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My Oulu: Information in 13 languages available on Villa Victor’s website

19.11.2021

Villa Victor has served its customers in different languages through the Multilingual Guidance in Oulu10, but materials in languages other than Finnish or English have been very scarce until now.

Villa Victor’s website now has information pages also in Arabic, French, Persian, Sorani, Turkish, Kurmanci, Russian, Chinese, Japanese, Somali, and Tigrinya. Represented are almost all the languages in which Villa Victor provides Multilingual Guidance.

Each page features a video presentation of the Multilingual Guidance in the page’s language. The pages also contain information on how to get in touch with advisors who speak that language.

The Villa Victor personnel have noticed that not all foreign-language speakers know that Oulu provides Multilingual Guidance.

“Not everyone can understand Finnish or English well enough to find out about Multilingual Guidance. The revised web pages should help more foreign-language speaking residents to find these services. We have aimed to improve the visibility and accessibility of our services”, says Rikupekka Leinonen, who works at Villa Victor as a project manager in a project that develops immigrant guidance in the Oulu region.

Finding the Finnish language courses and multicultural events provided by Villa Victor and participating in them helps to adapt to life in Oulu and integrate into Finnish society.

"When we are providing services in our customer’s own language, we can build a warm and trusting relationship with them", says Fangying Li.

Importance of getting guidance in one’s own language

Fangying Li guides Villa Victor’s customers in Chinese and Japanese. She knows the importance of getting guidance in one’s own language. Although the customer might speak English well, cultural differences may still cause misunderstandings.

“When we are providing services in our customer’s own language, we can build a warm and trusting relationship with them. We want to give a strong signal that we are here for them and willing to help”, she says.

In her work, Li shares practical information on, for example, Finnish bureaucracy and its institutions, how the public transport works in Oulu and what kind of leisure activities there are in Oulu.

“Customers can also tell me about any culture shocks they might have experienced. Sometimes we laugh at these situations together, and sometimes I try to explain the reasons leading to them. I completely understand that they are having these kinds of feelings.”

Meet Fangying Li on a video presenting Multilingual Guidance:

The pages in different languages are available at ouka.fi/monikielinen-neuvonta.

Multilingual Guidance at the city of Oulu’s Multicultural Centre Villa Victor reaches around two thousand foreign-language speaking Oulu residents each year. Photos: Villa Victor

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