Student ambassador’s blog: Learning Finnish part 1 – Do I need Finnish?

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Moving to another country can be intimidating. It can be even more difficult when the language is foreign to you. Keep reading to find out if it is worth it to learn the Finnish language!

English is spoken widely in Finland. You will find people who speak English in stores, on the bus, and in banks. Most universities operate in both English and Finnish, especially at the master’s level. With most people speaking English, you may be thinking, “Why to learn Finnish at all?” Just because a Finn knows English does not mean they will speak it all the time. You may also encounter someone who does not speak English. For example, my roommate once got locked out of her room and called the key service to get back in. We found out that the phone operator did not speak English (probably because it was after hours), so I had to use my little Finnish to communicate our problem.

Furthermore, knowing some Finnish will help with everyday situations like going to the store and reading instructions on the packaging.

Fun fact: Since Lappeenranta is close to the Russian border, many stores have signs posted in both Finnish and Russian. In the west, stores may also have signs in Swedish.

If you want to work in Finland, Finnish is essential in most cases. Some workplaces operate in both languages, but it is a plus to be able to communicate with customers and other non-English speaking workers in Finnish.

And finally, learning Finnish is a good way to fully experience Finland. If you know Finnish, you can go to theatres, read literature, and watch television series. It shows Finns that you value and appreciate their language and culture.

Check out the next post to find tips about learning Finnish!

The blog is written by Jordan, a Master’s student in Master’s programme in Bioenergy Systems at LUT University who’s from St. Louis, USA.

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