In May I received the great news that I had been offered a job at the Finnish Credit Union here in Toronto. This not only meant for me that one of the most central parts of the exchange, the summer job, was secured, but also that I would be working in my own field of study!
The Finnish Credit Union serves the Finnish community in Ontario and now all over the world by offering banking services with a familiar and friendly Finnish touch that is much appreciated by its customers. Among the Finnish community it is mostly known as Osuuspankki and the bank actually goes by both names. On their website they offer a helpful tip on how to pronounce the Finnish name for non Finnish speakers – “Oh Sue’s Bunk Key” – which I think is quite clever!
When I first set foot in the office it felt like I had travelled 6 500 km to a bank somewhere in Finland. Everyone spoke Finnish and the atmosphere felt like home. For a Swedish speaking Finn this was the ideal work place, in addition to learning about the Canadian banking system I got to practice my Finnish! Who would have thought?
My work description included ordinary office tasks but my primary position was teller. This meant that I manned the cashier and handled customers’ transactions, and NOT that I read palms and crystal balls (that’s a fortune teller).Learning the ropes of my various responsibilities took some time but luckily I had some extremely kind (and patient) co-workers, who taught me how to use the different programs and systems used at the bank.
The atmosphere at the office is like none other I have ever experienced before and the staff seemed more like a family to me than co-workers. You could clearly see that the customers also enjoyed this more familiar and informal atmosphere by the fact there usually was some form of baked goods brought in every morning for the staff by one of the regular customers. And the staff gives back to the customers by always having freshly brewed coffee ready for them when they visit the office. Simply put this has been a great place to work at.
As I write this blog post we are currently enjoying our last week here in Toronto and I can honestly say that the ten weeks of summer work has flown by extremely fast. I have very much enjoyed working here in Toronto and I really owe it to my awesome co-workers and boss. Can’t wait to come back here sometime in the future!