Mystery Nordic country
Before I moved to study in Finland, I kept having conversations like these:
- I am going to study in Finland.
- Wow, Holland is a nice place.
- No, it is Finland.
- Yes, I know, the country that invented IKEA.
As a Nordic country, Finland is less well-known than the most famous of Western countries, while in my opinion it is unique. Before going to Finland, whether you are a tourist or a future student, there are many things you should know.
Basic information about Finland
Finland is a Northern European nation bordering Sweden, Norway and Russia. It is a thoroughly modern welfare state with well-planned and comfortable small towns and cities, but still offers vast areas of unspoiled nature.
Finland has approximately 188,000 lakes (about 10% of the country), and a similar number of islands. In the northernmost part of the country the Northern Lights can be seen in the winter and midnight sun in the summer – not unknown phenomena in the southern part either.
Finns also claim the mythical mountain of Korvatunturi as the home of Santa Claus, and a burgeoning tourist industry in Lapland caters to Santa fans.
Finnish people speak Finnish, however, it is only one of the official languages there, the other one being Swedish. Some other languages too, such as the indigenous Saami, are knowledged in the Finnish law.
Finnish is also considered the most difficult language in the world, because it differs from almost all European languages. In fact, there are some jokes about the particularity of the Finnish language.
According to studies though, Finnish is a very logical language, as many students who have methodologically studied it admit. Based on personal experience, if you want to learn Finnish you need to put a lot of effort to it. But it is very beneficial if you can speak some Finnish, as all the things in supermarkets are written in Finnish only. Many Finns however know how to speak English too, so not to worry!
The famous book “Finnish nightmares” tells a lot about Finnish people and their behaviour. Described as shy people, I did experience some cultural shock when I waited and got on the bus in Finland. People were sitting and waiting like this:
They always keep a safe distance with each other and usually there is no small talk on the bus. But once you get to know a Finn, you will soon find that they are friendly and reliable.
Finnish experience: Sauna
As a tourist or a student, the top of the to-do list in Finland should be sauna. Just imagine being in the place where sauna came from and how wonderful it will be.
As international students, we are offered sauna in each housing area. After booking online, we can relax there and enjoy our own private time. For those people who are brave enough, after having sauna in cold winter, they will jump into an icecold lake to experience the most unforgettable moment!
Other Finnish things (Iittala, Angry birds, Nokia)
There are famous Finnish brands for instance Iittala and Angry Birds. Marimekko and our favourite cartoon characters Moomins also come from Finland.
Nokia on the other hand was considered one of the most successful cell phone brands in the world. In addition for these famous brands, the Finnish chocolate and coffee are the best among what I’ve tasted so far. I strongly recommend my favourite type:
And my favourite coffee which is also the most popular one in Finland.
Before going to Finland, there might be also other things you should know. If you have any further questions, there are some good sources where you can find information online: the official travel guide of Finland, This is Finland, Lonely planet-Finland.
Learn more about studying in Finland
Finland University serves as a gateway to one of the finest Finnish multidisciplinary Universities on offer. If you are interested in studying in Finland and would like to find out more, there's good news: the downloadable Finland University guide provides a quick starting package of how to apply for international master’s degree programmes and scholarships in the member universities of Finland University.
Interested? Download the guide and learn more!