Spouse Program connects

Published on 30.11.2022

Jochen Faugel is the project planner for Helsinki’s Spouse Program, a service for people who move to the capital area from abroad to be with their partners. Jochen has first-hand experience with this, as love brought him to Finland from Austria in 2007.

The programme is designed to help international spouses settle into life in Helsinki, as they often face unique challenges. While their working partners and school-age children can make connections through work and school, international spouses often lack these networks.

Faugel describes the Spouse Program as a lighthouse for new arrivals, offering a helpful mix of both social and professional opportunities.

“One of the biggest goals I set for myself when I started to build this programme was to build a community, not just an employment programme,” he said.

Over 850 people have participated in Helsinki's Spouse Program since its launch in 2020. A survey found that 95 per cent of participants would recommend the service to others.

The Spouse Program is just one of the services provided by International House Helsinki (IHH) for residents of the capital region. Other helpful English-language programmes for new arrivals include New in Helsinki events, Newcomer Information Sessions, and a new employment consultation and guidance service.

Faugel recognizes that building a home in a new country is about much more than just finding a house or job. It should also be an enjoyable experience. The Spouse Program is all about creating a community that can help people make friends and further their careers.

‘‘Home is not just a slogan for us, we really believe in it,’’ he said.

In the words of one participant, “All of my friends in Helsinki are from the Spouse Program. We are all different ages, come from different backgrounds and speak different languages, but we support each other.”

Learn more at: spouseprogram.fi, ihhelsinki.fi