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Here to help - IESAF ry
by Richard Berman
2007-05-02 10:04:20
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IESAF, we are here to help all those ex-pats from around the world, English is our working language, but you do not have to be from the UK or the USA to join, as long as you know a bit of English you are welcome to join.

There are many aims, but the main ones are to help people moving to Finland, living in Finland, or people who just want to know about Finland. We aim to help with great information on jobs, housing, renting, taxes, what to do when you get here and meeting other members.

We have a great knowledge bank on our website, filled with all the information you would ever need to know about Finland, just go to the forum sign up and use the search option and put in what you would like to know.

Team work is what we want, everyone who lives in Finland or who has knowledge of Finland to put their bit into the forum and help everyone. I have lived in Finland for nearly ten years, and over those years, I have learned a lot about living here. It is very different to many counties around the would that I have been to or lived in, which is why I joined up to IESAF.

I remember the first few months of living here, especially since it was my idea to move to Finland as I always like something new. It was great meeting new people, all my wife's friends and family, and I was very busy, getting my permit, getting a job and a place to live. After this time of being very busy had gone, I was like, 'Ok, it would be nice to meet some other ex-pats-' For a while I did not have a computer and could only use my mother-in-law's when we went over to their place, so I did not have a lot of time to Google and so on, so I never got to know about IESAF for the first four years of being in Finland.

It was strange. Yes I had friends, but not friends of my own. They were guys who were my wife's friends from her past; they are nice guys, but it was not the same and there was something missing. For the first few years my good friends from England would visit and I would go there, but after a time that wore off, my friends met their wives and had kids in England and things move on.

One day I discovered IESAF and said to myself that there are other ex-pats in Finland. I started to write on the forum, met up with a few people and now I have a great group of friends. That is what IESAF gave to me and, to this day, I am still meeting great people, who found themselves in the same saturation as me.

Now that I have children, IESAF has helped me to find English-speaking family groups, where I can take my children every few weeks to meetings, where the children read, sing and speak English, which is great for them.

Every month IESAF holds a pub quiz night in Helsinki, it's a chance to get out and meet and speak to ex-pats. It's always a good turnout of about 50 people, so if you are alone or with others just turn up and join a team, don't worry about not knowing anyone you soon will get a great new set of friends out of your team. We charge 2€ a person for this quiz - the only reason we charge is to pay for the quiz material and not to make a profit.

We try to have a party every year to get as many people together for a great night out, so keep an eye on the site for more information. This year we are planning a Housing and Finance service where you can come along to a meeting and learn all about buying, renting and the rules of living in Finland. IESAF also has its own Finance man David J. Cord, who will hold a talk on investing later in the year.

We charge 10€ a year if you want to become a full member of IESAF, and you will then get all the benefits of discounts in shops, for example. Don't worry, your 10€ is not going towards someone's paycheck, it all goes into IESAF to pay for web hosting and any other costs that we have. All the people working on IESAF do it for free.

We are also planning a Picnic this summer, so join the IESAF family and join in now, see what you are missing.

Richard Berman
IESAF President

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