My journey into a multicultural environment began 13 years ago when I moved from Shiraz, Iran, to the Aalto University campus in Espoo. On the campus, I had the chance to share meals and celebrate various traditions and cultures. Later on, I entered into a multicultural family. My husband has two Finnish-English children, which adds another layer to our multicultural experience. Food has become an important part of our identity as we mix different traditions. We celebrate Nowruz, a Persian New Year tradition, with a spread of delicious dishes. Likewise, Christmas has the satisfying flavours of Finnish and English cuisine, bringing a mix of cultures to our table.
Like any other story, this is the bright side. But what about the real challenges? Yes, I did suffer from the darkness until I learnt that I could light my house with Christmas lights and candles – and of course to take vitamin D. I realized that I need more friends; but how could I enter the Finnish community without knowing the language?!
Thanks to the Finnish education system, they educated me during my work. Over the years, I worked with children of between three and seven years of age. My most recent year at day-care was spent working with toddlers, which brought me a lot of joy! I enjoyed engaging in art and craft activities with the children, finally using my degree in Art. But all this time, I worked in an English playschool and now I need to face my fear – learning the Finnish language 😀. I’ve postponed it all these years and now it’s the time, since I'm studying Social Services and, for my future job, it will be necessary to know Finnish.
Last year, through my classmate, I became familiar with Familia! I started following them on social media and I registered for various workshops and the training they offer. In “Duo job hunting,” which was a peer support group gathering immigrants together, we learnt different skills such as how to search for jobs and how to present ourselves in interviews. We learnt that searching for a job is not just about sending your CV, you need to make phone calls or go to companies and ask for face-to-face meetings. I wish I had known these kinds of NGOs and organizations earlier. Anyway, it’s never too late.
Editor: yvette ahonen
Haluamme kertoa juhlavuotemme kunniaksi 35 tarinaa kahden kulttuurin perheistä
ulkaisemme 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.