The debate about asylum seekers and refugees in Finland has been intense. We asked international students how do they feel about the whole discussion.
Peadar Faherty, 27, Ireland, Electronics (JAO)
I have followed the discussion mainly from The Guardian and based on that source I know there are many people coming to Finland right now. In Ireland I wouldn’t call this discussion as a crisis because we don’t have that many asylum seekers. All I’ve heard about Finland’s situation is numbers what comes to asylum seekers. I don’t really know what happens once they are in the country. It is good there are asylum seekers coming to Finland, because it is Europe’s responsibility to help them. I would like to hear more information about how they are being integrated to the Finnish society. The government is relying too much on local volunteers which is not sustainable.
I am an immigrant myself. My family moved from Albania to Greece when I was a one-year-old. Right now people are coming to the EU just to save themselves. In Greece we have many asylum seekers. I met a Syrian family in a train in Greece. They told me they were refugees and their plan was to go to Germany. It was heartbreaking to see a family with just a backpack with all the things they considered valuable. Meeting them made me really sad but at the same time I was happy they were alive and going to a safer place. Finland should definitely accept and welcome asylum seekers – they can benefit this country financially and socially.
There is a huge amount of people going to Finland but I don’t think there are many people going to Russia from Syria, Afghanistan or African countries. I could do charity and work with different organizations to help people in need. It would be easier for me to work with Red Cross in Russia than in Finland. What comes to accepting all the asylum seekers coming to Finland, I don’t know what to do. It is government’s problem how to provide accommodation and money for them. Afterwards, it would be good to offer Finnish language courses so they could find a job. There is crisis in Syria but this is not a crisis in Finland. However, the problem is worldwide.
Every local residence in Europe is wondering how the countries are going to handle the crisis. In Belgium we are receiving more asylum seekers compared to Finland. Technically it is not that many people. I would like to help people in need through ESN Jyväskylä. I’ve heard they are planning to work together with the Red Cross. Finland should accept all the asylum seekers coming here. If you spread them out across Europe, it’s really not that many people. If countries don’t want them to come to Europe, then they should help locals in their home countries. There is no immediate easy solution.
Asylum seekers are coming to Europe for a better life, better funds and safety reasons. We don’t have any asylum seekers coming to United Arab Emirates. The situation in Finland is pretty good because there are less asylum seekers choosing Finland compared to, for example, Germany. Finland is colder and Arabic is not spoken over here. To help asylum seekers I could donate money or participate in some events because I speak Arabic. Finland’s borders should not be closed but not open to everyone. For the solution Finland should accept only a certain number of asylum seekers and offer jobs to them. The situation should not affect the citizens.
The crisis had to been expected ever since the Arab Spring. The situation in Finland is about to start improving. In Mexico we have received only about 5–10 asylum seekers. However, historically Mexico has been a refugee receiver. Finland is one of the countries in the EU that is best prepared to deal with these kinds of situations. The Red Cross has organized events for asylum seekers in Jyväskylä. From my academic background I would like to write a political opinion about why this is a possibility and not a risk. We should open ourselves out and hear what these people could bring to Finland. Integrating them is the solution.