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“Go back to your home country.”

January 22, 2018

How many of you living in a foreign country have heard that?

I have heard that a few times over the years, but only in the first few years after I moved here.

A social media storm has ensued since Yagmur Özberkan tweeted that she had been told to “go back to her home country” after applying to get a loan with her boyfriend at a Nordea bank in Turku last week. Özberkan has lived in Finland for over 25 years.

She tweeted this:

Which roughly translates to: “I’ve faced many kinds of prejudices, but this tops them all: I asked for a mortgage offer from Nordea, and I was told to go back to my home country. Thanks, Nordea, for good customer service.

Other than what I would categorize as blatant racism on the part of the bank employee involved, what gives?

There is more here on the fallout (in English).

My only reaction wide-mouthed shock. I am speechless. We have already heard about how hard it is for foreigners in Finland to even open a bank account and how it continues to be an issue even these days. All you have to do is peruse some of the most popular English-speaking web forums for foreigners in Finland to see that these kinds of things still happen a lot.

***

Long ago and far away, the Mr. and I had all of our banking business at Nordea. We also tried to apply for a bank loan and were roundly rejected – by telephone, with no explanation given. Now I wonder if my non-Finnish surname at the time play a part in that. One can always wonder.

At the end of the day, no matter how long we have lived in Finland or how much effort we have put into trying to fit in, there will always be a segment of the population who maintains, “All immigrants out of Finland.” or “You will never be Finnish enough.”

It still sucks.

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