In the Service of Immigrants and Expats Success stories

Mundus is a firm founded by an Immigrant for Immigrants. Mrs Nicole Saari is a teacher and polyglot who moved to Finland from The Netherlands 1997 and has also lived in France. Mrs Saari helps to bridge cultural differences and helps newcomers in practical problems.

Nicole Saari had studied Latin and Greek and taught them in a High School in The Netherlands. Then she married a Finn: “I met my husband in Greece at a language course. When I arrived to Finland I quite soon found a job. It was an Etymologic Dictionary Project of WSOY publishing company. I checked words of Greek and Latin origin. At the same time I attended an intensive course in Finnish.”

Years 1997-2001 Mrs Saari taught German in Mäkelanrinne Senior High School. German is one of the several languages she is in command of. She found a Finnish school quite different compared to Continental schools. “Pupils were more polite than in The Netherlands, the atmosphere was more relaxed, but – the Finns are not very talkative… it was a hard task to make them communicate.”

“The Finns want to speak correctly by the book and are thus afraid to say anything at all. A Hollander does not mind the Grammar if he can get his message understood. While I spoke bad Finnish I made a deal with the kids. They were to teach me Finnish as I taught them German. That way both parties learned a new language by talking it as well they could in the day.”

A Lesson in French
“We moved to France for my husband’s job in 2001. Of course I attended an intensive course in French and then headed to an employment agency. I got a job in an accounting company that had an international clientele including Finnish companies. I worked as the secretary of the management with a broad scale of responsibilities.”

I began to think how I possibly could help expat
“Our son was born in France in 2004. When he fell ill, my experiences in a French Hospital led me to what I am doing now. If you don’t speak French in France you are lost. The doctors are gods; you can´t even ask anything. We returned to Finland, our son recuperated, and I began to think how I possibly could help expats who are coming to Finland from other EU countries or going there from Finland.
”An Immigrant, Neil Hardwick, once made a TV series about a foreigner who was taken in a hospital in a country the language of which he did not know, and nobody spoke his either. Even body language and hand signals were different. It was a comedy but in real life it is a nightmare. You are helpless. You need a translator, you need somebody to talk to in your own language.

ABC of Apartment, Bank Account, Culture Shock etc
Control of life comes from education. Mrs Nicole Saari went to a course of entrepreneurship. In 2007 she launched Mundus which means World. In Finland she is working alone but Mundus has a network of similar private firms in France, Germany and The Netherlands. New countries will be added. “My partners must be small and private because the service has to be personal on the needs of customers.”

I take care of practical things like finding an apartment, opening a bank account, buying insurances.

“I take care of practical things like finding an apartment, opening a bank account, buying insurances. I fly to help when customers phone me” says Mrs Saari. “I give lessons informing them about the new country and its habits and business practises. I teach the basics and elementary phrases of the language so that they can take a taxi and do their daily shopping. After the confidence is built my customers have always somebody they can call when something happens.”

“My customers are private individuals and companies. Usually the employer makes the first contact. Together with the employer and the employee we evaluate what is needed and then I propose a fare. Every case is unique.”

Mundus and its partners in other counties offer help for foreigners settling in Finland and Finns moving abroad – hand in hand.

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