Brief View on Multiculturalism in Helsinki

Sep 18, 2017
Multiculturalism Challenges


The society in Helsinki became a multicultural one, people from all around the world immigrate here in a search for a better life. And I must say, I enjoy it. There is great acknowledgement and respect to different cultures and religions.


Most of the people accept the diversity of cultures. They visit restaurants with different food from all around the world and go to special theme festivals and celebrations, like the international film festival that is on right now and the World Village Festival in the Spring. Many Finns participate in different protests and demonstrations against refuges deportations and pro-immigration. In times of emergency we saw (in Turku) how Finns and foreigners did their best to help and protect. In school as well, in Finnish courses, the teachers try to make the environment in the classrooms undivided and friendly.

The World Village Festival

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Protest Against Racism 

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More than that, there are many Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in Finland and many volunteer as well. Like one volunteer told me recently, “Finland is the promise land of NGOs”, and I’m proud to be part of it. There are all kind of multi-culture centers which help immigrants in different ways, as give them food, teach Finnish or help with their bureaucratic papers. 

 

But sadly, I have been exposed to hate and racism acts here too. People call immigrants by names or curse them, for example in bars or clubs people start to curse or talk down to foreigners and try to pick a fight with them. Even online, when a foreigner try to sell something on the internet, like second hand computer, people attack and send hate comments towards him. In renting apartments as well, It’s very hard to find a rental apartment in Helsinki, especially if you are not a Finn. Most Finns tent to rent their apartments to other Finns, rather than to a foreigner. Finnish people, in general, are very reliable and honest, but many foreigners are the same. Don’t underestimate people because of your lack of knowledge.


I recommend to all of you to watch the Finnish movie, leijonasydän (2013). It gives an honest real-life picture of the situation in Finland, and gives us hope for the future as well.  

 

It seems like the world is going crazy. Just watch the news, terrorist attacks, countries at war, refugees crisis, threats of nuclear weapon, economic crisis, crazy earthquake and hurricanes.

 

It’s time to focus on what we all have in common and not look for the differences.

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Like my father told me once, every human being, everywhere in the world, wants three basic things, safety, food and a roof a top of his head. We are not so different from each other as we think we are. 

Written by: Dana

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