Hyunjee Kang, a last-year student in International Business from South Korea, borrows the Arcada Communications blog for a few weeks to write about life and studies in Finland.
Hello again and again!
How was this week? I hope that it was good for all of you who read my posts. For me it was kind of busy days, so I’m happy that today is Friday and the weekends begins soon :D.
Today, I want to talk about Finland a bit as a international student.
Before I came to Finland, I had some images in my head about Finland: Good quality of education, welfare country, Santa town, Nordic design, and Xylitol. Finnish Xylitol is super popular in S-Korea (as well as the words “Hyvä hyvä”). If you are curious you can google “xylitol korea” and find some Korean TV commercials from 2006 for xylitol gum.
But here I want to make a short list of things that I’ve felt and noticed during the last four years in Finland.
- Bilingual country: Finnish and Swedish are both official languages in Finland. The majority of the population have Finnish as their mother tongue. But still 5% of the population have Swedish as their native language. Furthermore, most people speak English very well.
- Long winters and beautiful summers: The winter in Finland is honestly cold, dark and long. I am still afraid for when winter is coming (okay, wintertime is cold in many countries, but the thing I still haven’t gotten used to here is that it is so long). But after a long, dark, harsh winter – a beautiful summer awaits you. Sunny, bright nights, a warm but not humid weather – and the green forests, blue seas and lakes are super beautiful. So, just walking in a nearby park and enjoying the sun is nice.
- Peaceful and a quiet county and people: Finland is a peaceful, relaxed, and quiet country in general. (Compared to S-Korea which has a 10 times larger population but 3 times smaller total area, obviously yes!). And it is well known that Finnish people are quite shy and quiet. Yes, it’s true in general, and the Finns’ shyness can make it come across like they are cold. But, I would rather say that it really depends on the personal character (some Finns are really outgoing and some are not – like people in every country). They are just not afraid of being silent and those kind of moments.
- Drinking and sauna: Even though Finland and Finns are quiet, it doesn’t mean that they are boring. In general, Finland’s atmosphere is calm but actually they like partying, singing and enjoy sauna. Sauna? Yes, Finns love sauna. Before I came to Finland I thought that Sauna is more an Asian thing (I don’t know why). But here, Finnish enjoy sauna so much that they even have private saunas in their bathrooms or in their community buildings.
- Student discounts: As a welfare country, Finland has good student discount system! Students (at universities) can get a 50 percent discount on municipality travel-card tickets, school meals and Finnish railways and bus tickets (in this case, a student card is needed).
There are more things to say, but this is enough for today’s post I think. Have a nice weekends! and see you next post 😉
To be continued..