TITLE OF THE INITIATIVE
University of Helsinki Says Welcome
INSTITUTION RESPONSIBLE FOR THE INITIATIVE
University of Helsinki
University of Helsinki, Yliopistonkatu 3, 00014
WEB SITE OF THE INITIATIVE
- Help desk and supporting services for refugee students
- Language and other introductory courses for refugee students
- Tutoring and peer support for refugee students
- Newly arrived refugees
DESCRIPTION AND METHODOLOGIES
Different departments and disciplines at the University of Helsinki have made spontaneous initiatives to help asylum seekers and refugees. The ‘University of Helsinki Says Welcome’ event brought (mainly between 2015-2017) the University community and asylum seekers together.
“Due to the tendering process, Finnish courses are on hiatus until the end of the year. So I suggested to my students of subject didactics in Finnish as a second language that instead of coursework we could do actual work.”
Students volunteers, in cooperation with a graphic designer and video professional working pro bono, developed a website which allows anyone to teach beginner-level Finnish to asylum seekers.
In addition to the website, members of the University community offered face-to-face Finnish teaching.
In addition, at the Faculty of Law, a pilot low-threshold info point offering legal advice for asylum seekers was established. It provides general information about the Finnish legal system, identifying the organisations to turn to for legal aid and explaining what fundamental rights asylum seekers have.
RESULTS AND IMPACT
Help desk and supporting services for refugee students as well as language and other introductory courses for refugee students provided to refugees and asylum seekers.
In addition, Finnish students were encouraged to serve as volunteers, promoting social inclusion and fostering multiculturalism, leading to a "win-win" situation, as they were actively engaged in the community.