One of the reasons that I was excited to go to Finland was to experience a different country and culture. I didn’t know much about the culture here so I decided to take the Finternational course instead of the language course. I believed I got more out of learning about the culture then the language. Also because I was in clinical placement so I figured I would understand my colleagues and patient better if I understood their culture. It turns out I was right. The Finnish course started a couple of weeks after I arrived here. Till then I heard only a few things about the culture and the stereotypical people here. I was told the Finnish are introvert, on their own, and very punctual. They also said that Finnish people are not likely to invite people and I have to invite myself – that’s totally normal which for me is very impolite. The Finternational course was really helpful with understanding the culture here and cultures in general. I must say that in the beginning I had some awkward moments when talking to colleagues. For example when there were sudden silences. For them it was normal, for me it was awkward. The courses and the passport there were really nice events and colleges. It helped with experience typical Finnish events and to get to know other cultures. A very nice event was the blueberry pie baking. Berries are very typical for Finland so it was nice to make a cake with berries. At the end of the course I need to write a final report where I talk about the culture differences in my home country and Finland. In order to write the final report, I need to have all the stamps in my passport.
Text and photos by Danielle Matser