nordic landscapes for the sunny Fuengirola, Spain, 29-year-old Laura Kemppi has discovered her new place to call home.

Originally from the small village of Sysmä in Finland, Laura’s path to Spain was paved with a deep admiration for the Spanish way of life.

“My first trip abroad was to Malaga in 2017,” Laura says, “I fell in love with the Spanish culture even then and immediately travelled to Fuengirola on the Costa del Sol again in the spring of 2018.”

Settling into Costa del Sol

August 2022 marked a significant turning point as Laura finally settled in Fuengirola. Her decision to relocate was based not only on her affection for the Costa del Sol’s climate but also on a finding for a more engaging lifestyle.

“Finland is a Nordic country, and the summers there are short and unstable,” she says, “In Spain […] the people here are relaxed, there are many nationalities, long sandy beaches and wonderful sights.”

Adapting to the mañana culture, where time is more fluid than rigid schedules in Finland, presented another adjustment. “At first it was a bit annoying,” Laura says. “I’ve also learned that it’s like that here and even my own character has become more relaxed.”

Language and housing: keys to adapting

Language proved to be both a barrier and a bridge. While Laura had some basic Spanish knowledge before her move, mastering it became crucial for daily life and official matters.

“You can manage without Spanish, but not in everything,” said Laura, “In general, however, the Spanish are really helpful people.”

Reflecting on her journey, Laura offers advice for prospective expatriates eyeing Spain.

“Apartment prices have risen a lot […] it can be difficult to find a suitable apartment,” she says, “So it’s worth spending time on this and being ready to pay if you want to live on Costa del Sol.”

Embracing a life without regrets

Despite the hurdles, Laura has no regrets about her decision. “On the contrary, I thank myself very often that I made the decision to go towards the unknown and moved to Fuengirola.”

Looking ahead, Laura dreams of exploring more of Spain, from the southern cities like Sevilla and Cordoba to the famous cities of Madrid and Barcelona.

“The Sunshine Coast and Spain have many cities which are more wonderful in their own way, and there is something for everyone.”

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Written by

Talyta Franca

Talyta Franca, Class 2026, Northwestern University in Qatar.