My name is Laura, and I am above all the mother of a wonderful intercultural, multilingual child. I joined the Familia family two and a half years ago and am currently the specialist on Familia’s Belingual project which supports the multilingualism and identity development of under school aged children.
I was born in Finland, to Finnish parents, but I have lived most of my life outside my country of birth. And whilst I have always felt steady in my national identity, Finland has not been home for me. I lived in Japan for the early part of my childhood and moved back to Finland with my family when I was nine. Integrating back into a Finnish school, learning in Finnish, making Finnish friends was a bit harder than I had expected as a nine-year-old. Fast forward 30 years of living in Spain, the UK, Sweden, and Uganda, I moved back to Finland again, four years ago. Integrating into Finnish society and making Finnish friends was once again a bit harder than I had expected.
Last year me and my partner moved to Finland from Denmark. As a native, he was coming home after a year of living abroad, but for me it was a new, both exciting and scary adventure. Neither me nor my partner had an intercultural couple in our extended families, so we both knew that we are pioneering in this. That is how started my Finnish journey, about which I want to share here.
Before moving to Finland, I heard a lot how difficult Finnish is. So, I was preparing myself that learning this language would not be easy. But it was much more difficult than I could have expected: new language group, puhukieli, cases, monikon partitiivi … Luckily, in Finland there is an opportunity to take an intense Finnish course and I applied to it almost immediately after landing in Finland. But it was summer and the queue for the course was quite long, so I got my spot only six months later, in January. While I was waiting, I was applying for jobs and building my social life.
Familia’s Olohuone was created as a meeting place for foreign families and Finns. Since its inception the aim has been to offer the opportunity to have fun, meet other people, learn Finnish, and get familiarized with the Finnish life.
In the early 1990s, Familia Club boasted over 500 members, comprising young individuals hailing from over 70 diverse countries. Approximately half of the members were Finnish, and around 90% of the community consisted of bi-cultural families. Olohuone welcomed people from all over the world: children, young people, adults, and the elderly. This is what made Olohuone so popular and unique- a place where Finns and foreigners, young an old can meet, get to know each other, and have a relaxing time.
Hej! My name is Andrea Lindholm, I was born and raised in Vaasa, surrounded by the unique blend of Finnish and Swedish cultures. My family has a strong connection to their Swedish speaking roots, and thus, I was raised with a deep appreciation for language and traditions.
If you don’t know Vaasa, it is a lovely city with a vibrant community of Swedes Finns. I have to say that this is the place where I always feel a sense of belonging. Here I also attended a Swedish speaking school, and now years later, I think my education instilled in me a sense of pride in my linguistic heritage. My mamma and pappa also took me to many cultural events and community festivals.
Olen Hanna ja työskentelen tällä hetkellä Familiassa suunnittelijana. Olen kuitenkin ollut Familialla yli viisitoista vuotta ja ehtinyt tekemään, näkemään ja kokemaan yhtä sun toista.
Juureni ovat Joensuussa, josta muutin ensin viideksi vuodeksi Lontooseen ja sitten vuodeksi Dar es Salaamiin. Lontoosta alkoi myös järjestötaipaleeni, sillä siellä tulin valituksi kuin ihmeen kaupalla yli kahdensadan hakijan joukosta Amnesty Internationalin kansainvälisen sihteeristön verkkotiimiin. Vuodet Amnestyllä olivat minulle monella tapaa merkityksellisiä ja tutustuin upeisiin ihmisiin, joista moni on edelleen ystäväni. Amnestyllä näin myös henkilöstön monimuotoisuuden, monikielisyyden ja monikulttuurisuuden rikastuttavan vaikutuksen niin työhön kuin työyhteisöönkin.
Haluamme kertoa juhlavuotemme kunniaksi 35 tarinaa kahden kulttuurin perheistä
Julkaisemme 35 viikon ajan 35 erilaista tarinaa, jotka kuvastavat monia haasteita ja mahdollisuuksia, joita kahden kulttuurin perheet jokapäiväisessä elämässään kohtaavat. Haluamme näiden tarinoiden heijastavan todellisuutta ja tarjoavan vertaistukea, voimaannuttavia kokemuksia ja inspiraation lähteitä sekä lisäävän tietoisuutta kulttuurienvälisyydestä ja monikielisyydestä Suomessa.
For 35 weeks, we will be publishing 35 different stories that reflect the many challenges and opportunities intercultural families face in their everyday lives. We want these stories to reflect reality and serve as an accessible peer support, source of empowerment and inspiration, and increase awareness of Interculturalism and Multilingualism in Finland.