The City of Kokkola and Centria event responds to the information needs of internationals of Kokkola
Centria and the City of Kokkola Welcome Office organise an event for the international residents of Kokkola. The event introduces visitors to the Finnish society and services provided by the city of Kokkola.
There is a demand for information, as Welcome Office and Sofia Behluli, who guides students of Centria in matters related to integration, receive weekly questions related to creating a life in Kokkola.
“When you move to Finland, you will first face a permit process, which can be quite a jungle. Then you should get a Kela card, a bank account, an address, children to school, and find things to do in your leisure time, not to mention getting a job. These can all be challenges, especially when you come to the area from outside Europe without Finnish skills, says Marianne Leimio-Seppä, immigrant coordinator of the city of Kokkola.
In the I Live to the Fullest in My Kokkola event, Kokkola residents can ask questions face-to-face from English-speaking experts and get to know Kokkola better.
“We hope that visitors will find that there is a nice and approachable person behind the service who is happy to help,” Behluli says.
The Kokkola region and Finland urgently need experts and employees, which is why it is important to provide international Kokkola residents the possibility to enjoy the region, to settle in and to find employment in work corresponding to their education.
– Cultural exchanges are also essential. People have always enriched each other’s lives through encounters, Leimio-Seppä reminds.
Although services such as Welcome Office are available to new residents in Kokkola and the city sends them a welcome package, sometimes a person who has lived in Kokkola for years may be unaware of the services that are available to them.
In many situations, information is not readily available to reach an international citizen. For example, websites are often only in Finnish and Swedish. There are also challenges in getting to know local people.
“Many people arriving in Finland may find it difficult to build a network of social relations in Finland. Even if there is a desire to get to know local people, without language skills and contacts the threshold may be high, says Katrina Kalmi, Service Adviser at Welcome Office.
Behluli, Leimio-Seppä and Kalmi hope that the event is fruitful for both visitors and presenters. Visitors will have the information they need and presenters get concrete examples of what concerns internationals of Kokkola and how they could improve the accessibility of information about their services.
The event takes place on the Centria University of Applied Sciences’ Talonpojankatu campus (Talonpojankatu 2A) on 17 January at 9-14.
Sofia Behluli tel. 050 345 0778, email@example.com
Marianne Leimio-Seppä tel. 050 409 5620, firstname.lastname@example.org
Katriina Kalmi tel. 040 578 0032, email@example.com