What does Finnishness mean to me? When living abroad the things that were most visible in Finnish culture and the things (amongst many others) that I feel that I’m proud of are the possibility to get a good education for free and the attitude of “sisu” which is roughly explained as determination and perseverance. These things also go a bit hand in hand.
The free education that we have in Finland is really appreciated all over the world. And it is not just free, but it is really good as well. Everyone has an equal opportunity and also a responsibility to go to school and that means that everyone should have equal opportunities to succeed in life as well. And it is not just the basic education that is free, but our Universities also offer free education. You do have to qualify for your studies though, so it is not just an easy get away and a little work never hurt nobody. Our government also supports your studies with a monthly student allowance which gives the student an opportunity to finish its studies debt free and ready to face the world.
Sisu is something that I really value in the Finnish style of doing things. We learn from our mistakes and move on after we fell. The Japanese saying fall down seven times and stand up eight really defines the mind of a Finnish. If we decide to do something, we really make it happen. We are not quitters. And I believe that is valued in work life around the world as well. We are known to do our jobs well and not be slackers. That is something that I really appreciate in our reputation.