Welcoming 120 new employees from abroad
UiT is a multicultural workplace with employees from 82 different nationalities. Last week, UiT welcomed 120 new foreign employees to Northern Norway.
– Our international employees make up around 25% of the total. We are very proud of that, because they are an invaluable resource for our university, says pro-rector for research and development, Camilla Brekke.
She personally welcomed the new employees on behalf of the entire leadership. All newly employed researchers and lecturers from abroad are invited to the Welcome Day – an official recognition of how highly UiT values them.
Mari Buck from the International Cooperation Section organises the welcome days, which take place three times a year. She is half English, and therefore also bilingual and bicultural.
– I've experienced that it can be difficult to enter Norwegian society, so I think it is incredibly important to open the door for these new employees, she says.
The welcome days are part of UiT's involvement in EURAXESS, the administrative support apparatus for the EU's European Research Area (ERA). They also function as an information meeting, where the IT department, the unions and the University Library present themselves. The new employees also receive information about duties and requirements for UiT employees. The physical meeting is on campus in Breivika, while employees from other campuses participate digitally.
They are wanted
UiT wants to get the very best out of all its employees. Buck believes that when the employees feel more at home, they will do a better job.
– Which is why UiT wants to show them that they are wanted, and that we listen and will help them as best we can, she says.
In addition to the regularly scheduled welcome days, UiT also has a seminar on how to work with Norwegians.
Himanshu Buckchash from India started his post-doc in computer science at UiT four months ago. He says it has been a great experience from the start, and that he feels very welcomed.
– A welcome day like this is useful and important. I have recieved a lot of good information from my own institute, but I also learned something today, he says.
Norway is different
Polish Monika Gabriela Bartoszewicz is a newly hired associate professor at the Department of Technology and Safety. This is the fourth time she has started a new job at a new university in a new country.
– The weather here is very cold, but the people are very warm, she says.
Bartoszewicz says Norway differs the most from other countries she's lived in, both in terms of climate and how the society and people work.
– A welcome day like this is very Norwegian. I have worked in many places, in large metropolises, and no one welcomes you with the same care as in Norway. In a way it might be a bit exaggerated, but it's nice to know that my employer actually cares about how I'm doing, she says.
The three most common foreign nationalities at UiT are German (144), Swedish (86) and Indian (61). 19 employees are the only ones of their nationality at UiT, including people from Lesotho, Colombia, and Estonia.
Pro-rector Camilla Brekke says UiT is completely dependent on bringing in international labour to carry out research and innovative projects.
– The international employees give us essential expertise and manpower. They are a big contribution to making UiT a driving force in the North, Brekke says.