Living in a new country can be full of excitement and positive experiences, but there may be challenges along the way as well. It can be overwhelming to adjust to a new community, where everything from language, culture, ways of life and expectations can be so different than back home.
City of Tampere seeks to make things a little easier for you. In this article we share tips, services, programs and activities on how to settle in and integrate into your new hometown.
Meeting with locals, learning their language and culture and forging connections across a new community can help you to settle in more smoothly and quickly. In order to make the transition as successful as possible, being proactive about integration and adapting to a new life is key.
See also general information about integrating into Finland on InfoFinland webpage: www.infofinland.fi/integration
In Finland there are different services to help you settle, find work and learn the language.
Employment and Economic Development Offices (Työ- ja elinkeinotoimisto) and municipalities have immigrant advisors. They can help you to integrate into Finnish society and offer you integration services.
Integration services include, for example Initial Assessment (alkukartoitus), Integration Plan (kotoutumissuunnitelma) and Integrational Training (kotoutumiskoulutus). Notice that integration training is offered mainly to unemployed migrants.
If your family members move to Finland with you, they may also be entitled to integration services.
International HUB Tampere provides tools and services for employers that support employees and their families in relocating and integrating to Tampere. Guidance is offered to help internationals to establish themselves in the region, in both their professional and private lives.
Read more here: internationaltampere.f/onboard-a-new-hire
The Hidden Gems International spouse program facilitates the employment and full integration of the spouses into Finnish society. The programme is open to international spouses whose partners work in one of the Tampere universities or private companies in Tampere region. More information about the Hidden Gems Programme: internationaltampere.fi/hidden-gems
The Migration Info Centre Mainio, is a multi-lingual information and guidance centre. Their services are provided by the City of Tampere. The office is located at Rautatienkatu 10, opposite the LIDL on the 5th floor in the International Tampere Skills Centre. Customers are served in about 16 different languages by advisors, all of whom also speak Finnish.
The services are available for all but particularly migrants who seek information and advice in their own language about moving to, settling and integrating in Finland. At the Info Centre, customers can ask anything about living, working and studying in Tampere such as Visa and Residence permits, integration process related matters, crises and disputes or social services issues such as Kela.
The service is free of charge.
Read more about Mainio: internationaltampere.fi/mainio
The International Tampere Skills Centre, familiarly OSKE offers personal guidance in education and job seeking. Read more about OSKE here.
More information about the Immigrant Services of the city of Tampere can be found here.
A list of regional community centres and well-being centres of the city of Tampere is found here (information in Finnish).
There are also various communities and activities that promote integration, social inclusion and community participation, such as associations and different non-profit organisations, cultural centres or education centres. We encourage you to take part in events and activities arranged by local communities to get involved in your new hometown.
Libraries, cultural events, playgrounds, sports facilities and public saunas bring people together and allow encounters. Find information on diverse events, cultural experiences, museums and sports and exercise facilities here: internationaltampere.fi/culture-and-leisure
Get to know various meeting points that help you to integrate into your local community:
- Intercultural Meeting Point Marhaban Centre: tampereenseurakunnat.fi/marhaban-keskus
- Multicultural Activities in the City of Tampere, including a list of multi-cultural association (webpage in Finnish): www.tampere.fi/kulttuuri-ja-vapaa-aika/kulttuuri/monikulttuurinen-toiminta
- A living room for migrant women and children, Naistari: www.naistari.fi
- Kototori Hervanta: www.facebook.com/KototoriHervanta
- Intercultural meeting place Mukana (Nauha ry): nauha.fi/hankkeet and www.facebook.com/KohtaamispaikkaMukana
- Meeting place TAMPURI (Finnish Red Cross): rednet.punainenristi.fi/tampuri
- Open meeting venue Artteli is a non-profit organisation founded by the people in Tampere. Stop by for a coffee, make friends, try out new hobbies, do voluntary work and join the activities: artteli.fi
- Mattila is a civic house and a place where men can talk, play games, watch movies, drink coffee and hang out. Mattila is a living room for all men. They encourage cultural exchange and awareness of different cultures: mattilanmiehet.fi
- Ahjola Settlement organises guided activities for learning and recreation for people of all ages in the Tampere area: www.ahjola.fi
Volunteer work, civic, and organisational activities are good ways to meet new people and integrate into local communities. Civic participation, meaning the citizen’s own activities on behalf of social issues, has long been practiced in Finland. Many Finns influence social issues by being active in organisations. Organisations bring together large groups of people who want to bring change in some social issues.
Volunteer work (or other participation in other activities in non-governmental organisations) is an excellent way to help, gain enter to working life and improve your language skills. It can also be an excellent hobby and a chance to meet people with whom you share common interests.
Compared to the number of citizens, the number of associations in Finland is high. According to the law, everyone has the right to participate in association activities. An association can be, for example, a sports club, cultural association, friendship association or a religious association.
In Finland, there are also many associations founded by immigrants. An immigrant association or a friendship association in contact with your home country may help you to maintain and develop your native culture in the new society and collaborate with authorities and other organisations.
Useful links and services:
Find voluntary work – Vapaaehtoistyö: vapaaehtoistyo.fi
Citizen Forum (Information about volunteering and support for its implementation): kansalaisareena.fi
Finnish Civil Society: www.kansalaisyhteiskunta.fi/civil_society
Tampere Region Civil Society and Associations (an online service to find civic activities), site mainly in Finnish: lahella.fi
Search for different associations at the Finnish Patent and Registration Office’s Association Net service: yhdistysrekisteri.fi
Advicing Services of Järjestöhautomo helps you in setting up and running an association: järjestöhautomo.fi (site in Finnish)
Read more about voluntary work: www.infofinland.fi/voluntary-work
Read more about associations in Finland here: www.infofinland.fi/leisure-associations
A good way to ease your transition, meet new people and make friends is to join local social media groups and communities according to your interests. Here are some examples of social media groups:
- Tampere Foreigners (and not : D): www.facebook.com/tampereforeigners
- International Friends of Tampere: www.facebook.com/groups/868445543486610
- International Working Women of Finland (IWWOF) and IWWOF Tampere: www.facebook.com/groups/348015526109949
- Mothers in Business Tampere: www.facebook.com/mibtampere
- International Students of Tampere: www.facebook.com/isotorg
- English speaking mums in Tampere: www.facebook.com/groups/745499315482965
- Uusia ystäviä – Tampere: www.facebook.com/groups/1515503122081156