Bilingual university?

The first assignment was to discuss diversity in education and specifically our personal experiences in school.  We started discussing the “us and them”- grouping between the Finnish and the Swedish speakers in the educational field.  This got us thinking about the bilinguality of the University of Helsinki. On paper the masters program for general and adult education is bilingual. When you look at he curriculum there are a lot more courses offered in Finnish; Swedish speaking students are not only expected but also have to take some courses in Finnish in order to graduate on time. The Finnish speaking student on the other hand can graduate in time without taking any courses in Swedish. In addition to this we have also noticed that the information is lacking or not available in Swedish. As an experiment we checked all the signs on our way from the classroom to the cafeteria. About half of the signs didn´t have any information in Swedish. It occurred to us that the newer signs were only in Finnish and in English. Vad har hänt?

As there were only three of us present at the first lecture the Finnish speaker was the minority of the group. This is very unusual. This led us to discuss how we automatically continued the discussion in Finnish , even though the majority speaks Swedish as their mother tongue. Maybe we all should notice that the norm to speak Finnish is so strong, that even in a case like this where all of us are used to speak both languages we chose to speak Finnish.  Vad har hänt?

Group J

Jessica, Katri & Tobina

9 thoughts on “Bilingual university?”

  1. It is interesting that the bilinguality of the University of Helsinki is not given and I have ran into this issue also concerning not only Swedish but English as I interviewed international doctoral students alongside Finnish doctoral students regarding my Bachelor’s Thesis. According to their experience, The University of Helsinki promotes itself to be an international and multilingual university but the reality is that most of the information available is only in Finnish. Sorella/Group D

  2. Thank you group J!

    …Or should I say ‘tack’?

    Like the other 1st time posts, I read this post already a week ago, but only now started commenting. Very interesting, local and up to date “us-them” binary. Something that even myself have only recently started to pay more attention to. Thank you for sharing personal experiences with your group and for finding real-life examples of these divisions.

    Looking forward to reading more of your thoughts throughout the course.


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