Finnish study suggests expatriate children find adapting difficult

Published:  31 Oct at 6 PM
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An academic dissertation by a researcher from Tulku University has revealed that expat children are finding it difficult to adjust to the country as they receive no help from Finnish schools.

Researcher Anu Warinowski’s dissertation will be published by the university in December, with its conclusions causing concern amongst formerly expat parents returning to Finland. According to the Helsingin Sanomat, although a good relationship with their parents and reassuring daily routines all help kids to assimilate and adjust to the unfamiliar culture, Finnish schools give little or no help.

The study focused on children born to expat Finns who had returned to the country, concentrating on 300 families in eight Finnish cities. It found that migration back to the home country was difficult for the entire family, as no support was given by the new employer after the actual return.

However, the children are the hardest hit, as they speak and look Finnish but have been schooled in different countries with different priorities. For example, school hours outside Finland tend to be longer and projects and activities are the norm, but in Finnish schools it’s all about exams and grades, putting pressure on children not used to the system.

Expatriate children may be unwilling to talk about their previous backgrounds to their contemporaries as, in Finland, this may be seen as boasting. This makes integration and making friends more difficult for children already struggling with unfamiliar education concepts, with teachers in general failing to notice that a child is having problems or deciding not to intervene.
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