The needs of local foreigners

Mona Elo (left) carried out, Kairi Rintanen wrote down the International Rauma survey of foreigners. The lack of information in English was perceived as the biggest shortcoming in the survey. Photo: Juha Sinisalo

Here is a quick translation to our media report about the survey we had in June. The article was published on July 14th, 2020 in Länsi- Suomi newspaper and it’s online version. Available online here.

Foreigner moving to Rauma needs local support network: International Rauma survey reveals everyday problems

“I’m sitting at home now, because I don’t know the language and I don’t know where I can find information about cultural events. Before moving here, I lived a socially active life. Actually any activity is good.” 

This is how foreigners living in Rauma commented in a survey that was conducted on Facebook and Instagram by the International Rauma (founded by Mona Elo).

The survey of Elo, a Danish student studying international trade at SAMK, was conducted at the beginning of June during one week and involved 100 foreigners living in Rauma.

Elo originally founded the International Rauma group to improve the connection between the international students and companies in Rauma. Since then, the group has expanded to include non-students.

Local contacts important

According to the survey, more than 2,000 foreigners live in Rauma. They are mostly young (more than half are aged 31-40). Based on the survey, they would like to meet local people, learn more about the Finnish language and need more information about hobbies.

They need more guidance in English, for example at a health center.

Noëmie Le Forestier, a French woman, who was at the yard of the art museum with her child, agrees that more information should be available in English. She made a French-language website to help other people moving to Rauma.

– I was pretty lost when we moved here a year ago, says le Forestier.

About one-seventh of respondents were unemployed: they felt they needed more courses to enter the job market.

– Many jobseekers needed help to make a job application and CV, Mona Elo states.

International Rauma was already organizing a seminar in spring, where foreigners would have had the opportunity to get a feel for local companies and hear tips on entering the labor market.

– Corona postponed the Thonkathon event. It is open to everyone and will now take place in the autumn, Elo says.

Demand for a spare grandmother

According to Kairi Rintanen, an Estonian who wrote about the survey to the media, foreign families also need a local support network, a Finnish family member who would teach how to make Finnish food and find, for example, baking powder on the store shelf.

– That is not a need for a young babysitter, but for a grandmother type of a person who would teach life wisdom and play with children every now and then.

Rintanen has in her mind been running the paid “Rent a Grandmother” service.

– If there are extra grandmothers somewhere, we need them, she smiles.

Getting out of home

Some of the foreigners have come to Rauma alone. According to the survey they would want to have company for a sports activity or a local trip. Joint outdoor activities would give an opportunity to meet other people.

Foreigners also need guidance on everyone’s rights. Some were unsure of where to get their fish and pick berries and mushrooms.

– Here would be an opportunity for nature guides to sell tours to local foreigners, Rintanen suggests.

In addition to International Rauma, the Rauma in English and Rauma Guide pages on Facebook share local information in English. The pages are edited by foreigners living in Rauma.

The international community of Rauma gets together every second week. The first events of the Thursday Mingle have so far taken place in Amarillo from 17.30-20.

Rintanen is a Rauma guide and also has a blog Rauma Guide.

Author: Maarit Anttila, Länsi-Suomi newspaper
in cooperation with Kairi Rintanen, your rauma.guide page blogger 😉

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