Welcome to Joensuu Networking Event

Riikka Simonen

As the first snow fell in Joensuu, North Karelia on Friday the 4th of October, international students studying in the Joensuu region filled the upper hall of Kerubi restaurant to attend the Welcome to Joensuu Event. Around 80 students packed the hall, coming from 26 different countries all over the world, some of these countries being Vietnam, USA, Azerbaijan, China, Germany, Brazil and Iran. The networking event was co-hosted by the City of Joensuu, the Regional Council of North Karelia, Karelia University of Applied Sciences, University of Eastern Finland, Riveria Vocational School, Business Joensuu, the TE-Office, the ELY Centre and Business Finland. The purpose of the event was to introduce international students to the region and all the different opportunities it has to offer.

The event started with an introduction to the Joensuu region, with welcoming words from the Mayor of Joensuu, Kari Karjalainen. He focused on the importance of community, the benefits having two different universities in the region as well as the vast possibilities for international students. Heli Räsänen, the Marketing Manager for the Regional Council of North Karelia followed with the theme of Karelians in a Global World. It focused on the region as a whole; including the sustainability goals of being fossil oil free by 2030. The living environment of the region is very simple and safe, which makes it a great place for anyone to live in, including international students. The CEO of Business Joensuu, Harri Palviainen continued with the theme Grow With Joe. Harri focused on the business potential of Joensuu as a destination for companies, with over 6.000 companies currently in Joensuu. The total net growth of companies in the region is 7%, which is over the national average of 5.4%. The presentations continued with Fastroi’s company example of how they recruit international talent. Their HR Manager Kristiina Arola spoke with one of their international employees, Lin, about her experience being hired at Fastroi. A short presentation of the Migri (Finnish Immigration Service) rules and regulations of working in Finland if one is in Finland on a student visa. As the final presentation, all organizations and companies who had networking stands at the event came on stage and gave short presentations of themselves and the networking portion of the event began.

The second half of the event split the international students into two groups; with group 1 going to eat a buffet lunch from Kerubi and group 2 starting the networking with local companies and organizations. The networking took place in four different locations throughout Kerubi, in their different conference rooms. The international students had around an hour to eat/network, when the participants changed activities. This allowed all participants to enjoy the networking, as well as eating. The event ended at 16.00 with 10 tickets to the Lehtiä Ilosaaressa music concert that was happing that evening. All ticket winners were present and most of them had not listened to any Finnish music live and were excited to experience something new. Half the tickets were sponsored by Fastroi and the other half by Karelia University of Applied Sciences. The feedback from the event was positive, as most international students did not know the vast possibilities in the region and were able to network witih other students.

Riikka Simonen
Project Manager
Karelia UAS