What Finnishenss means to me? It means that I can sit in bus knowing, that no one will sit next to me. I can walk alone in dark and be afraid of nothing. I can go to gather mushrooms and berries from any forest and sleep there in a tent. I can see 4 different seasons and their beautiness. I can educate myself as much as I want to, mostly free.
Studies- in Finland we start the school at the age of 7. Before that it is mandatory to go to preschool and most of the kids attemps to kindergarten. Our school takes 9 years where we study all the subjects including Finnish, English and Swedish. After that you have to go either high school or vocalbulary school. From high school you’ll graduate as a matriculated graduate and from vocalbulary school you’ll graduate to the job you have been studying for (hairdresser, mechanic, cook etc.). After these schools you can apply for university or university of applied sciences. In Finland studying is mostly free, which is something I am very proud of. In my opinion it gives us more opportunities since we can change the subject and don’t have to worry about the lost students fees. Actually we get paid to study, isn’t it weird right? On the other hand, after we graduate from universities we begin to pay taxes – and those are high.
Nature- I love our nature with its lakes, forests, mountains, animals, even the weather. As I said before we have 4 different seasons. We can clearly seperate those from each others: in winter there is –10 to even –30, snowing and freezing. In autumn it is mostly windy, raining and dark. In spring the flowers bloom and ice melts and in summer it can get up to +30 with amazing sunny days. When people abroad ask me what I like to do on my freetime I always like to ask “in which season”? Most of my favorities are cross-country skiing, downhill skiing, fishing nad swimming. I find it very amazing and in the same time very refreshing that the season changes every 3 months. Perfect for a girl like me who gets bored quickly!
Safety- It is very very normal to let kids walk alone outside from school or friends even when they are 7 years old. We also put our babies to sleep in their prams outside, even though it was +30 or –30 or anything in between. Children are able to go themselves to store to buy candy, they can put the money in the cashier table even if they don’t know how to count and still be sure they are not being cheated on. In my opinion children and teenagers gets also very independent very young, propably due to the safety of our country.
Shy and own space lovers- We love our own space! It is not rude to not talk to strangers even at the cashier. Actually it would be very weird to share your day with a stranger! We love to be by ourselves on bus or train. If a bus is half full with people sitting on every other chair, I bet no one would sit next to anyone. We would choose to stand, even if the journey was long! But when we go to the sauna everything changes – we are naked with strangers and talking, sometimes even singing sauna songs!
I really love Finland and being Finnish. I think no one can understand us better than ourselves, so you really have to experience Finland yourself!