Since most common aspects of Finnishness are already covered in other blogs like this one, I would like to discuss 2 untouched, I think, before qualities of Finns. Namely, education or erudition and politeness.
Now, don’t worry, I am not going to talk about how much I like my university or enjoy Finnish educational system. Here I would like to depict a real level of those perks among Finns.
And what is a better way to assess a nation than checking its drunks and hobos? (<- a joke)
(taken from https://inktank.fi/12-signs-learned-drink-finland/)
During my last 3 years in Finland I had 2 very close encounters which I am going to discuss below.
1) First one occurred within first 3 months after I entered TAMK. On a cold October evening, when I was waiting for a bus, speaking Russian with my pal, we were approached by a gentleman in his 30s, who was slammed-drunk, but looked descent. He recognized our Russian speech and came up to us to talk about it. Though he was barely standing, his English was pretty good and clear. The Sir was not very happy that day, so having refused his several (extremely polite) fight offers, my friend and I left the scene on a bus.
2) Last summer I’ve gotten myself into another peculiar situation.
I was traveling back home after coming to Finland for a week and decided to spend some time in Helsinki, waiting for a train transfer.
Suddenly, in the locker room of the railway I was approached by another man with a bitten face that smelled like vodka. He asked for some cash and I handed him 2 euros – all spare coins I had at that time. I walked away, put my luggage in the locker, inserted all 6 euros I had on hands, but the door wasn’t closing. At this point, I couldn’t leave. I couldn’t neither take my bags and leave (and lose 6 euros), nor leave the bags in an opened locker for an extended amount of time. So, I called that man and asked him for an advice. To which he replied “Hold on”, brought a railway station worker within 1 minute and stayed with me until the issue was resolved. Needless to say, this time the man was speaking fluently again.
(taken from https://inktank.fi/kippis-the-strange-history-of-finlands-love-affair-with-alcohol/)
I may have been lucky, but both situations showed me that in Finland, all people are people and may be helpful no matter what mental condition they are in (and hey, they still manage communicate with you in English freely). This is vastly different in some other countries I’ve visited.
I don’t speak Finnish that well, so I prefer using English in my everyday life in Finland. I’ve talked to many people in many sectors and I’ve only met 2 old ladies in all the time I spent in the country, who couldn’t express themselves in English. I definitely would like to talk to more drunks to find out their average language skill and intercultural knowledge.
Jokes aside, to me, this shows a great achievement in Finnish educational system, which greatly surpasses my home country’s one.