Pauliina is one of the Startuplifers’ wize Gandalfs, also known as alumni. She did her internship in San Francisco at BetterDoctor, a healthcare data startup. She started as a Platform and Community Manager and took care of their developer community that had built itself around the company’s API. After a while she was promoted to a Marketing Manager. In the end, Pauliina was taking care of many things around marketing, design, developer sales and events. So, doing a bit of everything. Quite a classic role in a startup!

To inspire new applicants to join the army of Lifers spreading abroad, Pauliina shares insights about her journey.


Lez go, tell us who you are, Pauliina!

Hi, I’m Pauliina, a marketing and communications professional who just returned from spending 18 months in the sunny California! I’m originally from Espoo and I’ve lived in three other countries outside of Finland: France, Spain and the US. I love creating content and music.

Do you have to be a superhero to score a job in Silicon Valley? What had you done before the Lifer experience?

I studied organization studies and communications in the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Helsinki. Like many Finns, I also worked while I studied: prior to my experience in the US I had worked a bit more than 2 years at a mobile and operating system startup Jolla and one year at a Communications Agency Drum.

Did it scare you to leave Finland, the bird nest? What surprised you after leaving? 

I wasn’t scared as I was too excited for that. I had never been in San Francisco before, but I knew that it was a big city full of tech and startups, and pretty European compared to other American cities. I didn’t really have doubts in terms of my job as I did my research to find out that the company that I was about to join was a good company.

One thing that surprised me was that I got tons of chances to travel during my year, which I’m very grateful for. For work I went to Chicago, Nashville, Las Vegas and San Diego.

Did San Francisco teach you something that Finland can’t?

Getting to live among very smart and ambitious people teaches you a lot of things. In San Francisco, you can’t avoid being influenced by futuristic, tech-driven and even utopian thinking. Many people optimize everything and make their life what they want that to be: I learned to start to design my own life too.

Did the startup experience abroad affect your path?

Pretty quickly after I got back I joined an AI company called Silo.AI. Artificial intelligence is fascinating, but I wouldn’t have thought of joining without having worked with a data product first. Also, having worked 1.5 years full-time concentrating on just work made me feel on a completely different level professionally. My experience in San Francisco gave me a lot of self-confidence, especially through the tricky sales calls with American customers (in English obviously). I will never be afraid of speaking out loud again!

Any last words for the people, thinking about applying?

If you’ve come this far as to read this blog post, you’re obviously thinking about it. Can you hear that? It’s me whispering in your ear: do it! You will not lose anything but win so much. In my opinion everybody should live abroad and working in San Francisco is one of the craziest experiences you can have at least at this point of your career!


Want to give yourself an early Christmas present? Share us your Linkedin profile and CV at the apply page and you may find yourself doing a paid internship abroad next year! And don’t worry, we got you covered along the way! Check out our tips for writing a perfect CV and preparing for the business interview.