University needs support for learning Finnish language

Agora Center from University of Jyväskylä has joined “speak clearly” campaign that emphasizes spoken language that is easily understandable, at moderate speed and well articulated.

–The need of speaking slowly is often related to mental disorders and such, but in academic communities we can benefit the integration of intelligent academics into our research community by speaking Finnish clearly, slowly and well articulated, says Päivi Fadjukoff, Head of Planning and Development in Agora Center.

Especially in workplaces that have staff with higher education degrees, like universities switch easily to English, if the discussion skills of the colleague are not already strong enough for dialogue.

–Although the meaning of this behavior is nice, we will at the same time reject the excitement and interest of foreigners to practice their language skills, says Dr. Fadjukoff.

The interdisciplinary Agora Center has for many years promoted multiculturality and welcomed international visitors to Jyväskylä. Both Finnish and English are in daily use at the research institutes projects in different working contexts. Along with international staff the unit has had several trainees that have had the goal to learn Finnish, which is required in many job positions in Finland.

–I came to Agora Center years ago as trainee to learn Finnish language and culture, says research amanuensis Susan Immonen, who came to Finland from the United States and after success in her training period got a permanent position in the unit.

Sacha Helfenstein moved to Finland from Switzerland and started working in Agora Center 15 years ago. Along his doctoral dissertation he learned to speak Finnish fluently.

–Learning to speak Finnish has opened career opportunities in the working life in Finland and also enabled efficient networking as a researcher, says Dr. Helfenstein. He has had positions in the university as researcher, teacher and research coordinator. Currently he is creative director at Qvantel ltd.

Learning to speak Finnish as a foreign language is more important now that immigration has increased. Research confirms that learning finnish is a great investment to immigrant. The better one can master the language of the country of residence, the better the success in the society will be.

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