In this week’s episode, Petra chats with Katarina and Raysa, the creators of the Diversity for Future campaign in Finland. Raysa is from a town called Belo Horizonte in Brazil. Katarina is from Serbia, but she lived in Budapest, Hungary for the past five years. Both Katerina and Raysa came to Finland to study and be with their partners; they are united by their shared passion for sustainability, diversity, and dogs! Katarina and Raysa began the Diversity for Future initiative at the beginning of their studies while working for the Erasmus Student Network. Their goal was to promote the Erasmus Intern platform, which allows companies to find volunteers worldwide, to the students of Tampere. However, they realised that before promoting the platform, they had to confront the larger challenge of convincing companies that internationalization was worth pursuing.
To meet this goal, they began using event planning to teach other students how to find jobs through the “hidden network” which accounts for nearly 80% of available positions in Finland. They then joined Tampere University’s Sustainability and Impact Club, and transitioned to their current online platform during the pandemic.
During their campaign, Raysa and Katarina interviewed international workers, their Finnish coworkers, and Finnish companies on diversity-related topics. The goal of their campaign is to show that the effort of helping internationals adapt and find meaningful employment is worthwhile for both companies and individuals.
Both Raysa and Katarina have lived the experiences that they raise awareness of in their work. During her five years in Hungary, Raysa experienced what it was like to be a non-native speaker in an unfamiliar professional environment. Her experience helps her understand both sides of the issue, and helps her to see the value of sharing experiences with others. She hopes to share her experience to help make the adaptation process easier for others. Their project seeks to give a voice to international students in Finland. “We understand that integration and attraction can be very powerful if you start with studies,” Katarina said. “Thanks to the campaign, we are now having more opportunities to be heard.” They hope to continue expanding their network and working towards easing the transition of internationals in Finland. This includes releasing new content and holding webinars for incoming students and HR professionals.
As for their own futures, Raysa hopes to build a career that allows her to continue connecting with Finland, even as she returns to Brazil. Katarina realises that the future is unpredictable, and could see herself staying in Finland for some time; however, she wants to emphasize the value of international experiences regardless of their permanence. “Internationals have value regardless of whether or not they decide to stay [in Finland],” Katarina pointed out. “Immigration studies show us that these networks never disappear, and they remain useful for quite some time,” Raysa added.
If you would like to get involved with Diversity for Future, you can reach out to share your story on the Erasmus Student Network, LinkedIn, and their Medium profile.