I’ve learnt a lot about the Finnish culture and Finnishness from the exchange students from all over the world that are currently studying in Tampere. Basically, we all know these “Finnish people don’t speak or sit next to stranger in a bus”, “They need their own space in the bus stop and they stand there quietly” and “Finnish people don’t know how to do small talk.” However, some of the exchange students have started to “mix” it a bit and they’ve started to do random conversations with stranger wherever but mostly in the bus. When I travel with the exchange students I’ve noticed that we get a lot of looks from people and I’ve also recognized that some of the people for example in the bus doesn’t even answer if you try to speak with them. And actually, that’s what I find weird about Finnish people.
I really like to hang around with international people because they really open my eyes. I see Finland whole different now and I see different countries and cities differently nowadays. There are a lot of things that seems normal about your own culture before you experience some other cultures. You don’t even think about the fact that somewhere else it’s different and some things are not as good as in Finland and you start to appreciate it in a new level. And I think that’s the most important thing, that you appreciate your privileges.
Another thing that exchange students told me is weird in Finnish people is that we mostly don’t look in the eyes when we shake hands or cheers. Now that I’ve paid attention to it I’ve noticed that it’s actually very weird.
The thing that I’m most grateful from is that I started to appreciate Finnish nature in a whole new level. I mean I’ve always enjoyed watching the sky full of stars and loved the different seasons we have here in Finland. But after having the exchange students in here I started to enjoy the snowing and the great winter we had here this year. The coldest days of the winter were the best. I realized that it’s not “a basic thing” that you can walk or ice skate on a frozen lake.
All together I really appreciate the fact that I got to know a lot of awesome people and now I have a home in almost every country in Europe and even outside. I cheer everybody to get to know some other cultures and see the different side of the world. And I believe I’ll learn a lot of new things about Finnish culture and Finland once I leave Finland and will be living in Malta for four months.