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Finland remains the happiest country in the world

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A couple and a dog playing in the snow in Finland
Finland has been named the happiest country in the world for the 7th time | Photo: Pavel Danilyuk

Forget the snow and the low temperatures. When it comes to ranking as the happiest country in the world, Finland remains unbeatable.

The World Happiness Report 2024  has just been released, downgrading countries such as the United States and Germany, and featuring familiar European destinations as happy places to live and do business.

The ranking, which features 140 countries around the world, takes into account a variety of factors to assess the happiness of countries, including social support, freedom, and generosity. Access to healthcare and GDP per capita, in terms of Purchasing Power Parity, are also factors ranking countries on the list.

While the list of top ten happiest countries in the world remains largely unchanged, there has been movement in the top twenty. Costa Rica and Kuwait are both new entrants to the top 20, at positions 12 and 13. The continuing convergence in happiness levels between the two sides of Europe led to Czechia and Lithuania being in the top twenty. The new entrants are matched by the departures of the United States and Germany from the top 20, dropping from 15 and 16 last year to 23 and 24 this year.

The top countries no longer include any of the largest countries. In the top ten countries, only the Netherlands and Australia have populations over 15 million. In the whole of the top twenty, only Canada and the United Kingdom have populations over 30 million.

Serbia (37th) and Bulgaria (81st), have had the biggest increases in average life evaluation scores since they were first measured by the Gallup World Poll in 2013, and this is reflected in climbs up the rankings between World Happiness Report 2013 and this 2024 edition of 69 places for Serbia and 63 places for Bulgaria.

Happiness, as it seems, however, changes with age. According to the report, country rankings for the young and the old are quite different, with Lithuania, a recent entrant to the overall top twenty, ranking number 1 for those under 30 compared to 44 for those over 60. Denmark is the world’s happiest nation for those 60 and older.

“We found some pretty striking results. There is a great variety among countries in the relative happiness of the younger, older, and in-between populations. Hence the global happiness rankings are quite different for the young and the old, to an extent that has changed a lot over the last dozen years,” says John F. Helliwell, Emeritus Professor of Economics at the Vancouver School of Economics, University of British Columbia, and a founding Editor of the World Happiness Report.

For Maya Viecili, a Brazilian project manager and entrepreneur living in Helsinki since 2018, Finland‘s uninterrupted position as the happiest country in the world over the past seven years is well deserved.

“I believe the ranking is fair under the criteria used for the report, including access to nature. We also have freedom of choice. I feel that Finland is a very safe country to live in, with low crime rates. Overall, we trust the government. I think it all converges to some sort of happiness,” says Viecili.

Wittenberg, from Oulu: We try to make the most out of what we have | Photo: Marcio Delgado

Originally from Oulu, a city of 200,000 inhabitants located 600 km north of Helsinki, Ville Wittenberg commutes to work daily with a short bicycle ride, even when temperatures plummet.

“It’s tricky for a local to answer what makes Finland the happiest country in the world for so many years in a row. I’m not sure if we know the real answer to that. But once, I was with my children skating on a frozen lake, and a tourist approached us to check if it was safe to go onto the lake at that time of year. The person asked me if it hurts when you fall on ice and why the kids were laughing so much while playing in freezing temperatures. I said, ‘Well, maybe that’s our secret. The weather is so rough and dark for such long periods throughout the year that we try to make the most out of what we have,’ ” says the Science Communications Specialist.

Gabriela Barco: It’s not only about being happy | Photo: Marcio Delgado

“Every year when a new report is released and Finland manages to maintain its position, there are plenty of jokes about how it can be the happiest place in the world if people barely smile on the streets. How can people be that happy at all in such a cold place? But then we must realize that so many factors are taken into account when ranking a country that it’s hard to come out on top. It’s not only about being happy but also satisfied with your living conditions. In Finland, I feel secure, and unlike many other countries, I notice that most people here are not worried about losing their jobs or being homeless because of the way the social system works,” says foreign language teacher Gabriela Barco, founder of the events community initiative Brazilians in Finland, who is married to a Finnish man she met overseas and both relocated to Europe.

Typically, around 1,000 responses are gathered annually for each of the 140 featured countries. The findings, announced today to mark the UN’s International Day of Happiness, are powered by data from the Gallup World Poll and analyzed by some of the world’s leading well-being scientists.

Marcio Delgado is a Journalist, Producer and Influencer Marketing Manager working with brands and publications in Europe, America and Asia.

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How to talk about your university degree in an interview

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A degree student being interviewed by a university panel
Keeping your answers concise and framing them positively are key steps for a successful interview | Photo: Andrea Piacquadio

For lots of school leavers, the decision to go to university is based upon the professional prospects it can offer. Over this three or four-year period, students will acquire new (and hone existing) skills that’ll play a pivotal role in their success post-graduation.

Employers in a range of different industries value the importance of a university degree, so it’s a common line of questioning for lots of interviewers to venture down. As a job candidate, it’s important to be prepared for this.

Your education will stay on your CV throughout your career. However, the earlier on in your professional journey you are, the more value your uni experience will hold in an interview. This is because you’re unlikely to have the professional experience to draw upon to answer questions, so it’s important that you become comfortable talking confidently about this important chapter of your life. Here are some key things to remember whenever you’re asked about your university degree in an interview.

Be honest

At the heart of any conversation about your educational background, it’s important to be honest, since exaggerating your qualifications or experiences could end up working against you. For recruiters today, it’s easier than ever before to check up on candidates and the accuracy of their answers, and providing false information will work against your credibility in their eyes.

If you didn’t quite achieve the grades you were hoping for, being honest doesn’t mean you have to talk about your experience negatively. Instead, you might choose to focus on the positive aspects and how you think they have helped to shape you into a competitive candidate for whatever role you’re applying for.

Don’t neglect your soft skills

Gaining a university degree is primarily about learning the specific skills that will help you to be successful in the world of work. Even if your course isn’t necessarily a vocational one, you’ll constantly be developing hard skills that can be applied to a range of different jobs. While you won’t find them listed on the syllabus, you will also have the opportunity to develop a plethora of soft skills throughout your course, and these shouldn’t be forgotten.

Especially if you haven’t yet gained much professional experience and had the opportunity to demonstrate these skills in the workplace, talking about your time at university is a good way to show you possess the soft skills necessary to succeed in the role. For example, think back to any presentations you had to do as part of a module, where you had the opportunity to work on communication and teamwork skills. Or, think about a term when you had to balance deadlines in different modules, speaking to your time management skills.

Look beyond the lecture hall

Everyone who goes to university will have spent lots of time in the classroom with their tutors, and while it is important to talk about what you did in that setting, you also want your account of uni life to be a little different from other candidates.

What could set you apart from another interviewee when reflecting on your experiences is the stuff that goes on outside the classroom. As part of your interview prep, you should equip yourself with anecdotes and experiences that played an integral role in your university journey, beyond the standard curriculum. This could be a term that you spent studying or in industry abroad, or maybe a way in which you contributed to the institution beyond your academic merits. This could be through sporting efforts or perhaps your involvement with a society that was important to you.

Common interview questions

There are lots of different ways your degree could be brought up in an interview. Understanding the types of questions that might come up will help you to focus your preparations. Often, interviewers will use open-ended questions, leaving you to call upon the most important aspects: “Tell me about your educational background”. Others might direct you to a more specific answer about a particular element of your experiences: “What skills did you learn at university that’ll help you succeed in this role?”. It’s important to remember that your answers can be applied to different questions, so come prepared with a bank of key points to call upon.

Even if they don’t explicitly frame a question through the prism of your educational experiences, you can always call upon them to answer common situational questions. For example, you could be asked about a time you had to overcome adversity, and it’s perfectly acceptable to draw upon your time at university to answer this.

Preparation is key

As we’ve alluded to, reflecting on your time in higher education should be a key part of your interview prep. Don’t rely on recalling odd memories from this period as and when a question comes up – note down a few examples of challenges you overcame and skills you developed during this period that could be adapted to answer different types of situational questions. As with any other question, keep your answers concise, and make sure to frame them positively.

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‘Influencer’ among UK children’s top 10 dream jobs 

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A female influencer filming content indoors.
5 billion people use social media, around two-thirds of the global population

‘When I grow up, I want to be insta-famous’. Young Brits look to social media for their dream job, new research by pocket money card and app nimbl can reveal.

The role of influencer, someone able to monetise followings on websites and apps like Instagram and YouTube, was the sixth-most popular career choice among UK children aged 6 to 171.

About 1 in 20 chose it as their top occupation, hoping to follow in the footsteps of homegrown internet celebrities like gamer- entrepreneur KSI, and lifestyle guru Zoe Sugg.

While teacher was the favourite profession in the study amongst over 1,500 children interviewed – followed by doctor and vet – influencer elbowed out traditional careers including nurse, police officer and musician.

Influencers make money through sponsored content, negotiating with brands to offer paid endorsements or earning share of advertising revenue. The amount they earn can depend on popularity, with Instagram users typically able to monetise content once they have gained a few thousand followers.    

According to YouGov, Joe Wicks is the UK’s most famous influencer, with four in five Brits recognising the fitness coach. About 5 billion people use social media, around two-thirds of the global population.

“Social media has driven expansion of our digital lives, providing connection and transforming entertainment and news. It’s also providing jobs – and the most high-profile influencers are inspiring young Brits careers. “Although long-standing occupations still dominate dream jobs, it’s clear influencers are having an impact, and school careers advisers will need to brush up on their hashtags,” says Alana Parsons, Chief Executive of nimbl.

“For concerned parents it’s important to recognise that – behind the social media sheen – the biggest online stars have built their platforms through hard work, drive and perseverance, qualities that younger generations can learn from.”

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Samsung’s ‘Newfound Equilibrium’ design exhibition closes today

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Samsung’s ‘Newfound Equilibrium’ design exhibition closes today
“Newfound Equilibrium" is showcasing the brand’s user-centered design philosophy

Samsung Electronics today announced that it will hold its design exhibit at Milan Design Week’s Fuorisalone 2024 from April 16 to 21.

A design exhibition located at Le Cavallerizze, in the Leonardo da Vinci National Museum of Science and Technology in Milan, Italy, will come to an end this evening.

Samsung’s Corporate Design Center’s exhibition, “Newfound Equilibrium,” is showcasing the brand’s user-centered design philosophy, “Samsung Design Identity 5.0: Essential∙Innovative∙Harmonious.

“Design must fully take the human experience into consideration, and Samsung’s design principles achieve this,” says TM Roh, President and Head of Corporate Design Center at Samsung Electronics. “With our human-centered design philosophy, we aim to create a future that harmonizes with the lives of our customers through innovation with purpose.”

The multi-sensory experience, featuring immersive installations, guides visitors through five spaces that express Samsung’s design identity. The spaces are titled “Essence,” “Innovation,” “Harmony,” “Infinite Dream” and “New Dawning.” As visitors approach the screens in the spaces, translucent elements change into specific shapes and textures, and the shapes beyond the window appear as if they are approaching onlookers, allowing them to immerse themselves in the dream of an infinite future drawing nearer.

Through collaborations with the human craftsmanship of ceramic masters MUTINA, and wood veneer wizards ALPI, the Bespoke Refrigerator and AirDresser have also been reimagined considering the co-existence of people and technology.

Samsung’s “Newfound Equilibrium” exhibition is located at Via Olona, 6 bis, Milan and offers free entry until 6 PM today.

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