Julia Zin was born in Myanmar, studied in Singapore and now lives in Helsinki, Finland.
She works in Change Management Communication, is a language enthusiast and she's a YouTuber – which means we’re gonna have a lot of shared interests to talk about!
We speak half the show in English, and the other half in Burmese.
Listen to the full conversation (Part 1 in English and Part 2 in Burmese) or read a selected excerpt below.
➤ So when did you arrive in Finland?
I think it was about three winters ago in 2017 November. That’s when I landed in Finland with the intention of moving here.
➤ Okay and before that where were you?
Before that, I was in Singapore. I was studying there and then I started my career in Singapore and I was living there for about eight years before I moved to Finland.
➤ When did you leave Myanmar for the last time?
I think it was back in early 2010. I’m pretty sure it was some time before the National (Pyidaungsu) Day so it was sometime in February 2010. So it’s been more than more than 10 years. I think next month it will be 11.
➤ Yeah okay so you left Myanmar, you went to Singapore to study and then you worked there and then you moved to Finland. Can you explain the reason why you came to Finland?
Yeah I came to Finland because I think it’s a one of the two very common reasons why people would move here.
So the first possibility is that you’re here to study because until a few years back the Finnish government gave out this really amazing education without the school fees.
The second one is that you have a Finnish partner as your spouse. And I fall into the second category, so before I moved to Finland, I had a Finnish boyfriend who is now my husband.
➤ Let’s go back to Singapore. What did you study?
Okay now we go back to the memory lane! So I guess when I was younger when I watched like MTV then I want to be the VJ you know, that talks about what are the top 10 songs in the world like Billboard top 10 and so on.
So that was like what I wanted to do at first and then of course when you go to high school then you need to hit this mark to become a doctor and I think engineer wasn’t that great back then. When you go to that type of engineering school then you’re not on the standard of doctors.
And what happened was, after high school my grades were like four marks away from entering medical school. So it was a bit disappointing because they have different systems for boys and girls. If you’re a boy then your requirements are much lower than the requirement for the girls which is really really unfair.
➤ Wow I didn’t know that. Yeah so why is that?
I don’t know, it’s just so crazy, really unfair.
➤ Is it because there’s more girls applying?
Possibly. But then why do they have to care about which gender is applying?
➤ That’s weird. I’ve never heard of that. I need to check that (note: I did check it and found that it was an attempt to force gender ratio equality) Okay so you didn’t get into medical school.
Yeah and then I was just like thinking what could I be doing next and I think 10 years ago there weren’t many opportunities and initially I was thinking of applying to schools in Japan because I really loved Japan and I had some relatives there.
So I was learning Japanese but then in the end, I thought okay maybe I don’t want to learn Japanese. I wanted to speak English and then I chose Singapore which has like very different English accent.
So somehow I ended up in Singapore in a polytechnic and I took the biomedical electronics engineering program. After the poly I got a job in a biomedical industry. I really hated that job so I decided to apply for a different job and then i got into fintech – like payment industry and I think that’s where I really start to enjoy working life.
➤ When did you meet your Finnish future husband?
I think that was about six years ago. We met on Tinder. The normal way of meeting people nowadays. Every time we talk about how we met our partners with other colleagues or friends –just yesterday I was meeting three new girls because of some work activities and we happened to talk about our partners and how we met and all three of us we were saying, ‘Oh we met through Tinder.’
➤ Tell me about your YouTube because. I know you started your channel in Singapore. So why did you start a Youtube channel?
I wanted to get my parents’ attention, I guess.
➤ That’s an interesting reason!
Yes, so my mom really doesn’t have so much time or she doesn’t call me or take my calls or anything so I was thinking, ‘Oh maybe I want my mom to know how I’m living,’ or you know like someday they can look at it.
So that was like the initial intention — if they ever feel like interested in my life, then they can check it out. Then, the more I did it, it just expanded, I guess. I just get more ideas and I create a bit more videos.