A Survey for change – A Foreigners Experience Of Rauma

In the summer of 2020 International Rauma launched the first A Foreigners Experience Of Rauma (AFEOR), to shed light on the needs in terms of work, ability to find information, social interaction and learning Finnish. Language barriers has been a returning topic in regard to getting a job in Finland. In addition more chances to networking and social activities are needed.

Employment as a challenge

Then the survey went on to questions about how easy it is to find a job in Rauma, 36 % found it very difficult, 27% found it somewhat difficult. This was an overwhelming opinion that finding work as a foreigner in Rauma was difficult and for some it was incredibly challenging. A result so overwhelmingly negative signals a bigger problem for foreigners and their desire to stay here and their ability contribute to the society.

Language barriers has been a returning topic in regard to getting a job. As some companies demand some level of Finnish, in some instances at level C1 (C1 is the second highest level the next is C2 which is comparable to a native speaker). Most foreigners communicate well in English and yet tasks which does not require Finnish, is still advertised as Finnish language proficiency is important. Though the offered courses in within the Rauma area ends at level B1, making it clash with the expectency of the businesses.

The language barrier is also affecting the international students who would like to have a summer training in Rauma or generally in Finland, as SAMK only offers courses until A2 which is in most cases not sufficient for getting a summer job within Finland, this model pushes these students either back to their home country or another country. In short Rauma and Finland is loosing valuable international talent and tax paying citizens.

A need to be social and active

Social activities are important for mental health, a sense of belonging is a part of forming social connections to the society you live in. The participants were asked if there is a need for more social activities for international citizens and the response showed that 43% were strongly agreeing with the need for more social and free time activities opportunities for the international community. A strong indicator for the need of social activities.

In response to the need for social activities, a mingle and history tour was begun in August, the social gathering was advertised in the Facebook group “Rauma in English” the gathering was popular and before corona got a hold of Finland the amount of participants were between 10 to 20. The last physical mingles were held outdoors. As the pandemic still didn’t slow down, an online mingle was created in October of 2020.

Moving forward

The “A Foreigners Experience Of Rauma” survey will be an annually survey to be able to improve the opportunities and to get to know if what was started had an impact on the international community and in which direction the impact had. The next survey will be launched in July of 2021.

Read the full survey article here

Written by Mona Elo, International Business student in SAMK