The Finnish Language Club gives foreign students the chance to use newly-learned language skills.

A group of foreign students grimace as each tastes a bite of black liquorice for the first time.
”I promised I would bring you candy”, laughs Sanna Rauhamäki, the leader of the Finnish Language Club and a biology student.
The first session of the ”Suomi”-club this semester was focused on basic expressions in Finnish and some customs. Soon the group is laughing trying to do their best in the game called ”Finnish Bus-stop”, which includes standing in a circle and trying not to look each other in the eyes.

The Finnish Language Club is normally attended by 10 to 15 students with variable backgrounds and language skills. The purpose is to familiarize foreign students with local customs and give a chance to practice the language.
”We usually have some sort of a theme for each night: it can be related to Finnish traditions or holidays”, tells Rauhamäki.
Next session, held on the 4th of February, will be focused on Finnish music.
”We reviewed Finnish pop songs once already last semester. Jenni Vartiainen won and Lauri Tähkä came in second”, Rauhamäki recalls.

A first time visitor in the club, Agata Kwiaton from Poland does not find Finnish too difficult to learn as such.
”It is very logical”, she says.
Often the problems lay elsewhere.
”It is hard to learn Finnish when no one speaks it to you. Finnish students rather speak English”, Natalia Palacious, a Spaniard living in Finland already for her third semester says. She also notes that Finns are a bit hard to get to know.
”When you get to know them, they get very close, but it takes time and effort”, Palacious says.

Marja Honkonen

The Finnish Language Club meets every other Thursday in the Kortepohja Student Village’s E-building clubroom from 7 to 9 pm.