Aims of the project

In this project, we concentrate on asylum seekers’ integration paths in the Swedish-speaking parts of Ostrobothnia. We are especially interested in how asylum seekers describe their lives before coming to Finland, their journey to Finland and their everyday life in the reception centre and in other spaces.

What do they think about language teaching and other educational activities arranged for them?
What kind of a role does Swedish (or Finnish) have in their plans to settle in Finland?
What is their everyday life in the reception centre like?
What kind of social contacts and networks can they establish?

We explore the topic also from the authorities’ and teachers’ point of view:

What do authorities and teachers think about integration in the Swedish-speaking parts of Ostrobothnia and in Swedish-speaking areas in Finland in general?
What kind of services and teaching methods support asylum seekers’ needs? 

This is an ethnographic study which is being carried out in the Oravainen reception centre (both in Vöyri and in Pietarsaari) and in Folkhälsan Norrvalla, which offers education in Swedish. We concentrate on adult asylum seekers who have moved to Finland either alone or with their family members.

In a photography project we also work with unaccompanied minors who live in a group home and who go to the Finnish school in Oravainen. In addition, we compare the experiences of asylum seekers to the lives of quota refugees** in Vöyri.

The project is oriented to asylum seekers who live in the Swedish-speaking parts of Ostrobothnia, especially in the municipalities Vöyri (Oravainen) and Pietarsaari but also in other municipalities which are connected to the Oravainen Word cloudreception centre. The target group also involves authorities and teachers who work daily with asylum seekers and migrants in general.




* Ostrobothnia is a region located on the west coast of Finland.

** Under the refugee quota, Finland accepts persons whom the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has designated as refugees or other foreigners who are in need of international protection for resettlement. (Finnish Migration Service)