On the 3rd December 2012, EXPAT project Helsinki Consortium organised an expat workshop in Helsinki city centre. About 25 expatriates who reside in the greater Helsinki region participated in the workshop. From expat’s point of views, it was obvious that services for international knowledge workers in Helsinki are in a great demand. During the workshop, expats had great time to openly discussing and socialising.
The workshop started with a warm welcome from Ms. Inka Kanerva, Development Manager of Uusimaa Regional Council and Ms. Fatbardhe Hetemaj, new member of Helsinki City Council from 2013. Then the participants were given an opportunity to share and discuss their experiences through designated matrixes which projected various phases, from a pre departure to their life experiences after a year of residing in the region.
In addition, in order to measure how known are the expat services in the region, expats were given a number of the services suitable to them, and were asked to evaluate the services which they have ever used. In this regard it was vivid that many services for expats are in the region but their visibility is minimal. Expats were also asked to present any missing services and services that could be useful if available in the region. Ideas and suggestions were valuable for the project.
The use of the matrixes was due to the need of EXPAT project to understand key service demands more from the user community. This way the project will be able to strengthen the development of its informative virtual platform as well as communicating further requirements to the decision makers.
Generally, most of expats have found life in the greater Helsinki region satisfactory. Despite the cold weather and a homogenous society in comparison to many cities in the world, Helsinki region still wins hearts of the expats who moved here. It was however clear that, finding information about social and professional connections as well as networking need to be improved.
Expats’ enthusiasm and appreciation for this event proved that the EXPAT project is on the right path. There is a need to promote information of service better in the region as it is a strong self-evidence that there are many of these services but, due to lack of publicity, used by few people.
The project partners from Helsinki group namely, Uusimaa Regional Council, Culminatum Innovation and Laurea University of Applied Sciences appreciate the participation and all ideas that came up during the workshop. All ideas will be considered in the development of the virtual platform and recommendations to the decision makers. Expats and stakeholders’ inputs to the project development are important and are always encouraged.
The project will launch its first pilot on the last week of February 2013. All expats will be invited to take part on the event and experience the service logic. This will support us by receiving feedback on and provide further ideas for development.
Stay tuned to our website and contacts us if you would like to know more about EXPAT project.