Villa Victor, the multicultural center of the city of Oulu, provides multicultural services to the organizations of the city and various institutes, authorities and the great public. Services are targeted to immigrants and Finnish-born citizens as well.
The services include Finnish language courses, which are provided in all levels. The teaching follows a nonstop principle, which means that you can join the courses anytime.
In practice, nonstop means that the courses are running continuously, so the contents of a given course are covered over and over again. This means that the courses don’t start or end, and a student may come along regardless of the time of the year. This also means that the students do not have to wait for a new course to start or leave hanging for nothing after a course ends.
No language skill assessments are implemented during the courses, for obvious reasons, but the suitable course level is selected by the student him/herself. The student may also move to the next level anytime he/she feels to be ready for that. Teachers naturally give their assistance, in case there are difficulties in making decisions in this matter.
The teaching language is mainly Finnish, with some occasional use of other helping languages depending on the students’ and the teacher’s foreign language skills. The Finnish learning environment serves as an immersion to the everyday language, and hence promotes the communicative learning of the language.
Villa Victor’s courses are free of charge, and there are no prerequisites concerning the Finnish nationality, permit of residence, previous language studies etc.
The Finnish language teaching takes place in close contact with the multilingual guidance of Villa Victor, which enables the clients to move easily from a service to another. Information about different authorities, services and language courses or other education is also provided during the language courses.
Co-operation with the University of Oulu in the Finnish teacher (L2) education is also very active. Teaching material is copyright free only, and it is also prepared by the teachers. Some open-source material on the internet is also used frequently (e.g. YLE oppiminen by the National broadcasting company).
A special safety net
Villa Victor’s Finnish nonstop courses serve as a special safety net for those who have not been able to get the right services at the right time. It also patches up the holes in the service nets preventing people from falling out of the services, for example the “over-integrated” people who do not have the access to the immigration program any more,
The teaching does not compete with the other education providers, but rather tries to gather everyone to the right services, especially those who could otherwise be in the risk of social exclusion. This kind of teaching also serves well those who are staying a limited time in the country, like students or contemporary workers etc.
Villa Victor’s Finnish language courses are also available online, thus making it possible to follow the teaching abroad. There are students from all over the world in teaching groups. This is often their first encounter with Finland and Finnish language, which makes it easier to arrive in the country.
Villa Victor services are available in the city center at Oulu 10 building (Torikatu 10). More information: https://www.ouka.fi/oulu/villavictor-english/
Veli-Pekka Pelkonen is the educational developer at multicultural center Villa Victor.