Languages and Internationalization

My initial interest to this topic grew out of experience of coming to Finland and trying to integrate not yet knowing Finnish. At first, I experienced isolation and frustration regarding constrained possibilities to study the language and lack of spaces where you could use newly acquired (yet limited) language skills. Later on, I found personal justification for learning the language (which includes my postdoc project) and finding application for it in my daily life. Yet, I also discovered that inclusion does not necessarily come with improved language skills. Instead, their limitations become a basis for social judgements, power imbalances are based on speaking particular form of language, and so on. Besides that, knowing the language on the academic level takes years of learning, and due to the demands of the international mobility, as well as insecurity of the job market for a foreign researcher, many scholars might not have this goal.

Overall, I think that there is a dire need for discussion and consideration of problematic issues. This would create a shared understanding among university community about language value, variations of power that is brought up by one or another language, as well as practices that could do justice to different language groups.

My research project deals with these discussions and I aim to cover these topics in my blog.