I am sure that many Finns aren’t aware of the tiny, fascinating details that reflect sweetness and functionality in their culture, language and daily life.
I have been interested in the Finnish culture for more than 12 years. In 2012, I was living in Kouvola as an au pair for 6 months.
Later, after finishing my bachelor’s degree in psychology in Turkey, where I am originally from, I moved to Jyväskylä in the summer of 2016 for my master’s studies in the “Music, Mind and Technology” programme.
To me, the structure of the school system is the biggest reason behind the Finnish success and here is why: having freedom is so critical in creating one’s identity and developing new ideas.
Since students are given the possibility to work on any topic related to their main field, they are able to find the areas that they are the most interested in.
It looks like not much information is fed to students in terms of teaching, but in addition to freedom, the education is mainly focused on providing peer support through group projects.
I know many of us don’t like group projects but they are shown to be the best way of learning since the 1970s. This is probably how various creative ideas can be developed.
Have you noticed how practical suffixes can be?
You know what else you are great at? Details! Whenever I ask a Finnish friend a question, she takes minutes to give the most accurate answer possible, even if the question is not so critical or it requires consulting another friend of hers. You nerds!
Speaking of details, Finnish is seen as one of the hardest language on earth, mostly because of having many suffixes. But have you noticed how practical they can be? Let me give you an example: “Olin kirjastossa / kirjastolla tänään”.
The first option (kirjastossa) is referring to actually being inside the library and probably studying, but the latter one (kirjastolla) has a more general meaning: you haven’t necessarily studied but maybe chatted with some friends around the lobby of the library.
This tiny difference is providing such detailed information and with this respect, I really do understand where all those clichés such as “Finns don’t talk too much” come from. They are right, but, like in this case, the answer is already very explanatory, so there is no further need of exchanging more information. So practical, isn’t it?
Even you might be surprised how Finnish people are tied together.
For a Finn, personal space seems to be another important aspect in daily life, but so does being part of annual social gatherings and acting according to traditions.
Christmas, Easter, Midsummer, Independence Day, the First of May, all the other flag day celebrations and traditions, even the sitsis, suggest strong collectivism.
During those times of year, people eat accordingly, gather with friends and family and enjoy their time together.
Even you might be surprised how Finnish people are tied together. You don’t believe me? Observe the next time some Finns dance to a popular traditional song!