Avainsana-arkisto: #Allergiat

Painajaismainen vaihtovuosi maksoi 10 000 euroa: koti täynnä eläinten jätöksiä, ruokaa ei annettu

The exchange organization involved is Explorius.

Anuleena Asikainen,17, joutui vaihto-oppilasvuotenaan Yhdysvalloissa kärsimään nälästä, astmakohtauksista ja isäntäperheen määräämistä katumusharjoituksista.

  • Anuleena Asikaisen vaihto-oppilasvuosi Yhdysvalloissa maksoi noin 10 000 euroa.
  • Opiskelija sai vuoden aikana astmakohtauksia epäsiistin kodin vuoksi, eikä hän saanut kahdessa perheessä tarpeeksi ruokaa.
  • Asikaisen mielestä järjestöt tekevät rahaa lähettämällä nuoria perheisiin, joiden taustoja ei ole tarkastettu.
Anuleena Asikainen oli haaveillut vaihto-oppilasvuodesta Yhdysvalloissa pitkään.
Anuleena Asikainen oli haaveillut vaihto-oppilasvuodesta Yhdysvalloissa pitkään. (JOONAS SALMELA)

9Anuleena Asikainen oli haaveillut vaihto-oppilasvuodesta Yhdysvalloissa pitkään.Unelma toteutui viime syksynä, kun 16-vuotias Anuleena pääsi vaihtoon Virginian osavaltioon.

Ongelmat alkoivat ensimmäisenä iltana. Anuleena oli ilmoittanut Explorius-vaihtojärjestölle olevansa astmaatikko, mutta hänen isäntäperheellään oli viisi kissaa ja kolme koiraa. Eläimet tekivät jätöksiään sisätiloihin. Anuleena alkoi heti saada toistuvia astmakohtauksia.

– Kissat asuivat kellarissa, jossa oli myös perheen kahden lapsen huoneet. Kellari oli todella sottainen ja haisi aivan kammottavalle, Anuleena kertoo.

Anuleena lähetettiin lääkäriin, joka totesi astmakohtausten johtuvan liasta, pölystä ja homeesta. Lääkäri määräsi Anuleenan viettämään aikansa siistissä tilassa – käytännössä omassa huoneessaan.

Anuleenan äiti Anita Asikainen sai puhelun Yhdysvalloista puolentoista viikon jälkeen.

– Meillä oli kotona kaksi kelloa, Suomen ja USAn aika. Kun Anuleena soitti ja kertoi tilanteesta, Amerikan aika pysähtyi. Henkiset vaikeudet alkoivat siitä.

Anuleenan ensimmäisen isäntäperheen koti Virginiassa oli sottainen. Perheen lukuisat lemmikit tekivät tarpeitaan sisälle.
Anuleenan ensimmäisen isäntäperheen koti Virginiassa oli sottainen. Perheen lukuisat lemmikit tekivät tarpeitaan sisälle. (ANULEENA ASIKAINEN)
Isäntäperheen koti oli täynnä rojua. Anuleena sai myöhemmin kuulla, että perheessä oli hänen jälkeensä uusi vaihto-oppilas.
Isäntäperheen koti oli täynnä rojua. Anuleena sai myöhemmin kuulla, että perheessä oli hänen jälkeensä uusi vaihto-oppilas. (ANULEENA ASIKAINEN)

The rest of the article is at Iltalehti.fi


STS/Explorius: Additional information allergic students

In a recent court case against STS, the judges asked STS who had designed this questionnaire. The country manager of Explorius Finland (Anu Husu-Peltonen) had been called to testify and admitted that the country managers of STS and Explorius had designed it together. When asked, the judges were told that it is the country managers themselves who evaluate the exchange student’s health certificates. Professional health care people are not consulted and health care education is not required.

Additional information from allergic students p1

Additional information from allergic students p2

A concerned citizen’s view of Salla Rautiola’s case

(Note from ed.: This comment on Salla Rautiola’s case was too long for the comment section. I am therefore posting it as a guest post)

When you sign up with an organization that “specializes” in International Student Travel opportunities, you think of Students that are ambitious and are excited to learn and experience new life in a different country. These organizations usually provide great moments for foreign students to learn academically as well as learn about the country they temporarily reside in.


In 2011, when I was going back to Gisele-Lalonde Secondary after the Summer break, I noticed an Exchange student at our school and I introduced myself. Salla Marisa Rautiola. At the end of the day I knew she was Finnish, she was on an exchange trip for 1 year attending our school. Her goals were to learn about our academic system learn about Canadian culture, learn and practice her French and English language and participate in the exchange by meeting with other exchange students and their families.

STS Canada was the organization she was doing her exchange with. I knew nothing of this international student exchange organization till now. Salla had a host family about 10 minutes away from my home. Her first host family… It was a single Jamaican woman, with a European base boyfriend, as well as another exhcnage student residing in the home. My first thought was.. If she is coming here to learn about our Canadian culture, language, traditions, etc.. why was she placed with a family that has no Canadian roots?? Secondly, the home she was in, was causing problems that were not addressed before Salla arrived in Canada:

Allergies to Pollen, Cats and Dogs : The house was unorganized, dusty, boxes with old stuff in the halls, a “smell” that was in the carpets and furniture, also that the host mom had little to no interest for Salla’s nutrition, there were bugs in the window sills, mold around the walls in some rooms.

I was asking myself why this was not taken care of before Salla had arrived to Canada. I was told that the regional supervisor’s responsibility was to make sure the houses were ready to host exchange students. Sandra Hanniman was tSalla’s regional supervisor at the time and showed no interest in making sure the host homes were up to standards.

Salla had allergy problems with her eyes, skin, and headaches daily and nothing seemed to be getting better. She was late for school because of this, she had misunderstandings with her host families because of this, and the bigger issue was that it was interfering with Salla’s experience in Canada as an international exchange student. When Sandra was asked about the home and why it was in such disorder, she had claimed that the house was checked and that it was messy before Salla arrived because they were “preparing/cleaning” for Salla’s arrival. After weeks passed, Salla had enough. With not changes made, no cleaning was done, no problems were truly addressed by STS, let alone the regional supervisor.

I asked myself, “Are these supervisors and hosts, only doing this for the money?”. I asked myself this because of they’re behavior towards Salla. They did not treat her like a student that wanted to learn more, meet new people, experience fun adventures with Canadian students she met here at her high-school, etc. The hosts treated her more like a child. With rules, schedules, chores, responsibilities like babysitting and cleaning up what mess was not hers. “This should not be the experience exchange students get when they visit Canada”, I told myself. Roselyn, the Jamaican host mom, was severe in terms of visiting rules. I was never allowed to enter her home to visit Salla because she wanted no one inside here home. I can understand because it is a messy maze where she can get in trouble if someone knew the condition of her home as an STS host. She did not allow Salla to leave the home after certain hours of the night (8-9pm) so I had to visit her at the doors of the home..
After the mess, the smell, the allergies, the Jamaican host, the lack of “Canadian hospitality”, Salla had enough. She demanded that Sandra moves her homes immediately because she could not deal with this any longer.

Note: Sandra, the regional supervisor had contacted STS Finland to let them know the quality of the home Salla was staying in. She told Finnish attorney’s that the house was “Fairly tidy and alright”….”To whose standards was this to?” I asked myself, Also what in the world does “alright” mean? Satisfactory? Okay? Shit?
This is where I got to know the lack of management knowledge that Sandra had with this STS organization. Once we approached Sandra together, Salla and I suggested to find another home that meets the standards of STS and also the exchange student..
So the silly regional supervisor thought it would be smart to place Salla in her home temporarily while she finds a replacement home for Salla. Sandra has 2 dogs and 1 cat… Which Salla is allergic to. Sandra has no time to help and show Salla around the new area and where she can find what she needs. At this point I realized that STS is not a quality organization… Sandra was asking her friends to help her out, people that are not even signed up with STS to host exchange students. This means that Salla was basically coming to Canada to stay at Sandra’s friends house?? “This is not what the Rautiola family paid for.” I told myself.
I was angry at what was happening. There was not initiative from Kim Berry, STS Canada manger at the time to help Salla and Sandra find a new home.

My Family was shocked with how the renowned organization STS (Responsibility, Safety and Quality)… was passing around a student like a present nobody wants. The organization was pathetic and quite frankly embarrassing. It was so hard to find a home for Salla at this time, that Sandra was asking un-qualified people to bring in Salla Rautiola because the regional supervisor was desperate. Was this reported to the head office of STS, I am not sure.

My Family took Salla into our home temporarily so that she can be with a family that actually cares about her and her experience here in Canada. This was a decision that was made by us, we are not qualified by STS to host a student, but we did. Because for the sake of Salla’s experience and health here in Canada, we did not want her spending this valuable time moving from house to house, issue to issue. For the first time in months Salla was at ease and she was relaxed…
A few days later, Sandra calls with an “offer” to Salla mentioning she has a host Mom who would like to take her in, a single woman (again), French-canadian who has a little place about 5 minutes from my home. Christine. When we dropped Salla off, the house seemed clean, organized (or more so than the last home), friendly and warm. There were two dogs in the house again..
This was again, another worry of ours. “So this organization really does not give a shit about its students. Like STS Canada took more students that they can handle.” Which completely overlooks their slogan “Responsibility, Safety and Quality”

Weeks go by and things are getting a little better in terms of allergies, irritations and physical problems with Salla. Although the issues with the host Mom still were present. Salla was not so happy with her “host” mom, although she did not want to complain because she had no clue where she would go next… a zoo.. a dump??

Now because Christine was not a true host Mom, ALL THIS TIME, Sandra had made a meeting with Kim Berry to discuss what will happen next with Salla. (Behind her back of course)

Around December 2011, Salla had received a call from her mother at school, telling Salla that she was not going to be able to continue the exchange through till the end of the program. That she was going to be sent home early (January) because of “complications” with the STS documents Salla’s family provided…


They claimed that the medical documents that Salla had, did not mention her allergies and specifics about them. LIES! This was false and STS Canada (Kim Berry) wanted to send Salla back home because she was a “problem” apparently. STS Canada claimed that they did not have the home that Salla needed because they had not received all the documents from the Rautiola’s. (In Finland, Marjo Rautiola, Salla’s Mom made sure to find the copies of the documents where all allergies were taken down, including dust and pets. The same document was signed by the Rautiola’s family doctor for approval)
I think that they were lacking the resources, money, common sense to admit that they made mistakes and they did not fix them… INSTEAD they tried to bury their problems by finding all these “solutions” to Salla’s issues.

We had a meeting at the STS office where Sandra drove us to speak with Kim Berry about what was going to happen now… There was no discussion, no negotiations, no one even asked Salla what she wanted to do or even try and do to fix the problem so she can stay in Canada… Instead, Kim Berry had a nice packet filled with plane tickets, airport maps, timetables and reading material and told Salla she was leaving on a set date and that STS can not keep trying to help Salla because she has too many issues.

First off: STS Canada never even helped Salla or tried to. As I mentioned above, they treated her like a piece of luggage, never asking her opinion or offering different options. They only provided her with solutions that would personally help Sandra through this problem and to avoid any backfire. STS Canada was clearly just trying to desperately fix this to avoid bigger problems…

In Finland, for the last weeks, Salla’s mother was contacting STS Finland and STS Canada offices to find out exactly what was happening with her daughter in another country.. Right? Because it’s okay for a mother to worry about her daughter when she is abroad, especially when she has no idea where or why she is where she is. No answers for weeks from both STS offices. When they did answer, it was with vague solutions and vague objectives. STS Canada did not even show effort into Salla’s case. They gave up on Salla and it was a shock to all of us. The Rautiola Family, My Family and our friends, knowing that STS is in charge of thousands of students worldwide and they have this many problems with only one student?

“They have to be stopped and more responsibility has to be shown to exchange students and more yet, the parents of the student.” I told myself.

But no, we were all left in the dark as STS planned this all behind our backs, to send Salla back home.

The worst part is, that STS has never admitted to any of these accusations and they secretly bought Salla’s plane ticket early December. This means that STS was planning on sending Salla back home, with no warning, no refund, no alternative offers and then made the smart decision to tell those it will affect.

I was disturbed by the people in charge of this whole operation, Kim Berry and Sandra Hanniman from STS Canada and Country Manager, Yannick Becu, from STS in Canada and Country Manager, Mira Silvonen, from STS in Finland. The host parents, all pretended to be so caring for Salla at first, but when problems arose from their own mistakes, their solution is to give up and send her back? I know this is ridiculous and selfish for an organization of any sort to do this to foreign exchange students or to anybody.

When Salla returned home, we stayed in touch with their family. Because STS still had not admitted to any of the crimes they committed while Salla was in Canada.. So the case began. Marjo Rautiola, was writing STS management this whole time, requesting information and processes they will follow to ensure the safety of Salla in Canada. Little information was given back. “I am not going to lay down while these people treat my daughter like shit”. This sparked a great controversy between STS and past exchange students who have been involved with similar issues through STS around the world. Blogs were filling up, websites were being taken down and the families of those affected started requesting answers that STS has never and never will have. Although we all know exactly what happened. There was a lack of caring, interest and support from STS management to the students. They were unorganized, unprepared and shockingly, they did not even want to be a part of this program “which they never were”.

Salla’s experience in Canada was not what she expected. She did not experience the Canadian life here in Ottawa like she was promised by STS. She did not reside in a home where she would practice English and French like she was promised. The hosts were no glad and excited to host Salla, like STS promised, STS did not look after her while she was here…. Like they promised!!?

How many other student’s lives will this organization play with before families have had enough of these lies and secrets that STS has kept from the Rautiola Family and Salla?

Concerned Citizen

Experiences with ISE USA in Minnesota

——– Original Message ——–
Subject: Case from Long Prairie, Minnesota 2013-14
From: XXXX
Date: Thu, July 31, 2014 6:15 am
To: Complaint@csfes.org

Dear Sir/Madam,

here’s some hardships what our son, Finnish 17-years old boy, XXXX faced during his exchange year 2013-14 in Minnesota, Long Prairie (mostly about the area rep Rose Hawkins / ISE):

– XXXX took pictures at family Huttunen’s home (his first host-family), where the conditions were horrible and uninhabitable (some pictures attached). It’s irresponsible to send a teenager to conditions like that. Area rep Rose Hawkins (ISE) required to see the pictures in XXXX’s phone, and after that Rose told him to delete the pictures. XXXX deleted them like requested. Rose later claimed that the pictures were exaggerated and not from areas where XXXX would have had to live. The pictures were taken for example from the family’s bathroom, stairs (up and down), living room, moldy foods etc. We heard afterwards that the family was placed in the new exchange student (chinese girl)….

– Pickup from family Huttunen: We made a deal with Finnish organization that XXXX wouldn’t be blamed of the transfer, but still XXXX had to explain the family how he ”couldn’t live there because of his asthma”. In that situation XXXX had to sign a paper, which contents he doesn’t know. We have still not received for a copy of that paper….

– XXXX was travelling a week with Rose Hawkins in the State Fair, because he didn’t have any other place to go. Rose wanted to send XXXX to Wisconsin at this point. Although Melisa Brever found a host family from Minnesota, Long Prairie. Due to an unknown reason the family/alone living man wasn’t accepted as host family.

– Family Kleinschmidt (older couple) was willing to host XXXX. To be mentioned, Kleinschmidt’s and Rose’s kids are married, so that’s it about objectivity. Family Kleinschmidt gets a reward trip every year from Rose for hosting exchange students. Rose told XXXX that there are no other host families, and nobody else would have taken XXXX. So that XXXX needs to be grateful for Kleinschmidts because they’ve ”saved XXXX”. Later XXXX has heard from many people that there would have been other possible host families in that area (for example XXXX’s and XXXX’s families). Rose also told XXXX that he’s not allowed to be in any contact with the XXXX’s (including Finnish exchange student XXXX).

– Host parents (Family Kleinschmidt) went to bed about at 9 pm every night and woke up already at early hours. The host dad told XXXX and XXXX (the other exchange student in the same family) that if boys won’t spend more time with him, they won’t be welcome to the house anymore. Boys were pretty much on their own, and did a lot of chores in the whole house. Even if the boys were out to eat at night, the host parents’ dishes were left for them to do. XXXX had wished for more food, and he had to buy some extra snacks for himself.

– Coldness was a huge problem in the house. From December to February there was below +50F degrees upstairs, where the exchange students were sleeping. While sleeping XXXX had to wear a stocking hat, t-shirt, a shirt, a thick sweater, long underwear, sweatpants, socks, woolen socks, and 4 blankets.

– When we tried to tell about these problems around christmas time, the nightmare started. Monday January 13th Rose Hawkins leaves a message to the schools office, that after school XXXX gets picked up from the high school by Rose, and afterwards she would take XXXX to practice. First Rose drove XXXX to her house, where she yelled at XXXX and required to see all his messages and e-mails, that he had sent to us or the Finnish organization. Rose said that she would translate them. XXXX didn’t show them to Rose, so she claimed that XXXX is a liar and threatened to send him back to Finland. After that they went to the host family’s house where Rose told about ”XXXX’s home sickness, why he sent hasty messages to Finland”. Rose tried to pressure the host parents to prevent XXXX from playing hockey (”hockey shit” as Rose told them). The host parents didn’t want do this. Rose made XXXX sign a paper which said that everything is alright. The accurate contents XXXX doesn’t know because he wasn’t let to finish reading the paper. Rose didn’t take XXXX to practice as she promised.

– January 13th Colleen (the host mom) shows Rose a Facebook message, where I asked if everything was alright. Rose told XXXX  that the message was fake propaganda. The day after XXXX had a game. When XXXX came home after midnight, he saw a note on the table, that he has to call Rose right away. XXXX called, and Rose told him to dress up and be ready so that she can pick him up. That night ( yes, in the middle of the night!) Rose picked up XXXX to her house. XXXX (the other exchange student) saw when XXXX left and came back, the host parents didn’t get to know about it till the morning after. Is this kind of action allowed in the rules or is it even legal?? Rose told XXXX to leave his cellphones in the car. The action was extremely organized and systematic. Rose yelled at XXXX that he had talked to his friend about bad living conditions. XXXX had to talk on the phone with some area representative from Wisconsin, who told XXXX that he has to do everything that Rose says. The area rep also said that XXXX is not allowed to talk anybody about his and Rose’s conversations. XXXX also had to sign a probation paper, where he confessed all his mistakes and that he was a liar, he had talked about things to the third party etc. Rose told XXXX that even a one little mistake and XXXX goes back to Finland. She also told XXXX that if he didn’t sign the paper, he would go back to Finland. XXXX had to apologize Rose because of his behavior.

– The hand-written part of student problem resolution wasn’t XXXX’s own text, Rose told the exact words what XXXX had to write. XXXX asked Rose what would happen if he disagreed and Rose said XXXX would get sent back. All the claims in the papers were written by Rose Hawkins and disagreeing was not an option. Consequences would have been familiar – getting sent back.

Conclusion: XXXX has been threatened, bashed, blamed, and casted a slur on several times by Rose Hawkins and about things he couldn’t affect on. Those things weren’t his fault. Rose has behaved very threateningly towards XXXX. Finland’s organization encouraged all the time to tell if something was wrong and every time we did it, Rose attacked against XXXX by blaming, bashing and threatening with sending him back to Finland. She has tried to get rid of him continuously. She’s supposed to be the trustworthy and supportive adult. Instead, she’s very sick, scary and unstable human-being who threatens and lies with no problems and who always turns out the things way that benefits her.

Nothing can fix XXXX’s exchange year anymore but our responsibility is to do our best so that no other exchange student would have to go through the same. Hope you can do something with this….

Yours Sincerely,

2014 Dec 23: Oikeus: Vaihto-oppilas kotiutettiin Kanadasta väärin perustein

Kanadassa vaihto-oppilaana ollut opiskelija haki Helsingin käräjäoikeudessa korvauksia pilalle menneestä, etukäteen maksetusta lukuvuodesta hieman yli 10 000 euroa. Oikeus katsoikin, että 17-vuotias tyttö kotiutettiin Kanadasta väärin perustein, mutta korvaukset olivat puolet vaaditusta.

17-vuotias tyttö lähti ranskankieliseen Kanadaan syksyllä 2011 STS Kielimatkat Oy:n kautta.

Tyttö oli ennen matkaa ilmoittanut olevansa allerginen kissoille, koirille ja siitepölylle. Käsityksensä mukaan hän joutui matkalla erittäin allergisoiviin olosuhteisiin.

Perheen piti olla ranskankielinen, mutta sellaista ei löytynyt. Tyttö joutui yksinasuvan 62-vuotiaan jamaikalaissyntyinen naisen luokse.

Tytön mukaan asunto oli täysin siivoton ja sotkuinen. Kaksikon välit tulehtuivat, kun 17-vuotias ja hänen vanhempansa ryhtyivät selvittämään epäilyä emännän marihuanan käytöstä. Tämä osoittautui sittemmin vääräksi.

Tyttö päätyi uuteen perheeseen, jossa oli kaksi koiraa. Lopulta STS Kielimatkat päätti tammikuussa 2012 kotiuttaa tytön.

Tapauksesta kerrottiin myös Ylen MOT-ohjelmassa lokakuussa 2013.

STS: Väärää tietoa

STS:n mukaan tyttö oli antanut puutteellisia tietoja allergioistaan ja jos yritys olisi tiennyt totuuden, häntä ei olisi otettu vaihto-ohjelmaan.

Uudessa paikassa tyttö oli ilmoittanut olevansa allerginen myös tomaatille. STS oli saanut myös tietää, että tyttö oli saanut oireita huonepölystä.

STS tiedusteli tilanteesta tytön vanhemmilta, joiden mukaan allergiaoireet olivat sen verran vakavia, että tytöllä oli mukanaan epipen-kynä varmuuden vuoksi. Tässä vaiheessa STS keskeytti matkan. Tyttö palasi suomeen tammikuussa 2012.

”Uutta perhettä ei löytynyt”

Tytön käsityksen mukaan keskeyttämisen taustalla oli se, että STS ei kyennyt löytämään sijoitusperhettä. Tyttö oli joulun alla saanut tietää kakkosperheen äidiltä, ettei perhe pysty pitämään häntä enää tammikuun jälkeen. Kotimatkasta kerrottiin vain kaksi päivää ennen lentoa.

STS totesi, että allergisille on ylipäätään erittäin vaikea löytää isäntäperhettä Kanadassa. STS:n mukaan moniallergisuuden paljastuttua, tyttöä ei olisi pystytty ”myymään” mihinkään perheeseen. Kotimatkasta kerrottiin tytölle myöhään, jottei tämä karkaisi, kuten oli joskus käynyt.

Väärät perusteet kotiuttaa

Käräjäoikeus katsoi, että tyttö oli antanut riittävät terveystiedot ennen matkaa, vaikka ne olivat jossain määrin puutteellisia. Allergiat olivat STS:n tiedossa. Oikeus totesi myös, että tytön palauttaminen Suomeen tehtiin perusteetta. STS:llä ei siis ollut oikeutta keskeyttää vaihto-oppilasvuotta.

Käräjäoikeus lausui kuitenkin, että koko matka ei mennyt hukkaan, koska tyttö oli ollut Kanadassa 5 kuukautta eli yhden lukukauden. Hinnanalennusta ei hyväksytty ensimmäisen perheen asunnon väitetystä epäsiisteydestä, koska siitä ei ollut näyttöä.

Oikeus arvosteli sitä, että kolmatta perhettä ei edes yritetty löytää.

Käräjäoikeus päätyi siihen, että STS Kielimatkojen on palautettava tytölle 5000 euroa.

Koska STS oli jo tammikuussa 2013 ja uudestaan jutun valmisteluistunnossa tarjoutunut sopimaan asian ja palauttamaan tytölle 5000 euroa, käräjäoikeus totesi, että molemmat saavat itse maksaa oikeudenkäyntikulunsa.