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 Finnish Identity
05.02.2011 18:43 | haja-aivo

A guy who has been living in America for two genarations asked me would he be considered a Finn while visiting Finland, his blood is 100% Finnish. I don't think there is such a straight-forward answer to this question. The bloodline is enough for you to be able to say that you are Finnish to other Finnish people, but then again a Finnish girlfriend might tease you along the lines that you are so American, which you might find annoying. But yeah, you can absolutely say that you are Finnish in an emotional sense. Yet, it does matter if you speak a bit of the language or not.

I do think you would be most welcome. However, older people in particular might act a bit shyly around you while presenting the sights etc. as they feel Finland is a small country and does not have so much of the pomp and grandeur of a major player in world politics. We are modest people who like to gather in small villages near lakes, not in big cities and in all our modestness we are modest to the extent of even being shy about our modestness.

If you are looking how to get in favor of Finns, it would help to profess fascination in the Finnish outdoors, heart-stopping heat of the sauna, schlong-shrinking lakes, peaceful straight-forward way of life etc. and to say that you like some Finnish food. This is good, since Finns would feel shy presenting you our country.

tags: Would I be considered a foreigner in Finland?

 - haja-aivo | Kommentoi

 I get asked..
06.12.2010 20:51

How is life in Finland and is Finnish difficult to learn. Here is my initial contribution to the topic, but it would be better, if someone else also gave their point of view here, so it does not become too unsided

umm, how should i put this... Finnish is voted to be a very difficult language among the world languages, because the endings of the words change. For example you have to use the correct ending to each noun, if you want to be understood. There are 15 of these for nouns, most of them follow grammatical rules, but it is a lot to learn. You see in English you would always use the same form for "shop". However, in Finnish, you don't always say shop or "kauppa", you would have to use all the forms, "kauppa, kauppaan, kaupasta, kaupan, kaupassa, kaupoilla, kaupoista and plenty more. Also verbs have many different forms. And we don't really have words that resemble other languages, whereas in English you say station and in Spanish you say estacion, which are not really that difficult to learn. Luckily there are other nearby countries that are rich as Finland but have less difficult languages, such as Norway, Denmark or even the slightly poorer Sweden. Then again, many Finns do speak English, but it is naturally still hard to be a non-Finnish speaker in Finland, you can't get all the things done in English.

How is Life in Finland? That is a big question, basically you work 8 hours a day, get one week summer holiday, have 1500e as a salary, pay 500e for rent outside the capital (students pay less of course, around 220e). Prices are high, one litre of milk is 1e, cheapest mince meat is like 5-6e for a kilo. Usually in other European countries I find these products at least half the price. Outside the capital, it's safe (not many drug addicts or thiefs) and things work quite well (except for buses that in some cities are often late). On weekends the locals tend to get drunk and try to walk on roads covered by ice just to go get more alcohol when they aren't really in the condition to walk even on roads that are not covered by ice. People are said not to quite know how to life, not so much social life, just staying indoors using internet etc. or taking saunas quite alone. Actually I know a lot of foreign students in Finland, and that is why I wish to mention some of the things they complain, as they say I would not have come here, if I had known how awful it is (as it was our fault nobody told them that Finland looks good on paper, but has a very foreign culture (not mainstream European, but almost as shocking as moving to China or somewhere, people are just so different). Foreigners usually notice that they can't find enough social activities, make friends with Finns fast, find anything else than Finnish food (which is without spices and is rather fatty) and Finnish style pizza and kebabs. We really don't have much imported food like in other countries which is really a shame, even I am tired with Finland's selection of food. Furthermore, we don't sell many of the ingredients one finds in other European cities, e.g. it is difficult to find meat without it being packed in a plastic container with ready-made sauce that is so strong that it does not wash away

Weather is of course bad, except the summers are the right temperature, not too hot, not too cold, but they are so shortlived. I mean you should prepare for minus 20C at least, and watch out ice falling from high roofs. But it is not so bad to get used to, you can buy warm clothes from second-hand shops as cheap as 5-15e and there are warm shared saunas that are really cheap, but you are officially forbidden to wear swim suit inside a sauna. Some find it difficult, but it is not mix-gender like in Germany, just one gender.

Best things are perhaps the nature, there's plenty of clean forests filled with blueberries and lingonberries everywhere and lakes to fish at. Even 100 000 people cities have very fresh air and clean tap water etc.

I hope I don't sound unwelcoming, I just think it is important to know these things, because so many students here are shocked by these factors.

( Päivitetty: 06.12.2010 21:16 )


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