7 quick & easy ways to improve your Finnish in the next 7 days

August 12th, 2014 Posted by Blog

If only I could speak Finnish (or any other language!), then I could… [fill in the blank] Well guess what? Speaking can start today, and continue for the next 7 days. And at the end of those 7 days, you’ll be better off than you were 7 days ago. Random tangent: Is your favourite number 7? Mine isn’t but I vividly remember it being everyone else’s in elementary school. Odd. Here are 7 quick & easy ways to improve your Finnish in the next 7 days…

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How to get the best advice – Part II

August 5th, 2014 Posted by Blog

It was January 3, 2010 and I was feeling nervous. I was sitting on a flight from Copenhagen to Helsinki and I would step off this plane and into my new life in Finland. I didn’t really know what to expect…

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How to get the best advice – Part I

July 29th, 2014 Posted by Blog

I was 14 years old. Our guidance counselor assigned us a research project/interview on a profession we’d like to pursue. I had no idea what I wanted to do, but I liked animals, so I interviewed a family friend who was a vet. As our interview came to an end, I asked him my last question with innocent enthusiasm:
“So…what advice do you have for someone who’d like to be a vet?”
His answer: “Don’t.”
I get a lot of advice. Some of it solicited; some of it unsolicited. This was probably the nail in the coffin of my veterinarian career, but in hindsight, I think that choice turned out to be okay. Nothing lost there.

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Why everything you think you know about Finland might be wrong

July 22nd, 2014 Posted by Blog

I have to confess I haven’t spoken much Finnish since my summer holidays from gymnastics coaching started, so I challenged myself to speak Finnish for the weekend. Over the two days, I met and interacted with lots of strangers, as well as people I know quite well, or had met briefly before. What I noticed was a little unexpected, namely: there’s a big difference between city and country-side culture. This shouldn’t come as a big shock, but I think as a foreigner I am as guilty as the next person of blobbing groups of people together.

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Can learning a language really change your personality?

July 15th, 2014 Posted by Blog

Can learning a language really change your personality? I think so. But the funny thing is, it does so naturally. So that we don’t notice, unless we’re paying really close attention. Blink and you’ll miss it. I had never noticed this before a couple weeks ago.

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Take the day off #kesämeininki

July 8th, 2014 Posted by Life

It’s July.
The weather has been freaking awesome and you deserve to enjoy it. Take a break from whatever you think you need to be doing and head outside: Kick a ball around, call some friends, have a picnic; or just grab a book and go soak up the sun.

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Smiling for all the wrong reasons

July 1st, 2014 Posted by Blog

When moving abroad, you quickly notice some differences in how people interact from strangers to family. In my case, I noticed that I was the only person smiling at strangers on the street in Tampere, Finland, whereas I’d never even questioned why everyone smiled at each other in Canada. I made a decision in 2010 to change my ways and adapt, but a couple weeks ago, I decided to revisit that decision from a new perspective.

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Feeling at home with strangers: polyglot gathering Berlin.

June 24th, 2014 Posted by Blog

In January, I came across an interesting event going down in Berlin in June and I thought I’d register: a Polyglot Gathering in Berlin. For people who have a passion for and speak many different languages, that sounded like a fun way to nerd out on some grammar talks. Well the event is over, and I can tell you I got a lot more than I bargained for. I’m struggling to find the words to explain it all but if you’ve been on exchange, you might recognize this as a mini-exchange…

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How to overcome fear of nudity in the sauna

June 17th, 2014 Posted by Blog

Juhannus is coming up so I figured many of you may be headed to mökki about this time, and as always, nudity is part of the experience. As much as I would’ve liked to have been raised in a nudity-friendly culture, I wasn’t. And changing this mindset has not been easy…

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How do you see yourself?

June 10th, 2014 Posted by Blog

Foreigner, immigrant, resident, alien, newcomer, stranger, non-Finn, [insert your nationality here], visitor, tourist, expat, minority, migrant, settler, floater, exchange student, finnophile, English speaker, international student, asylum seeker, refugee, outsider, gypsy, wanderer, outlander, nomad, new kid on the block: all words for people who don’t belong.

But what happens when none of these words seem to fit quite right?

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